We rang in the new year at the Kaiserball at the Hofburg Palace, made like a real Viennese and saw a New Year's Day performance of Die Fledermaus. We hosted the "G8 Summit", somehow squeezing in 8 members of my family into our two bedroom apartment and I'm proud to say everyone had their own place to sleep and their own set of ironed sheets! I joined my family for a long ski weekend in Bad Gastein, eaiting away at the yummy cuisine at Haus Hirt. We discovered the Loisium Hotel in Langenlois, which became our go-to for a quick getaway from the city, and attended our good friend's 40th Birthday Party in "Urban Vampire" attire.
I started to get in gear with the help of Stefan, my trainer at Holmes Place, and had arms in shape in time for the Opera Ball, the grand-daddy of the Viennese ball season. We saw Lang Lang give an as-always amazing performance at the Musikverein, and hosted friends to view Winter Olympic events. Work trips took me to DC, London and Amterdam which made the short month fly by, but it was our annual Carnivale trip to Venice with friends that stood out as one to remember.
We kicked off the month with a visit from our favorite couple, our super-chic friends from Paris for a weekend of catching up and cafes. But most of the month was dedicated to what we rightfully have been calling the trip of a lifetime, with a two week safari to Kenya and Tanzania, planned by perhaps the most amazing safari outfitter and travel company known to me (and I don't say that lightly), And Beyond. We wrapped up the trip with a wedding to remember in Mombasa - a few gin and tonics here or there ensured that we left Africa with a lifetime souvenir.
We didn't score tickets for Anna Netrebko but we did for Ode to Joy, which I had been wanting to see live for years, and by the Vienna Philharmonic no less. And speaking of waiting, we were also able to try Kim Kocht, no easy reservation for some of Vienna's best Asian food. I also conquered my distaste for running, and completed the Vienna marathon relay, having our team nearly bested by the erupting volcano. Easter Sunday brunch was full of friends, and finally inspired me to start the blog.
We realize that a diplo-baby is on the way! Lots of excitement and/or anxiety ensues, and more work travel around the globe. We officially kick off the summer season with a trip to Capri for a rainy Memorial Day weekend, and upon returning spread the good news about our expanding family.
After a big trip to London, we decide to "go Austrian" in June, having our first dinner party with only Austrian's (as opposed to expats) in attendance. I receive perhaps one of the best compliments from one of the guests who told me that our fare "was very good for American cooking" - hurrah! We have our Canadian friends visit at the end of the month, and we drag them to a very "local" Summer Solstice cruise and bonfire night on the Danube, where we nearly freeze on the boat and everyone but me keeps themselves warm with fortified cocktails.
Since Capri didn't offer us much sunshine, we re-attempt to begin the summer season with a long weekend for the fourth of July in Santorini, absorbing Vitamin D and feta cheese like they're going out of style. We celebrate our 3rd anniversary ("still crazy, after all these years!"), attend the Life Ball Cotillion, and head to the US for a weekend in Fargo with both of our families to festoon my growing belly slash flotation device.
The month of France! Trips to Biarritz and Cannes to visit generous friends with summer homes keep our tans up to snuff and make us look better rested than we are, and have me gaining pregnancy weight in an accelerated fashion. We spent the remaining weekends more locally venturing out to Lake Neusiedl and the Opera Festival at St. Margarethen, and enjoying the film and summer food festival at the Rathaus.
Before we headed into fall, we did one more weekend away, to our beloved hotel in Berchtesgaden for a little rest and relaxation. I kicked off the fall season by having the ladies over to watch the September issue, and did my final round of work trips, hitting up the usual DC and London Circuit, and wrapping up wtih a trip to the wedding of good friends in Malibu, and a lovely baby shower hosted by my mother in law in New Jersey.
Relief sets in - no more plane travel! My swollen feet thank me, and my parents come in for a long weekend to Vienna. We take them to Langenlois, where we started the year to admire the fall colors. The ballet season gets into full gear at the Opera House, and I catch a performance of my beloved Cabaret. We finish off the month with the surprise wedding of friends in Vienna.
We might have slowed down our travel, and head for one final weekend getaway in St. Wolfgang, but not our entertaining - lots of final dinner parties and guests to Vienna who cycle through before getting roped into baby-sitting. An outing to the Sting concert proves that we can still be hip..kind of...We wrap up the month and kick off the holidays by hosting Thanskgiving for our Austrian friends and making them put on a bona fide Thanksgiving pageant. Long live Squanto!
Advent markets and gluwein abound, but most importantly, we welcome the latest addition to our family, just in time for Christmas!