My sister-in-law Kristi has lived in Slovenia for 16 years, with her husband and four children. Between her busy life and mine, we have never managed to have a sister's overnight in all these years.
That changed last night! Since I had a doctor's appointment to go to in Vienna, she came to meet me so we could have time together.
From 2 PM when we met at the train station yesterday afternoon, until almost 1 AM, we were talking! Conversation flows that sweet and easy between us. Today was more of the same.
Neither of us has a biological sister so from the time she married into the family 25 years ago, we've always just called each other "sister". We feel the same way about our other sister-in-law, Joyce, who also doesn't have any sisters other than us! We missed her on this trip, with Kristi sending her "Snapchats" to say that!
Feeling refreshed after our night in the "princess hotel", with a lavish breakfast to nourish us, we headed across the street to a magnificent sight.
The Austria Trend Park Hotel where we were staying sits on the very edge of Schönbrunn Palace, a former imperial summer residence that is just spectacular!
The Schönbrunn Palace in its present form was built and remodeled during the 1740–50s during the reign of empress, Maria Theresa, who received the estate as a wedding gift. Imagine that!
Though it's mid-November, there is still some fall color in the leaves making it a spectacular sight on this beautiful sunny day.
You could spend days wandering around the grounds with its vast gardens that have spanned 300 years of history. With a zoo on sight, as well as the Palm House above, and many other buildings, the grounds truly sparkle under the loving care of their gardeners.
Just outside the gate is a Lindt chocolate store, with, I think, every possible item they make. Oh yes, of course we had to go in and sample!
Then with coffee in hand, we walked back onto the grounds and sat on a bench for an hour, soaking in the delight of having this time together in such a lovely setting.
Looking forward from our bench, this was our view ...
And looking overhead, THIS was our view! You really couldn't go wrong any direction.
We both said to each other that we would have been happy to stay there all day, wandering back onto the palace grounds, or back into the Lindt shop for more chocolate and coffee!
But we tore ourselves away and took the subway back to Vienna, to a place I had scoped out for us to have a treat.
If you do a Google search and ask where the best apple strudel is in Vienna, you are very likely to find Cafe Museum, a Viennese coffeehouse dating back to 1899. So of course we had to go there.
After having just found out that I have an allergy to casein (the protein commonly found in cow's milk), I knew I could no longer have my latte or macchiato. But you know what my doctor told me? I CAN have whipped cream!
We can attest to the fact that Cafe Museum does indeed have some of the very best apple strudel, so would highly recommend a visit there if you happen to be in Vienna!
Needing to go downtown before leaving for home on the train, we made our way there. So fun to see the Christmas decorations going up today!
In fact, today was actually the official opening (according to their advertisements) of the world famous Christmas Market in Vienna!
Millions of people will flood these streets over the next six weeks, enjoying all the sights, sounds, tastes and smells. But today, only a few booths were open as mostly they were just setting up for the holidays, like the chestnut roaster.
Claire would be so happy to go visit him as she truly loves chestnuts roasted on an open fire!
I made a quick stop at Old Leopold's Pharmacy downtown before hurrying back by subway to the train station.
These past 26 hours in Vienna with my sister-in-law were so nourishing and delightful. I think we shouldn't wait another 16 years to meet up here again!