Friday, March 20, 2015

Baden, Bright and Beautiful

Finally, the sweet whispers of Spring on the breeze.  Or is it the screaming of my Arizona Wildcat fan  during March Madness?  It's both, but all good with me.  Yesterday brought an opportunity to venture out of Vienna to explore Baden, a spa town located about 25 miles away.

Too much history, especially when written by this amateur, can make for boring reading-but stay with me for a moment.  Since 869, through various invasions and even a devastating fire, Baden has stayed true to its origin:  thermae, spa, healing waters.  "Everyone" made their way to Baden since the Romans, from Hapsburgs to Beethoven, Strauss and the Soviets.  The town is walkable, through neoclassic architecture, cobbled pedestrian streets, lush parks with views to the vineyards, an outdoor market and of course the spas and casino (one of the largest in Europe).  To get there is an easy ride on the local train (Lokalbahn Wien-Baden) hop on in front of the Vienna Opera.  It runs every 15 minutes.

Welcome Spring.  Great to meet you Baden.  Go Cats!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dubai. Again.

I wish I could say I was one of those hearty souls who thrives in Winter, making the most of grey days, preparing meals with hearty root vegetables and warding off the bitter cold with grace.    In fact, I spend much of the season whining about the wind blowing through our poorly insulated windows, itching dry skin, and gaining the winter 15.  Perhaps this crap attitude is why we decided to spend the February ski break in Dubai, yet again.

Dubai is our adventure into the warmth, a re-charging of the batteries.  Mike and I get to thaw out, lounge by the pool, and enjoy happy hour, while our boy sets off to meet new friends and play beach soccer for a week.  We might as well just say goodbye at the entrance to the resort and meet him in the airport at week's end.  This year, he left with the names and email addresses of kids from all over Europe.  I listened to one conversation where he was invited to Paris to play......"and bring your parents along, too."  

We stayed at the luxurious Madinat Jumeirah Al Qasr, on the Persian Gulf, in the shadow of Burj al Arab.  The accommodation and service is exceptional.  My photo obsession meant more vacation pictures of the Burj than the family.

Dubai is Las Vegas-hold the sin, a melting pot, where east mingles with west, a city of obvious haves and hidden have nots, as well as a place that is still carefully and quickly constructing its identity.  Most importantly, it is a place where we can tell old man winter to "shove it", for a week, every February.