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familiar stomping grounds

Though we only visited twice — for Thanksgiving in 2013 and again for a handful of days last summer — we will always associate Vienna with our tour in Eastern Europe. Not only has it served as a gateway city for many of our trips abroad these past two years, but also we have close friends there. Last week we returned to Austria one final time before bidding adieu to the European continent for the immediate future.

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Munchkin marked the midway point of year two on this trip. Traveling with him still presents a number of challenges, especially when he does not want to be confined — in his car seat on long drives or with a seatbelt in our laps during takeoff and landing. On the other hand, he clearly also likes taking trips. “Car” and “shoe” are two of the most prominent words in his fledgling vocabulary, which consists of about a dozen words, half in English and the other half in Russian.

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We’ve been told by parents of children Munchkin’s age that ours is a hyper-active child, and this is especially true when it gets to be past his bedtime. We arrived in Vienna early enough to have dinner out, but with the time change the meal definitely stretched Munchkin’s limits. Several times we were told by the wait staff, “this is not possible,” as he raced around the restaurant and attempted to rearrange the furniture. The flat, accented way in which the remark was delivered left some doubt as to whether Munchkin’s actions were verboten or simply so outrageous that they were difficult to fathom.

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When we visited last summer, both of our friends were out of town on trips of their own. This time, not only did they make sure to stay in Vienna, but also another friend flew in from Spain with her boyfriend. As last year, D’s main reason for going to Austria in August was the Frequency Festival, but this year at least S had plenty of people to keep her company and help entertain Munchkin while D rocked out to his favorite bands.

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What’s more, because we had already seen many of Vienna’s top attractions, our friends helped us explore further afield. On Thursday we took a day trip to Bratislava, and Saturday we spent in the Wachau, Austria’s scenic wine valley. It was cold the first time we visited Vienna, and a bit lonely for S the second time around. With good friends, excellent weather, and some interesting sightseeing, this proved to be our favorite trip to Vienna.

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