La Traviata! 

I wouldn't know where to begin choosing a highlight of this summer. The experiences have been vastly different, from political protests in Istanbul, to a midnight walk through the medina in Fes with a new local friend, to hiking the hills high above the villages of Cinqueterra and the clear blue Mediterranean, to being serenaded by a flamenco gitano in a small, soulful venue in Grenada ...but I can say unequivocally that I was spellbound during the entire performance of La Traviata, hypnotized by the most beautiful arias I have heard in a single opera.

Backdrop: Vienna, where most of the buildings look like huge wedding cakes.




A refined city: clean, pretty, not overrun by tourists and loaded with museums, parks, palaces, fine restaurants, amazing pastries and cultural offerings.  This week, at minimum, I will enjoy the film and food festival and the international dance festival.





And the venue itself, the Theater an der Wien: a local critic wrote upon its opening in 1801 that if theatrical impresario Schikunedir, who conceived the theater house, "...had the idea to charge admission simply for looking at the glories of [the] Theater an der Wien, [he] would certainly have been able to take in vast sums of money without giving one single performance."


David surprised me with a wonderful seat and Lena loaned me her traditional Austrian dirndl to wear, which was handed down from her grandmother.


It was appropriate dress for who I have been the last two weeks, Oma Amy.  Luisa has been away most of the time, though we had some time swimming in the old Donau and hanging out at the Augarten


 but most of my time has been playing with Adam.







He is so much like David at that age  - I can't believe that I get to go through this silly fun twice!

They are off to Edinburgh now, where I will join them in two weeks.  Meanwhile, I will enjoy the freedom to explore Vienna.