Fairy Godmothers: Part II

April 8th, 2015

Our train pulled out of Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof and into thick flurries that painted the landscape white. We were heading East to Budapest in a Hungarian train, chosen over the more frequently scheduled and modern Austrian trains for its food. Yes, there are still a few places in the world where dining cars serve real food, good food, and in semi-elegant settings.

My stepmother, via her European hairdresser, had clued me in on this little-known fact years ago, and Dagmar knew exactly what I was talking about. Hence, we spent our 3-hour trip nestled into plush, red velvety chairs enjoying hot Goulash soup and nibbling on Palascinta—Hungary’s take on crepes. (Ours were stuffed with cottage cheese and apricot jam, powdered sugar sprinkled on top.)


Winter view of Budapest

Winter view of Budapest


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Fairy Godmothers

March 9th, 2015

A few years ago my Austrian friend Dagmar told me one of her dreams was to travel to Latin America to experience the exotic culture and food, the beaches and the pyramids. Without missing a beat, I said, “That’s easy–I’ll be your fairy godmother.”

“Now, here’s my dream,” I declared boldly. “I want to wear a ball gown and long gloves and waltz in the ballroom that once belonged to the Hapsburg emperors (the Hofburg). And I want to eat cake, lots of cake, in the best Belle Époque cafés. And then I want to take the train to Budapest and eat more cake, in more Belle Époque cafés, and soak in the baths–the old ones, when people knew how to really live–in between slices of Dobostorta and Esterhazy Torte.”

“Ok,” she replied.

“No, no. I’m just kidding, (but not really).”  I assured her. “Anyway, I read that Ball season is for tourists now—Travel & Leisure says so.”

“That’s not true!” Dagmar gasped, with a flare of nationalistic pride. “Our Balls are for Viennese, even though other people can attend. You must come and see for yourself.” And so Dagmar and I arranged an exchange, not of homes, but of dreams, both eagerly diving into our new role of fairy godmother.


Oaxaca Radish Festival---Band carved from radishes

Oaxaca Radish Festival—Band carved from radishes

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