For most of the week that they’ve been here, Pam & Joshua have been treated, primarily, to a show of the Calle family collective stomach illness. (Fun.) Then, today, Pam decided to join us in the fun. They fly home tomorrow. I suspect they will be happier to see the jetway at the airport than they expected to be.
We did get out a little. On Sunday we went ice skating. Yesterday, we rode on the strassenbahn around the city. And on Monday evening, we dragged our sick selves out of the house to take a quick stroll down the Graben (a big, pedestrian shopping area). Benjamin and Joshua (who were both well, and very tired of being kept in the house) desperately needed to get out and expend some energy. Plus, there were some significant Vienna landmarks along the way, so it gave us a chance to catch up on some of the requisite sightseeing for our visitors.
We walked to Michealerplatz and saw the Spanish Riding School, we saw Peterskirche and went all the way down to Stephansplatz to see the beautiful cathedral. On the way, we heard (and the kids danced to) several street musicians, including at least two accordion players. It was a very Viennese experience.
It was evening time though, and getting towards dinner time, and the kids were tired. As often happens, we spent too much of our energy getting there, and didn’t quite leave enough to get back. Benjamin, who had the most energy of everyone in our party (being 3, and not being sick anymore) wanted to play and dance on the way back. Liam, who was sick, and tired, got very fussy and impatient. We decided to split up for the trip back. Dan, who had Liam with him in the stroller, led the way to get Liam back home quickly. Benjamin and I danced and played along the way, and we brought up the rear. Pam & Joshua, who decided they wanted to get back faster than we were going to, left us to catch up with Dan.
As we walked home, Benjamin ran out of energy. He got slower and slower, and I had to encourage him to move along. Even so, I expected that we would catch up, or at least catch sight of, the others as we got close to our house. We did, in fact — just two blocks from home, I saw Pam & Joshua ahead of us at the top of the hill and Dan and Liam ahead of them, just turning the last corner towards home. A few minutes later, we walked through our courtyard and met Dan at the door to our building, where he asked, “Where is Pam?”
I had seen her and Joshua just a few minutes earlier, and so had Dan, but we couldn’t find them. We looked all around our building (which has 4 courtyards), we went up and down our block (I thought maybe they had overshot our front door and gone too far) and then finally went all the way around our block — I went clockwise and Dan went counterclockwise, and we met up on the corner where we had last seen them. Nothing.
It’s hard not to panic. I know Vienna is safe, but I just managed to lose my friend and her 4 year old son (who was already tired of walking around). They don’t know their way around the city. They didn’t have a map on them. They don’t speak German. I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened, and I wasn’t sure I could contact her. I tried to call her phone, but I couldn’t get a connection. Dan tried too — no luck. We were about to try to send her a message via Facebook when she called me.
The last time that both Dan & I had seen them was exactly a moment before they went astray — they made it all the way to the corner of our block, but didn’t make the last, right hand turn to come to the front of our building. They kept going straight, which took them directly towards the Rathaus (after a few extra blocks of walking). Luckily Pam recognized it from our skating adventure the other day, and realized she was in the wrong place. Dan took Benjamin and Liam home, and I ran over to meet Pam & Joshua and escort them home.
She was frazzled, exasperated, tired and glad to see me, but surprisingly, not in tears (I would have been). I got them home, safe and sound (eventually). (We blame Dan. In true Dan fashion, he figured that since they could see him, they’d be fine, and didn’t think he needed to check and confirm that they had actually made the turn behind him . . . which they didn’t, because one dark coat looks a lot like another, at night, on a city street you don’t know well.)
Yet another shining addition to Pam & Joshua’s fun adventure in Vienna. I should stop writing this stuff. No one else will come to see us.