We went out and had a lovely dinner this evening in honor of Dan’s birthday at his favorite Viennese restaurant. (Turns out it’s also now my mom’s favorite restaurant in Vienna so far.) Good food and good company.
Afterwards, we decided to go (literally) next door to walk around the grounds of the Belvedere Palace for a few minutes before it closed. It was a beautiful evening. There’s something about summer evenings at dusk — the warm, moist air, with just a hint of the coolness of the coming fall — it really gets to me. There’s something . . . exciting, expectant, about it. Tonight was one of those evenings. The moon was up, the sun had set, but it wasn’t quite dark yet. We walked around a bit, showed my mom the gardens and the fountains, let Benjamin run around a bit, and then started to head out.
On our way in, we had noticed that we only had about 15 minutes until the posted closing time of 9:00. We’d been in longer than 15 minutes, although not by a whole lot. As we finished our mildly long walk back to the gate, though, we noticed that the gate up ahead looked like it might be closed, and we watched the couple who had been walking ahead of us to see if they were able to exit. They weren’t. (Another example of Austrian thinking — I could just imagine the groundskeeper saying, “Well, what did you expect? The sign said 9:00!”)
Luckily, we’ve been to the Belvedere twice before and knew there was another gate . . . on the entirely opposite end of the grounds. We encountered a man (who may actually have been the groundskeeper — not sure, but he had a bike and more information than we did) who told us the other gate was the only way out. So, we set off.
It was a lovely walk on a lovely night in a lovely place. It was truly dark now, and I was glad we were in such a safe place (as Vienna is). But we enjoyed a pleasant evening walk together. It was a little longer than we’d intended to be out (we asked Benjamin if he was having fun, and he told us “no”, and Liam got fed up with the stroller and needed to be carried most of the way) and uphill, but really, very nice. We made it out of the far away gate, eventually found the right bus, then the right tram, and made it home.
It was a long evening, with an unexpected, but beautiful, adventure. Neither of the boys got a bath before bed. We are all tired. But, it was certainly an adventure, and not one we could have had anywhere else.