Vienna, Austria April 12-15

Last weekend we took a long awaited trip to Vienna, Austria!

Like I’ve said before, my friend Leah and I have been training for this half marathon since February, so we were more than excited.

Even with all the hype, we didn’t do a lot of city prep (looking up tourist attractions, scheduling tours, etc.), just running prep! I think we were just trying to mentally prepare for the race, at least that’s what I was doing!

We were all pleasantly surprised at what a beautiful and welcoming city Vienna was. I can honestly say there was something to do from the moment we landed, until the moment we left. It was so much fun!

Now brace yourselves because there are A LOT of pictures! But it’s worth it, I promise!

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This was the view when we walked into our hotel. We could already tell we made a good choice!

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Ben LOVES Doner Kebabs from when he was stationed in Germany, so we took a chance on lunch and ordered Doner Durums! They were good, not quite what he was looking for so  we’ll have to try again when we visit Germany 🙂

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The first thing on our list after checking in to our hotel and eating lunch, was going to the race expo. This was the entrance, there were so many vendors, it was fun to walk around but we were all too stuffed to try samples

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Outside of the expo, this is where it hit me!

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I look happy but I’m already freaking out!

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 The city architecture was BEAUTIFUL, so I apologize for the numerous buildings I will post but have no idea what they are 🙂

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We liked this bear display

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More carriages parked outside a cathedral. hmm… now where have I seen that before?!?

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St. Stephen’s Cathedral (GermanStephansdom) is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of ViennaChristoph Cardinal SchönbornOP

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 happy husband

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It stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first a parish church consecrated in 1147

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buildings in the square

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Other side of the cathedral. The most dominant feature, the bell tower, soars to an amazing 137 meters, making it one of the tallest churches in the world.

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taking a break before we go back out for more sightseeing 🙂

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Erected between 1737 and 1739 by Georg Raphael Donner, the official name is the Providentia Fountain but everybody calls it the Donner Fountain.

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This was the only fountain we saw with water in it!

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 statues crack me up, all the babies holding their fishes

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and of course the naked ladies

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and the strange men…

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Ben was particularly drawn to this statue…

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Souvenir shopping. Vienna was known for music, Mozart and Beethoven both came to work here!

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literally, the world’s smallest violin…

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back on the U train

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going back to pick up Joanna

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and then out to dinner!

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best Thai food we’ve had in months!!

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the cathedral at night, it was much more impressive on the outside

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splashes of color projected on the outside

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random ruins in the metro, Vienna is also not the only place we’ve visited that has done this!

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Joanna and Leah

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 they were dancing 🙂 we loved the ice cream!

Our first day wrapped up, we all went to bed at a reasonable hour, and we were all full and exhausted already.

The next day, there was so much to choose from, it was difficult to narrow it down. We decided to go to the zoo! and see the palace on the same grounds.

Tiergarten Schönbrunn or Vienna Zoo is a zoo located on the grounds of the famous Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. Founded as an imperial menagerie in 1752, it is the oldest zoo in the world.

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the greenhouse before entering the zoo

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I wish the flowers had been growing and blooming it would’ve been even more beautiful!

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what a beautifully designed greenhouse!

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still enjoying my starbucks

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group photo 🙂

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it was the perfect weather

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these giraffes didn’t have enough space or trees! 😦

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these lemurs were hilarious, that’s three babies!

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this one was nursing, the mother kept falling asleep

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koala bear hiding in the tree

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a red panda!

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and a Giant Panda! He was eating and his ears were bouncing up and down while he was doing it

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these… were kind of ugly

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bats! inside a rainforest house, it was humid!

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bears just lounging. I want the same hammock!

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 elephant house. the caretaker called to the elephant TONGA! and Tonga kinda yelled back

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baby elephant!

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they loved their carrots

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 sleepy rhino

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funny penguins

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we got to watch their feeding time

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sunbathing seal

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the closest we were allowed to get to the lions…

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and a picture with the friendliest lion

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pony!

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mountain goats!!!

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Ben coaxing one, the goat wasn’t interested

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this one was shy but curious. he was like the ghost boo in the super mario games, every time I turned my back he got closer!

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it’s like he just wanted to pose with me haha

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these guys were amazing

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they swung so fast, real life barrel of monkeys

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the loneliest orangutan, i think he liked the attention

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Ben with his long lost relatives

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And right down a garden path from the zoo, the beautiful Schonbrunn Palace!

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Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the imperial family, has 1,441 rooms.

the land on which it’s built was in possession of the Habsburgs since 1569, when the wife of Emperor Ferdinand II. had the summer residence built there in 1642 and called  it “Schönbrunn”.

The palace and garden complex built here from 1696, after the Turkish occupation, was redesigned from the ground up by Maria Theresia after 1743.

For most of the year, the Habsburgs resided in the countless chambers that a large imperial family needed in addition to the formal state rooms.Image

the view from the palace to the Gloriette!

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The sculpted garden space between the palace and the Sun Fountain is called the Great Parterre. The French garden, a big part of the area, was planned by Jean Trehet, a disciple of André Le Nôtre, in 1695. It contains, among other things, a maze.

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Lining the Great Parterre are 32 sculptures, which represent deities and virtues

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 we did not go through the maze, although it looked cool, we weren’t willing to pay the 8 euro to get lost!

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posing like the statues. kind of

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of course there’s no water in the fountain 😦

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the only flowers in the garden so far

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view from the top of the hill. Breathtaking!

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blinded by the sun! the most hilarious picture of the whole trip

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only slightly better

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there we go, sun behind us! Leah, Joanna, and me!

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Ben took a siesta while the rest of us relaxed

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The garden axis points towards a 60-metre-high hill (200 ft), which since 1775 has been crowned by the Gloriette structure (Fischer von Erlach had initially planned to erect the main palace on the top of this hill).

Maria Theresa decided Gloriette should be designed to glorify Habsburg power and the Just War (a war that would be carried out of “necessity” and lead to peace), and thereby ordered to recycle “otherwise useless stone” which was left from the almost-demolition of Schloss Neugebäude. The same material was also to be used for the Roman ruin.

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walking back to the U train.

Now it was time to find the end of the race to pick a meeting point for all of us!

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 towards the end of the race course

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these would be the final gates we ran through

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and the finish line, already set up for the coming race!

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this was our meeting point, behind the statue

the crowds now don’t even compare to the next day

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the Austrian flag

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a view of the church from the finish area

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the first pug we saw in Vienna! It was very exciting for me and Ben, good think Joanna and Leah were understanding 🙂

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and then we saw a pug while on the U train! This one’s owner was not so excited to have Ben pet her, she was also a snobby pug

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and we’re back at the cathedral… to see the inside during daylight!

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colored paper hung over the stained glass, the first one on the right doesn’t have any and you can see that the stained glass is faded pastel colors

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it created such beautiful lights inside the building

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prayer candles

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back to the city center

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 and back on our way out to dinner.

We had some Viennese food and settled in around 10pm. I probably didn’t sleep until almost 11 even though I was exhausted. I had nerves to thank for that!

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and it was finally here, the morning of the race. And after an early breakfast of PB&J and half a banana, I decided to take a look outside our hotel room window…

mistake! This was overwhelming/amazing at the same time! The start line was only a minute or two from the hotel entrance so it shouldn’t have been surprising but it was!

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Leah and I had custom headbands made at SweatyBands. They were awesome! The race logo was on the end I was holding

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all ready to go!

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practice pose, I look a little special, don’t mind me, I don’t care for morning runs, I much prefer afternoon/evening!!!

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 the hustle and bustle the minute we walked outside

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that is the look of confusion/what do we do now?! We were sorta lost but chalked it up to just hanging out where we saw the most people with similar start time colors on their bibs as us 🙂

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this is me with the worst fake smile I’ve ever given. I already had to pee again and I had already gone twice before leaving the hotel 5 minutes prior to this picture

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pre race pictures

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yup you can just feel the excitement from the look on my face 😉 thank goodness Leah was there to keep me from backing out hahaImage

yup, the true feelings are out

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and then we decided to start walking forward to start. eeek

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the crowds lined the street and the bridge above! it was chaos! but exciting!

and now fast forward to Ben and Joanna making their way over to the finish line to cheer us on.

Neither me or Leah took a camera on the run, it just wasn’t going to happen.

I had to pee at least one more time before the start, so right before the crowd really started moving, I said goodbye to Leah, wished her good luck and told her I’d see her at the finish line.

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a random church they found on their way to meet us

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and of course the Male winners of the Marathon, they are amazing, ran faster than most people ran the Half Marathon!Image

The Female winners of the Marathon, Amazing!

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There’s Leah trucking along, she crossed first with a time of 2:31:41!

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and then there’s me…

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struggling!

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passing Ben, I was too focused to notice Ben and Joanna screaming my name

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I guess I wasn’t pushing myself very hard… I was just trying to finish!

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and I did! with a time of 2:40:57! who knows when I’ll do that again?!?! I’m not sure, I was thinking maybe October 🙂

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happy to see each other and congratulate each other on accomplishing our goals!

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admiring my medal I suppose

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making sure it’s not chocolate?

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happy, tired, sore girls!

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me and my love, I should’ve made him carry me home!

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a much needed restful ride back to the hotel!

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and all that before 2pm!

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my watch, bib, and BLISTERS!

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I never trained with water or Gatorade on long runs, which made it weird during this one.

I utilized three hydration stations.

The first one was crammed with people so I decided the second one was perfect and then I randomly picked three others and alternated between water and Gatorade at each.

I only stopped running once for one of the water stations, because there were no cups ready.

Stopping was awful, even though it was less than 5 seconds, I didn’t do it again the rest of the race

My hands and shoes were sticky from the Gatorade. I probably spilled more water and Gatorade on my face than actually made it into my mouth.

One point along the route handed out bottles of fizzy peach water. One sip and I about died. I felt awful after and it took the rest of the run to recover from it. Lesson learned!

I wanted to stop a bunch of times during the race, I considered quitting or joining some of the walkers I was passing. But I knew I’d never recover or finish in the time I wanted.

I’m so glad I finished. It was a great feeling, but getting there was definitely not easy.

So I’ll train more. My goal will be to beat myself next time, and I’ll do more strength training in between. It’s no wonder my last PRT was the easiest one I’ve done in a while, and my least practiced!

Speaking of PRT, best choice ever was completing it before we went to Vienna so we didn’t have to do it when we got back!!

Anyways…

After a quick rest back at the hotel and the best shower I’ve ever had, we went back out!

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now for some lunch!

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celebratory beer and American food! We couldn’t have been happier!

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and then on our way out for more sightseeing, we saw our third and final pug!

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the owner was just as excited as us, Ben’s German was good! And she did a little dance for us 🙂

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these bears crack me up, they’d be perfect on a Pediatric ward seeing as the bear appears to be getting an upper GI scope!

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We walked a long way (probably seemed longer since we had just finished running) to see an old house/apartment complex

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The Hundertwasser House in Vienna is one of Austria’s architectural highlights. The house designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser draws visitors from around the world.

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an Austrian and American flag 🙂

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Anyone who lives in the Hundertwasser House also has the right to decorate the façade around the windows entirely to their own taste.

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we spent some time here and then headed back to the city center for some shopping

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later when we went out to dinner, we got to see this gem…

I wanted Mexican food BAD. but the place we went was closed on Sundays, so we walked into the nearest hotel, asked for a recommendation, and then went to a restaurant that served the best food we had all weekend. It was delicious Viennese food and the hostess/waitress was the nicest lady. It was a good end to the trip.

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happy and sad to be leaving Vienna and going home ❤

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Galway gave us the cold shoulder for a little bit

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he preferred to sunbathe instead…

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I got to see my official time when I got home. I was so happy!! I know I’m slow, but I’m proud of my accomplishment

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the map of our course. the green means I started too fast! woops

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and then when we got home, we saw the news about Boston.

I didn’t run again until the 19th, but I thought and prayed about Boston that whole time.

It’s motivation enough to keep running because I can, and do it in honor of those who can’t.

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Happily, Ben celebrated his 26th birthday on the 18th!! I keep telling him he’s an old man!

Unfortunately, I had to work on his birthday, so he hung out at home. But we dubbed it his “birthday weekend”! I told him we could do whatever his heart desired, an Italy trip, out to dinner, or stay home.

If you know Ben, you know what he opted for…

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yup

and then I made him cake.

His request- Chocolate!

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there were only 24 candles in the regular candle box so we went with numbers so as not to blow out his lungs 🙂

and yes we know they are two different types of numbers, but that’s the commissary for you!

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and then I sung to him 🙂

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look he didn’t run away! and his ears aren’t bleeding 🙂

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that was difficult!

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this was my first double layer cake. Success!!

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and Ben loved it, double success!

So there we are. Longest post ever, but so much fun to cover.

Next up, we are going to Ireland for our 4 year anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already. I guess we can count this as one of our European honeymoons!

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One thought on “Vienna, Austria April 12-15

  1. Congrats on your half marathon!! And Happy Birthday Ben!!

    Can’t wait to hear about your Ireland trip 🙂

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