Alas, she and Hafl live in Austria, so I figured it would never happen... but then I was asked to go on a work-related trip, flying into and out of Vienna, Austria. We exchanged a bunch of emails making arrangements, and were finally able to meet this last Saturday!
Tanja and I, sipping beer at one of Vienna's most famous beer gardens
Tanja and her family gave me a wonderful tour of Vienna's famous (and enormous) garden/park, which includes a rather large horse stables, racetrack, soccer stadium, veloway, tennis courts... basically any sport you want to do, it can be done there. After walking (and talking horses, naturally) for probably an hour, we stopped to enjoy a raspberry soda in a lovely old building that was used for hunt meets, well-timed during a short rainfall. Tanja's family was just lovely, and her Mom especially made me feel right at home! I'd brought them a few "typical" Texas goodies (BBQ sauce and salsa), and explained that really, (most) Texans do not ride their horses to work, wear jeans with big belt buckles, and carry guns on their hips. We exchanged amusing travel stories and just had a wonderful time - I felt like I'd known them forever.
Barn in Vienna's garden - sorry no pictures of the horses, I felt like such a stalker with my camera out!
After refreshments, we headed off to the beer garden near the Prather (big amusement park). It was an enormous place - so big they had an assembly line with 6 guys working to fill beers! I had weiner schnitzel (of course) that was really, really good - I love a good schnitzel and they are so hard to find in the States. Tanja and I talked horses a bit more, and then I called it an early evening at around 9, since I was super jet lagged from the flight over.
Hopefully I will be able to come back to Vienna again and will be able to have more time to visit - I'd love to meet Hafl in person! I'm also trying to convince her that Austin is a lovely place to visit - muahahahaha!!!