After consecutive weekends of organizing and sorting our household effects, we decided to take a weekend to play. So, after we had packed up the remnants bound for Goodwill from Saturday morning’s tag sale, we headed to DC for the EU Embassy Open House. Last year we toured on both the EU and non-EU weekends and really loved sampling the food, enjoying the music and entertainment, and playing dress-up at the Saudi Embassy. This year we were more focused given that we didn’t have the entire day to tour. The “yellow” EU Open House bus route included just four embassies, but judging by the number of people everywhere, we probably couldn’t have made it to more than that anyway.
Our first stop was the Embassy of the Republic of Austria. Ha! We thought it would be fun to stop in. Long, long, lines for the pastries and Meinl coffee, so we took a pass on the food and instead chatted with the cultural team as well as with folks representing Austrian Airlines, to booster our comfort about flying CTF III overseas. Very nice people, and now CTF III’s air crate has been made beautiful with “I am Austrian” stickers. We sampled a Prosecco-like white wine from Lower Austria that was really delicious. We also collected copious literature on the various regions of Austria, so we are well-prepared for weekend outings and for entertaining the ever-growing list of friends and family who are planning to visit.
In the cul-de-sac with the Austrian Embassy is the Slovak Republic Embassy, a newish building dating from 2000. Husband and I wondered if both the Slovaks and Czechs went with new buildings after the fall of the wall…Modern architecture with wonderful art inside. A musical group was performing traditional pieces, and we enjoyed listening to them while sampling a national dish of sauerkraut, potato, and bacon. The wine, though, not so much. Too sweet and syrupy for our taste.
From the Slovak Embassy we boarded the bus to “Czech” out the Embassy of the Czech Republic. Guess they lost the coin toss for which half of Czechoslovakia got the 1950’s era building with original Cold War barbed wire fencing! All joking aside, the Embassy had beautiful, sweeping grounds in a fabulous location, and the building had very modern notes. Various tables about the Czech regions were set up for exploration in the main room, and I glommed onto a map of Czech castles for future weekend travel planning.
Remarkably, visiting just these four Embassies engaged our entire afternoon. We will miss this event while we’re away, but look forward to what life in Austria has in store for us!