Our flight time was 16 hours SFO-Vienna. We forgot the guidebook at home. We never found our camera. Arriving at the hotel, our room had been given away the night before – we had miscalculated the time zone change – and were unapologetically given a small musty, smoky room next to the elevator and the train station. The Sun was applying a square from Neptune, creating missteps, forgotten items, miscalculations and disillusionment. This will get better as the planetary energies pass, I remind myself. The melody of that first night was the intermittent arrival and departure of trains and the amorous lovemaking of a couple who seemed to require no sleep. I awoke many times that night, bemoaning the brick hard bed and prolonged exhaustion. Sleep is a tricky proposition when 9 PM Vienna time is 11 AM San Francisco time.

Days later, I am sitting inside our much improved accommodation. After surrendering to the accommodation (including the affirmation “I am blessed and lucky to be in Vienna”) by Monday we had earned the goodwill of our hosts and an upgrade – to a fabulous room with sun porch and Jacuzzi tub! (The Goldene Spinne, Room 43) I later learn Goldene Spinne means Golden Spider, my personal good luck charm. The veranda doors overlooking the Viennese rooftops are thrown open today as sunlight streams in. There’s a dense formation of apartments surrounding ours and the curtain less windows are eyes. I stop to wonder if I’m being observed and keep my doors open. I may be in a fishbowl but I am one happy sardine typing a letter to you, my American friends.