When I was about 4 years old, I wanted to marry my cousin Josh. For no other reason than he was nice to me, seemed cute and was one of the few boys I knew. (Sidenote: I just realized I’ve also used these dreadfully minimal standards for some of my adult romantic choices.) If I were part of the Habsburg dynasty, this dream of marrying my cousin would likely have become a reality. Especially if Josh was heir to a parcel of land my family was desperate to acquire. Plus, age 4 was a pretty solid age to get betrothed. I would have been an old maid a few years later.
Vienna dripped with Habsburg opulence. It felt like being in the fine china section of Macy’s. I didn’t want to walk too close to anything in fear of my purse bumping and breaking things. The buildings in the city center stood side by side with their facades looking like the world’s tallest layer cakes. And at night, the twinkly lights and glowing domes made … Read the rest