It’s the Journey Right?

October 2, 2015 - Mayrhofen, Austria

Today proved to be more about the journey than the destination.  I planned the trip by using several different mapping sites for estimated times between Points A and Points B.  But of course, there are always things unforeseen.   last morning

Our medication worked a miracle last night in that we both finally had a good night’s sleep.  Bill woke feeling much better; me, about the same; however, at least I know I slept well.  We settled up at the hotel and said good-by to the family dog, Mara.  Mara would patiently wait outside the breakfast room every morning just in case someone happened to drop a tidbit of bacon on the way back to their room.Mara and Bill

 

We took the hotel van back up the hills to the train station and by 10:30 a.m. we had retrieved our car and were on the way to Austria.  The first couple hours of the day promised to be lovely as our drive wound around the Brienzersee   Our little blue car buzzed and buzzed up the steep incline of a long and twisting highway.  There were metal screens along the sides of the hills to keep rocks from falling on cars and then lo-and-behold, we drove right under a rock overhang the full width of the road!  I would not want to be the one driving when that rock came down.

I confess I dozed again today.  It was the many tunnels that did me in.  In Switzerland there are tunnels miles long with exits veering off in different directions.  I usually think of a tunnel as again, as Point A to Point B; but often times here you have the option of C or D.  It makes for much faster travel around villages and mountains but after a while it just put me to sleep.  Other times it gave me time to reflect.

Yesterday as I was snapping pictures of cows I asked Bill, “Why is it that the cows here look so much prettier than the cows at home?”  I was poking fun at myself more than anything but his reply had to do with their setting being somewhere other than a feedlot.  That’s for sure.  Plus, there are different varieties of cows than what we see at home.  In France there was what I called “the horse-butted cows”.  From behind they had rounded rumps like horses.  There are lovely charcoal gray cows, and caramel cows; and oh, lest I forget – goats galore!  And oddly enough they all look so beautiful grazing on a hillside or in a valley with mountains in the distance.  They also tend to be distributed in smaller numbers across small family plots even within villages or small towns.

And the other thing I thought about in and out of my slumber was “selfie-sticks”.  Boy, are they obnoxious!  I think it’s a useful concept but they are carried as an extension of the human.  Not only do you need to make way for another human you must add in at least another 18” for the human extension.  Seeing a trainload or busload of tourist wielding selfish-sticks is rather comical to say the least.

We stopped at an overlook of the beautiful Lungerer Sea (and the picture will not load - trust me, beautiful) and then continued on to Vaduz, Lichtenstein.  Bill wanted to see The Grand Duchy of Fenwick and seemed quite convinced he’d find him there.  (This is a movie reference to what I thought was a terrible movie, “The Mouse that Roared”.)  drive by in LichtensteinThe Principality of Lichtenstein is about 15 miles long, 62 square miles, and also one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  We altered our route slightly so that we could drive through.  I also tried a photo of Bill with the Vaduz Castle in the background.  He did not see the Duchy, nor did he see the prince of Lichtenstein but he’s happy.Vaduz Castle

 

We were still doing okay per our plan until we arrived at the point where Gerti (our GPS) advised that the highway ahead was closed.  Yes, apparently a tunnel was closed.  The detour up and over Arlbergpass was quite delightful but added at least an hour to our trip.  I could imagine how most of the driving in these alpine regions was just this tedious before the addition of superhighways and tunnels.  Without exaggerating I’m sure we passed through no less than 30 tunnels today.   Eventually, we passed Innsbruck and headed to the “almost” home stretch.  We passed a beautiful valley heading south into the mountains.  Bill even remarked about it and I realized the signs said, “Zillertal”.  Hmm.  We were heading to the Zillertal but Gerti said we still have about 15km farther to travel.  I furiously poured through my map looking for the next recognizable town or village.  Sure enough, Gert steered us wrong!  She took us all the way to one town only to turn us around to head back from whence we’d come.  I was very angry with her.

along the detour

We arrived at the Alpin Hotle Garni Eder in Maryhofen, about 2½ hours later than planned.  We were met by a very old lady who spoke no English.  She was earnest in her efforts as I was in mine.  She had me sign a paper and showed us to our awesome room.  This is a very well-rated, reasonably priced, small family pension.  Our room is spacious with a sitting area, separate bathing room from the bathroom.  Perfect.  We gathered ourselves together and upon exiting met the owner’s son, a young man who spoke good English.  We told him we might be in the mood for some goulash (gulaschsuppe) soup.  He directed us just up the road, across a foot path to a lovely restaurant on the other side, the Landenhoff.

This was a pretty fancy looking place but they seated us without problem.  Neither one of us have much in the way of appetites so we both ordered the same thing.  It would have been most delicious had it not had chives sprinkled all over the top.  I wouldn’t have thought this would be such a contrary flavor with the soup but it was.  Still; ate the whole bowl!  I even managed a small beer. dinner

We were in Mayrhofen for the annual Almabtrieb.  We’d had such a great time before and we so looking forward to a lively party.  From the restaurant we headed to what we call “The Party Barn” though trust me, that is not the real name.  It is a large, beamed open room with a giant disco ball with live music, too many people, food, drinking, and dancing.  We had met two other couples here during our last trip and were just hoping perhaps they’d show up this year, but alas, they did not.  Instead we shared our table first with an older couple from Switzerland (70s+), and later a couple of guys from Switzerland.   The older woman spoke no English but she was patient with my German and I think a closet party-animal.  She and I clapped, and looped arms, and swayed at all the right times in the music.  I liked her.  She did raise eyebrows at the juice Bill brought me back from the bar.  My stomach is still not ready.

 

There was a young man dressed in traditional dress-lederhosen at the party barn.  I got such a kick out of watching him.  I nicknamed him “Frisky Fritz”.  He was not at all shy about asking other men’s women to dance, or just stepping up beside one and looping arms or whatever.  He was so full of joy I thought it was entertaining.  There was a tall blond woman who he was determined to dance with; and, eventually did.  When he returned from the dance floor he went to step by me and I gave him the “thumbs up” and said, “Good job!”  Next thing I knew he kissed me on the check.  Bill did not find this as entertaining as I did.  Later he stopped by our table and asked if we wanted to go have a cigarette with him.  His spirit was unstoppable.  Mine; however, was.

We managed to stay out until 10:00 p.m. and easily found our way over the covered foot bridge back to our place.  As we prepared for bed I began a desperate search for the miracle cure from the night before.  We both went through every pocket of our bags, jackets, coats, pants, etc.  The only fizzy tablets we could find were the ones for the day.  I had shaken the box out into Bill’s bag as we were leaving the day before.  The only thing I could assume was that the nighttime tablets had not fallen out and had ended up, still in the box in the trash.  Bill’s decided to take the day time tablets.  I’m going to try to tough it out.  This is a bit wearying.


Pictures

last morning
Mara and Bill
Vaduz Castle
drive by in Lichtenstein
 
 

1 Comment

Mom:
October 3, 2015
Oh, the memories you have created. They will bring you JOY for years to come. 'So happy for you two.
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