Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Austria, the end of our journey

We have been home from our fabulous vacation for a few days and we are still suffering from jet lag. Our daughter-in-law and 4 grandkids have been here all week and we have been going to bed at the same time the kids do.
Here's a recap of the last leg of our vacation.
My cousin said goodbye to us at the train station and we were on our way to Bratislava, Slovakia, where our friends would be picking us up and then driving us to their home in Frankenfels, Austria. 5 years ago I met Michi through Couchsurfing. She was planning to come to the US and we struck up a friendship that grew for two years before we actually met in person in 2009. Then she and her dad and boyfriend came to see us in 2010. 
The train was unbearably hot and all we could do was sit there and sweat! The 6 hour train ride that we usually enjoy and I had been using to blog and sew was spent trying to stay cool.
Our friends met us and we welcomed the air conditioned car and water that they had ready for us. The 90 minute drive was nice and the unexpected thunderstorm was a welcome relief from the heat.
As we got off the highway and started winding our way into the country I was getting more and more excited. But I never expected it to be this beautiful.

We were invited to stay at our friend's home here in the country. The last time we saw Christa she lived in an apartment in Vienna, now she lives in a house built in 1766 in the simply breathtaking countryside 90 minutes southwest of Vienna.

Christa treated us as if she were running a 5 Star B&B and we were so humbled by her hospitality. She had prepared a delicious, light and refreshing meal for our supper and then we all sat around and talked until bedtime.
Michi, her mom and dad, Ewald (who are divorced but get along great) and her boyfriend, also named Michi

The next day I wondered around the property and I just could not get over the beauty of this area. I was literally singing, "The Hills Are Alive...", and I even did the Maria twirl from The Sound of Music once or twice. 

We went into town to have a look at the grocery store. It's always so fun to see all the different products that we cannot get at home. They did the same thing when they came to see us two years ago. We toured the local church where they had a beautiful memorial for the soldiers killed in both world wars. Then it was back to the house to enjoy conversation and relaxation with our friends.

After another wonderful meal prepared by Christa

(I forgot to mention that she knows Paul likes Apple Strudel and made 5 of them for him, so we ate it with every meal)
we just relaxed in the yard. I am so glad we arranged our days on this trip the way we did. The relaxation was all at the end of the holiday so we would feel refreshed (but we're still tired) when we got home. 

Winnie, the wonder dog

Our friends had a surprise in store for us this evening. We were going to an Austrian Festival in the town complete with dancers and authentic food and beer. They even had it announced that they were happy to welcome visitors from California. They told us that everyone in town knew there were visitors from the United States in town this week. We were the local celebrities!
popular Austrian cookies

That night we had a bonfire and enjoyed a glass of wine on a beautiful, clear night.
The next morning we sat around not wanting to talk about saying goodbye. 

It was such a great visit, short, but so lovely. I didn't want to leave. I think I could look at this view all day long.

After another wonderful meal prepared by Christa we drove to Vienna where we would be meeting Di of Quiltova and her super tall, funny and handsome husband, Gordon. They drove in from their home in the Czech Republic, about an hour away from Vienna. Ewald had one more surprise for me. I had told them that I had never seen a field of sunflowers and I would love to take my photo while standing in one, so here I am standing in a field of sunflowers!

We met at a famous Viennese beer garden called Grunspan Biergaststatte. We all got along as if we had known each other forever. While Di and I chatted about quilting and blogging and other things, Paul and Gordon were plotting their own revenge...they said they should start a blog for neglected husbands of quilt bloggers and might encourage the husbands to come to Fat Quarter Retreat in London next year, where they will organize a pub crawl. These are two very lovely and super funny people. I really do hope we will go to London next year so we can hang out again.
Di and I exchanged small gifts. She made me the loveliest little zip pouch and included some postcards from her area in Czech Republic. I gave her a framed clutch and a tea towel from our town in California. It was another super hot and humid day and we had to move from the outside, where the air was at least moving a bit, to the inside after a severe thunderstorm warning. Can you tell we both look like we are melting in this photo?

We said our goodbyes and then it was time to head to the airport hotel, where we would be sleeping before our flight the next morning.
Now that we are home I keep looking at the photos and trying to remember every detail. Sometimes it feels like a dream, but I am so grateful for all that we experienced on this trip, for the people we met and the memories we made. It was a wonderful way to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary!

Thanks for stopping by,



Linda Coleman said...

what wonderful photos and it looks like you had a ball of a time. I love Austria. We went there on honeymoon and we've been back four times. There's just something about the fresh mountain air (it's a change from living beside the sea) the food and a good beer.

Susan Snooks said...

You did indeed have a wonderful time! All your fabulous photos will help keep the memories alive...until next time!

Lesley said...

What an amazing trip!I really enjoyed reading about all your adventures in far off places. Your pictures are fabulous...and happy belated birthday!Isn't life grand!

Dianne Neale said...

We had agreat time meeting you all too! And hearing about your holiday. And happy birthday too! Hope you had a good party.

Canadian Abroad said...

Brilliant round up of the end of the trip. Now I want to go see that Austrian scenery!

Becky said...

WOW! That is beautiful!! What great pictures, and what a great time you were able to have! Thanks again for sharing!

Katy Cameron said...

Oh that looks like a beautiful place to visit (although I bet Paul won't be able to look another strudel in the face for a while ;o) )

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

Paul has a great taste in desert (my favourite!).
More wonderful memories for you both x

Kati from Kati's Quilting said...

Wow, wow, and wow! No my envy is complete! Oh, the beautiful Austrian country side! Lovely pictures,I wouldn't have want to leave either! Thanks again for sharing your wonderful photos and memories! Love the tiroli music!

Lee said...

Oh, how I love Austria and the Alps! What beautiful pictures, bringing back fond memories of my trips there 12 years ago and again 9 years ago. Thanks for a lovely post, Di—glad you had a wonderful trip. : )

Leanne said...

What a trip, thank you for sharing all of it.

Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane said...

Beautiful pictures- indeed a fabulous trip. You'll be so glad you blogged about it all- what a great travel journal!

LuLu said...

What an amazing trip! My goodness, it's beautiful! I have so enjoyed your reports and pictures of your family and heritage. Welcome back :-)