Day 10- Schnaps
Addison, Ben, and I met Thomas at the Uni. at around 6 p.m and left for his house in Vienna to pick up his girlfriend. After the normal greetings and the here is my room, here is my kitchen, we were off. 3 hours later and some uncomfortable sleeping in a small Volkswagen Golf, we pull up to this large 3 story yellow house with a large barn connected to it. It was much bigger than I was expecting. I was anxious to see it in the morning in the day light. Instead we go in and meet the family. When I say family i mean it. With 4 sisters and 3 brothers, and some girlfriends over, it was quite a crowd. They were all very nice and welcoming. The mother was the best at english, and a couple of the sisters weren't bad either. The father spoke nein englisch. They had a huge platter of cold cuts, bread, and beer waiting for us. After a few beer and all of the meat was gone, they decided to bring out schnaps, plural. Clear schnaps, walnut schnaps, apricot schnaps, cherry schnaps, and my personal favorite, orange spice schnaps. It was quite and experience. The family made us feel right at home. I helped the youngest girl do her english homework and she helped me on my german. As the night went on the crowd dwindled down until it was the three american boys and three Austrian girls. One 14, one 16, and one 18. The 16 and 18 year old girls were the ones filling our schnaps glasses every time we turned our heads around for a second. Poof! They are magically full again. It was way to much schnaps. After a while the girls decided to make Eierspeis. Pretty much an omelet scrambled. Ben decided to go to bed while Addison and I stayed up and helped make this delicious 4 in the morning snack. After finishing the eggs, and a few more schnaps, it was time for us to go to sleep. Thank the lord. Those girls out drank us, hands down. It was terrible. We climbed to the third story and went to bed.
Day 11- The Alps, FINALLY!!
I woke up around 10:00 and went to the balcony outside our room, only to be blown away by the view. In there front yard you can see the Alps. It was gorgeous. In the summer it will be even better, because all of the grass fields will have grown up that surround the area. I can't imagine waking up to that view every morning for your whole life. It seems like that would ruin the true splendor of what the eyes can see. the other guys woke up and we went downstairs for some breakfast. Once again the table was FULL of food. Rolls, cold cuts, jam, honey, cereal, donuts, and yoghurt. All for us to eat. We filled up and then went on a tour of a few dairy farms in the region. First was Thomas' farm. with 20 cows. It was a typical small farm, with two barns and a dairy room. We walked around took pictures, looked at the silage they use for feed, then went inside for some pizza. More Food. After that we went to another medium sized farm. One of Thomas' friends. It had 50 cows. We walked around and met the family. Another large family in an even larger house. we walked around their farm, they asked Thomas questions, he translate and we answered and he translated, and visa versa. After that we went to the biggest farm in the area. It had three robotic milking arm, which I had never seen, and 200 milking cows. It was quite an operation they had there. So after all of our tours we went back to the house for some black cherry cake. MORE FOOD. Then we were off to Salzburg. After a 40 minute drive we were there. We walked down the river with a large church and castle in the backdrop and into the old part of town. After walking through some narrow streets we make it to a large courtyard in front of the castle, it was gorgeous, but we had to keep moving so that we could watch the sunset over the mountains from the view of the castle. We climb and climb some more, go through some ancient gates and finally get in through the walls of the castle, after walking through the once vibrant streets, we find an opening to the outer southern ledge. We walk out to see one of the most amazing views I have ever seen. Hundreds of mountain peaks with the sun setting over them. It was an amazing piece of paradise. I really didn't want to leave even after the sun had set behind the peaks, but it was off to drink some more beer. Of course. We go to a monastery whose basement, for those of you who know Purdue, reminded me a lot of the basement of the union. We get some giant porcelain mugs wash them off in a small fountain and get some beer directly out of a freshly tapped wooden keg. After that we go and get some traditional Austrian food and go and sit in the large dining hall, filled with people, mostly men, young and old. Thomas told us that these old men had been coming here since there fathers brought them at a young age. It was really a cool experience to be part of such camaraderie that had been going on for ages. After finishing our beer and food, we head to an Irish Pub that Thomas recommends. We get to this pub and i am amazed by the inside. It felt like we were in a cave. They had these massive boulders stacked on top of each other to support the roof. It was really cool. They had a live band playing and after a few more beers, some jager, and some conversations with some of Thomas' friends that met us there, it was time to go home. Thomas drove us home and got some more cold cuts out for us to eat. We sat around the table talking, laughing, and just having a great time. I called Whitney on skype, which I also did the night of Schnaps, and introduced her to everyone. It was nice to have her there for a while even if it was through the computer. After finishing up with our early morning snack we said our goodnights and went to bed.
Day 12- Feels Like Home
We woke up at 10:00 again and went downstairs for breakfast. Thomas, who slept at his girlfriends house, wasn't there yet, and the father was out with some friends, so it was just us three boys and the women of the house. It was so amazing how well we fit in already in that family. We watched some cartoons with the youngest girl, then ate breakfast with all of them telling stories and laughing. Then the father came in and we had the mom translate and he joined in on our stories. After breakfast. The second oldest daughter, who can play, saxophone, clarinet, guitar, piano, and accordion, played us songs on all of her instruments. It was a very good feeling sharing it with a family I had met only a day and a half earlier. One of the brothers also came in, but he didn't speak english either, but he still tried to join in to our conversations, and I believe he and I could be really good friends if there wasn't such a language barrier. Either way Thomas got there and we went out to go to a tour a few miles away from his house to get a good view of the area. After a small hike through spruce forests we reach an 8 story tower on the top of a hill, with an amazing view of the mountains and a large lake at the bottom of the mountains. WE take some good pictures and head for the lake. Now I have seen some pretty clear lakes in my times in Wisconsin, but they had nothing on this lake. It was as if I was looking into the water in a Caribbean island. It was so clear and turquoise it was unbelievable. Thomas told us we will come back when it is warmer and go swimming in this lake. He told us on the other side there is a very famous area, where the snow peaked mountains, drop off into a steep cliff and run straight into the water. This place will be amazing when I take my parents and Whitney there. I really can't wait. After our visit we head back home. This weekend was one I will never forget. It was amazing to feel so comfortable with a new family, who we can't communicate that well with. And the views were just as great. It was a special time.