Even though I basically had 1 full day and 2 nights to hang out in Austria, we planned to make the most of it. I was stoked to hang out with S, so we decided to do some hiking, eat a ton of food, and hang out with her boyfriend, M, at some point in the evening. I had been super excited to see my friend’s family, as well, but it turns out that everyone was in Croatia for a week; she had to stay for work.
The next morning started with walking the dog, then a lot of coffee, soy yogurt + granola, and bread with spreads & tomato slices for breakfast. It was a lot, but I had a short time to fit in all of the foods I’ve missed from the region. I was also feeling super jet-lagged, but I actually did quite well pulling through it.
After getting cleaned up, we went to the health food store to get a few things I wanted for my travels, like protein bars for meal-less times and chapstick (I’m the king of losing these from my pocket). I was also in search of an adapter I needed for using headphones with my phone’s waterproof case + this UV light water filter the Aussie had in Cuba. I found neither of these in Innsbruck, but we got the food items and settled back into the house to make Spätzle for lunch. Think of a German version of mac & cheese, basically.
After lunch, we did some hiking in the Alps to burn off the immense amount of calories that lunch must have included. I’m sure we didn’t do nearly enough hiking, though. The views were amazing, and it reminded me why I had fallen in love with the Alps again and again and again, from hikes to learning to snowboard there and walking across the entire country of Liechtenstein, I have so many amazing memories in the Alps, and it will always feel like a 2nd home there with S and her family. Her dog loves hiking, and I love watching him jump into the streams and try to bite the water. Awesome.
At this point, I should mention that S had a weird dream that I talked about her in my blog posts and made fun of her English, which is really funny, not least for the fact that she has the best English of any non-native speaker I’ve ever met. Anyway…
I had fired off some emails to confirm plans for Russia, and I dealt with that when we got back from hiking. I had everything lined up for the Trans-Mongolian train, made plans for my visit to St. Petersburg, a short visit to Moscow (seen it before) to pick up the tickets and start the train, then I’d exit Russia via Siberia into Mongolia en route to Beijing. I was stoked beyond belief to have my final questions answered and confirmation numbers in hand.
At dinner time, M came over to help cook (I was told that I didn’t need to help, so I just smelled things and got excited), then we all ate dinner outside during sunset, enjoying potato salad & schnitzel and some non-alcoholic beers M had brought for me, so I wouldn’t feel left out during this Austrian-beyond-belief dinner. Prost!
After sitting around outside past the “too cold now” point, we retired inside, I checked the bus times for the next day again, and we all agreed that my visit had been too short—too short even after seeing them in the US back in January. I tried to check in online for my flight (couldn’t, for some reason) then went to bed with a “maybe goodbye, because I might not get up early enough before your bus leaves” from M and plans for a ride to the bus in the morning from S.
The plans went off without a hitch, the bus ran on time, and I was back across the border into Germany, en route to the airport and a plane to Russia.
Austria, your open arms always astound me. I don’t know when, but I’ll be back.
Next post: trip to St. Petersburg, Russia.