Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Saturday in Salzburg and a morning in Cesky Krumlov

Saturday we awoke to a rainy day in Salzburg. We quickly canceled our bike tour of the town and opted for a Sound of Music Tour by Lauren. I will tell you what, the Sound of Music Tour is slightly confusing when it is given by someone who had not seen the whole movie (L) to someone who has never seen the movie (me). (My mom had me watching The Gods Must Be Crazy and The Dark Crystal and I skipped the classics as a child. She tried to make up for it in my high school years by showing me movies about Transvestites (Some Like it Hot) and mass murderers (Arsenic and Old Lace) but all in all, I have no idea who Mr Grant and Grace Kelley are)  I tried to jump into the spirit of things and had my picture at the singing steps and the dancing pavillion along with every Asian in Europe. Mom and O were having a hey day singing a bunch of songs and giddily remembering scenes from the show. Dad kept pointing to the wrong set of steps so I think he has maybe not seen the movie in quite some time. I think we will have to watch it when we get home while eating wienerschnitzel (don't know how to spell that one but with L and Mom gone, I am afraid it is a lost cause).

The weather cleared up halfway through the tour (which was nice! L and Dad had great rain coats, O was content to get wet in his sweatshirt, but Mom and I were running around in these neon orange and blue ponchos-too small in the head area of course-and looked positively absurd). And we just enjoyed being in the charming town of Salzburg. It was lovely! We stepped into one of the most beautiful churches we have ever seen-it seemed a bit understated (we have seen some serious Rococo so everything is understated in comparison) but then we saw the detailed stone work, it was quite breathtaking. There were bands playing all around town (it is the city of music after all, and we did see Mozart's house) and we stopped to listen to one brass band that was particularly fun. As usual, Mom was left lollygagging behind everyone, but, with her bright poncho (which Dad has said she needs to wear rain or shine) we were able to spot her quite easily. We had lunch at the best place L ate in all of Austria (it was actually not the best place I ate, but very good). They had a Red Bull store that Dad was particularly fascinated with (inside was this Indian motorcyle, Dad was appalled that previous to seeing this, L and I thought that the World's Fastest Indian was a movie about an Indian marathon runner), and because Red Bull originated in Austria, O decided that, though he swore them off after a terrible night during which he thought he was having an attack of appendicitis, it was only appropriate to order one to drink. So he asked for a Red Bull and the waiter just looked at him like he was crazy and kept saying "what, you want a Red Bull?" and O would be like "yes, Reeed Buuullll" sounding it out really slowly. This went back and forth for a while until he finally pointed to it on the menu and then the waiter was like "you want a Red Boll!" as if O was such a dummy (it was the slightest change in pronunciation). It turns out, the waiter thought he was asking for his food to be served in a Red Bowl, which makes so much sense....

After lunch we hit up a Swedish candy store, a toy store, then hopped in the car and waved goodbye to Austria!

In the car, on our way to Cesky Krumlov, I was the driver once again, apparantly also driving about 1/3 of the speed limit (which meant I was driving 50 mph on tiny, twisty roads, in the rain, once again one lane so cars would build up behind me and everyone in the car would scream at me to go faster, go slower, that there were cars all over, etc. It was a little bit much. Finally, my Dad took back over (I never have been one for driving in the rain, or singing for that matter)

We crossed the border into the Czech Republic and guess what we saw....
GNOMES!!!!!!, like you have never seen before, hundreds upon hundreds of garden gnomes (too bad I could not force the driver to pull over and let me get some pics, my Dad kept saying, "we'll get some later". Of course, O revealed, he has never seen a bunch of garden gnomes like that anywhere, Czech Republic or otherwise.
We made it to Cesky Krumlov, had a very very hard time driving into the tiny city center, Fred was pretty sure cars were not allowed in there, but, drive we did, around and around and around until we figured out the GPS was as confused as we were. We pulled over, were on the recieving end of some nasty gestures from a lady, screamed when her husband came out to get us :) and eventually made it to the house/bed and breakfast.

Cesky Krumlov is a magical town (also a UNESCO world heritage site). When I emailed around, every hotel in the town was booked! One hotel owner emailed me back and said we could stay with his neighbor, Mrs Maruska. So, as we were quite lost, O kept asking everyone if they knew how to get to Mrs Maruska's, and everyone would say, I have never heard of her. Everyone started worrying about this lodging I had arranged. In fact, Mom totally freaks when I tell her it is a lady's house. She freaks even more when she sees the place :)  It is this skinny, tall, ancient looking place, she had to duck to go into her room and entering the bathroom was akin to going caving. I thought, well what can you expect from a house that is like 500 years old? M thought she was for sure going to get lice bc she figured they did not have hotel inspections (O told her to sleep on her towel or a tshirt). You can imagine what that sort of statement, combined with her earlier statement that she had not planned on so much driving, led up to. No trip with the doodlebugs is complete without me yelling at D to read his itinerary before coming on the trip (or just read it on the trip at least) and telling M that next time she was going to have to book her own hotels! We go back to the hotel, and O slips out to find an internet cafe to write out a talk that he was asked to give the next morning in church. M, D, and L were all on the bottom floor and I was way at the top so I decided to hang in their room and grumble about how ungrateful they were for all my hard planning and so on and we told O to knock on the window when he got back so I could open the door for him. (of course, I was also terrified of being alone on the top floor of the rather interesting place).
So I wait and watch D kill some spiders. Then I wait and talk to M while L showers. Then I wait while D falls asleep. Then I wait and make small talk with M and L about wedding registries. Then I wait in the chair bc everyone else is in bed. Then I wait in the dark while M and L start to join D in sleeping. This whole time of course M and L are telling me that they can wait up for O to knock on their window, but I'm now too scared of encountering spiders to get off the chair, besides, I think they'll fall asleep, not hear O knocking, and O will cause some super ruckus trying to get back inside (or I'll find out that he has slept out on the street, etc).
I wonder if I should go out looking for him, but I'm not sure that a) I'll find him or b) I'll be able to get back inside the house. So, bc M and L keep telling me to feel free to head to bed (in other words, leave us in peace, we are tired of entertaining you, even though all that is happening is you are all balled up in the chair in the dark sitting in silence) I move out to the front hall. Here I hover looking out the window for O, until I notice a spider above the doorway. I back away slowly and wonder what to do, at this point, I hardly dare sit down on the bench or stone stairs so I just drift around the tiny entry trying to figure out what to do-after all, this is O, he could show up in 10 min, or 10 hours. I eventually decide to go get ready for bed, then come back and stand slightly away from the door to wait for him. So I creep up the stairs. I slink past the owers' room on the second floor and try to silently move up to the third floor-this was very difficult due to the extremely creaky stairs. I crept up the stairs and made it almost to the landing, then the light shut off. In the pitch black I hurried back down the stairs, my flip flops flapping against each stair noisily in the eerie silence. I triggered the motion light at the bottom of the stairs again, crept up, and the light went off again. I went back down. This time, I totally ran up to the top, to no avail. I tried waving one arm, my purse, my leg, jumping on the stairs, but nothing I could do made the light stay on by the time I reached the top. I pondered throwing my purse down the stairs when I was at the top but realized that I would have to then race down the hall, shove my key into the door, and get inside all before the light turned off. Bc I had seen O having extreme difficulties working the antique key, I concluded that this would be impossible. Figuring it to be  a two person job, I went back down to the front hall and stood for a bit. Fortunately (for O's health, safetly, and my good will towards him) I soon heard a tapping on the window and I zipped the door open to find him standing in the street. We headed up the stairs. I planned to stand at the bottom and wiggle around to keep the lights on while O worked on getting the door open. Then, I would hopefully be able to navigate the stairs and hall in the dark without breaking my neck and get inside my room. Well, what do you know, as soon as O arrived at the top of the steps, he triggered another motion light on the landing.
We were awoken at 2 am by another boisterous traveling duo that had rented the third room in the house. Of course I thought it was the owner up making breakfast and panicked that we had overslept.

The next morning Mom was crazy nice, going on and on about how interesting the place was, how she slept better than she ever has in her whole entire life, etc. She was really chatty with the old owners (who spoke absolutely no English) over a lovely breakfast on the patio and through Owen's translations, we found out the next morning the house was not 500 years old but 700 years old. It was like sleeping in the King's Arms in the Cotswolds and I think it highly possible that one of those hapless Hapsburgs may even have slept there previously! (additionally, we found out that they had a hotel license and prob knew all about cleanliness standards, etc). After hearing the history of the house and town, (and as we were on our way out) Mom actually found the place very fascinating and amazing, and we all left in good charity-even though I'm pretty sure Dad has still not read the itinerary :)

PS: I found out that I have another true talent (in addition to being excellent at organizing people into assembly lines when moving stuff, such as people in and out of their house). I watched as both Mom and O struggled major with the antique keys, getting the doors open and locked up again. I, however, had no prob. O struggled with the door for 5 min, then I walked over, poked the key in, turned it, and voila, without a hitch I had locked up for the night.

Well, I am off to Bratislava in the morning and will sleep in Budapest tomorrow night. O today said he is going to take me to get my first massage in the spa there-I hope it is not the nudey sort of spa because, despite the wild streak I sort of give off, I am not a real exhibitionist.

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about Prague, Brno, and of course, the world's most interesting pizza part-think your high school principal in hot pants and a captains hat (a man by the way), your elementary principal wondering where the chain smokers should sit in a tank top and some serious bling, and a whole lot of fun!


erika said...

Loved the post -- I have so many comments to make I don't know where to begin. Here goes:

Love UNESCO World Heritage Sights, they are the absolute best. With that designation it must be an amazing place.
Why can I actually hear those conversations about the driving, the hotel choices and the itinerary word for word in my head. Its like deja vu.
I can't wait to hear about your spa massage.
Glad you discovered yet another hidden talent.
The pizza sounds intriguing. Can't wait to hear about it.
I can't believe you have never seen Sound of Music. Now you will love it even more when you get back. Hopefully you got a chance to at least sing the Do Re Mi song while in the town. You do know that song although you haven't seen the movie right?

Jesse said...

that stairs story was really funny! P.s. I hope it is the nudey sort of spa!