Having survived our relaxing car trek around Bavaria, we returned to Munich, checking into Hotel Savoy, which would be home-base for our first visit with our Little Clan in 5 months. Laurie & family left God's Country in late February to work 6 months in Munich for Eric's company. (I can't wait til Aug 5 when they return:)
It was soooo good to hug The Gremlins again & find that they still remembered us:) Vivi is taller than her 5-1/2 yrs, has gaps where more teeth have flipped out (discovering that the Tooth Fairy flies internationally), & enjoyed correcting my German. Miles' long blond curls are now even longer, since they've never been cut in his almost-3-years. His passion for music & The Beat has grown. My dad's musician genes bubble through Miles. He'll pick up his mini-guitar, assume The Rock Star Stance, & cut loose to any music with a beat. IT'S TERRIFYING!! I'm still hoping he becomes a math professor! He is quite a character. Seeing the 4 members of Our Little Clan was my good OMG experience, & I wouldn't have missed that for the world.
Laurie is a whirlwind of contract work, mothering, & planning to fill any spare moment. So off we went to the countryside around Salzburg, Austria. Her agenda was to experience the Alps foothills at a working farm/B & B (Rettenbachgut) AND also take the Sound of Music tour. My SECRET agenda was to research these burning questions==> 1) Does anyone around here really yodel? 2) Do people actually wear lederhosen?
Too bad the weather in & around Salzburg was like Seattle in February-- raining (sometimes hard!), cool, with low-hanging clouds sometimes hiding our view of the impressive Alps. This definitely diminished the value of the Sound of Music tour by van. BUT the farm was a real treat for The Gremlins.
Vivi nursed the calves with her fingers. Miles discovered an array of mini-tractors for mini-farmers. Our Austrian hosts spoke no English, but were obviously grandparents, as we all shared the secret Grandparent Adoring Smiles & Hugs. Wonderful people- warm & gracious.
No trip is complete without visiting the local castle. This was a different experience for us because Hohenwerfen was not the golden, glitzy Cinderella castle, but a rugged, gray stone, imposing fortress, built centuries ago to ward off enemy invaders. This difference made it interesting.
Inside it was dark, with wooden slat ramps, walkways, & steep stairs, built in bare-minimum style just to accommodate us tourists. But it was the biggest challenge yet for my foot & 1 crutch. I confess that the stairs-- both in & out-- were sometimes too great a challenge, & I sat out parts of the tour.
The most fun was the performance of the Birds of Prey in the gardens outside. Owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, buzzards -- huge ones -- flew from 1 handler to the other. The flight paths were usually over our heads, with 1 bird tapping Laurie's hair! Why isn't my camera ever ready for such a shot?! Pictures don't do justice to the size & proximity of these impressive birds. We watched the show twice:)
CONCLUSIONS FROM CHERYL'S RESEARCH IN AUSTRIA: (1) NO to yodeling. The ONLY yodeling I ever heard was on the Sound of Music CD, played over & over by our tour guide in the van. I think yodeling was invented to sell Sound of Music CD's. (2) YES to lederhosen! Amazing that anyone can wear those tough, leather (suede), stiff pants. I actually saw a farm-hand (NOT an actor) going to work in the barn of our farm... So it's NOT just a costume that actors & tourists wear!! However, Vivi & Miles looked mighty cute in theirs. I now understand that lederhosen are indestructible. I've personally witnessed that big globs of ice cream wipe right off with a damp rag.