I just couldn't leave Austria without a bit of re-cap. I know I've droned on and on about how much I loved this amazing country, but before we leave, there are just a few things I needed to write about - the funny, the quirky, and the beautiful.
1. Wood Piles.
We were in Austria in the Summer, and other than up in the Alps, it could get very hot! As we hiked and explored the mountains, we would frequently come across wood piles. And I'm not talking just any old wood heap. I mean hundreds and hundreds of perfectly chopped wood pieces, sometimes piled and stacked to precision. And it wasn't just in the mountains either, the hotel across from our home in Maria Alm used perfectly stacked wood as a screen for pool privacy!
- What was going on?
- Are they all perfectionists?
- Who teaches this perfect wood chopping and stacking skill?
- Is there some sort of rite-of-passage where you must learn this art to perfection before you are deemed a true Austrian?
- Or maybe it's like an image thing; "Hans, we must not let our neighbours see our messy wood, it must be neat. it must be perfect!!"
- How long do those giant stacks last?
- And.....just how cold does it get in winter!??
I never actually asked our Austrian friends these questions, but I did end up finding out for myself just how cold it can get in winter; but that is for a later story.....
2. The smell, Oh the smell!
I'm sorry Austria, but that title is not meant in a complementary way. As we drove and marveled at the scenery around us, Ross and I often wondered at how everything was so gorgeously lush and green. There was a particular bright lime green colour that was my absolute favourite and the fields glowed with it on sunny summery days. It was heavenly.
Well, we soon got an answer to our question of 'how' it was all so beautifully green. It turned out to not only be the climate, the weather and the rich soil in the Alpine region; but an abundant use of natural fertilizer. Remember that our air-conditioning was broken, and so we traveled Europe with the wind in our faces. And every so often, we would get a smack full of the most disgusting smell you can ever imagine!
Oh, we could taste it.
We ate that smell.
When it hit, every person in our car would double over as if in pain, groaning out loud "the smell, the smell!!", or beg for the windows to be shut. Hahaha!!
It happened often enough that we learnt to distinguish between the different....ah....'brands' of fertilizer.
Let me just say, that we feared the swine-flesh variety! LOL
3. Random Roundabouts
I like a bit of randomness in art. I think that Australia is particularly good at this. Some of our famous icons include; a giant sheep, giant pineapple and the Big Banana. In the Melbourne area, there are plenty of weird and wonderful sculptures around; like the large shiny silver Gnome near the freeway in Langwarrin. I have no idea what it's purpose or meaning is, but it's definitely my favourite. Or the sculpture / mini building that is a hotel, but it's not. It's just a mini fake hotel.... on the freeway in Victoria.
So you see, as an Aussie, I'm rather well versed in random sculpture art. But I still found Europe hilarious. Austria and Germany particularly liked to make a feature centerpiece of random art in their roundabouts. We never knew what we would find. Once we saw a large colourful bunny with eggs, once a whole helicopter was suspended in the air. Once it was a goat being stabbed ( haha, that was a good one!)
But I think that Austria took the prize with this roundabout sculpture of....um......a man peeing??
Obviously he'd had similar troubles to us in finding public loos? Perhaps that was the meaning - the poor sad state of nationwide bladders when traveling? The wife is showing the dejection caused from having her family pee in public? Hahaha!!
4. Signs that we were meant to be there.
Did we belong in Austria?
Yes, definitely! There were signs.....Ross agreed.
5. The most beautiful views in the world.
I was blown away again and again at the beauty of this land. It was adorable, quirky, friendly, and breathtaking beautiful.
We were leaving, but we knew there was still so much to see.
Austria, we will be back!