I started the day off with a bike ride into the city centre before everyone got up to get milk, some coffee, and found a local bakery to get some croissants and an apple struedel.  Why not enjoy the morning calm while everyone was still asleep!  The city, while it was bustling, it was bustling quietly.  Everyone was getting where they needed to get to, and most of them were doing so under their own steam.

The number of cyclists, both commuters and exercisers, was staggering.  Honestly, I don’t think it is the Mediterreanean diet that keeps their weight in check, it is their exercise level.  The number of kids and families that were at the playgrounds at all hours of the day was astonishing.  At most of the playgrounds, there was an adult playground right beside it.  So as the kids played, un-helicopter-parent-land, while some (not all) worked out.  Pretty cool.  Something to take home maybe to help enhance our community from an active health and well being lifestyle point of view.

 

After eating the fresh baked goodies, we headed off to Hellbrun Palace where there were some beautiful grounds, and again an awesome playground with a zipline.  The palace grounds were designed and constructed by the Archbishop at the time to be a place of refuge, happiness, and where people can be care free.  We didn’t go into the palace due to time constraints with the rental car, but we thoroughly enjoyed going into the trick fountains.  A various places around the palace grounds there were stone structures like a theatre, a dining theatre with a table and chairs, several grottos, and a small roman canal with flowing water that powered all of the tricks that awaited unsuspecting visitors to the palace.  (Photo

Poseidon fountain at Hellbrun Palace

The courtyard and summer palace at Hellbrun

The infamous Sound of Music Gazebo. Closed up ever since some lady singing “61 going on 62” fell and broke her hip.

There were a lot of statues of Greek gods, which Wilson loved, and the grottos had elaborate paintings and structures in them, including a bronze cone that weighed 0.5kg and was lifted up by water and represented the power struggle between the heavy oppressive groups (the cone) and the lighter happier and care free group (the water).  It moved up and down depending on the amount of water coming out of the jet.  The kids got soaked, but I as cameradude stayed relatively dry.

The half kilogram cone lifted by water

We boogied home with the rental car and then returned it in the midday heat and went home for lunch.  Deb and Lulu stayed home to do homework and much needed laundry, while I took Wilson to the Edelweiss Cooking School to learn how to make traditional apple strudel.  It was awesome and the school was nestled into a dug out cave out of the cliff at the edge of the old town.  It used to be the customs office where, in the Roman times, boats that were carrying salt (which was like money in those days) would have to pay the local officials (hence Salt-town or Salzburg).

Johann at the cooking school tossing the streudle dough with ease. Note the hand carved walls of the school.

 

Wilson taking it all in to be ready to make his own!

Some of the other participants were doing another dish, Salzburg Knockerel, which is traditional souffle dish that represents the mountains in the area.  We hadn’t signed up for this, but they offered it to us for a slightly reduced rate since we would have just been sitting there watching the other folks make it.  It was kind of a hook once you got there.  Sign up for one, and then “Why don’t you upgrade” while you are there.  Wilson was (and I was too) happy to learn how to cook something else.

The mousse mountains of Salzburg Knockerel

It doesnt look like much, but it was deeeeelish!

The recipe for the knockerel a la Johann

After the food came out of the oven, and having a lunch including traditional goulash (recipe here),  which Wilson loved.  I always thought goulash was vegetable based, but there was a heavy beef stew base to this delish dish.  We chatted to the other poeple around the table who were on their own adventures, and once they found out we were Canadian, there was a short period of time where people from France and the UK were talking about the Canadians and their role in the World Wars, and how much Canadian soldiers sacrificed so that they could live free lives.  I felt very proud to be Canadian, and I hope that the kids pick this up as we move through the world.  We are lucky to be Canadian and come from such an amazing country.

We ate our creations, and our emotional gastronomic centres in our brain were satisfied.  Wilson is already looking forward to making this when he gets home.  Chef Johann tried to sell us his cookbook, but really, the base recipe is the dough, and the technique of rolling it out, stuffing it, and rolling it up into a roll.  The stuffing can be anything from sweet to savory.  Now, Wilson can experiment with whatever he wants to when we get home.  Here is the final result!

We biked home with our bellies full of good dessert.  Once we got home Deb told me that Avis had charged us for two days for our one day rental.  So, full of piss and vinegar, I biked down to the Avis rental office and had some choice words with the desk jockey.  Those of you who know me, for me to have words (to put it lightly), I must have been mad.

When I got there, the agent advised me that if you go over by 30min on a day rental, it counts as another day.  We took possession of the car at 1114, and I returned it at 1200 according to his computer (which included the time that it took one of his high class staff to go and check out the car for damages…which could have been after he had his smoke break, thus delaying the check in).   I signed a contract that stated the “nice” rate for insurance that he gave me, but didn’t tell me it was the two day insurance rate.  He told me that he “tells everyone, I am absolutely positive and sure of it, that if you go over by 30min that it counts as another day” and “I highlight all of the important charges on the invoice” which he only highlighted the insurance rate, not the bulk of the bill being the car rental.  I asked him if he wanted to confer this with my wife, as I know that she didn’t hear him quote what he stated, and I reminded him that he probably wouldn’t want to experience that.

I put my mindfulness strategies at use to their fullest.  That was until I politely snapped on his ass.  “I only work here” and “I can’t do anythng, it is the computer system that makes the rules” just didn’t fly with me.  I pulled out some “Stop hiding behind the computer screen and typing I don’t know what, and look at me while you are making excuses” statements.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Eventually I asked him who higher up I can talk to, but of course he was off for the day.  Convenient.  So, on my way out, he said that he would initiate an email to get the time turned back half an hour so that I would fall within the 24h30min or less rule.

So, needless to say, I was in need of a big jug of beer, and Deb a good glass of wine.  So, for our last day in Austria, we jumped on our bikes and headed off to the Augustiner Brau Biergarten.  This is exactly what I needed.

So, I turned on my mancompass and headed in the direction that I thought it was, but where we ended up was a Turkish ghetto.  So, I dropped the family off at the playground and then biked back home for free wifi to actually figure out where we were going.  I was a little short of the mark I found out.  So, we got to where the HereWeGo app was telling us to go, but no beer garden.  I biked down several small streets to find out, but Deb and Lulu stayed put as they didn’t want to bike any further than they needed to.

Eventually we found it, right by the brewery, and the food was fantastic (I had Austrian BBQ, and even got her to put on my Muddys Pit BBQ hat for a photo opp for my favorite BBQ place back home in Keene).  The beer was big.  and there were 1000 of our closest friends joining us for dinner.   It was just what we needed to end our day.

 

We headed home to pack up and get ready for our big trip through the Keller pass in southern Austria en route to Venice….

Watch out Italy!  Here come the Travelling Trenholms!!