11 April 2012

CRF: Austria

"CRF" is not a crime show you've never heard of, it stands for "Cutting Room Floor." Below are some of our favorite pics that never made the blog. We figured we'd reminisce a little while we vacation "off map." (Back on the trail April 14th).
Austria was rainy. It’s too bad, because it’s such a great outdoors place – but it’s true. Our time there was damp, drizzly and overcast. But we had a good time, camped in some beautiful places, took a few nice hikes, enjoyed Vienna and ate a lot of Schnitzel (which was both horrible and fun).
This bottle of gentian liquor was particularly awful in an intriguing, highly drinkable way. The taste was bitter beyond belief, the stuff smelled like turpentine – but this is the endearing thing about any obscure tipple: it makes you feel very warm and enthusiastic about the experiment of drinking it.
We camped by the Danube for a while, and took a few swims near this little beach.
If there’s something about the country that makes us feel remorse, it’s that the Austrians seem incapable of being saved from bad food. How can a country so well off, so serious, so committed to health and hiking, be so obstinately tied to fried, ground, slab-sided, stuffed, cheese-covered, heavily-sauced meats? The food is beyond heavy. We left feeling a kind of permanent heartburn.
This is Hohensalzburg Castle, which sits like a grand duke above the stately streets of Salzburg. We took a few stabs at getting a castle hunting post out of it, but the weather was uncooperative and there were other things to do.
One of our favorite drinking places in a city full of them, Bunkerei was set down in the verdant shade of Augarten park, near our rented flat in Vienna.
Yet another view across the Danube, of a storm curling up over the hills toward us. At this campsite, near Rossatz Amsdorf, we struck up a pleasant friendship with a Polish father and son who were bicycling along the river. The son, about seven or eight, was very enthusiastic about befriending us, and dragged his more reluctant father to our picnic table. The boy wanted, first, to discuss camping stoves.
Drinking is more than a casual pastime in Austria – we still laugh about this, though. A vending machine dispensing liquor in the little town of Admont.
I crawled out of the tent one night, during a pause in the rain, to take this picture. The mountains were glorious, but the valley we were in attracted and held storms, so that they rolled down over us as though caught in a groove. Despite the wet, we still very much miss the tent.

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