Saturday, March 19, 2016

Austria - Feb. 21-23 Part 2

Sunday, Feb. 21st

This is my 4th day in Austria and I'm loving my itinerary. Everything we did was near my host family's home and we never drove more than an hour.

Wolfgang had spoken of the neighbor's cat across the street named "Tiger". The way he described this Canadian kitty you'd think it was a mountain lion. I was hoping I'd get a glimpse of him. Guess what? After breakfast, as Wolfgang and I were getting into his car for our next adventure, I saw Tiger!

  

I walked swiftly up to greet him with a "Hi, Honey!" --  He had been having a spa treatment of hot air on the sewer plate. When he got up and came towards me, I thought he was greeting me! Wrong. :( He came up to me say go away and hissed. So cranky!
I shot a "roll of film":
 
*I will have one more encounter with Tiger on this trip. Stay tuned.

Gmünd:
Sundays are a "quiet day" and stores are closed with the exception of the lottery shop which is open every Sunday from 11 am 'til noon. Wolfgang plays his same numbers twice a week.

 I requested spaghetti for lunch. :)


Vati prepped the salad and Wolfgang cooked delicious spaghetti.

Typical scene in the kitchen. World Cup was on TV and Lindsey Vonn was being interviewed. She's from Vail, Colorado and spoke wonderful German! She ended up placing first for downhill.

Quick side note:
Pic taken March 10, 2016 at the lobby at work.
 I am a huge fan of Tyler Henry (pictured above with me) and Theresa Caputo -- both talk to dead people!
During my entire stay at my host family's home, I was looking for butterflies flying towards me, coins left in places, or any symbol.  I asked Wolfgang, "Any signs from Mutti?" He looked at me like I had two heads. I thought that the TV had turned on by itself, not once, but twice, and asked Wolfgang about it.
He said, "Vati turned it on." (I'll stick to just embracing her in my heart and knowing that I do have closure.♥)

Barun relaxing on Wolfgang's car.

 I thought it was funny that we ran into Suvi on this back road! She didn't want her picture taken because she had just finished cross country skiing. I think it's awesome how fit and active she is.

Gasthof Perauer:
I chose Gasthof Perauer because we were going to visit my girlfriend, Iris, in the same town. It was only a 15 or 20 min drive from my host family's home.  I wanted to see these views for myself and have a drink. :) I may have been to this gasthof years ago, but I just can't remember anymore. 



House made pear schnapps with my Villacher beer.

Apfelstrudel with sliced almonds on the schlag. Excellent.
(I needed Tarissa with me to eat that slice of kiwi.)

House made pine schnapps. Very strong, but aren't they all?! (Upon learning that I had come all the way from New Jersey, the owner said the schnapps was on the house.♥)

I will be visiting again in a summer month and will fight for one of these tables if I have to. (Wink.) 


Millstätter See (lake) in the background and the mountain I would climb. (Stay tuned!)

Selfie with Wolfgang.

Next up -- the lovely home of Iris & Michael:
Iris and I were neighbors and friends during my year abroad. We had a falling out 3/4 my year in (I don't recall why) and we didn't speak for years. Facebook brought us back together with zero grudges, She gave Wolfgang and me such a warm welcome into her home with coffee and dessert followed by a specialty of the region -- flesichknödel. I will always look back on this day with fond memories.

 Iris and her husband Michael.

Leah - the cutest 9 year old.


Because Iris knew how much I enjoyed snow, she baked Schneekugelschnitte (Snowball squares)

Love the drawing Leah made me!




Iris' big passion is scrap-booking. She made me this adorable photo album. I'm working on adding pics to it as I write this!
My gift to Iris was a soy candle made by my niece's sister, Tasha! I chose sphynx cat scent! Tasha was inspired by the lavender and vanilla bath she gives her sphynx Onyx that she based the scent on him.  Boy, was this a hit along with the bag and matching tissue paper that Iris folded nicely and said, "I'm not throwing that way ---- I'm keeping it!"


This is Iris's new oven and I'm such a fan this old fashioned type. 

Leah has the most ideal backyard for a kid!






Adorable Sammy, age 14.

 
I ordered custom Austrian flag catnip pillows on Etsy for, Sammy and Wolfgang's kitty, Barun.
I don't think Sammy was into it!  Charlie and Ginger got a one, too, because I'm crazy.

Iris had her mother-in-law prepare "Fleischknödel" for our visit -- a local specialty which translates to a meat dumpling. (Sadly, Iris has an annoying skin allergy and she can't touch many common ingredients.)

I have to laugh at this photo because before my trip, Iris kept asking me if I liked sauerkraut and I wasn't answering her! I thought it odd because we originally planned just coffee and dessert! I finally did answer her. :)


Selfie with Wolfgang.

Not much on my plate, I know. I was still full from lunch and dessert! :)
 Delicious by the way. So nice of Iris!!!

Typical evening scene back home: Apricot liquor and Rummikub with Vati and Wolfgang.

Monday, Feb. 22nd:


On a back road headed to Spittal.

Schneeglöckchen - when the snow disappears these flowers appear! Wunderbar!
(My gf Chrissy reminded me that we have "snow drops", too!)


Falco's "Vienna Calling" playing on the radio while we were driving in Spittal. 
The radio stations played Falco quite a bit :)


Bad Kleinkirchheim:
Vati, Wolfgang, and I drove about 45 minutes to this adorable ski resort for lunch. 

I follow a few Austrians on Instagram and one of them had posted their meal here.
It looked good enough for me to add it to my itinerary. Guess what?
This was the best meal the three of us had during my stay.
If any of you are ever in southern Austria, add Loy-stub'n at Hotel Pulverer to your to list.


 Selfie 
(I was sitting right in front of a window and it actually got way too hot for me!)


 
 This salad was out of this world.

Preiselbeermarmelade - lingonberry jam that goes with the schnitzel :)

I've died and gone to heaven. Wiener schnitzel that was cooked in butter.
Petersilienerdäpfel (parsley potatoes)



Gebackene Afelradl'n mit Zimt und Zucker serviert mit Biotopfeneis
Baked Apple rings with cinnamon and sugar served with Bio-curd (not sure exact translation, tasted weird)
I didn't love this and passed it onto Vati!

We then drove up the street to visit Mutti's 2nd cousin, Brigitte, to surprise her with a visit! How did I forget she lived in this ski town??? Last time I was there was summer of 2004, so the view wasn't shimmering white!

Brigitte's husband Peter, Vati, Wolfgang, and Brigitte.
Reader, I couldn't get enough of this ski slope view!!!!!!!!!!!


View from balcony. 
Click here to see map of skiing. This view is from all the way to the left.

Paully has the life!
Village pics:

 Maybe next time I'll check out the Römerbad !


Tanz = dance 

Selfie. hehe 






Tuesday, Feb. 23rd:


 Homemade honey from my girlfriend, Margit's, father!

Off to Villach for the day:
We fueled up in Gmünd. 
I offered to pay for the gas but, Wolfgang wouldn't let me.

Kreuzwirt Gasthaus was 20 minutes outside of Villach.

I chose Kreuzwirt for lunch because I read about it on a blog written by an American girl living in Italy who traveled into Austria...(Nice recommendation!)


View out the window from our table. 


Gösser had always been my favorite Austrian beer ---- It's at this moment that Villacher became my favorite.

 
 Wolfgang's Zwiebel Rostbraten (roast beef with onions)
I love that it was served in the skillet that it was cooked in.

My Wiener Schnitzel with parsley potatoes. It was good, but not as good as the schnitzel I had at Loy-stub'n in Bad Kleinkirchheim. I would still recommend this place, though.  

Selfie in the restroom! (Today's specials taped to wall!)

After lunch, we explored city center Villach:

This Gasthof appeared to be out of business but I had to take a pic!


 Saint Francis sculpture at Nikolaiplatz


Prankster Till Eulenspiegel next to the Drau river
Facing south - Heiligenkreuzkirche (Holy Cross Church) on right
Slovenia border behind the mountain.

Wienerroither Cafe/bakery

ATRIO:
After city center, we drove to ATRIO, a shopping mall just a couple of miles away. This was Wolfgang's first time there, too. I may not have liked the stores, but I did enjoy seeing this putting green and farmer's market below :)


All different kind of Nudels. Some filled with potatoes, mushroom, spinach, and tomato/mozzarella.



Zuckerreinkerl -- these are one of my favorite sweets. I bought one and shared it with Vati with coffee later that day.



We also checked out the grocery store for chocolate :)
Katzenzungen = cat tongues!

Back in Spittal:
That big red chair is to let you know there is an XXXLutz store! It's a mix between Home Depot and Ikea.


A long-haired dachshund greeted us at the door at Fressnapf pet store :)

Fast forward to March 3rd for a moment!!!
 Ginger Baby loved the dollar toy I got her from Fressnapf!

Konditorei Lienbacher
 Karrdinalschnitte -- one of the best desserts I have ever had.

Wolfgang feeling lucky.

No filter Spittal sunsets (Portia Castle above)

A quick beer at the castle's cafe.

Wolfgang made me a Kärntner Jause with an apricot liquor. :)

Wolfgang beats Vati and me at Rummikub. (I say "Nein!" at the end.)

Click here for Part 3!

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