The last time I saw my dear friend, Margit, was in November 2006 when we had a fabulous dinner at the artsy Kleinsasserhof. I wanted to go there again for lunch and enjoy it during daylight, but it was closed for winter break. Anyway, Margit picked me up and we did a quick selfie in the kitchen. Margit was ready for spring and I was ready for the 40-something degree weather! We drove to Gmünd and Margit had a surprise waiting for me. Barbara was there! Margit and I attended the same school as Barbara when I was an exchange student. I met her son, Felix, too. Barbara visited me in New Jersey in the early 90's. She brought photos with her from that trip. Such a hoot!
Margit chose the best cafe in Gmünd: Cafe Rudiferia
(Wolfgang took me here on day two!)
Cappuccino with schlag!
I love my Anthropologie sweater but damn, did it shed.
Surprise guest, Barbara! She drove an hour and a half from Salzburg to see me. It meant so much to me.
CD of Barbara's father's band! One of the songs was written by Barbara!
This is similar to our pop-up shops. Margit's parents actually sell their homemade honey and wood creations here. But it was closed for winter. Reopened on April 15th.
Margit and I said goodbye to Barbara and had a drink at Cafe Nußbaumer. The waitress gave me a second look when I ordered a spiked tea. hehe.
Fritz Russ's Sculpture Garden:
After our refresher, we checked out this cool (and free!) art installation. That's the artist himself, Fritz Russ, on his bike!
This cow is also on the autobahn to promote the artsy village.
Margit and her daughter, Miriam, in front of her school.
We then drove to Simeter in Spittal for lunch:
Miriam and Johannes
Margit opening her gift from me.
I tried their goulash. (Not as good as Mutti's!)
After lunch, we drove to Cafe Conditorei Claus in Seeboden to bring some sweets back to Margit's condo.
Margit has an adorable bi-level condo.
My tasty desserts from Cafe Conditorei Claus.
MARGIT KEPT MY LETTERS.
The oldest was from July of 1990. We read through some of these and I was impressed with my German and. I was touched that Margit kept my letters.
Evening in Gmünd:
Wolfgang and I went to Gasthof Alte Post for a beer. I also tried their Frittatensuppe. Very good! Atmosphere was a bit quiet here. We moved on to across the street to Kohlmayr's Gasthof.
A trip to Austria isn't complete without ordering a tasty "toast". Yup, I wrote toast! That's the word they use for grilled cheese. This was soooooooooo good. I got mine with ham and onion. I tried duplicating this when I got home, but it wasn't as good.
Wolfgang got this gorgeous wurstsalat (sausage salad).
Saturday, Feb. 27th
It's Saturday, which means the Schwaigerhütte is open and there is "rodelbahn" -- sledding! I'm pretty sure our intentions were to just have lunch there and not do the sledding, but as you'll see in a moment, there was no reason to skip it as there was more snow as you walked higher.
We made a stop at Gasthof Schöne Aussicht on the way to Schwaigerhütte. Even though the sign on main road said Closed, there were so many cars in driveway that we walked in anyway! Guess what? CLOSED, but the owners welcomed us in for a bottle of beer. SO NICE. This place is on my to visit list when I visit one day again but in the summer! By the way, "Schöne Aussicht" means beautiful view. You would have pulled over, too, huh?! :)
We drove further up and parked the car. Before our hike up, I said "hello" to the chickens. :)
I really didn't know what I was getting us into with this hike up for lunch. My paperwork on this cabin said it would take an hour and a half. "Was that for real?" I thought.
Now it's only snow with the higher elevation.
I was ticked when I saw this bench. I was dying to sit but I couldn't get to it. My feet were nice and warm in my Uggs but they weren't snow boots. I was huffing and puffing with fogged-up glasses. At every bend in the road, and there were many, I had to say to Wolfgang, "Pause." Wolfgang was cool as a cucumber. No fogged up glasses and enjoying a few cigarette breaks as I gasped for air.
Drinking water to the right of the bench. Also, it's common to see the Austrian flag along paths. (I was mad at that bench, too.)
The sign said this way for the shortcut to Schwaigerhütte! Too bad it wasn't summer, we would have taken it!
I knew we had finally made it when I saw these sleds!
This pooch loved me! What a sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet greeting!
I absolutely adore the dialect written out like this! "Come on in" it says. I have my host mother's voice in my head saying this when she would call her cats into the home.
Here's a map of what we just hiked! We walked 3.6 miles up. It took us an hour and 45 minutes.
Selfie. My hair was drenched in sweat! LOL
Entrees around $9.50
Yes, Frittatensuppe again! It really hit the spot after this hike up.
I ordered the Kärntner Brettljause. The owner of the gasthaus, Johann, actually came over to show me how thin I should be slicing the speck. I didn't quite have his knife skills!
Wolfgang ordered the fleischknödel (meat filled dumpling) with sauerkraut. He loved it.
Time to choose a sled! Last time, we sledded separately. I was a nervous wreck so this time, I tried it with Wolfgang.
There was a family in front of us.
Selfie on the sled.
We sledded nearly 3 miles down!!!
So much fun! You simply leave the sled and the owners pick it up.
View of Millstätter See (lake) as we walked back to the car.
Back in Trebesing:
Barun relaxing on Wolfgang's car.
Dinner at Suvi and Gustav's up the street:
Raclette tonight :)
Gustav was trying to be funny wearing this stupid yellow cap. LOL
Suvi oiling the raclette grill. Little Gustav already wearing the t-shirt I gave him!
Video of Suvi co-starring Gustav x 2 and Martina (Little Gustav's fiancée)
This was delicious and fun!
Selfie with Erwin (Mutti's brother)
Gustav's Bulgarian army buddy gave him a bunch of red bracelets to celebrate "Martenitsa" - to welcome spring. On or after March 1st, you place the bracelet on a blossoming tree and the tree will thrive.
Honey schnapps made by a local in the village. This was delicious and I had multiple shots!
Sunday, Feb. 28th (My last full day)
I was in bed and heard meowing outside my window. Look who it is!!!! That mean Tiger was no longer mean! I was so touched. What a way to start my last full day. If you don't know who Tiger is, click here to catch up!
Morning dusting of snow.
Wolfgang always took care of my caffeine fix. :)
Wolfgang already working on lunch! (Yummy lasagna!)
Rubenthaler farm (owned by the Steiner's):
After breakfast, I took a walk with Suvi, little Gustav, and his fiancée Martina, up to the farm that I used to fetch milk at and Mutti would make the best chocolate pudding for dinner. (My clothes would smell like farm afterwards!)
Suvi loves horses; I love kitties.
Selfies with the kitties.
A pooch guarding his yard on the walk back. He/she was yapping away.
This was a mini bottle and just delicious.
Wolfgang is a very good cook!
After lunch, we drove to Gmünd.
Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus" playing on radio. (Audio is pretty bad in my video. Just trust me, it was playing!)
"Something Sweet" says the sign! ♥
Birnen-Nuß Strudel (Pear with nuts strudel) which I tried. I got confused because I thought it was apple and just insanely good. Then Wolfgang reminded me it was "birnen" and I thought, what the heck is that? There are still some basic words I had forgotten. I think I have this one memorized now!
Gastholf Kohlmayr is ready for Easter!
It was here that we met the lovely Barbara Moser, the owner of Pichlhütte, a cabin that was closed for winter break. Barbara was waitressing for extra income. I will definitely check it out when I go again in a summer month.
Holy-moly. I've died and gone to heaven.
Pear strudel with schlag.
Ahhhh, this hit the spot, too. Wow.
Jägertee - Hunter's tea
We then headed back to Trebesing:
Almost 92 in this photo, Sepp says his trick to longevity is red wine. When I learned that, I ordered a glass, too! He shared some WWII stories including his capture by the Americans when he was fighting in Italy. He was brought to Amish country in Pennsylvania as a prisoner-of-war for over a year.
Above is a photo of Sepp's father that I took during my year abroad in 1989.
What a typical bar receipt looks like.
Vati, Wolfgang, and I had an early evening game of Rummikub.
Dinner in Gmünd:
Yeah, it's my favorite soup again!
Selfie with Wolfgang.
Monday, Feb. 29th:
My flight from Klagenfurt to Vienna was at 8:15 in the morning. I forget how early Wolfgang and I left. It was too early for me to even have a coffee with schlag. Vati got out of bed to wish me a good trip. We hugged, I said, "I love you."
Wolfgang drove me to Klagenfurt (about an hour away) in dense fog. I had my eyes closed the whole time. Too early for me. You can assume Catch and Release played on the radio --it played all the time but I never got sick of it.
Matt Simons - Catch & Release
I had a tea at the airport with Wolfgang, which I couldn't even finish because my nerves had kicked in. I was sad to say goodbye to him, but also excited to get back to Scott Babe and the babies. I told Wolfgang that I loved him, too.
My closing photo isn't even mine. You wouldn't believe the flight attendants' outfits with Austrian Airlines! Head to toe in bright red! I had so little time with my connecting flight in Vienna that I got no photos!
Used with gracious permission from Dom Wilson.
I've never felt this emotional about posting. Knowing this is my last posting of this trip makes me sad! Don't be surprised if I'm back next year (in a summer month!), and I'll get my own photo of Austrian Airline's flight attendants. ♥