Down Time


I had the morning off a couple of days ago, so I went on another good hike on the mountain. This time instead of going straight up I went up and then over for a mile or so around the valley. The weather has been amazing here–mid seventies or lower during the day. It’s much easier to want to go out and walk around when it’s not a million degrees in the summer.

At the top of the ridge opposite our Schloss is an adorable Gasthaus, and a playground, which I will have to visit for beer and food some afternoon before we leave and take pictures… I wandered around on trails for about an hour and a half, then took a different route back across and down to the Schloss. On the way, I passed these statues by the path.

I also got a good picture of the Schloss on my way back to my room:

I spent an evening in Graz with some buddies from the program. We had a great Italian dinner (Austrian food is delicious, but we are ready for some variety), and walked around the city for awhile. We eventually found a live broadcast of The Bartered Bride happening in one of the courtyards off of the main drag. Despite the cold night, the rows and rows of chairs they had set up were totally full, and there were lots of Grazers standing against the walls to watch. It was a very European experience.

We didn’t stay long–we were pretty wiped out, and would have had to stand the whole time. We took a cab home again–this time with 5 of us crammed into a BMW being driven by a guy who puts Jo’s driving to shame. I was in the front seat, so I had an unobstructed view of my life flashing before my eyes. He was friendly, though, and we had a miraculously low fare thanks to his speeding.

The following night we had planned to return to the Gasthaus on top of the mountain for dinner. We hiked to the top…but were disappointed to find that their kitchen had closed. So we headed right back down, past the Schloss to a little place that we had visited before. It was a pretty walk, at least, with the sun setting behind us and some truly spectacular clouds.

As we walked, we passed a group of burly looking guys, who were all talking animatedly amongst themselves. It took both groups a minute to realize that we were all speaking English. 🙂 They were from Canada, and looked like Hockey players, though that might be a gross generalization. In all fairness, they were wearing Hockey jerseys… We ordered dinner in our usual halting, awkward way, guessing a lot at what food each 27 letter word on the menu might refer to. We thought we’d done pretty well, and apparently we did even better than we thought. When our food arrived we had seemingly ordered half the menu. After our extra-long trip to dinner, we were grateful for a good meal. We had a great evening of food and fellowship. 🙂

Yes, we did somehow order 4 sides of fries. Oops.

Lauren and Valerie listening intently to one of Doug's stories.

Jo is deep in thought. Or a food coma. Hard to tell.

Doug himself didn’t photograph well (he moves around too much and turned out blurry every single picture), so he is absent from this photo grouping. Happy Fourth of July to everyone back home!

A perfect bird's nest that I found on the ground next to the Schloss on my way back from breakfast yesterday morning. Gorgeous little thing. I put it back in the tree.


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