After a great Easter Monday with Birgit, Felix, and two German couchsurfers, we were on the move again — first to snowy Tullnerbach then on to (hmmm, also snowy) Weitra.
Monday 1/4: The weather was a lot better than it had been over the weekend, so Paul and Felix went into the garden to chop down two more trees, while Caro, Birgit and I headed into the forest to collect wild garlic. Orth an der Donau had a festival planned for this very vegetable in a week’s time, when we wouldn’t be there, but at least we could give it a try!
Unfortunately there’s a similar plant, that grows in similar areas, which is very poisonous, so we had to study up a little on what our garlic looks like — the furry underside is the major clue. Once we got to the forest, we wandered around for some time without finding more than a couple of leaves, but then stumbled upon a large patch of large wild garlic plants. It was awesome. We ended up collecting over a kilo between the three of us, and when we got back home Birgit made it into a delicious pesto — combined with spaghetti, it made a great lunch!
In the afternoon, Caro and I made a few more batches of pesto and Birgit made an apple strudel. Felix cooked us a delicious curry for dinner (that was actually hot, a rarity in Austria) and we all sat around talking until late.
Tuesday 2/4: The late night was probably quite ill-advised, since we had to leave the house the next morning at 7.30. We managed, though, and travelled by car and U-bahn into Vienna, all hopping off the train at different stops. Craig and I spent a little time in the Westbahnhof before catching our train to Tullnerbach, where we were surprised by the depth of the snow on the ground.
After exploring the town a little, and having a Tagesmenu in a local cafe, we decided to spend the rest of the day inside, out of the inclement weather (the snow falling was the heaviest we’d ever seen — pretty, but cold) and had dinner in our guesthouse restaurant.
Wednesday 3/4: After a morning of work, we went back to the same cafe for another Tagesmenu, this time of delicious roast pork. The snow was still falling, though, so we made the most of our nice warm room to get a bit more work done in the evening.
Thursday 4/4: Felix had told us that Tullnerbach had a nice lake, but we didn’t have a chance to see it until Thursday, when the temperatures increased to 8º and the snow started to melt. After a third Tagesmenu (of fish) we walked down to the lake and wandered alongside it for about half an hour. Unfortunately we couldn’t go all the way around it, as that would have taken us off the nice walking path and onto the main highway, but it was a lovely walk as it was.
Friday 5/4: I stupidly wore my glasses into the sauna a couple of weeks ago, and when I ordered new ones online, I had them sent to Sabine — in the forlorn hope that they’d arrive in half the time stated on the website. They did arrive this week, though, and I told Sabine we’d drop by her house (on the other side of the country) to pick them up — I didn’t really want them to go into the postal service again, I’ve lost too many things that way!
However, she decided that this idea was totally impractical, and that she and her dad would drop them off to me on Friday afternoon. I completely failed to see how them driving for an hour and a half was more practical than me taking one of oebb’s suggested routes to our next town, but my protests fell on deaf ears. So, we met Sabine and her dad for a coffee in our guesthouse restaurant and she not only gave me my glasses, but spent a lot of time complimenting me on how good they looked.
Saturday 6/4: The fact that our guesthouse didn’t have wifi hadn’t been too much of a problem, since Craig has a great data plan for his phone — and can throw a wifi signal so that I can connect too. However, the month ran out overnight and we didn’t have enough credit to recharge, so we found ourselves without internet access.
I’d checked train times earlier in the week, but only had a schedule that started at 9.45; not too useful, since we headed out the door at 11.15. We followed the route into Vienna and north to Gmünd, but there ran into trouble; we were supposed to catch a bus the last leg of our journey, but it only runs two or three times a day on Saturdays — and the next one wasn’t for four hours.
We pondered our predicament over a lunch of kebabs, then asked the kebab shop owner where we could get a taxi. He said his friend could drive us there for €20, which is what the friendly clerk in the station told us that a taxi would cost. So we hopped into a car with a strange man and were driven into the countryside (not recommended procedure, for your reference). Luckily, there were no problems and he took us right to our hotel — which is AWESOME. The room is a little small, but the service and the extra touches are fantastic — there was apple juice and apples waiting for us in our room, and we were given vouchers for free beer.
Later on, I went for a run around the town, which is unbelievably pretty, then washed my clothes and prepared a lentil salad for dinner. We spent the evening watching TV and reading through the thick information booklet — unfortunately it’s all in German, though!
Sunday 7/4: Breakfast goes until ten, so we headed down around 9.30 to an impressive spread of cereals, fruits, eggs, hams, cheeses, and cakes. I wanted to stay there all day, but too soon I was completely full.
In the afternoon we met up with our contact, Konrad, who showed us around a little; later on his colleague Hubert joined us. We spent a pleasant couple of hours chatting with them and getting to know some of the local beers — something we will certainly continue to do during our stay.
Back home, we had a light dinner then headed downstairs for a sauna. And we finally got around to watching Skyfall, which we rented off iTunes using a voucher my mum gave us for Christmas — thanks Mum!