Friday, August 17, 2012

Vienna and Gmunden, Austria

Day 8 -Vienna, brief stop in Gmunden, Austria along the way

Quote of the day “Mom, sometime can we camp in a nice hotel?” (Emory- apparently tipping the scales towards comfort at the half way point in the journey).
We could find no camping in Vienna for which there were reservations. That in fact was a strong reason in favor of skipping Vienna altogether, however at the urging of friends and neighbors, we left this stop on our itinerary. We pulled into Vienna after a brief and lovely lunch rest in Gmunden.

Finally I have determined that an area referred to as a “lakes region” in Europe is going to be a treat. Something like that out of a deodorant commercial. We have yet o pass by a lake region that isn’t this side of amazingly beautiful. Gmunden didn’t disappoint.
We wandered the 2 km of promenade along the lake before grabbing a tasty quick lunch at a cheap local wiener stand. Thanks to a dear Austrian man with a big belly and shirt with a logo that read ’California dreamin’ on the front, we were able with his help and interpretation of the menu to place a lunch order. Kindly he translated to the teenager in the little wiener hut, who had all but deflated our hopes when she revealed they were fresh out of frankfurters (but they had plenty of Weiner schnitzel, Munichwurst, Schweinsbraten, Burenwurst, and Kasekrainer, not to mention other stuff we could pronounce any sort of 37 ways.) After pacifying children with ice cream and myself with coffee at another hut which sold these delicious looking lake fish on a stick, we rambled on towards Vienna.

We arrived in Vienna at dinnertime and the campground resembled a parking competition for blond people and was packed to its fill. Think squished sardines packed. If the guy next door had a fart in his handbag we’d surely get a whiff.
Nevertheless, we had no other options reserved so we set up camp, finding ourselves squished in-between the campers from Netherlands and Italy. The Netherlands couple apologized immediately indicating that hey intended to leave early in the morning and they might make noise. Our tent ropes crossed with theirs and they didn’t want to be disruptive. Apparently they don’t know that children don’t sleep in very long in the morning and the disruptive people would be us instead.
The Italians, we noted, supped on Mc Donalds while, ironically, we had spaghetti of all things. A “Hollander” stopped by to ask about our car license plates. She’s the first soul brave enough to ask, yet we’d noted over 30 people staring at the CD plates and car, quite unsure how our strange crew had come to set up among them.

I observed the couple camping across from us. A man with long hair, dressed in a black sweatshirt stamped with a skull, heart and giant syringe diagonally plunged through the latter, with a woman who chain smoked no less than a pack of cigarettes an hour. I had a strange “we aren’t in Kansas anymore” kind of feeling wash over me. Another dude arrived from Germany just after we finished dinner. He resembled a professional bowler, except that his hair was cut into a mullet and he worse red suspenders to hold up his torn jeans. His descent from the apes seemed to be a gentle slope.
We settled down for bed, but the kids note from their sleeping bags that it’s quite noisy and bright. They weren’t exaggerating for once. It felt like we were camping on a main Las Vegas boulevard or on an airport runway. The campground sounded like it was full of monkeys or “devil worshippers” as Addie put it. Don’t ask me how my 9 year old knows what a devil worshipper sounds like. I don’t want to know.
Vienna would prove to be interesting, no doubt.


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