Because there is so much more going on in our lives than weekend outings and jetting about the globe.
Day 1. Feeling Hopeful.
Me. “I am calling to check on the status of this lost baggage.”
KLM. “The baggage is not lost. The Amsterdam ground team is looking for the baggage.”
Me. “If the baggage is not lost, why I am calling to check on the status?”
KLM. (Looooooong Pause.) “I am sorry.”
Once upon a time…(more like, just six years ago) our American Thanksgiving weekend followed a well-honed routine: Thursday of course was Turkey Day; and on Friday we procured the Christmas tree (no Black Friday nonsense for us!), which meant pulling the Radio Flyer wagon to our local parish and selecting an always-too-large tree from amongst the Boy Scouts offerings. ‘Tis a gift of maternal heritage; I also only know how to cook for either 2 or 10 people.
The entirety of the weekend was reserved for decorating both the tree; and, especially, the white picket fence around our garden with precisely-aligned lights and pine garland. Our home was on a corner near the elementary school and our neighbors and others had come to look forward to the glow of said precisely-aligned lights during the holiday season during their to and fro; in the first year following our move overseas neighbors even sent us sad photos of our house, void of holiday cheer, and writing about how much they had come to look forward to the lights.
Jack was home for the months of May and June; and when we were not on one of our “official” adventures, whenever possible some combination of the four of us were up to something involving hiking or eating, and often both. Recently a Facebook friend even commented, “You all are having just too much fun.”
For the previous two years we have taken the long school weekend to venture across Austria; the first year, to Innsbruck and its charming Christmas markets, and last year, to the Wolfgangseer Advent, hands down our favorite of all of the Austrian markets we have visited. This year, our desire to be home on Saturday for THE GAME* compelled us to stay local and embrace some of our favorite American Thanksgiving weekend traditions as well as to enjoy the season of European Christmas markets.
Schlicher Gespritzt, from a grape exclusively found in the Steiermark, and best paired with a plate of cured meat. When in Rome…
From Kärnten, the Kärtner Knodel, dumpling-like and akin to the Polish pierogi. At the demonstration I gave the preparation of the Knodel my best effort and, according to tradition, am now, “Marry-able” because I can press a Kärtner Knodel good enough to woo a husband. Good thing, too, because Tony and I celebrated our anniversary on Sunday and I’d hate to think that 23 years was all for naught.
Ah, Wildschwein (boar) salami and something white from Niederösterreich.
Back to the Tirol and its Kaspressnödel, a delicious concoction of potatoes, farm cheese and herbs that have been shaped into cakes and fried. We brought a bag home.
What is not to love about a country that displays its Schmalz (lard) on cake stands?
Or slices its meat with table saws? Hard to believe, but we somehow managed to find ourselves hungry in time for dinner on Saturday!
The things one discovers. Along our path we found a marker erected as recently as 2010, memorializing the Jewish women and children who had taken refuge in the woods along the river between 1938 and 1945, just on the edge of Vienna.
Cycling through the wetlands was a highlight. We were even treated to several beavers flapping and splashing about!