14 May 2009


Zell am See, Austria

This morning the little girls wake us up before 8:00am. We have breads and cheeses and Nutella from the Billa. There is strong Jacobs coffee and Clever coffee cream. Before anyone can notice, KF grabs the coffee cream from the fridge and drops it with a SPLAT! onto the parquet floor. We retrieve a bath towel and scrubs-up the floor. KF is quick like lightening and doesn’t miss a trick!

We blow bubbles and chat and before we know it KF is in the fridge again and dumps the Clever again! She loves milk and believes this heavy cream to be just the ticket.

DM drives JL, LG, and I to Zell am See while MK puts KF down for a nap. She got up at 4:00am and mommy and daddy took shifts throughout the early hours to keep her entertained. What a picturesque village! At every turn there is beauty atop beauty atop beauty… I will come back with CA as many times as we can. Alpenland Sports Maria Alm is a wonderful Interval discovery, and a great economy.

There are sailboats on the lake, and gardens surround. LG finds a gazebo and prepares “muffins” from the pebbles and finds a discarded (!) beer bottle to serve us Vinea (a lightly carbonated Slovak softdrink). We wander the streets and back to the car to join MK and KF in Maria Alm for a lunch of meats and cheeses in our room.

We decide to drive to Berchtesgarden to Hitler’s Eagles Nest. We drive to Saalfelden and Weiβbach, through St. Martin, Lofer and Unken---whoops! The Citroen has decided it does not like these mountains and begins to shake, rattle, and roll, and die-out in first and second gear. We are stuck on the slope again. DM pulls over and runs to our rescue, taking the wheel and heading down the mountain. The Citroen is going to the dealership near Zell am See for a look-see and windshield wiper repair.

DM+MK drop JL, LG, and I in the village and we walk again to Lake Zeller. Still beautiful! LG points remembering a playground just down the shore a bit, and then plays and climbs and runs before stopping to make us muffins again—this time with wet sand.

DM, MK, and KF are soon back having left the Citroen overnight as the dealership was just closing. We squeeze into the Kangoo and head back toward Maria Alm, stopping in Sallfelden at the InterSpar for groceries and goodies and diapers. We often shop at the InterSpar in Simmering near Vienna, as they have American brands and specialty foods and wine.

Back in Maria Alm D+M take the little girls to shower and pajama-up before dinner. There will be Kraft mac+cheese for them as we prepare a huge salad with lettuce, red and yellow peppers, avocado, carrots, English cucumber, ham, cheese, tomatoes and Kraft Cucumber Ranch salad dressing. We have Ritz crackers and Tuc’s. We enjoy a cheap but very drinkable Merlot and Coca-Cola Light.

The little girls show up in their new pjs—LG in her ballet slipper nightgown, and KF in bright pink polka-dotted pants, a matching white shirt, and a BALLERINA SKIRT! How fun! They are washed and shampooed—sweet-smelling and smiling (I think happy to be with grandma, but maybe it’s the mac and cheese?).

This day did not go as planned—although our plans were always to be flexible. We’ve been to Zell am See twice today! But, we had great food and fun with the little girls. There are worries about the Citroen, but JL and I volunteer that we will stay until Monday if necessary to ensure proper repairs. I mean—who wants to experience the shake-rattle-and rolling backward on the way home that we experienced in the wee hours of Wednesday morning!

We have plans to go to Salzburg on Friday and take LG along for the Sound of Music tour—4 hours on a bus with about 6 stops along the way. We check out the bus arrangements to Salzburg and find them easy to execute. DM will drive JL and me to Saalfelden for the 7:25am bus and we can return on a 6:30pm bus that takes a bit over an hour. We want to take LG along, but are not successful at confirming reservations on-line and I decide that a day in Salzburg might be too much for her without a planned distraction like the Sound of Music tour.

As I drift off to sleep and every time I wake up in the night I think that the whole reason we joined DM and MK on this family vacation to Austria was to help with the little girls and take LG on the SofM tour… They can use a break from the very vibrant and active LG! I call her a sprite because she is a burst of light. (A funny thing—this trip she told me that she likes to pretend she is Tinkerbell, the original burst of light.) Her energy never fails—she goes strong from morning to night with no need for a nap or rest… Before morning I decide that we will take her along and take our chances on getting tickets for the morning tour. I am at peace…

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