remember that this summer I had big plans for Europe. I don't think anyone in their right mind would try to squeeze as much into a few days as I did - but I am in my right mind so maybe they would after all. (And maybe no one in their right mind would ever forget about the bottles flowing wine as you cross the Atlantic, but I did. I guess since I couldn't partake the last time I took a plane ride that long, it didn't resonate with me. Well, you can bet your bottom dollar I partook this time around.)
In Munich, I really did ride a beach cruiser in between bier gardens and nude beaches. The nude beaches were fun but they were even more fun once I had a giant bier in me and decided I should try to get close to check out the goods on display. We discovered a raging river where crazy Germans go to surf. I wanted to participate, but that was before I realized how crazy these Germans really were. Not only was it freezing, but the bottom of the river was a cement block!
Side note: don't be fooled by the picture people...I was a good sport and drank a bier, but I didn't really enjoy it. I was just passing the time until I could get to Venice and drank some wine!
Venice was everything I had imagined. I was reading a wonderful novel my mom had picked up at the Sam's Club (yes) called The Glassblower of Murano and it made Venice that much more exciting to see the places I had read about in this book. We took a water taxi from the airport into Venice and I am so glad we did. The vaporetto (public water transport) was fine to go to Lido but the 30 minute ride from the airport was perfect in the back of a chartered boat. I don't even know how to describe Venice except to say it was a dream come true. I immediately started looking for jobs in Venice (but let's be serious. I don't want to be an au pair at the ripe old age of 30, and that's basically what is available). Venice is a walking town, once you're there of course. And I can honestly say there isn't a cobblestone street in Venice I have not been on. I ate the most delicious food, drank delicious Venetian wine and took in the Venetian sunsets every night. I soaked up Venetian life at outdoor cafes and I do not believe there is anywhere more suited for me than that place. I visited the beach at Lido (which was OK but it's a public beach full of smelly Italians and the sand was really hot.), I rode the vaporetto to Burano where I found all of my future houses and saw little old ladies making lace. Then I hopped over to Murano and saw real live glass blowing and ate way too much gelato. And before I knew it, it was time to move on to my next spot and I had to bid farewell to Venice. Call me a whiney baby, but I may or may not have pitched a bit of a fit and cried a little as I left.
Next up: Salzburg, Austria for four hours of Sound of Music bliss. After arriving much later than I had planned (queue anxiety) and covering much more ground than I knew existed in Salzburg, seeing Mozart's birthplace and discussing salts with a local salt dealer, it was time for one of the things I had been most looking forward to. A four hour bus ride to the locations of the most famous Sound of Music scenes. I had two favorite parts about this. Okay, three really.
1. the sing a long. They seriously played the sound track in between stops and everyone on the bus sang along. Whomever it was that created this tour knew that generally speaking, most Americans love a good sing a long.
2. The bus driver was named Ferdinand and he loved Arnold Schwarzenegger so much that he had a cut out of his face that he had taped over Freuline Maria's face on the side of the bus. I asked him if it was similar to the Germans love for David Hasselhoff and he said it was just like that, only better.
3. We stopped at the church where Maria and the Captain were married and I walked some of the aisle. I also picked up a bottle of holy water.
After that, it was back to Deutschland for one more day and then I was off, back to America and back to scheming up ways to get me back to Europe sooner rather than later. I've always thought I would make a good European and now I am convinced I would. Barbara isn't necessarily an urban dog but I feel like the two of us would do well as Venetians with a summer cottage in Austria.