Four days in Austria… bliss!

So I went to Austria last week for four days to visit my good friend Val, who lives in the south of the country close to the Italian and Slovenian borders.

And it was fantastic.

Not only did I have four whole days to myself – although two of those were spent travelling – and get to see Val, but I got to experience a beautiful (new to me) country.

I’ve been in a number of European countries, but this was my first visit to Austria and I loved it.

Waiting at Frankfurt Airport for my connecting flight to Salzburg.
View from the flight from Frankfurt to Salzburg.

The journey there was quite long. I couldn’t get a flight from Glasgow for the day I wanted, so I had to travel to Edinburgh Airport instead. I flew to Frankfurt and then from there flew to Salzburg. Val met me at Salzburg Airport and we took the bus back to the city.

Schnitzel in Salzburg.

We spent the night in Salzburg, eating in the Mozart Cafe before finding a local Irish pub where we drank wine and enjoyed the karoake.

The following day we had breakfast in Salzburg and a good walk around. Unfortunately, we only had the morning in the city, but it gave me enough time to see some of it and it’s gorgeous. I now want to return to be a total tourist and go into the Mozart Museum and, more importantly, The Sound of Music Museum, which we found just as we were heading for the train south.

A very cold me outside the Mozart Museum.
Even McDonald’s is posh in Salzburg.
The Sound of Music Museum.
Salzburg Castle – I’m going there one day.

My lovely friend lives near Villach in a brand-new house overlooking the wonderful castle of Landskron, which was shut for the winter (I chose the wrong time of year to visit!). I fully intend to return to Austria at some point and go and explore that castle – I love castles. Apparently, it has a brilliant café where, in the summer, you can sit outside and enjoy the stunning view of the valley.

Landskron Castle,

Talking of stunning, part of the train journey south takes you through Carinthian mountains, which when we travelled down from Salzburg, was about a foot deep in snow. In fact, it didn’t stop snowing until almost the point where we reached Villach. We couldn’t see a lot because the mountains were shrouded by snowfall, but what I did see was an amazing landscape covered in snow, which was oh-so-Christmassy.

Villach getting ready for their Christmas festival.

Anyway, the following day, we went into Villach for a wander about. Unfortunately (again), they were only just setting up for their Christmas festival (I kept on missing things!), but I got a glimpse of their lights and what the festival would look like with its kiosks and ice skating and glühwein and everything else that goes with it.

The restaurant where we lunched – of course, I have forgotten its name!
Lunch – yum! Think the restaurant is called Charles!
Posh toilets.
Posh toilet door.

We lunched in local restaurant/bar which was just stunning (see the pics – sorry about the quality, it was the best I could get) and the food was lovely. We’d actually asked for a different dish, but I think we mixed the waitress up and she came out with these. It was probably my fault because I said ‘we’ll get the daily special’ to Val and when the dishes came out, Val called them a word that sounded a bit like ‘special’ so I think that’s what the waitress thought we wanted. We didn’t say anything but ate it anyway and it was lovely, kind of like a nice macaroni cheese.

Day four and it was time for me to go home. I was gutted because I had had such a lovely time with Val and seeing this gorgeous country she’s now staying in.  So, she dropped me off at Villach station and I began my epic journey home: train to Salzburg (two-and-a-half hours roughly), bus to Salzburg Airport (10 mins), flight to Frankfurt Airport, flight to Edinburgh Airport, bus to Glasgow, train home, picked up at the station by my dad who, along with my mum, were babysitting the kids for me. I was shattered when I got home. I left Villach on the 9.16am train and arrived at my actual home west of Glasgow just after 8pm that evening. As Val said, it was ‘planes, trains and automobiles’! It was so worth it as not only did I get to see my friend and spend some time with her (we had a good laugh), but it totally refreshed me – just four days away made me feel less tired and more energised, so it was well worth the journey.

Anyway, I’d like to thank Val and family for putting me up, my parents for babysitting and my friend, Jill, who was supposed to come with me, but due to circumstances, was unable to go. This time. Jill, we will go again next year, promise!

So, that was my week last week. That’s one thing I love about living in Scotland – it’s only a few hours plane ride away to the amazing mainland Europe.

Food – loved the food. I ate pork schnitzel, Austrian pastry and that pasta type dish, which was lovely. Val also treated me to some Austrian wine, which was delicious.

Scenery – loved the historical buildings, the mountains, the snow, the castles.

People – Austrian people are very friendly and nice and very helpful. Thank you to Matteo who helped me tackle the machine where I had to buy my ticket to the airport. I couldn’t work out how to work it, but he helped. And thanks to all the Austrian people I met. Also like to say a big hello to the British folk I met too – the people on the flights and those in the Irish pub.

Would I go back? – definitely, I loved it.

Dawn xx

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Little Mix Magic, the Mattress Drama and Trying to Get ‘Me Time’

A poor pic taken from a distance, but it gives you an idea of what Little Mix Magic look like!

A poor pic taken from a distance, but it gives you an idea of what Little Mix Magic look like!

You know when you go to an event and it’s better than you thought it would be? Well me and the kids went to see Little Mix Magic (a Little Mix tribute band) at The Commodore Hotel in Helensburgh last night and it was great. It was a fundraiser for a local dance school and we had a brilliant time. The band were amazing. I cannot tell you how good these girls were, they had fantastic voices, and they were so good with the (many, many) little girls and older girls who were there to see them. They spent ages at the end of the night having their photos taken with the kids and giving them autographs. Fab night. Excellent band. Recommend them.

The real Little Mix.

The real Little Mix.

Anyway, back to reality. Sorry this post is a little late this week. I have no other excuse other than I forgot about it until yesterday and decided to wait until we’d been out last night.

This past week has been just the ‘same old, same old’. Nothing much has been happening except Casper chewed a corner out of my brand new hall rug. It was literally down for ten minutes and the wee pest had decided that real wool was a lovely snack. He kept doing it so I’ve had to take the rug up. It’s currently rolled up in the room I use as a study. Sigh.

We also took delivery yesterday of new mattresses for our beds. This isn’t that interesting in itself, except for the drama of trying to get my super king mattress upstairs. Luckily the delivery men did this for me, but it took them ages and they were both sweating heavily by the end of it. I felt a bit guilty about it. If I had had any cash on me, I’d have given them a tenner for their trouble…it was that bad! However, I’m a bit like the queen – I never carry cash. Well, I do very briefly and then the kids clean me out! Anyway, I didn’t have anything to give them…sorry guys! They were so good about getting it upstairs for me.  * Additional note: I shouldn’t have laughed…me and the girl nearly killed ourselves trying to get my old mattress down from upstairs. It was a difficult job.

We went shopping with my mum on Saturday. It’s the girl’s birthday next week (she’ll be 12) and she wanted to go shopping with her gran. We met my mum at Braehead and me and the boy were duly dismissed as she happily went off with granny. While they were away, the boy and I did a bit of shopping of our own. Anyway, an hour later we all met up and the girl was delighted with all the new clothes her granny (and grampa, although he wasn’t there) had bought her. Thankfully my mum was there to stop her picking up inappropriate for her age clothes. The girl just loves clothes, and the tartier the better it feels!

This week, the kids are off. It’s yet another school holiday and already they’ve been bickering. Sigh. I don’t have any plans for this week other than doing a wee birthday lunch for the girl. I think we will just take it easy. I have stacks of stuff to do around the house plus I want a bit of ‘me’ time too!! There’s a bubble bath with my name on it tonight!!

Films I’ve seen this week include: the new Jason Bourne movie which I liked, Bundle of Joy (Eddie Fisher was a rubbish actor, nice voice though – I think this was a remake of a Ginger Rogers movie, it certainly reminds me of one of hers), The Princess Diaries II and Robinson Crusoe. Have finished reading the first two Flambards books and am looking around for something new to read.

Right, am going to leave this here and say adieu to you…and you and you and you (sorry a bit of The Sound of Music crept in there!). Til next time!

Dawn xxx