Here is the last installment of our adventures in Austria. I hope you enjoyed themUnfortunately, we just had the one last day in Austria before our flight home the next day. The Austrian relatives had been wonderful hosts -- not only generously giving us a place to stay and feeding us, but refusing stubbornly to let us pay for anything (though we did manage to get a couple of the bills, it was a struggle!). There was one thing we had been requested to do by Sabine's mom, and that was go over to her place for dinner. Fortunately, we had one night left to do that so that is what we did.
On Monday morning, Sabine and her husband picked us up and we made a journey about half an hour out of Linz to a little town called Gmunden which is famous for the ceramics (or in German: keramik) they make there. Unfortunately, the guided tour of the facility was closed until early January (one reason to go back I guess!), so we took the chance to admire some of the wares. They were rather nice, I must say, and you could really get just about all of your kitchen dishes in one design or another if you liked. They even had napkins, candles, coasters, and placemats you could buy that matched particular patterns. I dunno if it would be worth buying a 3.50 euro coaster just to match your ceramics though...
After taking a look at the ceramics, we walked down to the nearby lake to walk along it and stopped for lunch at a cafe which sat right next to the water. It was well worth it just to enjoy the sun shining through the glass of the porch and watch the birds on the clear water. We didn't leave until much later and enjoying more traditional Austrian desserts (complete with a lot of whipped cream!). It was a nice lunch.
We continued walking along the coast taking pictures. Our eventual destination was a castle built on a small island on the lake. It made a nice subject for pictures, particularly with the mist over the lake in front of it. On the way, we found some ice frozen on the side of the road and Diane and I were quick to walk around on it a bit. You know the kind of ice where it's not frozen solid yet, but you can walk around on it and watch and hear cracks in the ice and bubbles run in the shallow water underneath? I have great memories of playing on ice just like this in the spring back in Edmonton. Perhaps that's why I keep doing it now whenever I get the chance.
We reached the castle and walked around it quickly before making the return journey to the car. We needed to be back to Linz to setup Skype for Sabine's mom to talk to people back home. So we arrived at her place the smell of cooking. She must have spent all day cooking up a feast for that evening! So we ate, and ate, and ate... it was delicious, and I don't really want to think about how much work went into preparing everything!
We returned back to Kien's place, and got packed up and ready to leave in the morning. The next morning, Kien's brother generously drove us back to the Salzburg airport where we caught our plane back home.
It was a good trip, and we're glad we got out to see this side of the family and where they live. It was Diane's first time in continental Europe, and just my 3rd time with one of those times happening when I was just 2 years old, and the other when I was in Italy for a computer games research conference. It was a good experience and we're looking forward to our next trip. I hear we've got an open invitation in Budapest...