Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A whirlwind trip to Austria, Italy, and probably Switzerland, part 1...

Some weeks ago, Bill told me that he had to go on a business trip to Vicenza, Italy.  Neither of us had ever been there before, but there is a chance that we could one day end up living there.  Bill's company has a lot of jobs in Vicenza for which he is very qualified.  Because of that and because it had been awhile since our last trip, he asked me if I wanted to go with him.  I agreed.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, we heard some disturbing stories about the place where we regularly boarded our dogs.  I was no longer feeling so confident about leaving Zane and Arran in their care, though we never personally had any problems with them.  I thought I was going to have to stay home. because it's so close to Christmas and I figured we wouldn't be able to find a place for the boys to stay.  But then, Bill and I managed to get a spot for them at Dog Holiday.  Last week was rather stressful for me, mainly because of what we had to do to get the dogs ready.  They had to have a tour and a test day with Max, owner of the facility.  I had to update their shots, which was stressful because both of my dogs tend to react to vaccines.  And then, Zane was supposed to have his allergy shot, but that had to be postponed because of the vaccine.

Anyway, we were able to put the dogs up for our nine night trip down here.  I am now sitting in Vicenza with a lot of time on my hands and plenty to write about.  It's already been an eventful trip.

On Saturday morning, we dropped off the dogs.  Bill was irritated because one of the headlights on our SUV burned out.  We went to the Obi to buy new bulbs, not realizing that they wouldn't work because our car is American and what they sell in German auto parts stores are for cars with European specs.  We went to Kelley, where Bill gassed up the car and unsuccessfully tried to change the bulbs.

We finally ended up having to go to Panzer, where we were annoyed by someone in a car asking for directions from someone going the opposite way.  Instead of parking and handling their business that way, they opted to hold up traffic.  Then they had the nerve to get pissy when the people being held up by them got annoyed about it.  That's not the first time I've seen something like that happen on a military installation.  Folks, allow me to be the asshole who says that if you need to chat with someone while you're both in different cars, please go park somewhere.  Parking spots are free of charge and plentiful, and the rest of us have shit to do.

Bill successfully changed out the headlight bulbs.  Then we went to Brauhaus Schoenbuch for lunch. We were waiting for our food when over my shoulder, Bill caught sight of a woman who inspired a most unpleasant memory from the summer.  She didn't seem to recognize Bill as easily as he did her.  We were grateful when she sat on the other side of the dining room and did not come over and put her hands on either of us.  What a coincidence that we would be at the Brauhaus at the same time once again.  At least this time, my mom wasn't with us.

Finally, after lunch, it was time to get on the road.  We headed down 8, grateful that we didn't have to stop for lunch at the place we did on our last trip.  It was good to be fueled up and ready to go, not feeling cranky, hangry, or hearing the gaseous emissions of octogenarians.  The drive was mostly beautiful and uneventful as we headed for Seefeld in Tirol.


Just over the Austrian border...

Since we were just in the Tirol area in September, I had a bit of deja vu as we made our way toward the resort town near Innsbruck.  I had originally planned a stay in the city, but cancelled when I thought I was going to have to stay home.  When it became clear that I was going to get to take the trip, I went looking for another place to stay.  The rates at the hotel where I had originally booked had gone up a lot.  Suddenly, I remembered a video I saw on YouTube a few months ago.


A video about a beer spa at Hotel Diana in Seefeld.  Bill and I used an unseen third tub on the other side of the guy in this video.  

Having done a similar treatment at the Landhotel Moorhof in Franking, Austria, I knew we would enjoy the treatment in Seefeld.  Aside from that, it looked like a nice town and it was roughly halfway to Vicenza.  So I booked us a room at Hotel Diana, realizing that not only could we have a beer bath, but we would also be saving money.  The rates were significantly less expensive and more inclusive than they were in Innsbruck.  Our rate included breakfast and dinner, as well as parking and Internet.

We arrived at Hotel Diana at about 6:00pm.  We were warmly greeted by a bearded man who spoke excellent English.  He assigned us room 103.  It turned out to be a very impressive room, with a bedroom, sitting room, and hall, along with a large bathroom with a tub, towel rack, and shower.  There was a minibar stocked with affordable drinks, a bottle of free mineral water, two TVs, and two apples.  We also had access to a balcony.




Nice digs!

After checking out the room, we headed down to the dining room for dinner.  Two dirndl clad women were waiting for us and had a table set in a corner at the end of the room.  Neither spoke English and I had more difficulty than usual understanding them because I think the accent in Austria is different than it is near Stuttgart.  Nevertheless, they did present us with the set menu, which was in English.  Reading, I can generally do with not too much trouble.  It's speaking and understanding spoken German that trips me up.  I had the opposite problem when I lived in Armenia.  There, I could speak and understand spoken Armenian, but reading and writing was a nightmare.


We both enjoyed a Gosser, which I used to drink all the time in Armenia.  It was probably my first exposure to European beer that isn't mass distributed like Heineken.


We started with a little salad...


Then cream of rucola soup...


A Balkan pork appetizer that I can't remember the name of offhand...  It was good.


And finally, I had the chicken leg with potatoes and vegetables...


Bill had pork medallions with hunter sauce (mushrooms, blecch!)


For dessert, there was apple strudel and vanilla sauce.

As we were about to enjoy the main course, two women showed up and were seated across from us.  They seemed to immediately tag us as Americans.  They whispered and giggled, while sneaking looks at us.  I was annoyed, mainly because I'd been in a car all day and just wanted to relax.  The fact that I took photos of the food seemed especially hilarious to these two as they tittered and snickered away.  I cast a dirty look at them, then we made a hasty retreat to our room.  We were both tired and ready for bed.  Bill scheduled a beer bath for five o'clock on Sunday.



Looks like the very same company that provided our beer bath in Franking.


Shots outside the hotel advertising the beer bath.  Oddly, they don't really advertise it on their Web site.  There's just a picture.  If you book on Booking.com, like I did, you'll see it advertised there.

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