Missed it.

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Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Friday, November 9, 2012

A contest that has global significance......a contest that affects people in all parts of the world.....history made in a single day....NO...not that little race to the White House in America...who cares...I am talking about the first Tuesday in November....the race that stops the nation....The Melbourne Cup......for as long as I can remember I have held my breath ( with the rest of Australia) just before they jumped..........it is such a tradition....joined the school sweeps ( which Maureen usually wins). tracked down Billy Glasson for the " late mail" and a "sure thing" .....had my heart pound as I put my $5 each way on some horse that is still running.....or by now pulling a milk cart somewhere....snuck the TV into class so 9.5B can watch it with me ( all promising not to tell anyone) ....and we MISSED IT.....Alex rang us at 1.30 am (I don't think she has quite worked out the Austrian....Australian time difference yet) .....and she was a BIG help.....she had no trouble telling us how fabulous her Cup Outfit was....how gorgeous she looked ( of course .....but we knew that all ready) ....but could she tell us the name of the horse that WON the cup....oh no....all she could tell us was that it was not the horse she bet on....not much help really....I still don't know who won.....another thingI have to watch when we get home....along with the AFL grand final....which I READ in Ireland.....but Nikki and I were very pleased that Alex had such a special day on Melbourne Cup Day 2012......we are so proud of her and her life at the moment......we think we did a pretty good job....but we did hear that her phone went missing after a party at her house in Paddington.....I contacted Interpol....I asked them to implement an international search and double checks at all airports....they just said " Not Alex Adams again....we are sick of looking for her photos...cameras....bags....forget it"...we were glad to hear that it turned up again.
I don't think Austrians have much of a concept of long distance travel.....not like Australians....We travel 14 hours to Sydney to see our daughter....I was booking a train to Munich.....the guy said it will take one and a half hours and cost 68 euro....we thought about it ....asked if there was a cheaper train.....he uuummmed and eeerrrred.....then said "I suppose you could always take the slow train...it is only 28 euro..but it is very slow.......it will take one hour and fifty minutes". We bought the SLOW train....we will suffer the extra twenty minutes looking at the Bavarian Alps.
OK ...we are not on this adventure to watch TV....but after a hard day tracking through the Austrian alps it would be good to settle down to watch ANYTHING that was not in German....we tried watching Scrubs...The Big Bang Theory.....even the Addams Family movie in German....but could only make it half way through.....the news is also in German.....we know important stuff is happening but it is like we have been in a bubble for three weeks....I only found out Obama won the election because a woman had the radio on in her dress shop....a news item came on in German and then Romney was saying he had rung to congratulate President Obama...honestly.....if I had not heard that we would still not know who won......the manager of our hotel has lent me a DVD player and some English DVDs....so we might survive.
Sometimes on a traveling holiday you make some "holiday friends".....people you just " click " with....feel comfortable with and ....well just enjoy their company as you explore new places together.....Nikki and I have made friends with a couple in Zell Am See....OK ....they have only been married two weeks ...SO we are giving them plenty of space....but they have invited us to go with them a number of times...they have been to our room for afternoon tea and cake and we have been to their room for coffee and chocolates.....yesterday they suggested going to Krimmel Waterfall...we had never heard of it...but it is the largest waterfall in Europe and is one and a half hours from here.....SO....we travelled to the most amazing waterfall I have every seen.....our friends are from Saudi Arabia and I was worried that Nema would have difficulty walking to the top dressed in her burka......it is funny that we know her so well ....climbed a mountain together.....even thrown snowballs at each other....but have only seen glimpses of her face....anyway.....she is 23 and reminds us of our own children so much....especially the time she spends on her iPhone and her complaints about how steep the mountain was.....there were three stages up the trail alongside the waterfall....each lookout point was just as spectacular.....the sheer volume of water cascading down the mountain was breathtaking.....we were so pleased Nema and her husband Pander made it to the top.....Nikki was so excited she was first to the top and wanted to stay there....the top lookout landing had spray from the crisp clear mountain water settling on the rails and turning to ice....it was a welcome drink, after the long climb...as the ice melted in our mouths.....we caught a late bus back to Zell Am See...our friends took us to a restaurant which serves halal food and the whole dining area is decorated with Arabic Hashish pipes. I took a photo of Nema and Nikki pretending to enjoy a relaxed smoke....a classic photo I know Pete will enjoy....this one was for you Pete....strange that we thought of you the moment we walked into the place......after our mountain climbing we slept very well.
Today is Nikki's birthday.....we plan to climb the mountain ( not to the snowy top) next to our chalet and have a picnic overlooking the valley...lake...mountains and village of Zell Am See....I hope the fog clears and Nikki has a special day.
Til next time Grant

This Year's birthday was very memorable... A picnic basket of beautiful local food, champagne and beer on a mountain peak in the Austrian Alps overlooking the stunning lake of Zell Am See, snow covered glaciers and streams of crystal clear running down the mountain every 20 feet was the venue of my birthday celebration. Every so often we encounted local Austrians climbing their way up the mountain and stopping to say hello and wish me a happy birthday. This morning in the dining room for our last breakfast before we leave for Munich, one of the tables was beautifully decorated with streamers and 30 red roses. A couple had arrived at the chalet to celebrate one of the partners birthday. The manager informed us all that it was her birthday 10/11/12. We sang happy birthday when her birthday cake arrived and found out that three of us at breakfast had celebrated a birthday within a day of each other. Australia... Checkoslavakia and Germany. We came from different countries and cultures yet we had something very special in common. We set together and talked as if we had known each other for years.... A very special bond was created in a couple of minutes.

Thank you to family and friends for your warm wishes on my birthday.
Nikki

The Schmittenhof Guest house in Zell Am See has been absolutely wonderful......the room we were given had the most amazing view of the valley to the village on the lake....breakfast was terrific....the people were warm and friendly and created a real family atmosphere....a wonderful stay with wonderful people.
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