A Travel Memoir
“What kind of vacation would you like?” My friend, Mandy, posed that question to me in the spring of 2014, after I purchased my tickets to visit her and her husband for fourteen days in Austria.
Mandy and I have been friends since we worked together in college. When she was in grad school, she spent a year studying in Europe, met David, and never came back. I had visited them once before, after they got married. During that vacation, I did a few touristy things, like see some of the Sound of Music movie locations, and we spent a few days traveling up to Prague. This time was going to be a little bit different.
“I want,” I declared. “An authentic Austrian adventure!”
“What does that mean?” Mandy asked.
“I want to experience Austria the way you and David do: eat like an Austrian, take day trips like an Austrian, and go on hikes like an Austrian.” Mandy and David would make these awesome hiking trips all around the mountains. They’ve even gone on weeks-long hikes to other countries. I wasn’t ready for that, though. “No hikes that require over-night things or crampons or anything like that,” I clarified. “Day hikes.”
On my first visit to Austria, I learned that hiking in Europe isn’t quite like hiking in the U.S.. It would be most comparable to how people hike the Appalachian Trail, or summit Mt. Ranier. When I initially thought of hikes, it was the quick half hour jaunts up to Sugarloaf Mountain outside of Marquette, or a day trip figuring out how to get up Hogsback, not too far from Sugarloaf.
In Austria, there are no stairs on their hikes. If you want to make it to the apex of a mountain in one day, be guaranteed that you’ll have to drive up to the highest parking area early in the morning.
Those were the hikes I wanted to do. Something that would take an entire day, but I could easily wear my running shoes.
A few months later, I packed my luggage. I put my running shoes in my checked luggage, since we weren’t going to do any hiking the first day or two. I kept my camera in my carryon, of course, with my basic toiletries, a book, and my phone charger. In my checked luggage, I also put in my hiking/workout gear, sports bras (I was running a 5k with Mandy on our last weekend), dresses, jackets, hoodies, tampons (all girls know to travel smart and always have their needs taken care of, especially when the countries she travels to will not supply the same kind of products), peppermint oil for my tummy, and the treats Mandy requested from home: Catalina and ranch dressing, and David’s favorite burger rub.
At this point I had traveled to nine different countries, and felt less of a rookie, but more of a veteran international traveler. I was just a few hours away from traveling, and was waiting for one of my dresses to finish drying. Right before heading out the door, I took it off my drying rack and put it in my carryon. Just in case my luggage was delayed. Mandy told me that whenever her students lost luggage, it took about 24 hours to be returned. I could handle that if it was the worst case scenario.
My friend was dropping me off to my flight in Detroit. I promised to pay for her gas and buy her lunch for the trouble. We stopped at The Laundry in Fenton, Michigan (such good food!) and as we walked back to her car, I felt my ear. One of my Tiffany’s earrings were gone. I gasped.
“What?” Melissa asked.
“My earring. I don’t have my earring!” I felt the other ear to make sure I did put them on that day. It was there. Did I forget to put one in? I didn’t think so. I loved these earrings; they were my staple piece.
“When was the last time you remember wearing it?” she asked me.
I thought back. I remember reaching up to check my ears when we were in The Laundry. We walked the block back and looked around the ground as we went. When we got there, we asked the hostess that if she found it, to please call me. As we turned to leave, Melissa took a step forward, and lifted her foot almost immediately. She had stepped down on something—my earring! I lifted it, and it looked like it was in good shape. I tucked it and my other earring into my change pocket of my wallet. I would wait to get a new back for it later.
“I wonder if there is a Tiffany’s in Salzburg,” I mused.
“Call,” Melissa said.
She still laughs at the conversation she heard. “But…is there a Tiffany’s in Vienna?” is said to be one of her favorite Amanda’s Pretentious Quotes.
(Side note: there IS a Tiffany’s in Vienna. A new back only costs about $5. I bought two, so I had a new one for each earring.)
After I hung up the phone, it rang again. I looked at the caller ID.
“Um, do you know anyone from Jamaica?” I asked, showing her my phone face.
“No,” she said.
“Not answering this,” I said, and I declined the call, which was smart since it was most likely a scam call. Yay! Two crises avoided so far!
As we made it onto I-94, we kept looking towards the west, where a storm cell looked ominous.
“I hope you don’t miss your flight,” Melissa said.
I plan my flights the best I can. I don’t like to have very long layovers, and had planned a 2 hour layover in Amsterdam. I knew that two hours there was the perfect time to get from one terminal to another, and through customs with even a few minutes to spare so I could use the bathroom, grab a snack, and stretch my legs. Amsterdam-Schiphol the major hub for Delta airlines. I’ve traveled through it a lot, since Delta is the one airline I can find from most places in Michigan.
I made it into the airport, checked my luggage (brand new and purple, so it would be easier to find than my old black one), and while in security, I looked up through the skylight and saw lightning flashing across the sky. I hoped Melissa was going to make it home just fine.
Once at my gate, I listened for the alerts from Delta. Due to cloud-to-ground lightning, all flights were delayed until the storm cell passed. I settled in, updated my social media accounts, and waited. Every five minutes, our gate would update us to let us know that they were waiting for clearance and that we should board quickly and efficiently in order to do what we can to make up time. The pilots would do their best to make up as much time in the air.
Airport Instagram check-in
We boarded, and I recognized that my 2 hour layover was currently a 45-minute layover. It would take at least ten minutes to deplane. I couldn’t start sweating…yet. I trusted the pilots. And our gate didn’t look too packed, which mean the airplane probably wasn’t full.
Nothing I could do about it. I boarded, and settled in for the eight hour flight to Amsterdam.
Next to me, I heard the couple complain that they might not make it to their next flight and how they wouldn’t get their luggage, blah, blah, blah.
I smiled to myself. This veteran traveler knew that she probably wouldn’t have her luggage in Munich when she finally landed, but she also knew that they could easily deliver it within a day to her friends’ apartment. No big deal.
The pilots kept their word, making up about a half hour of time. People who had longer layovers were kind enough to stay in their seats so those of us who had short layovers could leave as quickly as possible. I hitched my backpack on my shoulders, clutched my carryon, walked off the plane, up the jetway, into the terminal. I checked the map and where my connecting flight was at, saw that it was in the pre-boarding procedures and it wasn’t too far away. I took off at a jog.
When you travel into a foreign country, you need to visit customs. At AMS, it’s pretty centrally located. It’s a weirdly shaped airport, but it’s actually quite easy to figure out. Just follow the signs. Including the sign that said “For Layovers Less than 30 minutes” above two custom agent checkpoints.
I was able to get through in about 10 minutes, answered their questions “Going to Salzburg via Munich. 11 days. Get home July 1st. Visiting friends.” and then he stamped my passport and I rushed off to my gate. They were still boarding, and I had time to stop, put my bags down, and catch my breath. I dug through my carryon and found my deodorant, applying that quickly. (Make sure you do that, as a courtesy to your fellow seat mates!)
It’s a much quicker flight to Munich than the one I was on, and I was still on an adrenaline high for most of it. It was a beautiful day. I was in Europe. My friend would be meeting me when I landed.
Since I already went through customs, I made my way with the rest of the travelers to the baggage check. I stayed back, knowing that it would be a miracle if my purple suitcase actually made the flight. I had barely made it. Sure enough, I was with a handful of other familiar people from my Detroit flight, and we made our way to a KLM agent to handle our lost luggage. One guy was nervous. He had a flight to England to catch to race his bicycle, which was most likely still at the Amsterdam airport. My problem was small in comparison.
I saw Mandy peeking over the glass partition, and I waved to her.
“What’s the hold up?” I thought I heard her say.
“Lost luggage,” I called back.
While I started to fill up my claim ticket, my phone beeped. Mandy had texted me her address, and I added it to where I wanted my suitcase to be delivered. Soon I was leaving the airport, hugging my two friends, and we were off on my Authentic Austrian Adventure!
That day we visited a lake on our way to Austria. We ate lunch—I tried eel for the first time—and had Hugo, which was a tasty bubbly drink that Mandy insisted that I try. David educated me on something (he always does. Our running joke from the first time I visited them was when he would say, “Do you want to know—never mind, I will tell you anyways.”) and when we made it back to their apartment that had views of mountains that this Michigander never gets to see, they treated me with dinner. Mandy offered to call the airline for me, and I gave her my information. I was tired, since I can’t really sleep on airplanes very well.
“Well, first of all, it’s not technically missing yet. It has to be gone for twenty-four hours from when you arrived at your final destination for it to be considered missing. They can only tell me its last known location, which says it’s still in Amsterdam,” she informed us.
“But the agent back in Munich told me that it would be on the next flight, which was this evening! It should be there by now!”
“He told me that it’s possible, but it takes a while for them to update the system. That’s why we have its last known location.”
“Damn,” I said. “Did they say anything about compensation?”
“He did! You can spend up to $100 after its been missing for twenty-four hours.”
“What if it’s longer than that?” I asked.
“I don’t know. We can call back tomorrow when it’s been 24 hours.”
Mandy let me borrow clothes to sleep in, and I updated my friends and family on social media, and went to sleep.
I woke up to Mandy quietly moving around in the kitchen.
“Sorry to wake you,” she said.
“It’s fine,” I said. I felt gross. I needed another shower. I needed to change my undies. I had a dress ready to go for the day (it was dry, at least!). It was a dreary morning that matched my mood.
“Do you want breakfast?” Mandy asked.
“I want underwear,” I said.
“How about coffee? I know you need your coffee,” she said. Mandy is a friend who knows me well. My life revolves around my coffee intake, and Europe boasts some of the best coffee experiences in the world.
“I want underwear,” I said.
“Really? No coffee?” she asked.
“Underwear!” I said. “Underwear first, coffee and food second.”
I took another shower, turning my undies inside out for the very first time in my life. I did feel marginally better after my shower, and I changed my attitude around. I was in Austria, dammit! And this was part of an Authentic Austrian Experience! I was going to go shopping for basic needs today. Thankfully the stores were open that Friday, and we went into H&M during the best time of the season: SALES! I picked up a dress, a pair of jeans, a few shirts, and a three-pack of underwear, reasoning that by the time I used all three, my luggage would definitely be there. We also went to Yves Rocher, where I pick up my face wipes and face wash, disappointed that my favorite chamomile face wash was discontinued. I also purchased some moisturizer, while I was there. Everything was on sale, so when I was done with my shopping for the day, all my purchases added up to under my budget that Delta promised me.
While we sat for coffee, Mandy called KLM for me again now that it was officially “lost luggage.” She mouthed, “Still in Amsterdam,” before she hung up the phone.
“New information,” she started. “They will have some trouble getting your luggage here because there are no KLM connections to Salzburg.”
“But can’t they ship it by taxi? Isn’t that something you said was done all the time at your work?”
“I mentioned it to them, but they said it wasn’t part of their protocol. When we do that, we are working with Lufthansa, and they know that it’s not a far drive. KLM is based in Amsterdam, they might not know how close we really are.”
“Damn,” I said, and my eyes started to prickle with tears.
“I’m so sorry!” Mandy said. I wiped my eyes quickly.
“No, it’s not your fault. And it’s not the end of the world, right? I just have to wait a little bit longer.”
We walked around Salzburg a little bit more, then David offered to drive us to visit a lake in Germany, and we picked up snacks along the way. He explained that it wasn’t a good day for hiking, and we should wait until I had more to wear than my little yellow Tieks. So we headed to the lake instead. This was an Authentic Austrian Day Trip, I thought.
The next morning, Mandy called KLM and spoke to someone who could offer her a bit more information. “Good news!” she said. “Your luggage’s last known location is in Munich! They are still figuring out how to get it here, but they did say that you can purchase what you need within reason and to save the receipts.”
“Even running shoes?” I asked.
“Yep! He said not to purchase anything that isn’t already in your luggage, so avoid buying 5,000 Euro Chanel shoes.” I laughed. I wasn’t the type to buy Chanel shoes, period. We spent the morning (after coffee and traditional cold breakfast) at a shopping center outside of Salzburg. I bought a new pair of Asics, capri leggings, a workout top, and Mandy offered to let me borrow a sports bra for hiking. “Your luggage should be here before we have our race,” she assured me. I didn’t quite trust that KLM was going to pay me back, so I bought only what I was comfortable with paying in case I never saw reimbursement.
David drove us up into the mountains. We hiked through a canyon that reminded me of Rivendell (Fun Fact! After visiting the actual Rivendell location last summer, I’d say that this other version had more to do and explore. In New Zealand, Peter Jackson made sure that very little was left behind any of his set locations unless the property owners wanted to do something.), and I took pictures all along the way. Then we went further up into the mountains, ears popping with the change in altitude, and we explored a beautiful vista. We went to view a glacier, stopping in the middle of the road for sheep to move freely.
Living in Michigan is picturesque in its own lovely way, but these mountains are extraordinary to me. I get breathless each time I get to visit the mountains.
Mandy let me sit in the front seat so I had the best view, as David zipped and zagged through those mountain passes. I was impressed on his driving skills, especially with a manual transmission vehicle.
The next morning I woke up to Mandy yelling. Normally a calm and reserved person, she was screeching into the phone, something about patience and it’s ridiculous and where the hell is her luggage, and that she needs it TONIGHT because she’s leaving Salzburg in the morning (because, remember, all this time, she’s being me, since I’m the more emotional of the two of us).
She walked into the living area. “So sorry if that woke you, but I’m so pissed. They still have your luggage in Munich and they are dragging their feet getting it here. I had to tell them we needed it NOW, since we are leaving for Vienna tomorrow.”
“Hopefully it works,” I said.
“I’ll call back tonight.”
“What’s on the agenda today?” I asked.
“Hiking to the cheese hutte,” she said. We were going to drive to a certain point up this mountain, then take a 2-hour hike to a hutte, which is a house or small farm up in the mountains. Mandy and David call it the cheese hutte because they have an excellent cheese plate that they get when they make it there.
It was a glorious hiking day. I borrowed Mandy’s extra pair of walking sticks (most people use them there), and I learned proper hiking etiquette when crossing paths with other hikers. Everyone smiles at your, wishes you a good hike, and when we finally made it to hutte, I was sweating up a storm, with my sweater wrapped around my waist. I stopped to take a few pictures because it’s all so damn picturesque.
Hiking with David
We ate cheese and bread, and we drank beer. Well, Mandy and David had beers. I had a radler, which is a combination of beer and lemonade, or, in this case, beer and ginger ale. (I’m not a big beer drinker, but I love me a radler) There is nothing, I mean, nothing as refreshing as drinking a radler in the mountains in Austria after a few hours of hiking.
My favorite photo with David.
Refreshed, we made our way back down, and I took in the view. I could tell why this was a favorite spot for Mandy and David. I’d come back to this place in a heartbeat.
On our way home, Mandy made the call to KLM—again. We were getting used to the routine. Call the number, state your reference code, wait for them to check on the status, get prepared when they say “Last known location: Munich.”
“Wait, what?” Mandy exclaimed. “Lexington?”
I whipped my head around to look at her. She looked confused and befuddled and just about any word that could describe a new known location that probably wasn’t in Europe.
“Lexington?” I whispered. “Not Lexington, Michigan? Or probably Lexington, Kentucky?” I was just as flummoxed as she looked.
“What state is it in?” she asked. “State! What state is it in?”
“Ask if there is a KY after the word ‘Lexington’,” I suggested.
“Is there a KY after it?” Mandy asked. She nodded.
“Kentucky?” I asked the car.
Mandy continued the conversation, trying to explain that we were leaving Salzburg the next morning—for Vienna, Austria, not back to the United States. When she hung up the phone, we started laughing.
“This is ridiculous!” I exclaimed. “My suitcase is traveling more than I am on this trip!”
“We should name her!” Mandy said, cracking up. We were loopy from the day’s hike, and to be honest, my lost luggage going on adventures was just laughable. I never knew of anyone who had this kind of lost luggage experience.
“What kind of name can we give my well-traveled luggage?” I asked.
Mandy thought for a moment, “Judy!” she declared. “Judy, like Judy Jetson!”
“Yes!” I cried. “That’s perfect! Judy the Purple Suitcase!”
A few days before that, I was in tears at the thought of lost luggage. Now, I was in tears from laughing at the absurdity of it all. At least I was still on my Authentic Austrian Experience, which included biking through the Wachau wine region along the Danube River.
David took the train to work that day (in Hungary), so Mandy and I had the VW Golf. It was a great time to road trip. She told me about the region a bit more. Not only was it known for wine, but for their apricots, too. “It’s a bit early for apricot season, though.”
We found our hotel in Wiessenkirchen (White Church) before we rented bikes, and headed in one direction towards Durstein, where it’s castle ruins were part of the Robin Hood tale (it’s where King Richard was imprisoned). We ate lunch, drank some wine, climbed up to the ruins, made fun of teenagers (I’m sorry, but it’s true!), and made our way back down. Then we biked past the village we were staying and made it down to a place near Sankt Michael for more wine. It was my new favorite kind of biking, from one wine experience to another.
Biking the Wachau region
That night, we shared meat and cheese plates in a spot just down the street from our hotel. Mandy asked what I wanted to do in Vienna.
“What do you normally do?” I asked her.
She told me that she eats unique food in Vienna—it has everything, from Indian to traditional Viennese cuisine. She told me about the Gardens, and the Vienna Zoo, which is the oldest operating zoo in the world. The next morning, while we were getting ready, she looked it up.
“Oh!” she cried. “They just had baby pandas born there not to long ago!”
“What? Really? Okay, it’s decided. We are going to the Vienna Zoo today!”
However, one thing was giving us a delay.
Remember some of those items I packed in my checked luggage? In Judy?
I needed them. That day.
“Uh, Mandy? I think we need to go to the store. Is there any chance there are American brands close by?” I asked.
Mandy checked her map. “There’s a large shopping center in Krems,” she said. “Good chance they are there.”
“Is it on the way?”
We loaded our bags in the car, I bought some apricot preserves, and we left Weissenkirchen. Onward with my Authentic Austrian Adventure!
I helped direct Mandy to the shopping center, and we found underground parking. The shopping center had two parts to it, and we were under one side. “It looks like the store we need is across the street,” Mandy noted, as we walked up the drive to the parking garage, around the back of a small semi that was unloading goods off of a lift. There was a man working in the back, hanging bags on a heavy metal cart. We stopped right behind it, checking left for traffic, then right for the other side.
That’s when I heard a rattle, a crash, and a gasp behind me. I turned to see Mandy sprawled under that metal cart.
“Mandy! Oh, my god, are you okay?” I cried, not knowing what to do. Should I try to lift the cart? Should I call 911? What is the number for 911 in Austria? Why don’t I know these things! I saw Mandy grip her leg and slowly pull it from under the cart. She hobbled out from under it, favoring her left side. Large gashes were showing up on her left leg and arm.
“I think I’m okay,” she said, trying to put pressure on her left foot. She gasped, and I tried to help her.
The man who was working on the truck jumped down and tried to ask us questions. I know only about 1% of German, and Mandy, who is normally quite good at speaking and understanding her home’s language, was having a hard time processing anything but the pain. The man scampered off, and Mandy suggested taking a break, sitting on the steps next to the sports store. The man came back with another guy, wearing a badge with the logo of the sports store on it. He spoke decent English, and asked us a few questions. He said he already called an ambulance, the hospital was just down the street (he pointed past the direction we had came from), and can he get us anything. We said no, and he said to come see us if there was anything we needed.
Mandy, the brave soul that she is, was struggling with holding in her tears, and she took off her shoe. Her foot was already swelling a lot, and I said, “Oh, that looks painful.” I rubbed her back, and I felt her shudder.
“Mandy, it’s okay to cry,” I said. “You are in a lot of pain.”
Her face crumpled. “But now we don’t get to see the baby pandas!”
“It’s fine!” I said. “It really is! Baby pandas are born all the time,” I lied.
“But you haven’t been to the zoo in a long time,” she insisted.
“There are zoos back home, I can go to one there! Let’s take care of your foot first.” I felt terrible for Mandy. She really wanted me to have a good time on my trip. This was not something anyone could plan on.
We waited a few minutes more before I heard a siren in the distance. “I think that’s for us,” I said, trying to be cheerful and positive and not cursing my body for requiring us to stop in freaking Krems because my freaking luggage was in freaking Kentucky.
The ambulance pulled up, the paramedics spoke with Mandy. Between her struggling German and their broken English, I understood that they were taking her to the hospital for x-rays. They let me sit in the one seat that the back paramedic sits in, and he crouched down next to Mandy, doing his best to reassure both of us that things will be okay. I held onto Mandy’s things while they took her back to the examination room, including her wallet, phone, and left shoe. As they asked me to move to the waiting room, she said to me, “Can you let David know what happened. That I’m okay and we’ll talk to him after I’m done with this?”
“Sure,” I said, and I went out to wait.
Just that morning, Mandy had regaled me of her last time in a hospital. She had told me that how health care systems are set up, the best time to visit the hospital was on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and maybe a Thursday morning, unless they were busy. The weekends were just for dire emergencies and they could hold you over the weekend, until you were treated on a Monday. I was glad it was a Tuesday and the hospital was full of doctors and nurses working to help out my friend.
I texted David while he was at work. He offered to meet us in Krems, and I told him that we should wait until after Mandy was treated. I didn’t want him to leave work if it was just a sprained ankle or something. Within the next hour and a half, Mandy and I were leaving. I had helped the police the best that I could with the paperwork, Mandy found out she had a broken foot, she was given a few prescriptions that she said she would pick up wherever we ended up. We had decided that it would be painful for her no matter where I went, so she asked if I was comfortable driving her car.
“I can do that,” I said.
“Want to at least visit Vienna? There won’t be a zoo, but there are some things you can do with my friends,” she offered. We were staying with one friend, and the other was around to spend time with us.
“Let’s go to Vienna!”
We let David know of our plans, and his only concern was if I could drive his car. I was a tiny bit insulted, until he clarified. “Can Amanda drive a manual?”
This is that moment I told you about in the last story. This is the moment I said a silent “thank you” to my dad for teaching me to drive a stick shift.
“I can drive it, David,” I said.
“Call me if you need me at all,” he said.
We took a cab back to the shopping center.
“Um, I still need to pick up tampons,” I said.
“I’ll stay here,” Mandy said. “Watch out for falling carts!”
I made it across the street without incident.
The irony here? No American brands whatsoever. Note to self: next time you travel abroad, pack lots of tampons in your freaking carryon, Amanda.
I drove the Golf from Krems to the edges of Vienna. I parallel-parked it on a side street between where her two friends lived. The one was home with her sick boyfriend, so she offered to meet us at a cafe and take care of Mandy’s medical needs.
Our time in Vienna was a little less eventful than the rest of the trip. I spent the next day with Nicole, who showed me around the main parts of Vienna. I picked up the backs for my Tiffany’s earrings (remember that?!), and we ate pierogis at an awesome restaurant somewhere in the heart of the city.
I remember loving Vienna and wishing I had more time there. It’s why it’s on my list of places to visit again.
While I toured the city, Mandy tried to come up with a way to fix my last day in Austria, since her broken foot kind of derailed that plan.
Back in that spring, I told her that of all the things we planned, I wanted to visit Dinkelsbuhl the most. It’s the place where my last name originated. It’s a small fortress town in the middle of Bavaria in Germany. I wanted to drink Dinkel-Acker beer (no family or town resemblance; dinkel is a grain used mostly in beer making and acker means field) in Dinkelsbuhl. The best way to get the is by car. I could have driven us there, but since she was planning on dropping me off at the airport on her way home, she would have no way to get there.
Sadly, I have yet to drink my Dinkel-Acker beer in Dinkelsbuhl, but that is also on my list of life goals.
On our last morning in Vienna, Mandy decided to call KLM again. By that point, we had tracked Judy’s progress from Lexington to Paris, Paris to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Munich, Munich to Berlin, and now Berlin to Vienna. Judy and I were both in Vienna at the same time, but since there were no guarantee she was still there (system updates and all), we didn’t try to go to the airport.
Mandy had the brilliant idea to just call Salzburg to see if Judy made it there. She talked to a woman who was working there at the time, who actually walked to the room where the luggage is held. Mandy had the phone on the speaker setting, so we could hear the woman say, “No, it’s not here.” We groaned quietly. “There is a flight coming in from Vienna in twenty minutes. I can call you if it shows up on that flight,” she suggested.
“Yes! Please do that!”
Twenty minutes went by. Thirty minutes went by. When forty minutes passed, we decided to head back to her home, and try to airport later that night.
Mandy’s phone started to ring the Sex and the City ring tone. Caller ID: Salzburg. We looked at each other.
“Is that Judy?” I asked. She picked up the phone.
Judy had officially landed in Salzburg seven days after my arrival in Austria. We both cheered and then Mandy told the woman. “Please don’t take it to the address listed. We are in Vienna now, heading back to Salzburg and we will pick it up at the airport in a few hours.” The woman said she would hold it for me, we thanked her over and over again, and paid our bill so we could make it back to Salzburg. I restrained myself from hugging my luggage in the middle of the airport. I remember doing that back at the apartment, posted a selfie of me with Judy with the caption, “Look who finally made it!”
Due to Mandy’s injury, she couldn’t do much but sit at home or go to her doctor’s appointments for follow ups. On days David was busy, I signed up for some touristy things (headed to the Salt Caves and got a view of Eagle’s Nest). When David was available, he took me on more hikes, and I marveled at the view and how things turned out. On the day of the race, I walked in the rain to meet Mandy’s friends while she and David stayed at home. On my final day in Austria, I spent the day dodging the rain some more, while doing some shopping down in the old part of Salzburg. David offered to meet me at the Salzburg Zoo. They didn’t have baby pandas, but it was fun anyway. We were some of the only people there.
Finally, I headed home. No delayed flights. No lost luggage. I didn’t make it to Dinkelsbuhl, but that will be for another day in the future.
I got what I went for: Authentic Austrian Adventure. Next time around, I’ll be a little more specific so we can avoid the lost luggage and broken foot fiasco.
Next time, we’re hitting Dinkelsbuhl first.
Next time, I’ll avoid having to talk to the police and ride in ambulances, no matter how nice the officers and paramedics are.
Next time, I’m packing underwear in my carryon.
Say “yes” to adventures!