Another weekend away, another change of the group chat name. (If you’re interested: Sassburg. Not my finest I’ll admit, but Prahahahaha was peak.)
Eva dropped me off in Linz after an hour’s chat in the car about how everything in life has a meaning, and Emma and I made our way to the station and caught our train. Waiting in Salzburg Hauptbahnhof for Charlotte, we re-discovered Find my Friends and the relentless stalking commenced – mostly, it has to be said, of each other, which was not all that interesting as we were never more than about 10 meters away.
After meeting Charlotte, we made our way to our hastily-booked hostel which was about 2 minutes from the station. It was pretty basic but had everything we needed, namely beds, pillows, duvets and a shower. I didn’t learn my lesson from Hinterglemm and immediately bagsy-ed a top bunk. We’re pretty sure the pillows were filled with cotton wool and Emma found bloodstains on her duvet cover, but overall it was very comfy and the lift was made by a company called Schindler so that entirely made up for everything.
We went to meet Martha and headed straight to a beer shop she’d heard about called Bottle Shop that sold all kinds of beer and, most importantly, it was rumoured that it was based in a cellar that you entered by going down a slide. The rumours turned out to be true! The slide didn’t disappoint and neither did the beer (I had alcoholic ginger beer, yuuuuuuuum) or the puns (Miami Weiss… lol).
After a delicious dinner of noodles, we wandered back to Martha’s flat on the Residenzplatz where she spoilt us with all different kinds of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, biscuits and real Mozartkugeln (apparently the ones we’ve all tried before aren’t the original ones!). She was such a good host that we christened her flat ‘Martha’s Café’ and left a five-star TripAdvisor review on a Post-It note on her kitchen door. We loved it so much that after a surprisingly comfortable night’s sleep on our cotton wool pillows, bloodstained sheets and rock-hard mattresses, we headed straight back to Martha’s Café in the morning for breakfast. We needed a lot of energy for what was to follow: DIRNDL SHOPPING. Because living in Austria for a year seems like a good excuse to buy traditional dress – and they’re sooooo preeeetty…
We found one dirndl in particular that we all really liked in the first shop we went into, so of course, we all tried it on. The shop assistant came over to help us, and even though we’d all squeezed ourselves into the smallest sizes we could (following the tradition of dirndls being extremely tight so as to show off your boobs to their best advantage), she insisted on giving me a size down to try on, which I was adamant wasn’t going to do up over my boobs. It did (barely) but there are no photos of the results because my blog would probably get deleted for inappropriate content, such was the push up power of the corset. It was a great dress other than the fact it was a bit too long, and the others convinced me to wait and have a look in the other shops before buying it.
Cleavage for days – this wasn’t even the size down
Next, we went to a small boutique where Emma and Charlotte immediately found dirndls that they looked gorgeous in, while the shop assistant again made a big fuss of us – unbuttoning, adjusting, pulling blouses up and down, tying knots and bows here, there and everywhere. I tried on another two just for fun and completely fell in love with one of them which was a little less pornographic than the first. The shop assistant (who was so nice!) explained to us the significance of where the skirt is tied – a bow to the left side means single, to the right means married, in the middle means virgin and tied at the back is ambiguous – it can mean widowed or that you’re a waitress currently on shift (lol). She looked us over quickly for engagement rings before swiftly tying our bows to the left hand side, despite a few protests from those who aren’t quite single – the protests were waved aside with a quick ‘Ah, well, if you’re not married, perhaps this is a bit more interesting.’ She also showed us how to adjust our blouses to show more or less cleavage depending on how late it was and how many nice-looking young men were around – told you she was nice.
We all left significantly poorer but very excited, clutching blue bags full of traditional Austrian dress. We headed quickly to Café Fürst for Kaffee und Kuchen to celebrate spending so much money on an item of clothing – probably the most we will ever spend on a dress (except a wedding dress and, to be honest, not even definitely then). We had Mozarttorte because Salzburg is Mozart’s birthplace and… when in Austria.
Bryony, who had stayed behind in Linz for a Maturaball, joined us afterwards and we wandered back through the Mirabelle Gardens (which were hidden under the snow), the Altstadt and the Cathedral before ending up back in the Dirndl boutique to find one for her as well. It was lucky that we went back because I’d managed to leave my skirt/apron there, which would have been a travesty!
Back at Martha’s Café, we paraded around in our new dirndls, drank tea and ate the flapjacks Martha had cooked for her other friends (ooops). Then we went out to an Italian restaurant where the pizzas were HUGE – we ordered three to share between five of us and we couldn’t finish them. Then we headed off to bed fairly early to be ready for our big day on Sunday.
Bright and early at 7.30am, we sat waiting for the call to confirm that the weather was ok enough for paragliding. The call came and everything was set for us to jump off a mountain in Werfen (coincidentally, the original Fuck Off Mountain from ‘A Platform and a Fuck Off Mountain’). At 8.20am, we met Tom and his colleague, Wolfgang, who were going to drive us up the mountain and throw us off. The final pilot, Hans, would be meeting us there (of course they were called Wolfgang and Hans, how could they have been called anything else?).
Emma, Martha and I climbed into the minivan with Wolfgang whilst Bryony and Charlotte rode with Tom. Wolfgang was good-looking in that rugged way that skiers and surfers are, and gave the impression of being someone you’d think was younger than they turn out to be. He spoke English with an adorable accent and I was, predictably, in love with him. We spent the journey marvelling at the amazing weather and the picture-perfect landscape – we had once again lucked out with the weather, which was cold but clear-skied and even, that most fabled of things, sunny. Martha, who was sitting up front, told us later that while we’d been admiring the views, Wolfgang had been steering the mainly with his knees as he drove us up the mountain.
IT. WAS. FREEZING.
We got the cable car to the top of the mountain and I proceeded to put on every item of clothing I had – in the end I was wearing thermal leggings, thermal socks, boots, jeans, a vest, a t-shirt, 2 jumpers, a coat, a scarf, 2 pairs of gloves, a bobble hat and Wolfgang’s extra jacket, resulting in an aesthetic I have dubbed ‘Michelin Man’s Day Off’.
Just wait til you see this on the catwalk
Martha, Bryony and I were the first to jump. Surprisingly, I wasn’t feeling nervous at all, even when we had to sign those forms that say it’s not their fault if you die – probably because I was busy congratulating myself on being near enough to Wolfgang that when he asked who wanted to fly with him, I was close enough to grab the form from his hand first. Even as Bryony sailed off into the cloud, I didn’t feel a single pang of fear, which kind of defeated the object as the whole reason I’d pushed so hard for paragliding was because I’d thought it would scare the shit out of me.
As it happened, it was just amazing fun. To take off, we did a kind of jog down the side of the mountain that , judging from the videos, was even more ungraceful than it felt, and the parachute filled with air and lifted us off the ground. There was none of that horrible falling sensation that I hate so much, just some lovely relaxing floating. The cloud cleared and we had the most wonderful view, which I caught in glimpses when my eyes stopped streaming from the icy air. Wolfgang let me steer for a bit and we did some fast turns (where there was a bit of a dropping sensation) but sadly no loop-the-loops.
Bryony, Martha and I waited at the bottom while the pilots went back up to get Emma and Charlotte. When they had floated safely back to base, we said goodbye the the pilots (sob) and went for a restorative coffee/hot chocolate, our purses considerably lighter again – although paragliding still hadn’t been as expensive as my dirndl, which I think is saying something.
Then a seven hour journey back to Rohrbach commenced, interspersed with eating the left over pizza from the night before, buying sustenance from spa and stopping at Emma’s flat to plan my lessons for the next day while I waited for my connecting train. The following day was not as exciting as the previous three; I had a 5.30am start and five back-to-back lessons to teach on such riveting topics as ‘smoking’ and ‘tenses’.
As usual, we had a wonderful weekend and I’m excited to see what the next few weeks will have in store for us!
Until next time, Wiederschauen!