Monday, June 28, 2010
Europe 2010 - Day 9
Sunday was great. The breakfast spread at the Cortisen was the most impressive we've seen yet. I was especially impressed with the dozen or so varieties of fresh jellies that were available. Brooke, on the other hand, had one of the girls show her how to operate the espresso machine. Something tells me our kitchen is going to have one of those before long.
After breakfast, I did some research on paragliding, as I've seen that it is a possiblity here in the Salzkammergut region. That research included about four trips down to the reception area to get clarification on how to use the phone here in Europe.
While I was doing that, Brooke was sunbathing in a lounge chair at the edge of the lake on the hotel's sundeck. I went out and joined her for a few minutes once I had a paragliding trip booked for Monday morning (we'll run off a cliff in Obertraun, Austria, before making our way to Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany).
Then we strolled through the village, checking out the various shops. There have been salt mines in this area for centuries, and we found one store that had a variety of local salt (salz) products. They had cooking salts, bathing salts, lotions, everything you can think of all made with pure local mineral-laden local salt.
For lunch, we stopped at a cafe just a few doors up the street from the Cortisen. I really wanted to try a ham and (Swiss) cheese omelette. So I did. Brooke and I also split a pizza with cheese, ham, tomatoes and mushrooms. The waitress was under the impression that the omelette was my entree--not my appetizer--and that Brooke was having the pizza all to herself. So as we paid the bill, Brooke felt compelled to explain to the waitress that I helped with the pizza.
We went back to our room and threw on our bathing suits before making our way to a riverfront dock area that rented electric motor boats and paddleboats (you know, the ones you pedal like a bike) by the hour. We took a paddleboat out to the middle of the lake and jumped in the water. It was freezing for the first few minutes--Brooke couldn't catch her breath at first--but then you got used to it. I was just swimming around in the middle of the lake (Wolfgangsee) with a 360-degree panorama of beautiful mountains surrounding me. It was one of those moments where you stop and say to yourself, "I can't believe I'm doing this right now. I can't believe I'm in a lake in Austria, surrounded by all of this."
I'll remember that lake experience for the rest of my life.
We decided to relax a little after returning the boat. We had dinner reservations at the Cortisen's restaurant for 8 p.m., so we showered up and changed into some nicer attire before heading down to eat.
It was one of those dinners where they bring you a couple "greetings from the kitchen," and they keep swapping out your silverware based on what you order and you have to try to remember the proper dining etiquette of when to use which fork and knife. I ordered salmon with an orange glaze and Brooke had trout from the lake. This meal probably topped all that we've had during vacation so far.
Sadly, we both realize that when we check out tomorrow morning, our last few days of vacation will probably fail to match the time we've had here in Saint Wolfgang. I can promise we will be back here again.
That brings up a point about the travelers you see here. In Switzerland, you see many, many Chinese, Japanese and Indian tourists (Indians go there to escape their own monsoon season). But of course, you also notice a decent amount of American travelers as well. Here in Saint Wolfgang, most everyone is European. It is a popular German resort town--great skiing in the winter. I was signing the book at Saint Wolfgang Parish Church this afternoon as we were taking a more in-depth walk through the place, and I had to turn back almost 15-20 pages to mid-June to find the last time someone had scrawled a message in English. I guess Saint Wolfgang is a place that is left out of most popular American travel and guide books (I found back it in May while scanning lakefront properties using Google Earth).
Well, I need to figure out where we have to drive to tomorrow morning for our paragliding adventure. And from there it's on to a few days in Germany where we'll visit the "King's Castles."