synopsis of my time in the land of austria - part two: taxenbach
a brief taxi journey from the airport to salzburg main train station - a bit scrutty for my liking. we find our train and an hour and a half later we’re in the pitch blackness of taxenbach. almost falling onto the tracks from the train i trundle over to the station house. lots of interesting sounds fill the air; wildlife buzz and hiss and water rushes somewhere nearby. adventures ahoy! we saw a sign to taxenbach and considered following it. we were right not to as it would only take us in the opposite direction of our accommodation. gemma enquired about calling a taxi (not the biscuit sort), but we were told that they don’t operate in the area. the station guard then made a telephone call to our austrian (only) speaking hostess and she arrived to pick us up, accompanied by her stinky dog, charlie. please charlie, don’t lick or sit by me. honestly he did stink. quite sweet though. we drove up steep hills and turned tight corners and stopped at base camp. unable to speak the lingo, it was a tad frustrating/awkward trying to communicate at times. my german language skills are very limited indeed; hello, how old are you, thanks, cheers (this one thanks to tom).
entering the chalet was very exciting; however i have to admit, i was disappointed to begin with. the main reason was that our hostess had not left us with any supplies, such as coffee, milk, bread, nor even a bottle of wine. i sent a text to my mum informing her of my safe arrival and confirming ‘first impressions, shit!’. which would later come back to bite me on my arse, as you will soon read.that night we played cards like maniacs, an activity which continued throughout the trip, and we drank boiled water, which left a white chalky substance in the drinking vessel, possibly fluoride, according to dr gemma? the boiled water idea quickly ceased and soon after we drank straight from the tap via a cup or glass and became slightly hysterical. does fluoride cause hysteria? a great night had by all. here’s where my arse gets bitten; that morning deb and lee (our heroes) awoke the earliest to buy supplies from the local shop. deb shook me and told me to look out the window at the view.
the place and surroundings were not in fact shit but in the light of day, actually quite awesome! here’s where days, events and activities merge and i’ve not really recalled them in the correct order. we walked into taxenbach town centre, about an hour, along a busy road. regardless of the traffic noise we had a lovely leisurely stroll with the sun beating down on our little english heads. arriving in town we had some refreshing beverages and i had paella for lunch. after a walk around the tiny area we went to billa, to get some groceries and booze. we all chipped in and loaded ourselves up with bags. a short journey on the bus and we stopped at the bottom of our steep hill. i didn’t realise just how unfit i was until this moment. commence ‘operation purple-sweaty-face’. that evening we chilled, talked, ate, drank, listened to ipods, played cards and laughed a lot. these moments were kinda the theme of the holiday and were my favourite times above all. another great day and night!
yet again another lovely morn with delicious meats and putrid cheeses for brecky. we took a trip to zell am see, another town centre but much bigger than taxenbach. i liked it there because, i’m sorry to say, there were tacky shops and people, but it wasn’t in-your-face busy, just pleasant.
on a downside though, never drink or eat at crazy daisy’s. my meal was a bit poo and we were over-charged. before leaving the town tom and gemma arranged for us to take a coach trip the following day up the highest mountain in austria! we then had a sinister cab ride back to the chalet. as we crossed the road to get into the first taxi, as you do, the second cabby accosted us demanding that we get in his taxi. ‘nah mate, you’re alright thanks’. i was a bit apprehensive to say the least of getting into our taxi because as we approached, a blood stained tramp vacated the front seat (where i was forced to sit) rambling on about something or another. quality service indeed! after a brief haggle of an appropriate fare we set off for home.
awaking way too early the next morning, a bit hung-over, i didn’t have time for breakfast before our daytrip. we boarded our coach and started off on our 27 hairpin bend journey. we stopped off at designated points for breaks before reaching our destination – just below the summit of the ‘grossglockner’. our tour guide, heidi, for the purposes of this summary, tried to sell us anything and everything. she tried to push on us some, ‘noice cakes and noice coffee’ in the cafe, as well as a book of the mountain which appeared to be printed in the 70’s! we arrived at the top, and frankly, even though the weather was cloudy and you could hardly see jack shit, the view was still pretty amazing. a real glacier, man! noice.
on the way back down we passed through a couple of villages/towns and rested for several minutes to take in the sea air. we stopped at a church which apparently contained some of christ our lord’s blood. does that mean scientists could clone jesus? we passed through another place which is quite close to italy. apparently, when mussolini invaded the area he wanted it to be more like italy, so he went and forced italian families to move there against their will. me, deb, john and christina had some lovely authentic italian ice-cream from there, noice. we also bought a 1gb camera memory stick for 17.99 euros each. get in! that night, after most of us went to bed, me, deb and john stayed up drinking lots of booze - wine, larger, vodka, and absinthe. a lethal cocktail in the hands of the inexperienced! i thought this was a very bold move by john as he would need to have his wits about him for the following day’s planned activity; white water rafting! ha.
me and deb decided against this for fear of our lives so we went for a walk to get pizza ingredients and stayed in the chalet. luckily, on the way back up the hill, heavy bags aplenty, our hostess and smelly charlie drove up and offered (hand gestured) us a lift. we then went our separate ways, albeit awkwardly. back to the rafting. all that needs to be said is that lee fell in the water. double ha. pour vous. the following day we ventured into zell am see one last time to check out a music festival held in the streets. we stopped at a mexican/italian restaurant for food. me and john shared our meals whilst listing to the haunting sounds of two men and an accordion, entertaining us with their rendition of hello dolly. anyway - food, we got chicken wings, spicy ribs, chips and garlic bread. marvellous! little did i know it then but tonight was going to be one of the funniest times i’ve had in ages. having supped quite a few beverages and having played several hands of shithead, we were given a pleasant surprise in the form of a visit from john’s alter ego, the austrian speaking gerhard accompanied by his translator (me). i never knew john was so fluent. i’m sure much offence would have been caused if in the company of the locals. sorry. brilliant though! the night also included an addition to the utility sock series, which made its debut appearance at the green man festival 2006. ladies and gentlemen, may i please present the utility headband:
the next day was our last in taxenbach before we journeyed to salzburg. previously in the week one of us got wind of a possible market in taxenbach. we took an alternative route this time on a cycle path through some picturesque countryside. we walked into the town realising that we got our dates mixed up and the market wasn’t happening for a couple of days. oh well. we also wanted to go on a waterfall/mountain trek but weren’t quite sure how to get there. we asked our friendly cafe waitress for directions, for the purposes of this summary lets call her ooter. i was so pleased i decided to wear my jesus sandals on this day (tsk). honestly, i mean who climbs up a mountain trek in sandals! my feet were in bulk. i was almost about to turn back but the end was in sight. we caught the bus to the chalet and made it back just in time to get some more booze from the shop at the bottom of the hill. oh the joy! another terrific night of entertainment and pizza ensued. the next morning, after uncomfortably settling our owed ‘taxes’ with our hostess, we got a lift to the train station. bye, bye stinky charlie. next stop, salzburg.