Sunday, June 24, 2012

Austrian lake, swans, beer, and hot dogs

Another quiet day (a sunday, so shops were closed and the train was barely running)! I got up a little late this morning (around 10 am) and had a small breakfast before helping my austrian parents finish cleaning up after the barbecue last night. I then headed to the lake to get some reading done. It only got up to upper 70s (F) but I still had to be careful allowing my skin to be in the sun (still dealing with after effects of sunburn, at least now I've passed the 'hurt every time I move' to the 'peeling skin' stage). My austrian mother was curious about my kindle and so I explained to her the different types of books on it. I've noticed most members of my austrian family refer to such a device as an 'e-book'.

At lake, set up on the dock under an umbrella on a chair. With my kindle....
Before I finished reading at the lake I ran into my neighbor, Martin, who invited me to a barbecue later that night. I said 'sure' and hopped over to his side of the lake (really just over the hedge from my austrian family's lakefront property) later that night with some cake (left over from the barbecue from the night before).

(Before the barbecue I had some free time and it with my Austrian grandfather who spoke with me a little in English and taught me some German words (welcome, days of week, time of days, etc.). He mentioned that I should ask my austrian father to only speak German to me so I could learn it and I laughed somewhat nervously).

At the barbecue I was offered some lemon beer (in case you were curious it was Zipfer beer although it is not the only beer that has a type of lemon flavor; just seems the most commonly drunk; also cans seem to come in .5 liter sizes). A few other friends of Martin showed up and some hot dogs were put on the grill. The type of hot dogs they were grilling were hot dogs with cheese inside, wrapped in bacon. Yes you read that correctly. CHEESE and BACON. How could I say no?

Barbecue meal (with the hot dog of course)
Some swans showed up at the shore and we fed them some bread we had laying around. Martin tried to coax the swans to come up on the shore but they firmly remained in the water at the shoreline.

The swans

Martin feeding the swans
It was interesting to talk to some people closer to my age. From my observations smoking is much more common in Austria among the younger generations (than in the U.S.) and from conversation I learned that laws about smoking inside buildings were just made two years ago (still can smoke in some parts of bars, but now have non-smoking areas). We also touched a little bit on the subject of alcohol and they mentioned that a shot of tequila can go anywhere from 5 to 10 euros in a bar. They also mentioned that about 1 out of every 10 Austrian farmer now creates schnapps and that almost anything grown on a tree has a schnapps for it in Austria. Other subjects of conversation were about work, school, and life in general.

The guys playing around with water balloons
Tomorrow if my austrian family doesn't have plans I will probably try to visit Villach again but we shall see. Ciao!

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