segunda-feira, 7 de novembro de 2011

Travel log - Europe - Day 22

Day 22 - Salzburg

The next morning, I had breakfast with the family again. It was pretty nice as Olivia’s sister was there. We talked a bit and Ansuela asked me what plans I had. I wanted to buy Hive to take it to my mother, but she told me it would be difficult to find stores open as it was January 6, that is, an important holiday there. So it was not only the kids would dress up as the wise men, their day was a holiday too.
As we finished breakfast, we started getting ready for the first activity of the day: Ansuela would take me to practice nordic skiing. It is not as exciting as slope skiing, but to a person who had never skied it was the right way to start. If you don’t know what nordic skiing is, just imagine you have the skis and the sticks, but you walk in a park or any plain track. You don’t go down the hill (some short ones, maybe, as I would discover). You use the sticks to give you some impulse and inertia does a little helping. I remember how anxious I was as I was putting on the boots and attaching them to the skis. Would it be very different from ice-skating? I hadn’t fallen then, would I fall now? All these questions were going through my mind. So we started. It was a park and it took some minutes but I was getting the way to move. Ansuela had more practice so she was always ahead and would stop and wait for me. In some small hills, she told me I should bend forward and it was a bit of an excitement. But the worst was to climb the hill. You had to bend your feet in a way you would not slide back to the base. Of course it took me about 5 minutes to get on the top of the small hill, about 8 steps, and I really sweated. But my friend was very patient and tried to teach me how I should move and all. Some people were not as patient and they complained in German that I was slowing them down, but I didn’t understand the offenses, whatever they were and I was having so much fun.

After we did all the circuit, we took off the skis and went for a walk on the park. Ansuela told me the yellow building was a monastery and we visited a castle in which some scenes of The Sound of Music were shot. It was very nice. But I was a bit disappointed to have all that snow covering the greeneries. Then, we were getting a bit tired and the clock was ticking fast.

We went back home and Ansuela told me about some ice sculptures she had done and needed some help fixing them. I was so surprised to see how she could think of something so simple to do and at the same time, so beautiful and it was a pleasure to help her hang them on the portal over the gate of the house.

Then, I spent some time checking emails and looking for some places to go after lunch. It would be my last lunch in Austria, because that same night I would be flying to Paris. I talked to Carol and wondered how different things would be if she was there. Would we have gone skiing? I was sure Ansuela would like her as much as she enjoyed my company. But what can we do but wonder?

As soon as I had helped cleaning the table, I set foot to another journey downtown and again the bus didn’t appeal to me and I took the silent and calm path along the river. They had recommend I should take a different way back so that I go could through a beautiful neighborhood with old houses in the middle of a park. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was a nice way to say goodbye to that city which had been so welcoming to me, represented by that friendly and easygoing family. I walked again about 20 kilometers in the day. I was feeling so nice because although I was eating a lot and not running every two days, the amount of walking was just more than I imagined I could handle. Three days and more than 50 kilometers? No pain in the knees or blisters? A miracle. No toy store open, I headed home to finish packing and get ready to go to the airport.

The family was waiting for me with a hot mug of tea and some delicious cookies. We had a snack and I gave them some of the presents we had brought from Brazil. They seemed very simple in face of all they had provided me, but when we bought them, we had no idea what kind people we would eventually find. It was a blind guess, but I relied they would understand the symbolic value implicit in the gift. A piece of Brazil, small, but full of gratitude.

So, Verena’s boyfriend gave a me a ride to the bus stop and I got the bus which was heading to the airport. I was afraid I would not be able to see where I should get off as it was dark, but after half an hour, I saw the airport and its peculiar lights.

Soon I was boarding. However, as I was checking-in something happened. The flight was not direct to Paris, my next destination. I would have to spend some hours in Berlin to get the flight only the next morning. If Charles de Gaulle had improved its conditions for sleeping, I imagined Berlin would have even more comfort as Germany is known by its organization. The agent told me I would have to get my suitcase in Berlin and check it in again. I didn’t feel very happy about walking around the airport with that big suitcase, a burden indeed and asked her if she could dispatch the baggage straight to Paris and I saw her print the tags and put them on the bag. It was going to Paris. And the night would be very peaceful. I wish I hadn’t thought so to be in the least prepared for what was to come...

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