Thursday, February 2, 2017

Austria Day 1 and 2: We don't need no stinking chains!

It seemed like the next day after our Belgium trip we were leaving for Austria, but in reality it was a full week later.  Ha!  It's a little hard to go in and out of our school schedule like that, but we travel so much that we'd never do school if we didn't take advantage of everyday at home even if I was trying to do laundry and repack in the meantime.

We drove about a 6 hour and 40 minute drive and made it there in about that amount of time.  My husband likes to brag that he dehydrates all the kids so we can get there faster without making extra potty stops.  They only get to stop if they are newly potty trained or it is time to get gasoline.  :)

Some friends of ours were planning a trip to Austria the week after ours and asked us before we left if they needed chains for their tires.  We laughed and said, "No way!  The main roads will be clear."  After all, last year there was no issue at all on any of the roads we drove on in February.  However, it was a very mild winter and there was not much snow on the hills for skiing last year either.  This year was a little different.

There was snow at our house when we left and pretty much the whole way, but only on the ground and no blizzards so the main roads were clear.  However, when we got to our apartment that we rented with our favorite traveling buddies the farm road leading to it wasn't in quite such good condition.  It had been plowed, but not salted and so the snow and ice was packed down on the ground.  Apparently, if you have four-wheel drive or a manual transmission it is no problem, but our van/bus really struggled, especially where there was an incline.  It took a while to get up that road and parked.  We had to back up and try to get more momentum at least four times.  Once we got close, but were not quite in the right spot, the kids and I got out and waited inside.  The lady who owns the place lives across the farm road and was helping guide Brian.  Once it was parked, Brian and I looked at each other and said "We're not moving that van until we have to."  Luckily there was a train station, not a five minute walk from us.  Funny thing is we were wishing we had chains on that road.

The dining area in the apartment

Our best traveling buddies ever arrived in their rental van from the airport later on.  We ate pizza and put the kids to bed.  The next day was to be a sledding day.  This was a great house to place for that.  The lady owned the whole farm and told us we could sled or play anywhere.  There was a pretty amazing hill right next to us.  The kids all loved it and had such a great time with the exception of Bobby.  He couldn't even stand up in the snow since it was at least two feet deep.  He could stand on the road part since it was packed down, but he just wasn't thrilled with it.  Unless I was holding him that day he was crying out there.  He wouldn't even ride in the sled.  So I got banished inside pretty quickly.
Judah was a fun guy in the snow.  He'd be floundering around in the snow, not even able to take two steps without falling and he'd just laugh and get back up to try again.  He loved it!

Here's the unhappy boy that only wanted to be held the first day out.

Look how far down Hannah sunk into the snow.

Brian was having a great time!  Look at that smile!

Having too much fun to be cold!

Best picture ever!  Do you even need the sled if you're being drug behind it?

Drew had fun until his hands were frozen and he buried his hat and lost it.  Then the fun was over.
Here's Judah floundering and happy.

The highlight of the day for Bobby was seeing the horses.  I just got tired of standing there holding him while he looked at them and said, "Neigh" a thousand times.

Here was a moment of peace.  It's hard work walking uphill with a toddler in a snowsuit through 2 feet of snow.

The other side of our apartment

Genevieve has fun wherever she goes!

I wasn't allowed to sit down or he turned into this, and between all our snow clothes he was heavy to trudge through the snow with.
He sure did look cute in his bibs though!  Bob in his bibs!

Happy now that we're back in the warm apartment.

However, when it was his afternoon nap time I was ready to go out and play in the snow.  Of course, that's when the big kids are all finishing up their cold fun and coming in to eat, warm up, and listen to a good read aloud.  So I went and got my dear husband to go out with me.  He didn't want to at first until he realized that I had wanted to try sledding for the first time in my life and had been inside all day, not by my choice.  I suited back up in my incredibly warm, mucking the stalls, coveralls.

What a view from the top of the hill!

The sledding hill, a view from the top

A selfie on top of the sledding hill

I was raised in Texas and, therefore, never had been around enough snow to sled when I was young.  By the time I moved to upstate New York, I had a toddler and was pregnant with Genevieve.  Since then I've always been the one inside with the babies or outside helping the babies in the snow.  So, yep, I've never ever sledded before to the best of my knowledge.  Brian got it on video.  It was fun, but I'm a scaredy cat so I slowed myself down with my hands or legs when I got going too fast.

That evening, we took the train to Zell Am See, a town or two away for dinner.

Waiting for the train

The restaurant had a Kid's Club and when the children finished their dinner, they could go play in the kid room with a "nanny" while we finished enjoying our meal.  It was free, and can I just say, more places should do that?!!  It was super delicious as all our meals always are in Europe.  We all left talking of how we need to loose weight since we are constantly in vacation mode since moving here.  Ha ha!

"See" (pronounced 'Zee')means "lake" in English, so here is the "See" from the Zell Am See.
The only thing about taking the train is you are a slave to the train schedule.  It was really cold and we had to kill time when all the shops and things were closed until 10:15pm.  It was a late night, and we had an early train to catch the next day.

The kids threw rocks and tried to find unfrozen spots on the lake while we were killing time waiting on our train.

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