I meant to warn everyone that I was heading off to climb every mountain in Austria for two weeks and would thus be away from the blogosphere for a while, but it was so crazy in those final days (delightful houseguest, wedding, feeding the Hollywoods, etc.) that I never got around to it. In any case, it was a good Wander (odd German euphemism for all levels of hiking), though there were times when I thought mein Freund was going to drag me up and down every peak, cliff, and high point in the Alps. Anyway, a nice feature of Euro wandering are the "huts" where you can eat and sleep so you don't need to carry all your food and sleeping equipment. The huts are generally rustic, but the food (while lacking in perishables) is pretty decent and generally what you are craving after scrambling over and up and down rocks for ten hours...dumpling soups, pasta and Spätzle, sausages and Knödel. The wine was good, the coffee situation significantly less so (but I learned from last year's Wander and this time had a stash of chocolate-covered espresso beans to get me through). There were also about a million fat marmots scrambling and screeching about the mountains and I had been told that you sometimes found them for dinner in the huts. I was seriously craving marmot fricassee, but apparently the little rodents are now protected.....alas. I did, however, manage to have Gross Glockner (the mountain we were hiking around) lamb heart and lung stew (naturally with Knödel).
The uberWander was pleasantly sandwiched between days in Munich and Salzburg. Munich is a lovely city, full of sports cars and stylish people -- sort of an Italianized Germany. I had excellent food photos of Schweinhaxe (Pork Knuckle) and Knödel in Munich but my camera/technology got the best of me again and somehow they were deleted. (All in all I had eight (8!) kinds of Knödel during the trip: bread, potato, pressed, liver, semolina, speck/ham, and napkin (a log-shaped Knödel traditionally steamed in a cloth napkin and then sliced)). Salzburg is also a beautiful city straight out of The Sound of Music. It's also (supposedly) home to Sacher torte, which we dutifully sampled (as well as "warm apple strudel" and Schnitzel (though not with noodles) and lots of good Austrian wine and beer. Even taking into account all the beautiful mountains, wildflowers, adorable herds of Alpine sheep and goats and cows, and the many varieties of Knödel, my hands-down favorite moment of the trip was captured in this last photo here -- mein Freund trying on Lederhosen (after all, what's the point of a German boyfriend if he isn't wearing the costume?)