Austria had shown me a beautiful autumn season so far. The trees are colored with magnificent hues, lit up with sunshine and blue skies. Reinhard and I decided to enjoy the perfect weather with a nice hike to a neighbor town. Along the way we were greeted by friendly cows, baby sheep, and mountain goats.
On our way back, we stopped by a roadside stand that had some pumpkins for sale. You pick your favorite ones and then stick some euros in the slot. The biggest pumpkins were all gone but we figured the medium sized pumpkins would still allow us to carve them. We took them home and made our designs the following day. Baloo the kitten and Opa Fohringer were particularly intrigued as to what we were doing with the “Kürbis”. They ended up pretty nice and they’re now sitting on the balcony, greeting the cows across the street.
Reini and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the wedding of Reini’s friend Hannes with his very beautiful new bride Bettina. I wore a Loft dress and Reini dressed up in a suit and tie, but we were still a bit out of place. I discovered most of the other guests wore traditional outfits, lederhosen and dirndls, as we walked up to the village church (two doors down from Oma’s inn). It seemed like a pretty normal Catholic wedding ceremony to me, lots of prayers and songs. It was very pretty. They personalized it at the end when members of the Kelchsau Snowboarding Club (of which the groom is a member) left right after communion to go outside and line the exit by holding up their snowboards for the bride and groom to walk underneath. They also shot off cannons which, of course, startled me a bit 🙂
After the ceremony, there were an army of taxis tasked with bringing all the guests up to the top of Höhenbrand Alm that is only accessible in wintertime by a ski lift. It was cold at the top (there walk talk of snow later in the night) but there was a great view of the surrounding villages. There was a big party cabin and a big tent outside for the rest of the guests (there were heaters, no worries). Austrian weddings are fun because they start out with coffee and cake! No need to wait until the end! And at this particular wedding, they had a whole wall of cakes to choose from (in addition to an off-limits white bride’s cake). After the weird tradition of stealing the bride and groom and taking them to a nearby place for schnapps, the dancing started and lasted all night in between dinner courses. They had two traditional bands playing music to keep guests entertained. Reinhard showed off his childhood dance class lesson skills as he twirled me around the floor doing the foxtrot! Toward the end, everyone lined up to give the newlyweds their gifts. It really was a lovely wedding for a very lovely couple.
I missed the big cow parade that happened a couple of weeks ago, but there are still some cow families that haven’t yet made the trip from their mountain house back to their village house. Luckily for me, I got to witness one of the cow groups marching home! The baby cows in the trailer were just too precious for words, so here are a couple of videos!
Reini’s company gave free tickets to the big Innsbruck “fall festival” which was more like a huge exhibition of all things to prepare people for winter. We rode our bicycles through a sweet park with grand mountain views to get to the large exhibition hall. There were many different rooms. Some featuring construction materials like new windows and cutting edge heated floors, and others displaying spas with futuristic jets.
We had two favorite rooms: the wine room and the infomercial room. The wine room was awesome. Some small wineries had stations with free sample glasses! We enjoyed a few glasses and chatted with the winery owners. Another crazy room was full of people selling products just like infomercials. The salespeople even had the signature microphone. Reini was impressed how they just kept talking and chopping even when no one was at their booth.
The last big room that we found was the fashion room. We stumbled upon a fashion show. It certainly wan’t like the one that I went to in Milan, but the Austrians gave a rare glimpse into their creative style.
I made the big leap. I moved to Austria. It actually happened. If all goes according to plan, I will be working toward a Master’s degree at the University of Innsbruck for the next two years. My flight landed Sunday and classes began the next day. It certainly has been a whirlwind of a few day!
We stayed in the village all Sunday. Reini’s mom made us tasty turkey schnitzel and his Oma invited us over for some homemade cake. Opa Fohringer was quick to show us the beautiful sunflowers that he had been growing. All the ladies had some fresh picked ones on the tables and Reini cut me some, too!
The next day we went to a bunch of different registration offices to work on completing various forms. I was afraid of hitting some traffic as we drove around early Monday morning. The only delays we encountered were from some cows crossing the road!
I did end up going to class, too. Reini and I rode bikes (a very difficult task when you haven’t ridden in a very long time) to the school to meet up with one of his friends who is a current student who agreed to show us around a little. My school is in an ultra modern building – it’s all glass on the outside. We found where the “library” is and where the “student union” office is. The library has a weird ‘no backpacks’ rule which I don’t appreciate. They make you put your backpacks in lockers outside the library and then carry in your notebooks and other items in a plastic basket. Makes no sense to me. And their student union office is nothing like Elon’s grand Moseley Center. But at 5% of the cost of a semester at Elon, I guess it’s understandable. Then the guys left me and I went to my very first class. I think it will go pretty well. The professors seem passionate and I can understand them reasonably well. We will see how the rest of the semester goes!