My hubby is just wonderful and thoughtful; constantly scheduling new exciting moments for me. I know I sound like a gushy bride but he really is very empathetic to my feelings. He often remarks that he remembers how lonely it is to live in a new place, before you get your bearings and secure your own place in that society. So often, he and his family find a new thing to introduce me to.
Weekend before last, to celebrate me starting my language classes, hubby and I traveled to Breitensee (Western Austria) to spend the weekend at his cousin’s house where we stayed up really late and imbibed lots of sturm (essentially grape juice fermenting into wine), played poker, and watched Transformers 3 (personally, I prefer Megan Fox to the new girlfriend). Not fancy but to someone who spends a lot of time alone, a real treat! We woke at about noon the next day, ate brunch and visited the Donauturm where we surveyed the sights identifiable at 165 meters in the air and then I was introduced to Milchrahmstrudel – a piping hot historically-traditional desert speciality served with a delicious vanilla cream sauce that is to die for!
After savouring a couple bites and a glass of wine, we headed off to the Wiener Prater. The combination of the fall temperatures , the calls of the game/ride hawkers, and the twinkle of the lights against the night sky made me feel like I was home at our Christmas Carnival! Maybe it was the wine from before but I bravely entered a haunted house (not too bad, it was actually pretty fun) and foolishly got on a gravity ride – you know the ones that go all the way up in the air and then drop you?! Yeah, not so much fun for me, lol (although my cousin-in-law had a great time laughing at my terror). My favorite part of theme parks has always been the food and the Prater was no different – hello Langos!
Last Friday, we drove up north to visit my MIL and the weather really plummeted. Traveling through the mountains, it registered in at only 1°C (almost 34°F). Now, I anticipated a restful weekend, but had no idea how relaxing it would be. It seems my husband and his mom had planned a new experience for me – the thermal resort. As it turns out, MIL’s area is very well known for its hot springs with all their therapeutic benefits and besides skiing, Austrians spend the winter lazing about in hot springs and saunas. On Sunday, the entire family (grandparents, parents, hubby and I, and his younger sister and her boyfriend) went to brunch at Thermenhotel PuchasPlus for a fantastic buffet.
After we’d eaten our fill and Oma, MIL, hubby and I had seen the rest off (seems lounging in heat is not a favorite activity of the others); we gathered our locker keys from reception and headed into the thermal resort. We traversed the long hallway toward the sauna area, wrapped in terry robes, wearing rubber flip-flops, and carrying towels, each meter getting perceptibly warmer than the previous and our moods getting merrier with each step. Now, I’ll admit, I really didn’t know what to expect and honestly, the thought of sitting around sweating didn’t seem that appealing BUT I also wished to be solicitious to my MIL and Oma as they are so very kind to me; plus I’d made a pact with hubby years ago to try everything at least once before deciding whether I’d like it or not (that pact does not include – and is not limited – to bungee-jumping and parachuting). The place was gorgeous and warm! A large common room was surrounded by smaller rooms with foggy glass doors and when people entered or emerged, great clouds of steam gushed into the common area. There were various sauna styles (i.e. flower-infused sauna, sea-salt infused, traditional herbal sauna, bio sauna, and hubby’s favorite, a Finnish-style of sauna called the Kellerstöckl). Chipped ice dropped into a marble tub (used to cool heated bodies and tighten the pores) and little hidden alcoves (which proved to be showers) preceded the exit to the outdoor heated pool and cold-water pool. After a few minutes of taking in my surroundings, I finally noticed that no one was wearing a stitch of clothing…and here’s where it gets hilarious! First, imagine trying to struggle out of a robe and wrap yourself with a towel without exposing yourself – not possible! I was convinced that every pair of eyes in the place was upon me and the harder I tried, the more I failed. Finally, I just sucked in my gut and brazenly tossed off my robe, stared straight ahead refusing to make eye-contact with anyone, and sprinted for the first glass door I could find! In less than 2 minutes, rivulets of sweat coursed down my face, chest and back while hubby, MIL, and Oma remained dry as a bone, lol. Of course, as the day wore on, I became more comfortable in my skin in more ways than one. Maybe the steam had lulled me into a sense of complacency or maybe I was dehydrated from all the sweating, but truth be told, it was a little liberating – and the full-body massage didn’t hurt either! Now’s your turn to tell the truth, would you have stripped and sweated?