If you ask us how friendly and welcoming the Austrian people are we’d have to be careful about what we said! We wouldn’t want to go on too much about how happy and smiley they are. Or get carried away with just how generous and giving they all are with their time. Or even mention how amazingly sociable they are. It would be tough to not over-do it. Suffice it to say that we have been welcomed into the local community with open arms and have met so many lovely friendly people and we’ve only been here a little over a week!
Our hosts, Eva and Ottmar, had been away on a little break of their own and returned to immediately invite us out for something to eat and drink. Obviously we never say No to anything anymore. They took us out to what the locals call a Buschenschank. These places only exist in this part of Austria, Styria, and they are tiny rustic bars in small vineyards that sell their own wine and offer platters of meats and cheeses. No signs, no spirits, no advertising, just local hospitality. An evening drinking all sorts of different wines (sorry boys, I’ll get back on the beer as soon as) and a few schnapps where we got to know our hosts. The drink of choice everywhere appears to be Mischung, which is a mixture of wine and fizzy water (like a Spritzer I guess). Everyone drinks it so we did too. Thanks for a great night Eva and Ottmar. Oh, and their daughters came along, and the grandparents, and some other friends. Brilliant, we love a Buschenschank.
Was that the end of our sociable weekend? Was it …….. no. The next day saw us all going into the local town of Gross Sankt Florian for a traditional evening of music, dancing and drinking. The common theme with a lot of our nights out has been that we say ‘Yes we’d love to go’ but aren’t totally sure what we’re going to. Exciting huh?
It was great though. Traditional lederhosen-dressed girls and guys lept around to traditional music, slapping thighs and kicking butts and even chopping wood (with a real axe) whilst we chatted to anyone and everyone and sampled the amazing home made beer that was being served.
Great evening where once again we were introduced to many family and friends. Returning to the car around 10 Eva mentioned that there was a concert in Deutschlandberg and did we fancy it? Um, yes of course. So off immediately and into the town square after a 15 minute drive where we watched a 20 piece brass band play soul, funk, jazz, reggae, and anything else they could think of! So another beer and a bratwurst as we ‘funked’ the night away.
Was that it for music events? No chance. Sunday morning saw us over in Frauenthal an der Lassnitz for a morning jazz in the park type of event. A couple of glasses of Mischung obviously went down well as we sat back in the sunshine and enjoyed a great little jazz band play for a couple of hours. Such a great atmosphere too with families young and old just relaxing listening to the music.
Oh, I forgot to mention Jo helped judge the local garden flower competition. And we were taken cycling by Ottmar right round Deutschlandsberg. And we shared some more wine and schnapps with the grandparents. So much going on!
The big event of the weekend was the cup match. The girls football team of Gross Sankt Florian were playing in Graz so we got ourselves over there and cheered them on. Both Magdalena and Marie-Therese played, and although it was unbelievably hot it was a really good game. Those Graz girls looked a bit big and chunky but we had the skill and the football brains to make them look distinctly average. It ended up as an easy 6-0 win for GSF with Marie-Therese lashing in the last goal in the 90th minute. Cue lots of screaming from Jo, Eva, and some other mums.
Obviously a few glasses of Mischung were sunk during and after the game to celebrate. It’s only polite isn’t it? We’ve been invited to watch a home game next week as the International Fan Club so looking forward to that immensely.
To top the last few days off we went into the city of Graz early on Monday with Eva and Magdalena. They showed us all the sights including the beautiful castle and we walked our socks off in the roasting Austrian sunshine. So many things to see that we’ll be back again next week for another sightsee.
An amazing, wonderful, busy week and we have got to know Eva and her family so well. Returning to my original comment about the locals being friendly, we just couldn’t have been made more welcome. We do actually feel like part of the family now and really don’t want our stay here to ever end.