Saturday, July 6, 2013

Spring (and lots of rain)

We took a vacation to the Salzkammergut (planned during the winter) to enjoy overnighting on a farm and the fresh air and green of the mountains. Unfortunately it rained, steadily, the whole time!! But it wasn't so bad really. Ani enjoyed the animals at the farm, and woke up extra early to shovel hay and milk the cows. She really loves working with animals. The Ms. of the farm was impressed with Ani's enthusiasm and if Ani were older and so inclined, probably would have offered Ani a job helping out on the farm.

Despite the rain we did still get around. We visited the salt mine in Hallstadt. This place is very interesting, as it has been a place of salt mining since the dawn of human civilization. I felt the long history of our kind in the salt stones of that mine. It's a salt mine, so where did the salt come from? Now we go back even further in history: the salt comes from the time when this part of Austria was ocean, then it became a salt lake, then it dried up, then it was shaped into mountains! Now that's going back a little in time. So in the mine are layers of dried up salt embedded in the rock, and since the dawn of civilization humans have been digging into this mountain to obtain the salt. Here's the neat part: the salt rock is right there in the mine, and if you lick it (and I did!) it not surprisingly tastes like salt! Coooool.

Despite the rain we also had luck. There was a festival in a town where they make floats covered completely with narcissus flowers. We were wandering around the day before the fest, and came across a tent where some people were constructing a R2D2 out of narcissus flowers. First they asked me to help lift the heavy iron scaffold from a truck under the rain tent, and then we were invited to help stud the R2D2 scaffold with flowers - no wonder, it's a ton of work: three flowers per chicken wire hole! Ani and Pascal took to the task happily! The other kids were surprised- especially about Pascal - about their enthusiasm. Said the one kid to the other about Pascal: look at him he does that good! Is he really a boy? Ja, of course, look at him he's a boy. This was all said in a pretty thick accent which made it all the more amusing.

Ani feeding a cow near the narcissus field.

The narcissus field.

Bucket and buckets of narcissus! First they collect them in the fields, which is a bit of work in itself, then they cut them and transport them to where the floats are being made.


Three flowers in every hole!


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