20 August, 2010

Vacation week 3: Gleinstätten, Austria

The campground is small and nestled in an idyllic landscape just south of Graz in the heart of Austrian wine country. We had great plans for travel, but have been grounded for 5 days. The kids have caught some kind of a stomach virus and I'm feeling restless and claustrophobic.

Our neighbors are a colorful lot. There's an emaciated, free-spirited woman with a dog so aggressive that he wears a lampshade collar to protect other dogs, his owners, other campers, and even himself from the destructive effects of his snapping jaws.

Across from us there is an elderly couple who start guzzling beer at 9am. They keep the crate for the empties in a shopping cart that they've pilfered from a nearby supermarket. They've got an old tv with them-- during the day they watch soap operas with surprisingly foul language, and at night they watch Schlager festivals hosted by Andre Rieu. The frenetic music blares at full volume and elicits giggles and moans of dismay from neighboring tents. One night it was so loud that M went over and convinced the guy to turn it off. On his way back to our camper four different people thanked him for his act of civil courage.

This campground is owned by the county, and the second floor of the sanitation unit is apparently used as social housing. Our pitch backs right up to this building. Due to the delicate nature of S and B's digestion this week, we're happy to be right next to the toilets. This proximity is less advantageous in the early morning hours, however, when the tubercular man upstairs starts to cough and gag and vomit up copious amounts of phlegm.

The owner of this overworked set of lungs is a gnome-like, misshapen, greasy character who spends his days loitering around in various locales. One day he approached our neighbor in a restaurant and asked him if he was a famous German football star. (He's not) Once he'd left the cafe owner shrugged his shoulders and said: "That was our very own clochard. Which saves you a trip to Paris to have to see one!"

Tomorrow we're planning to resume our travels with a trip to Ljubliana, Slovenia and I can't wait to be on the road again!

1 comment:

Goofball said...

ok I'm not so jealous at the moment for your extensive roaming around last summer. yikes, sounds like a scary place to be.

(did you forget to hit the publish button last month :p?)