30 August, 2010

Vacation week 4e: Austria

We woke to the sound of several explosions in rapid succession. My first sleepy thought was that the Campground Clochard had snapped and was running amok amongst the campers. M jumped out of bed and dashed outside. I found him in his underwear staring groggily at the framework of the tent in front of our caravan. (He later said he thought one of the poles had snapped and had slammed up against the caravan.)

There was another loud explosion and we jumped back inside the caravan. As we climbed back into bed I remember asking: "You think we're safe in here?" and he answered something like: "I could probably poke my finger through these flimsy walls. You think it would actually stop a bullet?" And then we inexplicably fell back asleep.

When we woke up several hours later we peeked outside, and instead of seeing a row of corpses or police tape, we were greeted by an Austrian couple on their way to wash their breakfast dishes. When we asked what all the noise was about the man laughed jovially and said: "A wedding!" and walked on.


Apparently two young people from the tiny village were getting married. Rural Austrian weddings, at least in this part of the country, are a full day affair which gets kicked off by firing a cannon at very-dark-o'clock to get everyone out of their beds. (This particular cannon was in a field about 100m from our caravan.)

The entire population of Gleinst├Ątten gathered on the street outside of our campground. They were all gussied up in traditional dress and had separated themselves into distinct groups which were arranged as stations that the bride- and groom-to-be had to visit in succession.

The first station was a bunch of co-workers from the groom's office. They all had signs around their necks with his picture which had been crossed out, a sign of his newly non-available status. He and the bride drank schnapps shots and posed for pictures.

Then they moved on to the tractor club. There were speeches and photos and more shots of schnapps.

Then the local farmers-- which was interesting because the groom had to milk a wooden cow. After which, of course, he got to drink some more schnapps.

The people in the wedding party were very friendly and even we were offered glasses of schnapps, which went down surprisingly well after our morning coffee!

The boys got packages of gummy bears, which upon closer inspection were labeled as Viagra: Get it up Gummy Bears and were to be taken liberally at any signs of "faulty piloting".

This was a very bizarre but thoroughly enjoyable morning, and the perfect way to round out our vacation....


anno said...

Wow! Amazing and wonderful.... I'm going to be laughing about this story all day long!

You are saving these candies, right? Planning to start your own museum of tasteless sweets?

Love the new look, btw!

Betsy said...

Hi! I enjoyed retelling it because it got me laughing again as well!

Saving the candies? Are you crazy? I've got two young boys in the house-- I'm lucky I even got a picture before they scarfed them down and licked the wrappers clean!

(I don't even want to know if the bears had their intended effect. ;-) )

Thanks! I've been needing to change the template for a while to improve usability but am only now getting around to it.

Kelly said...

What a way to wake up! I'll have to ask my grandparents-in-law if their Austrian wedding commenced with any large shots. N. thinks you should be used to that though, being where you're from--shots when folks get hiiytched? (On second thought, that sounds like something they'd do where I'M from...)

Goofball said...

In Belgium, weddings used to be preceeded with "shootings" as well the evening before the wedding in the garden of the bride.
I remember these from my childhood where Friday nights were often sparked with loud BOOOOMS. My dad has gone to several "shootings".

But they are not using real cannons, but some kind of explosive powder which is hammered on a sort of blacksmith tool. But there's been accidents like that (also as it tends to go along with drinking) and more and more cities have forbidden the action for security & noise protection.
(eg http://www.herentals.be/fb111pweb445glm1sdm96.aspx)

hahaha the picture of M and the cow is cute.
The viagra gummy bears are hilarious

Goofball said...

nice bubbly template by the way

Betsy said...

Kelly: No, N's right in that respect. It's a wonder I escaped the shotgun wedding scenario. (With the dawg and the gunrack as wedding gifts...)

Goofball: Thanks!

Wow, that's something I never knew about you Belgian people! It looks like in Herentals it's still allowed, though, as long as the burgemeester approves!

After our wedding some of our wacky Dutch friends disturbed the peace by beeping their car horns. We thought that was pretty L*O*U*D, but that' nothing compared to gunpowder!

Anonymous said...

Did you see Jon Stewart makes fun of Belgians last week? Pretty funny.

The new format is good and the story hilarious. Thanks for sharing.
Lisa in Indy