What's this all about?We took off for a year (which turned into 15 months) to travel the world. This blog was started as a place to keep family and friends updated on our plans and where we were. Now, we are moving to Europe, so the blog will be about our new experiences, travels, and life as expats for the first time!
Song: Country Roads by John Denver
Why: While I knew this song when I lived in the US, I never heard it so many times in my whole life as in the last 3 years here in Austria. It gets played at festivals, après ski, and just about anywhere there is a band or a DJ. Incredibly everyone knows all the words in English and sings along when it’s played. I think the idea of taking a small alpine road back to your hometown really resonates with the people here, but it’s still funny to me when everyone is shouting “mountain mama” with a German accent.
Anyway, I admit that I like the song. This month we took a few country roads of our own to a place called Cesky Krumlov in the middle of nowhere in the Czech Republic. It’s a small medieval town with a big castle that is really lovely. Here’s a view:
March 1st was Fasching Samstag, or Carnivale Saturday. I’ve written before about this celebration, so I won’t repeat about the costumes and the craziness that goes on that day. Instead, I’ll pick my March song of the month from one that we heard that day.
Song: Viva Colonia! by De Hoehner
Why: This song can be heard at Fasching, Kirchtag, and other festivals. It’s about Cologne (Koeln), another place where they have a huge carnivale celebration so I thought it would be doubly appropriate for this month. It’s very catchy and very upbeat, so you can see why people start to sing (and dance) whenever it’s played. We’ve even heard it during Oktoberfest, but of course they sing “Viva Bavaria!” instead.
I like the sentiment of the lyrics too… (note this is in a dialect so yes, there are some weird spellings)
Da simmer dabei! Dat is prima! VIVA COLONIA!
Wir lieben das Leben, die Liebe und die Lust.
Wir glauben an den lieben Gott und habn immer Durst.
In English (my translation is bit rough, but you get the idea.)
We are in (Count us in). It’s great. Viva Colonia!
We love the life, the love, and the desire.
We believe in dear God and and are always thirsty (i.e. ready for a drink!).
Here’s the 4 musketeers. Viva Villach!
I’ve been inspired by some friends who are doing a “Song of the Day” blog since January. While I couldn’t keep that up for a whole year, I thought I could at least do it once a month and try to relate it to our expat life or travels. So here goes… I’m already a late with the first post, but let’s start with February anyway.
Song: Das Rote Pferd by Markus Becker
Why: There are so many differences between skiing in the US and Europe. If someone accidentally steps on your skis in the US, you at least get a “sorry”. Here you can’t avoid it with the pushing crowds, so no one even acknowledges it. That aside, one of my favorite things in Austria is “Apres Ski”. After long hours on the pistes working up a thirst, the bars at the bottom are ready, pumping out loud music and serving up drinks. Your experience isn’t complete until you’ve seen people dancing the night away in ski boots (or been one of them).
Now about the music… most of it is “Euro Thump Thump” (my thanks to a friend who coined this term) with crazy lyrics set to a fast bass beat. Mixed in are some Top 40, Oldies, and sometimes even some 80′s Metal for good measure. Usually the “classic” songs are in German, but many have some “la la la la” parts so that everyone can sing along, even if they don’t speak the language. This one is a few years old, but a perfect example… just google for a listen or search for “apres ski musik” to find some other equally silly songs. .
I’ll be back soon with March’s song… In the meantime, here’s my view from a lounger at the top of Nassfeld last week.
Eat. Shop. Watch.
That might be a better title for our trip to the US for Xmas. We went to visit my aunt who lives in Florida to meet up with my parents to spend the holidays with family in a warmer climate. It was a well needed break from the winter weather that already started here.
The trip went by so fast, but gave us a little reminder of life in the US. I haven’t been back in 14 months, and Eric even longer. It was a little surprising how fast you can forget little things like the fact that shops are not only open every day (even some on Christmas!), but also early and late. There are so many choices in what to eat and what to buy that it’s nearly impossible to decide. We first restocked our closets with new clothes and shoes. Then we “restocked” ourselves with movies in English and every sort of food from steaks to bagels. One night the family even made a seafood buffet with lobster, crab, scallops, and shrimp – not something we get very often in the mountains.
The weather didn’t cooperate much for beach days, but we did manage to find a sunny afternoon in Key Biscayne and Miami. After a relaxing week, it was back home to winter with full suitcases and full stomachs. Thanks to my aunt for letting us stay!
Here are the spoils from a good day of hunting: