Last night, after I blogged, I Skyped with my Dad and got to see my sweet Elliott which made me feel better. It was a nice pick-me-up after a rough day. Dad told me that Baba, my grandpa, was working on making me more keychain racks and that was also really exciting. For those that don’t know, I collect keychains from places I’ve been and people usually bring them back for me when they travel. Baba made me one rack a LONG time ago so each hook has anywhere from 5-8 keychains on it. I’ve been begging for another rack for a long time so I am incredibly exciting to come home to FOUR new ones and to load them with all of my new ones from this trip.
So, after the Skype chat and good news, I tried to go back to sleep and did not have any luck. Victoria’s snoring was out of control. Our hotel room has a separate ‘living’ area behind closed doors so I moved my mattress (it’s not REALLY a mattress) to the floor in there to try and drown out the noise. It helped but by then it was so late that I still did not get much sleep. Today was a free day so I could have technically slept in forever but I did not want to waste my time here so I got up early, had breakfast at 8:30am, and got ready for a bike/hike ride. I woke up with a killer headache but nothing some Tylenol couldn’t resolve.
After breakfast, Justin, Greg, Heidi, Anna, and I got our bikes (Heidi and I had to use child ones because the adult ones were mostly gone by the time we got to them) and headed off to find a good hiking trail. We biked about 2 miles to a trail and after battling a language barrier with a local while we asked for directions to the hiking trial, we finally found it.
We hiked the trail for about an hour before heading back. We saw the most amazing views and it made the uncomfortable bike ride (damn those seats), steep climbs, and lack of sleep totally worth it. The mountains and weather were all so amazing. It was also great to get some exercise after the amount of food we’ve had in Europe and breath in some fresh air after all of the time we’ve spent in big cities. It was really surreal (I keep using that word) to be up in those mountains! You can bet that we sang some “Sound of Music” songs! We had a really great time! My camera had a smudge on it so all of my pictures have a small blurry spot directly in the middle. That annoys me but the views stored in my brain cannot be ruined by a smudge!
We had to be back to the hotel by 12:30pm for our white water rafting excursion but we wanted to be back by 11:30am to change into swimsuits, grab lunch, and relax for a second. Lunch wasn’t included today so to avoid spending money, a few of us packed a bagel with meat/cheese to store in our rooms and eat for lunch. It wasn’t the best, but it was cheap and got the job done.
After lunch, just about the entire group headed out to go white water rafting on the Enns River. It was about a 30 minute bus ride over and for whatever reason, some of the people decided we needed to have a 90s jam session and I was NOT mad about it; it was fun singing along to old songs with the entire bus. As we got to the rafting facility, we saw a dog open a door. No joke. This dog literally walked up some steps to the front door of a house, put his paw up, opened the door, and walked in. It was amazing and I am glad I am not the only one who saw it happen!
We got suited up at the rafting facility (I didn’t get the name of it and that is annoying!) and took off to the top of our path via bus. The wet suits were HOT and we looked crazy but I was so thankful for them when we got into the COLD river. My boat had Kyle, Trent, Maggie, Hannah, Katherine, Abby, Martin, me, and our guide and we did awesome. We were the second raft to go and we ended up catching up with the first raft and having a little water fight. It was a fun time! The only ‘negative’ feedback was the the course was a level 1 or 2 so it wasn’t as adventurous as most people would have liked. The people that had gone rafting before, which was only a few of us, had done levels 3 or 4 and were expecting more. Either way, we spent about an hour going down the river and enjoying the gorgeous views which made up for the lack of action. Austria really might be the prettiest place I’ve ever been to.
The weather during the rafting was perfect. It was sunny but still cool out which is a great combination. We were lucky too because right when the rafting ended around 3:30pm, the clouds, rain, and cold started to roll in. Unfortunately, Antonio (our awesome bus driver), didn’t know to meet us back at the rafting facility and Marlene had left her phone on the bus so we had no way of contacting him. We had to sit around for over an hour waiting, mostly in the cold. We were able sit in the changing/storage area of the rafting facility but we were all smelly and musty so it wasn’t very comfortable. We made the most of it though: Marlene ordered beers for everyone and we played “Truth or Dare Spin the Bottle” and “Never Have I Ever” so clearly we are all best friends now. Kidding, but those games really do get people to share some crazy things. The bus finally made it back to us and we headed back to the hotel by 5pm.
Dinner wasn’t scheduled until 7:30pm so after a hot shower and fresh clothes, we just lounged around. Victoria and I started a game of Rummy with Justin before I bailed to go Skype with Chris! Skype was not being very cooperative though but it was better than nothing. It was good to finally talk to him!
We had another interesting dinner at the hotel before going back to our room to finish our card game. Greg, Heidi, and Cassie joined us to hang out and Greg jumped in mid-game. I made an epic comeback too! I was in last place, by hundreds of points, before dinner but somehow managed to get the win. The competitive person in me was pretty happy but the competitive person in my male twin, Justin, was not (he was originally in the lead). It was so late though that we were all just happy the game was over!
After dinner, I packed up my suitcase (we were able to do all of our laundry here!) and prepared for our travel day tomorrow to Italy, country #7 and the start of the second leg of our trip. I am sad to be leaving Austria but Italy will be amazing. I am thankful to have had some ‘down time’ (as crazy as that sounds considering all we did today)!