Monday, January 26, 2009

I have survived my first ledge toilet

Bad Ischl is a gorgeous place. There is only one awful place in town – and we were staying in it.

My problem is that I still (after all these years) believe the blurb and the photos. What in the website photo looked like a beautiful little boutique hotel nestling on the banks of the Traun River was in fact a tragic and ancient ruin that would have been at home in Gaza.

There was no air conditioning. Heating yes – cooling no. We had to open the windows (overlooking the car park) so that we got some air. The problem then was that the clock tower and church bells were only 50 metres away.

The clock chimes every quarter hour. The church bells ring very early in the morning – and on Saturday - and they ring for a long time.

We wouldn’t have minded all this but this is supposed to be a 4 Star hotel. As Cate said – perhaps they have a different system of starage in Bad Ischl – with one star being a cardboard box under the bridge.

And the killer – a Ledge Toilet (shriek!)

But – The town is indeed beautiful and we had a very nice time. First thing on Saturday we did what we always do in a new town and Cate hit the clothing stores. I sat around for a couple of hours playing with my iPhone and only got her out when I threatened to buy some traditional Austrian provincial clothing – which was very nice and astonishingly expensive. I have put Lederhosen right out of my thoughts as a good pair costs nearly €1,000.

We stayed out as long as possible so that we didn’t have to go back to the hotel room and took this to extremes on Saturday night when after a meal in the best restaurant in town (!) we went to a bar where all the beautiful people in Bad Ischl hang out. Surprisingly – they let us in despite our age and lack of coolness and we sat there in this smoke filled den watching all these girls and boys having a really good time.

We sucked thoughtfully on some quite nice Gruner Veltliner while we surveyed the scene and when we finished the bottle we staggered gasping into the night and hung our clothes out the window at the hotel to get rid of some of the smoke. We did not see anyone in the bar who was not smoking.

McDonalds (yes I’m afraid so) had a poster on the window advertising an Australia Day celebration on Saturday – with a didgeridoo player. Another bar was also having an Australia Day celebration. We could not find out what the connection was (except that there is a town nearby called Bad Aussee).

On Sunday we had a leisurely drive back to Wien the long way round through Hallstatt and up to Linz. The country is very beautiful indeed and we encountered many exciting things including cross country skiers. (I mention in passing that another two Austrian skiers popped their clogs on the weekend).

Billy Benz performed magnificently – although we were very lucky as the roads were mainly dry and there was no snow or ice.

I have acquired Katzengrass from the markets in Landstrasser-Hauptstrasse and Muffin is happily munching this again.

I have also acquired a Sony Handycam because I believe that my blog readers deserve to be able to watch moving pictures of ducks and Muffin eating her Katzengrass. I bet you just can’t wait.

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