Archive for April, 2011

Things that Make me Happy

April 14 2011

When Dave comes to visit me in Austria, he often attempts to be self-sufficient. The first tiem he came, he was a little confused that mustard is called Senf and comes in toothpaste tubes. The next time he came, he bought 30 euros worth of olives because he only knew how to say “ein bisschen” and didn’t realize that he could say “Nein” or “Stopp”.  Now, he is getting a little better.  I really enjoy watching him carefully order things in German.

Here are two things that make me happy that Dave does in German:

#1- When he counts on his fingers in German to figure out what the numbers are.  “Ein .. Zwei … Drei … Vier .. FUNF! … Sechs  … Sieben” (Funf is his favorite German number, so that one is always exaggerated).

#2- When he orders something in German successfully, he cheers for himself.  He claps his hands together and has a GIANT smile on his face.  I love that!

Here are two “mistakes” that Dave made in German:

#1-  He wanted coffee at night, but he knew that I wouldn’t let him drink caffeinated drinks after dinner.  So, he wanted to learn how to ask for a caffeine free coffee.  I told him to say “Haben Sie ein koffeinfrei Kaffee?”  Before he asked, I called over the waitress and said, pointing to David, “Er hat eine Frage.”  Then, I tell Dave to ask his question and he says “Haben Sie ein koffein frogger Kaffee?”  He heard me say Frage and heard FROGGER, which sounded like frei to him.

#2- We were walking between Ubahn lines and he says “Brit, why is there a Kinder Butcher?”  I asked him what he was talking about.  He says “the sign says Kinder Butcher”.  I think for a moment then ask if the sign said “Kinderbücher” (children’s books) instead.

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Obvious Scam

April 11 2011

I am keeping my eye open for apartments in Vienna to rent.  On Craigslist, 90% of the posts are scams.  You can tell because they are in London or Africa doing some very good thing and want you to send them the deposit ASAP.  One ad was:

This is an available one bedroom fully furnished bedroom,bathroom and Kitchen.High speed internet and located in a nice environment with easy transport.
It is comfortable and very neat and affordable.

I replied to this ad to find more information.  They gave me the address: Kaerntner Ring 17, 1015 Vienna (which is technically in the 1st district, not the 15th).  And a photo:

 

claims to be in the 1st district of vienna

a kitchen in Vienna's 1st district?

As you can see from the window, it does not look like this kitchen is in a city.  In fact, I can guarantee that this photo was not taken on the Kaerntner Ring!  There is also a photo of a bedroom with a slanted ceiling indicating that this is a 1-floor house (since the kitchen is on ground level).  Haha … even less likely.

 

Engagement Photos

April 10 2011
Old Feuerwehr of Maria Gugging

in front of an old fire department building

Since I do not plan on being back in the USA until July, we figured that we would take some nice photos while Dave is still in Vienna.  Luckily, Saturday was a beautiful day!  Michaela did my hair and used the ribbon that Dave had around the ring when he proposed.  Chao was our photographer.   At first, he complained that we didn’t have a good enough camera to take the photos.  But, I think he did a wonderful job anyway!  (Thanks Chao!!)  And Morten came along for the photo shoot (and drink at Redlinger Hütte after we were finished).

Take a look at our photos and let me know which one/s you like the best!

Reactions

April 9 2011

After we returned to the hotel on Tuesday, we made a few phone calls to tell people the wonderful news. After exhausting a bottle of sparkling wine and not being able to ignore our hunger anymore, we took a break to go out to dinner. Then,we returned and finished our phone calls around 5:00 a.m.! Here are some of the responses that we remember:

Amit (Duke, now French, Friend): I hope you guys are eating well!

Ashley (Dave’s cousin Stacy’s daughter): Hugs her bunny that I gave her as a gift and says to her mother “now she really will be a part of our family!” Stacy and Cem (her husband) said that they have never seen Ashley happier. I think she may have cried. (Background: Ashley has been encouraging Dave to propose since I first moved to Austria. She actually offered to help him buy it by giving him $100 of her allowance money).

Catie (UNC Friend): Says in a surprised voice, “She said yes?”

Daria (Natalie’s Mother): I am great at planning weddings. Then, she called my parents and Natalie to start plotting.

Darrell (UNC Friend): Can I tell people yet? I want to go out to celebrate tonight. To which I responded, “I feel like I am going to marry both of you.” His response: “Maybe we should all three discuss that together.” (Background:Darrell was one of Dave’s accomplices in this mission. Also, Darrell often ims me to say “Goodnight” within minutes of Dave saying “good morning”. So, no matter what time it is, I can always reach one of them. I think they are keeping these hours so that I don’t get lonely in Austria).

Diana (Brit’s HS Friend): Absolute excitement. She competes with Ashley for the most excited person to receive our phone call. She was inside a coffee shop when we first called, but stepped outside to talk to us. When she got outside, we told her and she screamed. She was out of breath and asking a million questions at once.She said it probably didn’t matter that she walked outside since she was making so much noise, she disturbed everyone inside anyway.

Herbert (Brit’s Adviser): Oh boy.

Joe (Brit’s father): Tells the entire Philadelphia post office (he was doing his mailing when we called).

Lisa (Dave’s sister): I have always wanted a little sister (who I can boss around).

Meghan (Brit’s College Friend): We told her that my HS ring (one of the two rings Dave stole from me to figure out the appropriate size) is too large for me because they refused to believe my finger was a size 4.75. Her response was “typical Catholic School.”

Merri (Dave’s mom): I do not have Brit’s parents telephone number. I would like to call them in the next few days if that is alright with you.

Robby: Asked Alana “Did Dave do anything crazy like ask on the top of a mountain or something?”

Vishal: One proposal done, one more to go …

We made all of these phone calls using Skype on my computer. We called from the hallway, where the best wireless signal was found. We were sitting (rather uncomfortably) on the floor. We actually got to video chat with Alana and Jeff, but the lighting was poor … so, we went into the bathroom. I was sitting (clothed) in the tub while chatting with them on Skype! lol. The next morning we realized that the fancy computer in the room had Skype installed and used a wired internet connection. We could have been sitting comfortably in the rocking chair! haha. Go us.

Dave’s Proposal

April 8 2011

Tuesday was a beautiful day.  We woke up and went to breakfast.  Then, we got ready to go skiing for the day.  Since the weather was beautiful but was supposed to become overcast at the end of the day, we decided to go up to the top of  Valluga first thing.  It is the tallest point in this skiing region, and you are only allowed to bring your skis up there if you are accompanied by a guide or insane.  Needless to say, we did not bring our skis up with us.  We went up in a small gondola that fit exactly six people.  When we arrived at the top, I was amazed that people were starting to ski off of it!  People were insane.  So, I just started looking over the sides waiting to see if I could see someone fall down the mountain.

Dave said “let’s go to the top” and so we walked up the stairs to the observation deck.  I was still looking all around, and Dave was being all sorts of nervous.  Then, he pulled me to the center of the circle and I knew what he was going to do.  He began his speech:

Ever since we met, I was amazed by your beauty, confidence, and brilliance,    but it was your kindness, compassion and patience that made me fall in love    with you.  You make me happier than I ever thought possible, and I know that    I will love you forever.

plaque marking the two states of Austria

This is where the proposal happened

I made it difficult for him to say this because I didn’t want the moment to end, so I just kept kissing him.  I hugged him really tight and felt his heart beating way too fast, so I let him finish before he had a heart attack.   Then, this is what happened according to him: He got down on one knee and asked “Brittany Terese Fasy, will you marry me?”  and I said “of course” and pushed him over.  Then, he put the ring on me. There was a pretty pink ribbon tied around it and a rope attached to the ribbon which connected the ribbon to his pants.  This is what happened in my opinion: he got down on two knees and asked “Brittany Terese Fasy, will you marry me?” to which I responded”of course!” Then, it seemed like forever until he put the ring on me. I made him get up and we hugged for a long time.

Right after the proposal

We are standing at the top of Valluga, right after Dave proposed!

During this proposal, we were actually in two different states of Austria.  Dave was in Voraldberg and I was in  Tirol.  We hung out at the top for a while so that Dave could enjoy the view and we could take a few photographs.

After a while, we were ready to ski again.  So, we had to make a decision: do. we take  a red slope or a red dashed slope?  Both of which are marked on the map, but the dashed slopes are not marked on the mountain, or controlled by the mountain staff.  Feeling invincible, Dave agreed to do the off-piste piste(maybe that is an oxymoron?)  So, we followed the tracks of two other skiers into the valley between two mountains.  The first half of this trail was AMAZING. I think that this is the best skiing conditions that either of us have ever skied in before.  Then, it started to get mushy, but we continued.  Then, I started to get hungry so I started to fall.  And, Dave started to realize that he is skiing on a really hard slope and the conditions were getting worse.  I pulled it together after I ate some fresh snow, but Dave was struggling down the slope.  Eventually, he pulled it together too and skied as much as was skiable, but then we were stuck about 3/4 down the mountain with minimal snow cover.  Luckily, we could see the piste that we were supposed to join up with.  We took off our skis and walked through the mud and mushy snow.  After a couple of minutes, I look back and don’t see Dave’s left leg.  It fell through the snow!   Then, I realize that we are walking over a stream!  So, we got down on all fours, rested on our skis a bit and slid across the snow-covered stream so that we wouldn’t fall through.The tracks we were following crossed another stream that I did not see us crossing successfully, so we decided to take a new path.  Luckily, it worked out and about 45 minutes after we took off our skis, we were back on a piste!  We both agree that even though the second half of that trail was a disaster, it was totally worth it for the skiing at the top.  That being said, we wouldn’t do it again.

Arrival in Sankt Anton Am Arlberg

April 7 2011

 

Bergschloessl hotel

the comforters are in the shape of hearts!

Dave and I arrived in St Anton am Alberg on a warm Sunday afternoon.  I had the maps saved in my iPod to help us get from the train station to the hotel.  It turns out that it was almost overkill to be that prepared with directions here.  St Anton is a small little town.  There are roads that come up in Google Maps, but really … they are just walkways.  Our hotel was the Bergschlössl.  When we walked through the room for the first time, I was amazed.  In the bathroom was a footed tub.  The toilet was in its own little room.  Everything is made of wood, and hand carved … including the ceiling!  They left us a basket of fruit on the table (with kiwis!) The blankets on the bed were in the shape of hearts.  It was just perfect!  In addition, there was an Apple computer in the room that played Aretha Franklin.  In the skiroom, we were the only ones to actually put our skis into a locker.  There were skis and boots lying all over the room.  We knew right away that this was a safe place.  Did we mention the sauna, steam room, gym, and solarium?  Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to use those during our stay (but given the current state of my face, maybe I should have used the solarium to even out the burn).  The location of the Bergschlössl could not be better. Not only was it close to the train station, but there were two lifts right outside our door!

 

 

Dave attempts off-piste

Dave gets a close view of the fresh snow

Well, now we come to our first day of skiing.  Dave demoed a pair of Solomon skis, and asked to start off on an easy trail.  So, I picked a great red trail to start our day off, since those are easier than the black trails.  (Remember that a red trail is equivalent to a black diamond in the USA and I have just come back from a week of skiing in the French Alps).  Dave looked a little mad at me when we got off the lift and he saw the trial.  I thought it was an easy start to the day, but apparently it was not.  He did a great job skiing down it though!  We learned that his skis were good in the fresh powder and hard packed snow, but really really bad in the slushy snow.  Since it was snowing at the top of the mountain and raining at the bottom, we experienced it all.  Unfortunately, there was more slushy mess than fluffy snow.  We did find a few trails–S3, S4, S5 in Stuben–where the trails were quite nice and there were absolutely no people.  On the way back, we followed signs back to St Anton.  Near the top, we had a choice to do a black slope or a red slope.  Dave said to me “I am too tired now to try a black slope, so no, we will not do that”.  So, we chose the red slope and continued to follow signs to St. Anton.  It turns out that we should have done some more planning.  A little while later, we wind up on a black piste as it is the only way back home! Again, Dave looked a little mad at me when we realized that we had to go down.  It was slushy, but he made it down and did a good job skiing the Austrian Black slope!  When we got to the bottom of the mountain, right outside the door to our hotel, Dave collapsed into the snow.

 

Skiing 3 Vallees, France

April 6 2011

I wrote this entry on the RER from Paris to CDG two weeks ago.  I have a backlog of posts to make, so be ready to do some reading in the next few days:

——

We took a train for three hours from Paris to Moutereils, then a bus for an hour. The French trains claim that they are the fastest, but Amit has a good counter argument: ‘but they don’t get you there faster if they are never on time and stop between stations.’ there was some work being done on the tracks, so in several places, our train came to a complete stop to wait for another train to pass. What also a little upsetting was backing out of one of the train stations and then continuing in that direction about 20 min before we get to our final stop.

Arriving at Les Menuires was a bit overwhelming. We walked around the shopping gallery for 20 minutes carting our stuff until we found the apartment reservation office. After picking up our key, we had to take a bus to our apartment, in the median building. This place is absolutely huge!  The room however was quite tight. We mistook the bedroom for a closet and almost called to say we got the wrong room!

As far as the skiing conditions were, we saw it all from a foot of fresh powder to rocky slush to huge snow-covered ice moguls to freshly groomed snow. Unfortunately, we saw more lumpy moguls than groomed slopes, but we still had a good time.  On some of the days, the lifts to the top were closed due to violent winds. This caused us to be stuck in les menuires, which seemed to have the worst conditions of all 3 valleys.

On Thursday, it was foggy and snowy all day.  Amit and I really enjoyed the conditions this day, despite the fact that it was frightening to see the orange flags marking steep drops but not being able to see how steep. We stayed close together and took it slow and really enjoyed the day.   Friday was also mostly a good day. However, we saw the largest snow /ice mogul patches that day. As a result, we did some off-piste skiing and loved it!! It was thrilling to go off the normal paths, even though the areas that we went were still well-traveled and close to the normal slopes.

On Tuesday, after 2.5 days of skiing, Amit and I took a break in the pool. It was outdoors, and only slightly heated. We lasted about an hour.

Hélène, Amit’s French coach, planned the trip for us. It was like having our own personal French guide with us! She found it shocking how much Amit and I eat.  Although she was most shocked when we were sipping Ricard straight.

One day Amit walks out of the bathroom and stops, and looks at us confused. I start laughing because one of the glasses in his glasses wasn’t there! After scouring the bathroom for 15 minutes, we filly find the piece on the carpet in the hallway.

Overall, I thought the three valley ski experience was not the best of the alps. Perhaps if the conditions were better, I would feel differently. But this place was too large and too crowded.  I didn’t really feel safe leaving our gear unattended since Amit’s board bag was stolen out of our locked locker on the first day of skiing.  And the slopes were rarely groomed.

On the day that we left, Hélène was able to get an earlier train to Paris, but Amit and I couldn’t. So, we drop off our luggage and explore the town in the rain. This town was purgatory for travelers like ourselves. We ended up at the supermarket, where we bought nuts and a Georges Duboeuf wine. When we got on the train, we realize that we do not have a cork screw. I went to the dining car but they did not have one, but I did pick up some cups anyway. Then I scouted the train for old French men; I think they are required to  carry them by law. When I got back to our seats, I told Amit who to ask and he took off with our bottle of wine and returned with it open!

David’s Arrival

April 3 2011

David is here in Austria for ten days! His travel here was not an easy one. It started at the RDU airport when they weren’t going to let him fly because he didn’t have a visa. After arguing with him for a couple minutes, the airline representative asked him where Austria is located. Still not believing him that no Visa was needed, she cunsulted another airline rep.

Then, his flight to Detroit was delayed so they switched his flight to go through JFK instead. Of course, that flight was delayed too. So, when he landed, he had to run to catch his next flight. The airline staff told him that he probably would not make it, but he ran like the wind in his hiking boots and dragging his carry-on. He made it!

When he finally arrived in Vienna, he finds out that his baggage did not arrive. I was going to meet him at a train station, but I went to cafe dreschler instead since itcould take a while. They tell him that his bags are still at RDU. He tried to get an estimate but they just said ‘maybe tonight’. He questioned the feasibility of this, but they were very fickle in the way they responded. So, he left the airport to meet me at a café. He let me know what train he was on, so I knew when to expect him. Thirty minutes after I thought he would arrive, there was no sign of him. I sent Darrell an IM to see if he thought Dave would find me. He suggested that Dave got on the next train, so he should be arriving soon. Sure enough, he came within the next few minutes. It turns out that he was in a long line to buy an ubahn ticket.

We got a phone call at 2:30 saying that his luggage has arrived, less than three hours after they told him that it was in North Carolina.