Just like school!

Remember the old days, when your first task of the term was to tell everyone what you’d been up to over the school holidays? The pressure was really on… you had the kids who went camping, the kids who went to a fancy holiday cottage, and then the creme de la creme – those lucky kids that went to that mystical place called ‘Abroad’. Well, here is my report of the last week:

Day 1: Saturday.
The alarm caused me to peel my eyes open at 3am. After cursing pretty much everything and everyone I got up along with Marisa and the little man and by 4am we were off. It was simple stuff until the GPS proved too technical for me and tempers frayed. Nontheless, we arrived at the Airport parking place and parked and got on the bus. Relief just about covered it.
Once at Birmingham Airport, after Marisa fell over a bit, and I ran over Pingu in the mud we got ourselves orientated. Oh, and then joined the queue for Security.
Happily we got on the flight to Munich and all was good. The Munich stopover was brief enough and before too long we were Graz bound. The little one was overcome by tiredness and slept most of the flight. I watched out of the window as the plane passed over the Alps. Poor Marisa had to listen to some competitive women discuss their travels. I didn’t really care once I saw the legs on one of them!!
And then we were there. With our bags we made our way into the arms of the in-laws.
After Marisa picked up the fancy hire car (an Astra estate I’ll have you know!) we trundled off towards St Marein bei Graz. The Centre of the Universe.
Once there, more greetings with Marisa’s dad, some obligatory food and alcohol, and a play with the neighbours.
Then, in the evening, I watched in horror as Chelsea won the Champions League final.

Day 2: Sunday.
Woken early, well, not really early, just an hour ahead on the clock! Slightly steaming head from the sun and alcohol the previous afternoon. It was a calm day, with another afternoon of family welcomes and drink, and food. I really don’t recall much else happening. I tell a lie, we went to the pub to play darts and table football.

Day 3: Monday.
Getting used to the hour difference at last. The morning spent deciding what to do with the afternoon! Finally decisions made, Marisa, her sister, sister’s husband, the little man and I set off towards a chocolate factory sort of thing (see Zotter) which had a petting zoo on site… Having been chased out by a school party, we tackled the (free) petting zoo. It has to be said that the weather had been a bit ‘British’ up to this point. A hair-raising trip down a slide later, we were all sat drinking strong coffee. Except little one, who was devouring chocolate. Day over.

Day 4: Tuesday.
Bloody awful weather. Described by Marisa’s dad as ‘British’. Enough said. Marisa and I put the little one down for his nap and took off into Graz. A very wet Graz. Still we had a blast being a couple for  a change. Dinner in a Chinese Restaurant bedecked with pictures of naked women covered in chocolate followed by a trip up a hill to look over a rainy, horrible Graz. But, it was great. Back home to see a rather excited little man via Toys R Us. Some lego and a jigsaw to soften the blow of having missed his parents.

Day 5: Wednesday.
The usual morning routine of relaxing, little man’s nap and lunch was followed by a trip on the Flascherlzug from Stainz. Including special West Styrian wine. And more evidence that the weather really was undecided as to what it wanted to do. Blinding sunshine was chased away by rain and a nice thunderstorm on the way back! There is a link here to the final day, but more of that later! Upon our return the evening fell into it’s standard routine of bedtime for the little one, and computer catch up and reading for us grown-ups.

Day 6: Thursday.
After the obligatory early morning coffee, things were a little more structured as we were out of the house by 10.30 to go up a mountain. Teichalm, to be precise. Despite a bit of a diversion, and my eventual acceptance of GPS as a valid tool to find out where the fudge we are, we arrived in time for lunch. This thankfully coincided with a period of wetness, so no harm done. After that, we all went for a wander. By we, I mean Marisa, myself, the little one and Marisa’s mum. Round a nice lake, through a forest boardwalk. Taking in awesome scenery. Marisa and myself having a disagreement about the pronounciation of the word ‘Piste’. Then it got windy, which made the trip back to the car alot more of a challenge! Still, we made it anyway and found our way back home to the sound of mooing cows and bleating sheep (all from Marisa’s mum in the back seat!!)

Day 7: Friday.
The morning was taken up by a bit of domesticity as a-sofa-bed-shopping we did go.  This was then followed by a long promised trip for gulasch at Marisa’s cousin and parents place. This was goooood. During the after-dinner drink/social, a rather bizarre coincidence was unearthed. Marisa’s uncle had been sent some WW2 correspondence from Berlin, itself having been discovered in Shrewsbury of all places, just 6 miles or so from where I live!!
After more drinking, we were off to the last visit of the holiday to see more relatives. And drink more. Then, bed time.

Day 8: Saturday.
Not much to say about this. Packing, sleeping child, more packing. Farewells. Trip to Graz Airport. A chance meeting with the musician from the Flascherlzug at the check-in desk (I told you so). Then goodbyes, plane delays, a world-record rush through Frankfurt airport to get to our connecting flight as boarding commenced. Back on home soil, a razz down the motorway to get home for 8pm. To celebrate, Marisa stuck on the Eurovision Song Contest and ate most of the Haagen Dasz I’d bought from Tesco!!

So ends my holiday report. And not one mention of the dog… Oh F-


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