Sankt Marein bei Graz

Trip Start Feb 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 02, 2011

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Flag of Austria  , Styria,
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We have been in Sankt Marein for one week now. I have knitted almost three pairs of socks, played iPod games and listened to music for an hour each day, browsed the internet (ah-hum facebook) for a least two hours each day, walked around Sankt Marein a few times with Ernstl and Gita's dog Mara, (who seems quite well known among the locals, they say something to me in German and the only word I understand is 'Mara’), had a few mid-day naps, watched TV... yes, it’s been very exciting.

No, not really. It has been really nice here. My sarcasm is because most of the day, everyday this week Felix and Ernst have been working on Nina and I have been left on my own to make my own entertainment. They have been doing really good things for her health and wellbeing and Felix comes upstairs after a day working with Ernst absolutely beaming. They have both been learning a lot, language and the ‘art’ of Russian motorbike functionality. It has been very boring for me, Felix working on Nina all the time, but I do really appreciate what he is doing for the benefit of us both. And really, we have been doing fun things, it just feels like I’ve been doing nothing and waiting and waiting.

On Wednesday, our second day here, we visited another branch a Michi’s family,Kelly, Lena and the children. It was the first time I have met them. We had a drink and Felix talked with them while I watched. Later in the evening we went to see some live music with Ernst and Gita and I met even more of Michi’s family and friends. It was not such a good night for me, I was in a really, really feral mood and just wanted to tear everyone down. Felix being the only one I feel safe enough to vent in earshot of unfortunately sees the full, ugly face of my wrath. It was quite a bad episode of uncalled-for anger and loathing. I really need to deal with it.

Thursday Felix worked on Nina all day and I was in deep reflection of Wednesday night and knitting.

Friday Felix worked on Nina all day and I knitted. In the evening we went again with Ernst and Gita to see the same band that played on Wednesday. I think Felix liked the music, judging by his comments, I thought it was not very entertaining to only hear the drums and rhythm guitar when there was singing and much more. We are so different in our judgements! After the music we had a wonderful kebab that so sadly I don’t think I could find again.

Saturday Felix worked on Nina all day, I walked Mara, knitted, swung upside down from a tree.

Sunday! Aha! Finally, Nina was ready to ride again! Ernst went for a short ride with us to Riegersberg. Felix and I stayed and explored the castle there while Ernst went back to Sankt Marein to vote for the local council. We couldn’t go into the actual castle where the big boss would have lived but there was plenty of surrounding vineyards and layers of terracing to explore. The whole thing was built on this amazing rocky outcrop, so high and steep. All I can think of when I am at these old places is what it would have been like to live there back in the day. To have knights standing around, to see horses and carts trundling up that long steep road, to look down over the peasants working in the field below. Now there is an elevator up to the castle, rabbits breeding happily in the moat, a restaurant and people in matching blue suits tending the vines. To see this place and others like it, functioning like it did ‘way back when’ would be the most amazing thing. That would impress me.

After the castle we had a small adventure ride through the beautiful surrounding area before riding back to Sankt Marein. It was the most beautiful sunny spring day. We had lunch at Lizzy’s then went to Kelly and Lena’s house where many of the family and friends were spending the afternoon enjoying each other’s company and the sunshine. The first few hours there were completely overwhelming for me. Not understanding the language is one thing but a big group of people who know each other so well and I don’t know anyone is too much for me. I’m getting good a blending into the background. After everyone but Felix, Schurli, Kelly, Lena and I had left it turned into a nice night for me. With less people around it was nice to talk with a smaller group. I went home in a surprisingly good mood.

Monday Felix and I lay around until mid-day, then Felix spent the afternoon making us headsets to go in our helmets so we can talk together while we ride. He used the main important part Liviu had sold him and took cheap headphones and the microphones from another headset that didn’t fit in our helmets and joined them all into one fitting, working set. We tested them riding over to Kelly and Lena’s in thick fog to see Flo and Andrea for the first time since we last saw them in Australia.

So that brings me to today, Tuesday. We went for a really nice long walk with Mara in the morning. We saw two Moles! They are so cute and funny; they look like furry, fat little black sausages with legs and a pink flower on their face. I was so happy to have seen them, I have always wanted to but I know how rare it is. We then went to a town called Gleisdorf to look for a knitting yarn shop so I can continue the sock making frenzy. Along the way Schurli called so we met him and rode together up to a place called Patchehutte. From up there, there is a wonderful view over the mountains and valleys. On the way back down we visited the lovely, elderly mother of Hans. We stayed eating biscuits and drinking cordial with her for over an hour, struggling to comprehend her strong Styrian dialect even with plenty of help from Schurli with translation. She wondered what was wrong with me – wanting to travel on a sidecar motorbike with Felix – and what was wrong with my parents for allowing and approving of this. We came home and Felix spent a few hours helping Schurli with his Australian visa application. And that concludes our first week in Sankt Marein. Let us pray for good weather and no more long hours of bike repairs.
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Virgil on

Thanks again Floss for an incredibly vivid and honest insight into your experiences. I hope your next week (and the rest to come) are less fraught with frustration and boredom, and that you Flexi and Nina get on well with each other! The photos are stunning, and the writing too - have been following every blog post with eager anticipation and enjoyment. Lots of love from Uje and I (and the girls)

Michael George Percy on

i envy you both so much!

Annette Cameron on

It's so lovely to read these correspondences from you. Hang in there Floss, I recall such times and they do pass! How lovely the Spring arriving can be after the cold snowy winter. Love to you both and wishing you happy times and a smooth running Nina.

kelly on

dear floss. if all my people are around, i even do not not understand anything....and it's really hard to follow that much different conversations......see ya

aurelia on

it´s very nice to read all your experiences... while travelling for a long time there are times where it becomes a bit difficult to always listen to other people, read all the gesticals, stay attentive, don´t worry, it will pass by... i hope the days will be easyer for you now. at least the socks look really beautiful! i´m looking forward to seeing and hosting you two here in torino!!!!!!!!!!
for me it is really nice to read things about the places at home, about the riegersburg... it brings austria a bit closer to me! thank u!

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