I am on a work trip this week. Four of us. Visiting a satellite office in Klagenfurt so I can meet the team and join some planning sessions. We took a train here, which lasted five hours and went through the alps — but it was mostly dark and foggy. When the fog lifted, which happened a few times, I compared the countryside to places in America. The mountains look like the rockies — big peaks and spires. But the trees and grass are perfectly green like Vermont. There are little family farms everywhere too.
We sat in the first class section and drank beer the whole way down. Wheat beer. I learned a bit more about my team-mates, what parts of Europe they are from, what they like to do, and things like that. I also learned that you clink your glasses from the bottom when you drink wheat beer. No reason. Just tradition.
We arrived in Klagenfurt at 10:15 PM. I was full of beer. We grabbed a taxi, checked in at the hotel and had more beer. Beer, beer, beer. Time for a beer.
The next day was productive and social. Breakfast, a few meetings, a nice lunch, more meetings, and then dinner. I ordered a Bavarian dumpling dish made out of pretzels. It had an egg on top. We had Austrian wheat beer, and then a couple pints of Spaten Oktoberfest, which are German — and are clinked from the top of your mug — not the bottom.
Dinner was over around 9:30 PM. I joked that it was time for tooth brushing, urination, and schlafen (sleep). Wishful thinking. A dark smokey place named Monkey Bar awaited our attendance. And there we sat. Beer, beer, beer. We had some more beer. At 12:30 AM I had enough. I am ten years older than you guys and I can’t do this anymore. We have to work tomorrow.
Of course — I lost that argument. And so we stayed for more. I got back to the hotel at 2:00 AM. Everyone was up at 7:30 AM to eat breakfast as if nothing happened. One of them even went running an hour earlier.
So this place is like Vermont in a few ways. The grass is green, the beer is flowing, and there’s always time for one more. My college years in Burlington could be summed up thusly.
Thursday afternoon. We are headed back to Linz. Got some sandwiches at the market. And of course:
Much sunnier for my ride home. Amazing scenery.