Backpacking through Europe with Children – Meeting friends in Austria Part 1.

I know I haven’t kept up my end of the deal when it came to continuing the bog posts on our great family vacation to Europe this spring. Like most photographers I too have been very busy this summer, weddings here and there, flying all over for shoots and of course family time, not too mention finally finishing some reno projects I promised to have done in 2009.haha With all my excuses out of the way I do plan to blog some more about our great trip and this next post is very special.

After many weeks in Eastern Europe we made our way to Austria to meet some very dear friends that we met in a remote part of madagascar in 2006. Klaus and Claudia are very special and beautiful people. When we first met we immediately hit it off. We met in Tulear on the southern end of Madagascar at this very secluded beach hostel. We drank wine at night, swam and fished together and even saw them once more later that year in Germany at their home in Karlsruhe. Since 2006 we’ve remained very close via e-mail and Skype. So seeing them for the first time after so many years, and the two with a little man, Guitar Hero Leo it was like time had stood still and we picked right up where we left off. You can see more of them here in the video I made from the trip:

The journey from Slovenia to Salzburg was fantastic, albeit very hot and crowded and the kids did “pretty good” for a while. Wynter of course made friends with a nice woman who sat across from us and Keir wrestled Colleen and I for the 6 hours+. At this point though, we didn’t care what our kids acted like. Wynter ran around shortly after and bothered as many people as she could, and we just sat there smiled and just tried to forget.haha It’s amazing that we made it this far at all and after so many weeks on buses and trains you just sort of give up to be honest your kids are as tired as you are, want there toys and their bed, and they just need to let loose so unfortunately we let them loose on Europeans who I’m sure murmured some unpleasantries about “Americans”. I’ll explain, if and when (usually when) my kids are acting up I pretend I’m from the US and talk about Obama and compare the Alps to Colorado and the Rocky mountains and say things “I thought these would be bigger”. That keeps our Canadian name in the good books over there just by default. Sorry to all my American friends, but who are we kidding I know you pretend you’re from Canada too. We’re even.

When we met up with Klaus and Claudia, and now Leo it was a surreal moment for us. Colleen and I along with the two kids sat waiting on the curb of a gas station eating ice cream and candy. Covered in filth and eating junk food, real traveler’s.haha It was like nothing had changed though when they pulled up, they had these great big smiles and they were as happy to see us again as we were to see them. When we first met them in Africa, we’d been on the road for nearly 8 gruelling months. We were dirty and tired then, and we were dirty and tired now. The only thing that had changed was that we had more wrinkles and our kids were also dirty and tired.

I’ll recount more of our time together in the next few entries but I just wanted to get the ball rolling again. We were so lucky to spend well over a week with them and we started our adventure in Salzburg and that area. I had last been to Salzburg nearly 13 years earlier with my great friend Lorrie. I always find it so exhilarating when I can reflect on moments back then, standing in the same places I did many years before. What I have to admit that was completely different this time (aside from the kids) was that I had money on me this go around. I remember Lorrie and I many years earlier heading out on the town at night and we barely had enough money for a baked potato at supper. I always remember complaining about how much food cost yet I never seemed to be too poor to have many beers at night. It’s strange how the mind and memory work isn’t it.

Salzburg is truly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Mozy (Mozart) was born there (that’s what his friends called him) and the area is very famous for it’s story of the Von Trapps and “The Sound of Music”. And “nope” we didn’t go on the tour. Maybe next time. The city is surrounded by the hills (I hear they sing) and the old town and castle is something out of a storybook. I could really never never tire of castles!

I want to add one more very important thing at this junction of our trip. Although our car was small it really made our life easier and our spirits so much higher. having the ability to stop when we liked, go when we liked was something you really can’t say enough about when traveling with the kids. I love trains so much but until my children can keep themselves entertained on one it’s much easier to be in control and driving opposed to struggling with them on the tracks.

I’ll let our shots tell the tell of the first few days and I promise to have the entire trip documented before we leave on our next trip in the spring.

I know some people don’t like the miniature effect on the city but I always find it fun to play around with it.  and why not, I have the originals still.

The beautiful farmhouse we stayed in.  What a great way to visit more of the area.  However it did smell like cow shit for most of the time.

If you can believe it, Colleen, Wynter, Keir and I and our luggage fit in this bad boy. I think we got 6 million miles to a gallon on it. Zero to 60 sometimes and going uphills was interesting.

Damn my boy is the shit! He’s so cool sometimes!lol