• The countryside was pretty, even when very wet. My shoes, which got drenched on Thursday, were still wet this morning.
• Hiking in a skirt is surprisingly comfortable, right up to the time it rains and you can’t put on waterproof overtrousers. However as my waterproof overtrousers were in Oxford, this wasn’t really an issue.
• Goodbye (from The White Horse Inn) turns out not actually to be from The White Horse Inn, which is annoying considering I bought the CD in an impressive music shop in Salzburg in order to try and work out just where the hell it fit into the plot. It’s an interpolation into the first British production. On the other hand, it has lead to me discovering Hinge and Bracket (also doing, oddly movingly, The Holy City).
Incidentally, has anyone else seen Hear My Song. “I haven’t been where you’ve been. I haven’t seen what you’ve seen.” Ahem.
Also, Adieu, mein kleiner gardeoffizier as sung by Peter Wimsey. OK, monocle aside there’s not that much similarity, but considering Wimsey’s apparently mother-tongue level German and attraction to theatrical agents, it is amusing to think of him plying the stage in Berlin.
I intend to learn more about Austrian operetta, but I digress...
• Cake! Delicious cake involving red fruits and stuff done with cream and occasionally eggs. Sadly less transportable home than schnapps. My souvenirs were pear schnapps, gentian schnapps, a CD, and an umbrella.
• People of various religious persuasions who believe the mere sight of a small part of the human body, let alone the entire naked body, of the opposite sex, will drive the most chaste individual mad with lust? What can I say, you’ve never been to an Austrian sauna.
• Job that sounds good for 5 seconds – Sauna Master. A young man who wanders round with a towel wrapped around what in this context can only be called his loins, and flaps furace-heat air at the patrons. Goodness knows what the selection process involves – jogging on the spot at 100 degrees followed by press-ups?
• Apparently, just as humans can have a third nipple, cows can have fifth teat. Just after I noticed this, the thunder, lightning, and torrential rain broke loose. It must have been a Warning.
• My German is still rubbish. I try, and when I remembered a few prepositions, and to put the definite article in front of rather than on the end of the word it helped a lot, but it is still buried deep. I finally gave up on the last day when attempting to ask at the train station how to get to the lufthavn and having to be rescued by the young woman behind me who suggested the flughafen. I did manage a half-hour conversation, but it was on a boat trip with Elisabeth, aged at my guess about 3 ½, and presumably therefore inured to people repeating what she said, what they said, and not making much sense. She was lovely, though, the sort of child who could convince everybody that they wanted one, if only one could guarantee that it would turn out like that.
• Speaking of Elisabeth, is there no escape from bloody Sisi? Probably not. On the train to the airport (I didn’t realize Gatwick was so far south – I ought to have gone from Birmingham) a group of women in the seat in front of me were agreeing that the Duke of Edinburgh had arranged to have killed Diana, Princess of Wales (or whatever she was technically called at that point) because he didn’t like her.
• Finally, who is wearing all the dirndls? Every second clothing shop in the region (at least) sold dirndls and lederhosen. Yes, some people were wearing them, but not enough to support that many shops. Are dirndls (astonishingly expensive for a bit of cheap-looking cotton) comparison shopping items? And if so, why didn’t I know in GCSE Geography?