Earlier this year we took some friends to a “Schnee Festival” (snow festival) in a nearby Austrian alpine village. This was a wonderful Tyrolean experience, Tyrol is a region in the Austrian Alps. Have I told you how blessed we are to be surrounded by God’s majesty screaming all around us. Throughout this entire village there were beautiful sculptures carved out of big blocks of snow. All aglow with warm lights and the buzz of laughter in the air from kids jumping on and off the many snow piles made from the recent large snowfalls. Yes, our kids were some of those trying to eat anything snow related. Not to worry, our kids are old enough to know the difference between fresh snow and yellow snow.
The village reminded me of a time so many years ago when we lived in Minnesota and visited the Ice festivals held in St. Paul. For me it brought back feelings of nostalgia and joy. However, we enjoyed a good hearty laugh as we danced in the street to a one man austrian band, who must have been 70+ years old playing a piano in sub 0 degree weather, and doing covers from some of the greats of the 80′s from America, but the song that made me most nostalgic had to be his superbly thickly accented rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads.” It was such a great memory and we all couldn’t stop laughing.
Something that I love about living in Europe and specifically Germany has to be that dogs go everywhere with you, usually without any reservations. So we had brought our trusty dog with us on this epic adventure of snow viewing. Nala, our yellow lab, absolutely loves everyone and everything. So who would have thunk that big pig, I mean huge pig that someone was roasting outside and selling the meat to people, would be such a temptation for our dog, as I was admiring a rather humorus snow sculpture or otherwise distracted, our puppy (she’s turning 7 years old in a couple months) sneakily negotiated herself under the table where the guys who were carving up the pig were putting all the scraps in a bin to be discarded. Before she could get more than 1 mouthful I caught her. I pulled her leash to me and we quickly vacated the area so as not to be suspected by any bystanders. But I’m sure her nose was telling her that this must be what heaven is like. We had a good chuckle.
So now it was pushing that time where tummys call for resources and we had to eat and having a dog in Germany or Austria is no problem. So we walked into a nice restaurant and were able to get seating for the 10 of us, amazing (we had friends with us). When we walked into the restaurant, we knew we were in the right place, because right next to the hostess’ station sat a gourmet dog bowl with some food and a gourmet dog bowl filled with water. Our waitress was greeted by our dog and she petted and greeted her everytime she came to take our order or bring our food, but I think Nala got the best deal of the day when our waitress brought a huge 2 foot long wurst (sausage), I didn’t have to pay the 5 euros ($7-$8) for it either. It looked like a huge footlong hot dog and it took everything in Nala to not follow her into the kitchen and for us to keep Nala from wandering the restaurant looking for friends. Kind of like the time the waiter at Pizza Hut brought us a bowl of water for Nala to drink as she relaxed under our table inside, right next to the buffet. Yes even at Pizza hut.
I sincerely hope that if you love dogs as much as we do, that you would be able to come to Europe and experience it with a pet or at least someone else’s pet, it is great fun and excitement. And as Singer and Songwriter Andrew Peterson said in one of my favorite songs, I have “nothing to say!”