Sunday, September 25, 2011

Discovering Klagenfurt

The entire weekend was positively gorgeous, so I spent most of it outdoors. Saturday, I went to the market in town, which takes place each Saturday and Thursday and hosts local farmers as well as those from Italy and Slovenia. I came home with fresh peppers to make stuffed peppers for dinner, hand-made Marillennudeln (sweet noodles with half and apricot inside, a typical Kärnter dessert) and mozarella and spinach noodles, fresh dill, freshly cut sauer kraut, slippers, and Kärntner honey. I asked the honey man if there was any where to practice or learn beekeeping, which I had begun learning in Germany, but he had such a hard time understanding my non-dialect German, that I decided it would be best to move on and ask someone else. Riannon says she found a honey store…perhaps I can go there and ask?

I wound my way to Neuer Platz, which was hosting the Bio Fest this Friday and Saturday. Wandering amidst homemade cheeses and breads, I noticed a booth of delicious looking olives and ended up with a little bag of Bio olives, which were, I must admit, delicious.

Dropping my market swag back at home, eating lunch, visiting two grocery stores and wishing Riannon and Nils happy trail riding with their bikes. I headed off to do a bit of hiking on the Kreuzbergl, which Irene says has beautiful walking paths. I walked in a circular path behind the red-onion-domed church that adorns the hill near the city and admired the view of the surrounding mountains.

I came back, exhausted and began to prepare dinner. Riannon whipped up her amazing homemade tomato sauce with chunks of garlic and basil. We all fell into food coma heaven after stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, sauer kraut, and Marillennudeln topped with ice cream.

Sunday, I went off to hike to Mario Lotto on Wörthersee via the Kreuzbergl before the other two were even awake. They had plans to take a picnic lunch and hike out to a castle also somewhere on the Kreuzbergl. After a good two hours of hiking, I somehow ended up on the wrong trail and found my way to St. Martin, a subsection on Klagenfurt, which has its own baby church. From there I hiked over a curly-cue bridge to the Lendkanal and followed it down to the See. On the way, I ran into Riannon and Nils, just beginning their journey. Nils advised me on how to get to trail Number 11 to hike back home along the scenic lake overlook.

I made it to Maria Lotto, which is a restaurant and old manor home sitting on a small peninsula that extends into the lake, snapped a few pictures and headed for trail 11, which I found exactly where Nils said it would be. I hiked up, looking out over the lake, filled with majestic sailboats bobbing along merrily.

Taking a break on a bench, I noticed a grisly looking man sitting on a bench not too far away. He called over to me, “I left that one open just for you!”
I laughed and nodded.

Then, he wheeled his bike over, which was loaded down with beer and leaned on the tree next to my bench. “You want to come sit next to me? Or should I sit next to you?” he leered, his breath reeking of alcohol.

“Ah, no. I have to keep going, now, sorry.”

I got up and continued hiking, praying he wouldn’t follow. He did. On this bike. Teetering along the stony path, as he called, “Ich bin verliebt!” (I’m in love!)
I followed a path upwards where he couldn’t follow with his bike and was soon back on dog-walking path central with plenty of normal looking Austrians about. I continued following number 11 in the direction I needed, when it magically turned into number 12 and I became unsure of my direction. The next hikers I saw, I asked and they assured me I was heading the right way.

I soon came to an intersection and was totally lost. An older man came up behind me and asked if I was looking for something in particular. I mentioned that I needed to head back to the Kreuzberglkirche and he offered to walk with me since he was heading that way. After my run in with the drunkard, I was a bit leery, but he seemed normal and didn’t reek of alcohol, so off we continued. After Grüß Gott-ing our way along the trail, we reached familiar territory and I relaxed. We began chatting and he told me he had lived in Klagenfurt his whole live, always coming to the Kreuzbergl trails on the weekend. He told me he never thought about how they could be confusing to a foreigner before. I waved goodbye to him at the church and he continued onwards, while I walked home. On the way, I stopped for ice cream at Tutti Frutti, home to handmade ice cream by Italians that come up for the summer and spend their winters in Italy.

After a shower and a break, I began cooking up leftovers and the spinach-mozarella noodles. We ate through that round of food, then Riannon baked Salmon covered in dill and blue cheese, with corn-curry potatoes for round 2. For round 3, we finished off the plum cake with a bit of ice cream on top. Monday, we head off to a week-long orientation in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, a small town in the mountains somewhere near Salzburg-ish, so this was an attempt to empty our fridge as much as possible. The rest will be stuffed in our tiny freezer or brought with us for lunch.

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