The hills are alive with the sound of ..... Kiwis ??
Being away for a while makes you reflect on life back home - the things you miss and the things you don’t. In the former category: friends and family; work colleagues; Radio 4 and BBC iPlayer - for copyright reasons, you can’t access it abroad; wandering into town on a Saturday morning for a coffee and read of the papers; singing and music in general. On the negative side, we don’t miss the often drink-fuelled antisocial behaviour of youngsters which doesn’t appear to be anything like so prevalent abroad, although people still complain about it. Young people appear to have more regular exercise than back home. In most of the countries we’ve visited, children are seen routinely cycling or walking on their own to school and seem more involved in after-school sports. The consequence of this is noticeably less obesity in young people in general and the feeling that they are more content, suffering less from computer-induced cabin fever and alienation from the rest of society.
That was a Party Political Broadcast from the Keep Britons Moving Party
But on the whole, there is more to be glad about in the UK than perhaps we realised before. Many people have said how much more friendly the Brits come across to visitors from abroad than in other nations. Although we think of ourselves as reserved, this seemed, in general, to be much more the case especially in Scandinavia. There are always notable exceptions, of course, and we have met some lovely people who prove the exception to the rule.
We said goodbye to Richard, Hildegard and Madeleine in Switzerland headed by train for Salzburg. So borderless is the EU now that the we crossed over into Austria, then Lichtenstein, then Germany and back into Austria again without any formalities.
The main reason for going to Salzburg was to see our friends from New Zealand, Rob & Clare. We had first met them in the early 80’s when we spent a year in NZ. Rob was a houseman and Clare a staff-nurse in Napier Hospital. They both subsequently came over to work in the UK - in Poole Hospital of all places, and we came down from Lancashire to see them, little knowing that we would ourselves end up in Dorset several years later. They moved back to Hamilton in NZ and we last saw them there in 2003. Other than Christmas cards, we don’t have much communication with them in between times, but it is one of those friendships which just picks up where it left off however long since the last meeting.
Rob was attending an anaesthetics conference in Salzburg and their eldest, Timothy had been travelling with them around Europe beforehand. Tim is having a gap year working in Cambridge at Kings College School, where the famous choirboys board. He is loving it in the UK and after doing a music degree back home, hopes to return for further studies.
Clare does her Julie Andrews impression
Emergency services alerted as busker springs leak...
Talk about off-putting !
Salzburg is a beautiful city to walk around with lots of sites reminiscent of scenes from The Sound of Music. We found a great flat in the suburbs owned by a lady who left us fresh fruit from the garden and home-made tarts on the doorstep. We also took a trip up in a cable car to the highest mountain overlooking Salzburg and decided to walk back down. It’s true what they say - coming down can be much more arduous on the legs than going up - we needed to use Zimmer frames for a good week afterwards. Julie Andrews made it look easy but then she probably had a double.