This summer two of my dearest friends came to stay with me in Austria: Maria Marques and the other half of Niedsano, Anastasia Basano. From the first day, when we fell into the little kids pool after trying to stay afloat on a raft and running home wet and freezing, till the last day, I enjoyed all of it. We stayed in Tirol, in a little town called Achenkirch, as well as in the capital, Innsbruck. In or around the area of my little town we went hiking across the side of the lake Achensee and up a mountain. We went for walks to drink tea or coffee, we went aero-flying (flying like an eagle), we went climbing forest, and slept outside. We watched movies and jumped on the trampoline (at 2 in the morning). Anastasia never had a trampoline so she feels like part of her childhood is missing, so if you ever invite her over and you have a trampoline, you’ll know where to find her! We also went on a big boat (called damfer) of the lake, Achensee, as well as visited Cristal World.
We also spent 2 days in Innsbruck, the capital of Tirol. We meet up with a friend on the first day and went to visit the ski jump called Bergisel. It is designed by one of the most famous living architects, Zara Hadid. She has designed many amazing buildings and structures, including the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi and the Performing Arts Center, which is in the process of being built in Abu Dhabi.
More on Zara Hadid:
In Innsbruck we went to a football match and then at night meet up with my cousin. We ended up walking home, because we felt bad for calling our friends to pick us up so late. BAD DECISION. Let’s say it turned out to be more of a hike than a walk. We linked arms and kept telling each other we only had a little bit left. In the meantime we got some chocolate biscuits at a gas station. What can I say: chocolate is always the answer and usually helps. Then when we reached the highway, we were sure we went wrong somewhere. Giving up on the whole “walking straight till you find the house” idea, we called our friend who was happy to pick us up, and amazed at how far we walked. It turned out we passed the house… by a lot! The next day we slept in, enjoyed the sunlight, had a great lunch and went shopping before heading home.
Home. I have to admit, I am not quite sure where that is. There have been times where I’m sitting in my room in Abu Dhabi but feel so foreign. I have friends and family who have moved all over the world and when they are asked where is their ‘home’, they can never decide on just one specific place. But who says you have too? To me, home is always changing. I believe it is not where you are in the world, but with who you are around that makes you feel at home.
Anna has basically summarized the events that occurred in the amazing week I spent in Austria. I can truly say I’m in love with Austria. The fresh air, the amount of green there is, the blue sky that appears after a quick rain, how nice people are, and not to mention the tasty food. The first night I got to Anna’s village we went to a restaurant together and for the first time in my life, I tired a traditional Austrian schnitzel and, may I say, it’s super delicious! I also learned a bit of German because I didn’t want to make the same mistake I did the first time when someone talked to me, responding to their hello with a goodbye thinking it meant hi. Getting lost in a city was the fun part because even if we didn’t know where we were going, we remained calm and kept talking while walking.
Now please excuse the lengthy paragraphs about how my week in Austria was but there’s just so much to say. During my stay, I got to do some things that I have never done. One of them was climbing a mountain that was more than 2,000m (even though we got a ride by a car half way up.) The way up the mountain was pretty easy but going down wasn’t as simple as I thought. It took me twice the time to get down that mountain and the relief I got when we finally got home was breathtaking, literally. I got a few scratches on my leg and let out some screams that scared Anna’s mom but in the end, I made it to the top! The view was so nice and just standing there made me feel like I was on top of the world. I would advise everyone to climb the top of a moment once in his or her life and just enjoy that moment including a great view. Another activity that my family usually doesn’t do because of the lack of excitement is play cards. My mother and I love playing cards, but it’s always better when there is a larger group of people. Every other night, the group of ‘Kids’ that stayed in the house would gather around and play. I had so much fun learning new card games and tricks that I can now use on friends or family members. I also had never gone eagle flying, which was really fun because I got to see the view and all the people below us taking either selfies of themselves or pictures of us ‘Flying’ down a zip line.
I got the privilege of waking up everyday and doing something new, all thanks to Anna and her family. If you imagine what happens when three girls live together for a little over a week, then we three musketeers probably already did it. I can’t explain the incredible memories and moments that I’ve shared in that week because it would be much longer than a couple of paragraphs. Austria was the best part of my summer and I’m truly grateful I got to spend it with two amazing girls, even though I didn’t get to check off another thing on my bucket list, taking a photo with a cow.
Anna and Anastasia