After we crammed our tiny Renault Espace full of ski gear, luggage, carseats, bodies and snacks, we were headed home. It had been a really great trip and we decided that we'd make our way back to Switzerland and stop along the way if we found anything that looked interesting. Well, of course I had about 4 places that looked great. One was a cheese farm where you could actually get the cheese out of a vending machine year round if the store happened to be closed. We could stop and have some Spatzle for lunch and it was supposed to be in the most glorious setting high up in the Alps. So we started headed towards it. And before long, snow was falling. And soon the snow was falling faster the higher we climbed, and everything was white around us. And then the wind began to really whip. We were about 20 minutes from our destination when we hit a steep hill and the car began slipping backwards. Chains!! We need chains!! Joe pulled over to the side of the road and he looked at me with that look of "Do you REALLY want to do this?! Are we really going to get out in this weather and put chains on?!"
I sighed. We were so close. "We don't even have chains, what a bummer." Then Joe stated, "Yes, we do! They are right at your feet in that bag that came with the car." I looked down and saw the package at my feet that had indeed come with the car. "That would be a first aid kit. Not chains." I started laughing. Joe started laughing. I got a little hysterical and might have shed a few tears. We were in the middle of who knows where in the middle of a snow storm and Joe assumed that all along we had chains but never looked. I assumed we didn't need chains because of the snow tires on the car, so I never looked into it. This is what happens when you just throw a trip together last minute. And really, we should know by now to NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING. If we could just learn that lesson, we'd have a lot fewer "adventures."
We turned around and headed back down the windy roads and decided maybe we should just head home. We were starting to hear a bit of whining from the back of the car and the weather really wasn't great. I was a bit disappointed because there were probably so many things we were missing as we were driving along!!! And then we came upon Feldrich, Austria. I put my foot down and told everyone we were stopping. We were going to go look at a castle. People were tired and hungry. I got it. But this sounded really incredible. We drove around the DARLING medieval town and tried to find something to eat, only to discover that ALL RESTAURANTS CLOSE at 2pm and don't reopen until 6 or 7pm. More pretzels from the car to tie us over, I guess. Another lesson learned.
All complaining ceased as soon as we walked through the castle doors.
Everyone was mesmorized and suddenly our growling stomachs were forgotten and we were looking at pianos and chess boards and beds and weaponry that dated back to the 1300 and 1400's.
Kate discovered the ancient method of texting...
All were completely astonished at how short the beds were. There was no way our family would have fit in the furniture!
It was incredible. It was freezing inside. I know they had thick walls for a reason, but still, I am so grateful for modern day heating. We left and everyone was happy. A little hungry, but happy. We were on a mission to find some food and make our way back to Switzerland. In doing so, we happened to drive through one of the smallest countries in Europe-- Liechtenstein-- So small that we said goodbye as quickly as we said hello!
We made it home safely that night and Joe got up and left the next morning to go to NYC for a big meeting. Our first European trip under our belt. Time to start planning the next one :)