Those of you who have been following me, know that it was very hard for me to leave Mexico and say goodbye to the family we found there. It was particularly hard for my 5 year old daughter who was born in Mexico and considered Carmen and Luigi as much grandparents as our parents. Time as passed but we kept our friendship and love for each other alive through Skype and other means, counting the months when we would embrace again.
When they announced their coming we were thrilled. I confess we had been worried as well. Luigi is 91 years young and has a pacemaker. We were afraid the doctors would refuse to let him come on such a long trip to Europe.
But Luigi is incredibly well and his resilience should be an example for many people. He was determined to come and he made it! With his strength, his wonderful sense of humor, his cheekiness and his expert advice, we felt blessed to have him again for ourselves even if it was for a short time. What to say about Carmen, his loyal companion, his rock and our wonderful “mother”? With her I can open up my heart without any boundaries and her encouragement is priceless. Above everything their love for my daughter touches our heart and hers in every possible way. It was great to see my daughter laugh, play and complain to them about us, her parents. It was also incredible to hear her speak Spanish almost perfectly, as if she had left Mexico only yesterday.
I did not know Carinthia yet and I can say I am glad it was the place we met again after so many months apart. When we left Mexico one of our daughter’s last request was to go to Xochimilco, the Venice of Mexico. We had a farewell party with the whole Mexican family and it was so much fun. It was wonderful to go through the canals one last time and have the Mariachis serenade us.
It felt only fitting to practically start their journey in Austria on a cruise ship on the Wörthersee, one of the most beautiful lakes in Austria. We took the ship at Klagenfurt, the provincial capital of Carinthia. Its alluring architecture was created 500 years ago by Italian architects and the city has won international prizes for their endeavor in the preservation of their architectural and historical heritage.
When you arrive at the Wörthersee lakeshore, besides the charming park
You look at the Wörthersee for the first time and you immediately start appreciating its calming beauty
And fortune graced us with several choice of boats. When we arrived at the pier we saw a big cruise ship already pretty full and a smaller one filling up fast. There was also a small empty yacht with very confortable sofas. When they informed us that we could choose any boat it was a no brainer. Just having that nice yacht only to ourselves was wonderful. We could relax and enjoy the 4 hour cruise in a breathtaking landscape.
From the Karawanken mountain range that separates Austria from Slovenia and Italy
To the beautiful Villas, there is so much to admire.
And we even had the good fortune of seeing a regata pass by our boat
Along the way, you can stop at several places to visit and then hop up again on a later ship. We chose to have lunch at Velden. Velden is a picturesque town, ideal for a vacation. It offers a variety of water sports, hiking trails and lots of entertainment with even a local Casino. But what most impressed me in Velden was without a doubt its architecture, not only the beautiful buildings
But also the little details like this original lamp
We had some tasty fish in a restaurant by the lake front and just relaxed while we waited for the next ship to Klagenfurt to arrive.
And on our way back again the landscape was impressive, the buildings were charming
And even in a cloudy day the sunset was breathtaking
When we arrived back at Klagenfurt we were so happy to have embarked on such a trip. We had the opportunity to bond once more with Carmen and Luigi. We talked about the past but also the present in this sometimes trying but fascinating country. Their presence and the lake inspired me in different ways and made me think about starting to write again.
And if you want to get to know Austrians you should do what we did. Carinthia and the lake region has many different types of hotels but we usually try to find a pension run by a local family. They are very affordable, very clean, simple but confortable. They also offer home made breakfast with wonderful local products.
This time we chose a charming little village called St. Primus.
We stayed at Pension Hribernig run by one of these local families. We had it all to us since we were the only guests at that time. The owner was very nice. Don’t get put off by the apparent seriousness and reservation that Austrians sometimes portray. By being nice and respectful you can break apparent barriers and have a unique experience.
St. Primus also has nice hiking trails
And only 5 minutes away walking, another beautiful lake, the Turnersee. This lake region in Carinthia has many lakes where you can swim and do water sports in the summer. The lake water is said to be so pure that you could even drink it.
We are sure to return and explore more of Carinthia but this trip will always remain close to my heart because of Carmen and Luigi. I could only finish with a sweet photo of them with my daughter. This is for you Carmen and Luigi. Thank you for your visit, your love, encouragement and support. We miss you already!
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