A Call to Suitcases ~ An Austrian Adventure



“Rain gear!”



“Who needs those?”

“You need to get off Twitter. Undies!”

“Check… and check.”

“I’m not even gonna ask. Socks!”

“Che.. ahey, those aren’t mine! Catch!”

There are certain advantages to raising military brats. One of them is that they can mobilize with the speed of a SEAL team, going from lounging leopards pawing tenderly at iPads to tossing socks and unmentionables across a hallway in 2.26 seconds flat. Another is that they have been hammered, honed, and tempered in the forge of military moves, and thus are capable of assembling basic necessities (Toothbrush! Favorite T-shirt! Snacks! Plush Eeyore!) without assistance or prompting.

There are drawbacks, too. First and foremost there is the Laissez-Faire approach to packing. Aka “If it won’t fit I shall make it fit!” Aka “Mom really doesn’t remember why she even owns an iron.” Aka “Come over here and sit on this!’ – “Did you just call me fat?” Secondly, it requires naught less than a crowbar with a steam engine attached to divert them from their mission. Once the hosiery and toiletries are airborne, mother can only dodge and evade; any and all appeals to help retrieving an errant shirt from the happy dog fall on deaf ears.

Right. The dog. Travel bowls? Check. Leash? Check. Squeaky duck? Che… I sure hope they weren’t planning on bringing those pants. Wait, didn’t she have a shirt earlier?

Road Dog
Road Dog

We’re horrible at planning. Abysmal, lousy, harrowing. We are the unchallenged Queens of the Very Last Minute, flying by the proverbial seats of our pants while our aircraft is cheerfully shedding screws and the odd bit of wing.

As the merry mayhem progressed upstairs and I was absentmindedly squeaking a disheveled chew toy, I wondered, wistfully and a bit enviously, how our sweet neighbors do it. I wouldn’t call them organized to within an inch of their lives, but they always manage to tell us two, or four weeks in advance when they need a dogsitter. They have itineraries, lists of good restaurants and interesting sights. They have their clothes washed, ironed, and packed the day before departure, they have a tank full of gas and a plan.

We have bright ideas.

Such as the one that started this latest upheaval. The email had been sitting in my inbox for a week, largely ignored. A 30% off coupon for a fancy hotel with horses and a spa. Horses and a spa! Well, it’s October and the weather in the mountains of Austria is likely somewhere between abysmal and depressing. But … horses! Spa! 30% off! If you take the horsey 3-day package, you even get another discount. But… we did have plans. Of a sort. On this glorious, rare 4-day weekend, elder daughter was going to visit some friends while younger and I would park our resplendent selves on the couch for a “Vikings” marathon and only move under duress (YOUR turn to order pizza!).

Yet as the date drew nearer, so did the feeling of “Ugh. Boring” increase. But what to do? Summer season was long gone, winter not even a blip on the radar yet. Rain, that’s what was on the menu. More rain. One sunny autumn day, followed by … yep, rain. And the Lion King musical was sold out, when mother peeked online – just in case. Prague? Rain. Berlin? More rain. Spain? Too short notice by now, plus we’d practically have to leave again soon as we touch down. Couch? Pizza it is.

Bright ideas happen randomly in this family, as do odd food hankerings, and left-field interjections during perfectly normal breakfast conversations about politics and astrophysics and Kirk vs Picard.

“Voting for this guy would be like flying into a quantum filament just to see what happens. Positively Kirk-esque recklessness!”

“I want Kaiserschmarrn!”

“Me, too. Let’s go to Austria. And vote for the other guy.”

“Agreed. On all counts. With quince jelly.”

It took about an hour to find the email, call the hotel, find the lady who spoke English, find out they had an opening, several actually, and if the ladies would like a suite it’s an extra 10% off the package (off-season you understand), whip out the credit card, and book a holiday starting… today. T minus 6 hours.

Let the melee commence.



Inspired by and written for Wander.Essence‘s beautiful “ANTICIPATION & PREPARATION” series. Check her out, she not only has the most amazing pictures, but she has Plans!


The Austrian Adventure continues here: Mountains, cows and coffee!


28 thoughts on “A Call to Suitcases ~ An Austrian Adventure

  1. As always, I thoroughly enjoy reading your writing Shia and sometimes pull a rib-muscle laughing at you and your girls. Then there are your adventures throughout the continent, around various mammals, including canids, equidae, and I’m sure one day Gigantopithecus — otherwise known as Kentucky-Tennessee hillbillies — and Odin and Gefion save all you Valkyries if you find yourself in those genetically-challenged lands! 😉 😁

    More, more, MORE tales Shia! Right away! Chop chop Lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, those Gigantopitheci. A tricky species. A “Håret i postkassen” situation for Valkyries, and no mistake. Still, they have some nice horseys down there… (*somewhere in the Bluegrass State a siren howls mournfully and people eye the horizon with dread. As it hath been foretold, they have taken notice. Verily I say unto thee, mayhem and much merry confusion shall come from The North and drink all our bourbon*)

      I shall endeavor to comply with your request, Professor – the next installment of the Denmark Saga is in the works, but the sorting of photos is time consuming (I do have a day job, ya know? 😋 And perpetually hungry young Shieldmaidens. And a perpetually affectionate old dog. And a foster-horse. Actually, two at the moment… I’ll take “Caffeine makes the world go round” for 500, Alex)

      This brief interim post was supposed to buy me some breathing room 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      1. HAH! Fear not faces turning blue… -ish, for lack of O-2 and blogging exhales (throws her rainbow-colored Tic-tacs for not-so-Texan courtesies) to demanding impatient Followers of enthralling Romulan-Valkyrie prose! You CAN DO IT my Lady! … oh! oh! … (turns to Mr. Trebek)

        “Who is Ken Pile in A Fish Called Wanda!!!” 🤩

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Now there’s an idea! 😁
      We’d have to hand out hard hats, though. By the end of the exercise whole duffel bags crowd the airspace, and some of those contain horsey gear.

      The Eeyore might credibly be renamed Stitch by now, what with having been patched and sewn back together countless times in 15 years … but he’s still the most comfortable pillow an adolescent Shieldmaiden can ask for. If that thing could tell stories… (“They’re funny things, accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.”)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hilarious, Shia! You are such a clever writer. I love reading your tall tales! It sounds like you have your military brats trained well, and, there is certainly something to be said in being spontaneous. I love how you are the “unchallenged Queens of the Very Last Minute.”

    I love this! I’ll be linking to my post on Friday, the 27th of April. I hope you had a grand time on this trip, or did you actually make it? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you 😊 and yes indeed we made it and had a marvelous time, despite the capricious weather (remember the “Tu Felix Austria” post? That was the journey). We even got our Kaiserschmarrn on the very first evening!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. How did Sam say in LOTR when Frodo asked “Does anything ever dampen your spirits?”
          “Those rain clouds there might!” 😒

          Fortunately we’re all weather riders!


  3. I love this! The spirit of adventure is deep in my bones. When my kids were little (1 & 3) my husband had a client in Switzerland and the kids and I would go for extended visits. I would trot my kids in the double stroller on to the train and we would explore all day and come back to a small farm at night, exhausted from the day’s adventures. Those are some of my happiest memories. Safe travels my new friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooohhh Switzerland! That must have been lovely! Though I can imagine with two little ones it was a major undertaking sometimes 😉

      Here’s to adventure! Thank you for stopping by and I’m glad if I sparked some happy memories!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol. I’ve worked with a gal in a print shop. She was super talkative. She and I worked together very well, and set some huge company records for production. They fired her for talking. Didn’t think she could talk and work at the same time, but we really rocked it. I stood up for her, they fired her anyway so I quit. Some people can do both. Some can’t.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I am not a Master of Travel Planning, either. Luckily, my partner was forged in The Valley of the Never-Ending Spreadsheet, and he happily attends to all the details. My sole duty is to be vaguely aware that I am expected to clamor aboard a plane at some point in the future… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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