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SWMBO realizes only 21 days remain in this 8-month journey.  Maybe it’s the kids chanting a countdown just about every 20 minutes?

As we get closer and closer to our return date, our Canada lives insinuate themselves in our travel lives.  We start getting news from home and arrangements have to be made for airport pick-ups.  Two strange things also happened that made us feel that a gossamer thread was spanning the Atlantic, connecting us to those we cherish back home.

Bed in “Upper Austria Village"

Bed in “Upper Austria Village”

First, we all became sick after getting soaking wet and then touring a 8 degree Celsius salt mine for over an hour.  The very next day we got an email for Firstborn, back in Canada, who wrote that she had worked a double shift volunteering at a music festival – she stood in the cold and rain for hours and now she was sick!!!  As a result, all seven people in our family were sick in bed – so what if we were on different continents?!

Lederhose, "Upper Austria Village"

Lederhose, “Upper Austria Village”

Second, every year our kids embark on a three-day homeschooling trip to Upper Canada Village with all their friends.  Upper Canada Village is an open air museum in rural Ontario on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, a stone’s throw from the United States.  It depicts life in the year 1866.  While there, the kids get to dress in pioneer costumes and live the life of an 1866 boy or girl.  They milk cows, work with the blacksmith, play Massachusetts Baseball, bake Grandmother’s Sugar Biscuits and yes – they even sweep dead flies from the window sills.  Believe me, I hear a lot about those dead flies.

Traditional music, “Upper Austria Village"

Traditional music, “Upper Austria Village”

They also go to school (remember this is a group of kids that has never been to school!) and they stand outside the tavern singing a Temperance Movement song.  UCV is full of tourists and day visitors who get a kick out of coming out of the tavern after lunch and being serenaded with, “Throw down the bottle and never drink again.  Your wife will smile with gladness…”

Pretty much everyone enjoys a beer at Upper Austria Village.

Pretty much everyone enjoys a beer at Upper Austria Village.

It is one of the highlights of the year.  That trip is happening this Friday-Sunday (i.e. right now!) and my kids are bummed to be missing it.  Yesterday, Lifelongfriend returned from work and announced that there was an open air museum not far from here that depicts traditional Upper Austria village life!  We’re in!  And yes, I fully expect to hear that it doesn’t hold a candle to UCV from the three experts in our midst.

LATER:

We just returned from Upper Austria Village as we are calling it.  It was so wonderful we never heard a peep about it not comparing to UCV!  We all had an absolutely lovely day.  Unfortunately, we’ve given our cold to Lifelongfriend so she sat this one out.  We got to see and do all kinds of neat stuff.  And we were quite the sensation ourselves – being from away and all.

The kids wanted to take turns riding this broom around the farm but decided that would be showing off.  If you want to read about how they learned to fly at Hogwarts you can do so

The kids wanted to take turns riding this broom around the farm but decided that would be showing off.

If you want to read about how they learned to fly at Hogwarts you can do so here.

Every time I go to UCV, I learn something new.  Same thing happened at UAV.  Today, I learned that in olden times, farmers would brush and groom their cows.  This included washing their tales and cutting the tail hair.  The farm wives would take the cow tail hairs and scrunch them into a ball.  They would use this ball to scrub stains from clothes.  The ball would end up felting itself from the heat and friction.  The women would keep these balls for years and they would become more hard and compact over time.  Fascinating.  I know it is fascinating because Lastborn spent the entire afternoon washing laundry this way.

Cow tail hair: eco-friendly  stain remover

Cow tail hair: eco-friendly stain remover

Lastborn hard at work.  She trades the cow tail hair for the ingenious plunger.

Lastborn hard at work. She trades the cow tail hair for the ingenious plunger.

The plunger.

The plunger.

Some interesting things happened to us:

A fellow approached me and asked me if I lived in Vöcklabruck, which, by the way, is a pretty big town.  I told him that I was from Canada but was staying in Vöcklabruck.  He told  me that he recognized our family from the grocery store.

We buy our tickets for Almdudler and Krapfen (and a coffee for Fahbio)

We buy our tickets for Almdudler and Krapfen (and a coffee for Fahbio)

We cash in our tickets for Almdudler - a beloved Austrian soft drink

We cash in our tickets for Almdudler – a beloved Austrian soft drink

We cash in our tickets for Krapfen - fried dough sprinkled with powder sugar

We cash in our tickets for Krapfen – fried dough sprinkled with powder sugar

We had a great chat with the lady demonstrating spinning.  Before we were leaving, she came to see us and told us that she would like to treat us to Krapfen.  Krapfen are a traditional yeasted fried dough.  It was a kind and touching gesture.  When we said we couldn’t possibly eat any more Krapfen, she told us to take them home.

When we went to get the take-away Krapfen, the lady making them told us that there would be room for one more in the box and snuck an extra one in.

Take-away Krapfen

Take-away Krapfen.  For the eagle eyed among you, yes there are 8.  Six for us, one for Lifelongfriend and the extra one that snuck in.

As we were leaving, the Sauerkraut demonstrating man, approached me and asked if I was Lastborn’s mother.  I said yes.  He asked if they could use a photo of her washing clothes in future promotional materials.  Imagine – Lastborn the Superstar!!!

If you want to visit UAV, here is some handy information:

Cost for a family ticket is 5.50 euros/$8.25 Cdn.

The museum is called Freilichtmuseum Stehrerhof and it is located in Neukirchen an der Vöckla.

The third week of September is a good time to visit.  It is the only time of year that they haul out the steam threshing machine.

Steam thresher at work.

Steam thresher at work.

Price of an Almdudler – 2 euros/$3 Cdn.  Price of a Krapfen – 1.50 euros/$2.25 Cdn.

Everything is in German.  You can see and try just about everything so it is still well worth the visit if you don’t speak German.

Today’s quote of the day is another Temperance Movement song from Upper Canada Village:

 I’ll drink no more gin sling. I’ll drink no sling made of gin, nor rum or whiskey, flip or brandy, wine or any such thing.