Getting to know family in Austria

May 1 is Labor Day in Austria, a very big deal. People celebrate with parades country wide, and by wearing typical Austrian garb. Since I didn’t own such a garment, I borrowed one from the grandmother of my friend, the Austrian singer and actress, Dalal Bruchmann.

Honestly, the last thing I thought I’d be doing during my whirlwind trip to Austria was wearing Dalal’s grandmother’s dress to her birthday party. But I did, and I liked it! Call me old fashioned.

Gathered at this celebration were Dalal’s family: her mom, Maria; her grandmother, Hermine; Dalal’s niece, Lena, and Michael Jordan (not the basketball player but the firefighter with a cool invention to help companies prevent and get people out of fires safely,

Then there was Anna Trummer, (a teacher) and her son Julian, an adorable little boy who kept trying to teach me to speak German.And then there was Anni Reisenhofer. Anni was Dalal’s high school physical education teacher…and she is one tough adventurous cookie. Dalal wanted us to meet because she thought that we would inspire each other to do adventurous things that the other hadn’t thought of yet. We promised we would figure out something, somewhere in the world.

Bee Farming in Austria

Writer Fran Capo and her friend, actress and singer Dalal Bruchmann in traditional Austrian garb.

Writer Fran Capo and her friend, actress and singer Dalal Bruchmann in traditional Austrian garb.

Our next stop was Dalal’s grandfather’s bee farm, where he makes his fresh honey.

I had never been to a bee farm so I wanted to get up close and personal. But Erich said the bees were angry at the moment. Not sure what makes them angry, but didn’t feel the need to play bee psychologist. So instead Dalal and I decided to do an impromptu photo shoot, since we were still dressed as customary Austrians.

Communicating in Sign Language

Dalal’s grandmother took me on a two-hour hike through farmland. I don’t speak Austrian and she doesn’t speak English. Yet we talked the entire way communicating through sign language.

At one point I saw a farm and asked if it was a cow farm. Hermine didn’t understand my question so I pointed and said, “Moo Moo?”

She shook her head and wiggled her nose, “Nein, Oink, Oink.” Who needs language when you can use animal sound effects and mime!

Next stop on my whirlwind tour of Austria: Sampling Austria’s famous chocolate at the Zotter Chocolate factory.