Day 31-32: Neustift im Stubaital, Austria

Day 31 – Sunday

As you may have picked up from the last couple of days of our diary, we’re finally slowing down to our normal pace of travel. We’re getting into the swing of rest and relaxation and have left behind the rushing from place to place, long driving days and constantly being on the go. Although it’s fabulous to do stuff and we love it, there are times when days of doing little are good for the soul.

But not for too long……we had an invite from John & Jane for supper over at theirs. Now there’s a dish that we’ve been longing to try since Anja told us about it 2017. Zwiebelrostbraten – zwiebel is onion and rost braten is roast meat all served in a rich gravy sort of like steak and onions sprinkled with crispy fried onions and served with mashed or boiled potatoes. We’d been chatting about this particular dish with John & Jane and we are going over to have it at last. Did it live up to it’s reputation?…..it most certainly did and John absolutely did it justice.

It was just a dish to fortify us for a walk in the rain to our Sunday night’s entertainment playing kegelbahn. A fun night of sort of 10 pin bowling but there’s only 9 pins on strings that dance their way up, a bit like puppets, as they are re-set.

The rules are simple, first team to finish knocking down a christmas tree of pins, wins….and do it whilst playing as fast as you can! It’s a bit harder than you think trying to knock down 9 single pins, 8 doubles and so on.

9

8 8

7 7 7

6 6 6 6

5 5 5 5 5

4 4 4 4 4 4

3 3 3 3 3 3 3

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

As you now know, the gorgeous Mr T and I are pre-tty competitive….. despite my being completely crap with ball sports and having the eye-hand co-ordination of a dyspraxic parrot. Cards firmly on the table, John still chose to bowl with me (I think it was a pity choice) but somehow the parrot was locked in his cage and we won!!! We won, folks, we won!!!! Overjoyed, excited and chuffed, we high-fived our way to several more rounds of drinks at the local hotel just opened for the season.

And then the spookiest thing happened.

Whilst we were sitting having a drink, John and I revelling in our great game of kegelbahn (well, more me really……have I mentioned I was so excited that we won!!!), synchronicity raised her head and firmly struck once more.

John is a great raconteur and we have heard him mention “Vic” before in various stories but it was only when they were telling us the story of their 2 week sailing holiday with “Vic” who was an ex-copper that the penny started to drop with the gorgeous Mr T. And to our utter amazement and astonishment, we discovered that in 2003 we had done our RYA skippers sailing training with the one-and-the same Vic!!!

I love the thought that there is so much we don’t know in this world and suddenly we get a fleeting glimpse of it….and proof that the world is indeed, a much smaller place than we could ever imagine.

Day 32 – Monday

At last….we have woken up to some sunshine. A day with a few high clouds, an intense blue sky and lots of sparkling, bright sunshine. Excuse me while I bounce outside to revel in it…..bloody hell, forgot it was a glacial valley so it still hasn’t changed the outside temperature much.

But the yellow stuff’s out and it’s a fabulous day.

We have made the decision to have a final walk around the village and into town to stock up as it’s time for us to leave the valley and Jane & John and continue our journey southwards towards Morocco.

But not before we have one last meal together.

As I’ve mentioned previously (just in case you haven’t picked up on it yet!!!), I’m pretty passionate about food. I’m also pretty passionate about nose-to-tail eating. As the gorgeous Mr T and I stalk when we’re at home (otherwise known as hunting everywhere else in the world), we are firm believers that everything that we shoot, we respect, we clean, we butcher and cook and eat it all; no waste. Now the last time I cooked some venison for Jane & John was when we met up with them and Ian & Tracey at our Tranquil Pines Massive in Kendal in the pouring rain over the May bank holiday weekend this year. A bit different to our last meeting in Hungary!

We had first all met up in Hungary in 2017 whilst we were on our 6 month overland and travelling south towards Greece, Jane & John were on there way south to Neustift for the winter, Ian & Tracey were on their way over to Romania for the rest of the summer holidays and Chris & Gogs were  making their way home to Wales after a 3 month trip having turned around in Croatia . The moment we all got to know each other, possibly more intimately than we’d reckoned on, was as we floated around in the cool pool, the ragingly hot sun baking down on us and compared our old age conditions and the difficulties of long term travel and cadging enough medication from the doctors at home. Scintillating conversation, I know, but when you’re long-term travelling, it’s these little things that can become obstacles so anything that you can learn, helps. Ian & Tracey, being the youngest of our group, didn’t have any “conditions” to offer up and Tracey is still, to this day, on a mission to try and get a “condition” to feel part of the “in” crowd!!!!

Back to May in the pouring rain in Kendal. So, I’m making a salad for lunch using some venison (fallow) haunch that I had brought up specially. And didn’t I just go and ruin it by overcooking it. Everyone said how nice it was. Personally, I thought it was shite because venison can be soooo good when cooked properly, that is, never any more than medium rare for tender cuts. I’ve been kicking myself ever since because I have this thing about ruining good food by doing just this.

Time for a little redemption. I had been saving a loin of muntjac – a small deer but perfect in every way.  It has a sweetness or fineness to the meat, is the best way I can describe it.  Anyway, I’d been saving this in the freezer along with some venison faggots that I’d made, especially for John & Jane because I really wanted to share some good (read that as properly cooked by me!), natural, organic British venison with them.  It is an amazing product that we have right on our doorsteps.

And by the end of the evening I was chuffed to bits. Muntjac, sous vided at 52degC (yes, I carry a sous vide wand with me) and flash fried to a medium rare, venison faggots, slow-cooked in a rich red wine and onion gravy, potatoes dauphinoise, buttered mashed pumpkin and steamed green beans. With a starter of Pane e Pomodore (basically toasted bread with garlic and tomatoes in olive oil topped with some air cure ham) and dessert some homemade fruit cake I’m carrying round for us to enjoy at Christmas (we need some “home” in Morocco on 25th December) with cheese and fresh fruit.

#FinallyDidIt

Back of the net, no eye-hand co-ordination required!!!

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