At least there was Schnitzel.

A couple of weeks ago our day outing plan was grand: a wander around a pretty lake in the Hochstieiermark, nestled in an alpine valley and led by our wily guide, naturally. In other words, the usual.

I am a “Volvo for Life” gal, and became weepy at leaving behind my decade-old wagon when we moved overseas. Sure, there was a basket in the wayback filled with light bulbs for when one of them would extinguish even after having been replaced two weeks prior, but I knew my car. Even before a warning light appeared I would say to Tony, “Something is not right with the MomMobile,” and he would take me seriously. Or at least pretended so.

Here my wagon is new and full of bells and whistles and messages, but I still know my car. On the day before our planned outing I remarked to Tony, “Something is not right with my car,” but he did not take me seriously and said, “Maybe it’s just a sketchy tank of petrol. There’s no warning message.”

So we set off the following morning for the lake, about a 2 hour drive away. And what do you know? Thirty minutes into the drive the “Check Engine” warning message popped up. I side-eyed Tony, who said not a word as we reversed course for home. Clayton Theodore, in the wayback, was none the wiser that his day trip had changed.

But where to wander? When in doubt there are always vineyard paths, so we parked the wagon and headed up into the vineyards around AIS, past the former village of Salmannsdorf and all of the grapes whose fermented products we will be drinking in the coming months.

Across the vineyards we wandered to Hackenberg and its romantic vine-covered water filtration plant that dates to the Empire, and that is now a cultural treasure to be spared in the event of a conflict.

In the near, Schutzhaus Hackenberg, a very local establishment. All of the tables were reserved, and as it goes in these parts this means the table is reserved for the entire afternoon, so we had to promise to enjoy our lunch within two hours before the table was no longer ours. Sacrifices.

Our guide, blissed out with his Pommes Payment.

So it came to be that the MomMobile did indeed have a leaky hose, which the ever-helpful and courteous team at Taferner replaced in a jiffy.  I know my car.