“The hills are alive with the sound of music” rang in my thoughts as we approached the Alps in the Austrian panhandle. Breathtaking. Calming. Sublime. Our hotel, nestled in a quaint village, offered lofty views, cozy rooms, and cheerful hospitality.
After we settled in our rooms, we visited in the lounge overlooking towering trees, green meadows, and a sparkling lake. Then on to the dining room for not only a taste of Austrian fare, but also a traditional band, complete with costumes and an accordion. However, as the evening progressed, I grew ill.
Excusing myself, I headed to my room. Chilled to the bone, I crawled into bed heaped with comforters. I could not get warm. Soon I heard a tapping on my door. In walked one of our guides asking if I needed to go to the hospital. I begrudgingly agreed.
Since our tour only used a bus, our hotel owner kindly drove us the local hospital. Once there, the staff ushered me into the doctor’s room – one who spoke no English. That surprised me. Somehow we communicated. Then a tech whisked me away for an x-ray.
In the States, we undress in a booth and don a covering. Not so in Europe! The tech motioned for me to pull off my top. Baffled, I kept looking for a private place to undress. No such luck. Finally, he tugged at my top. So I removed it and stood in all-my-glory for a chest x-ray. Ugh.
Back to the doc who wrote me a couple of prescriptions for an upper respiratory infection. Then I paid a whopping $150 for my visit to the ER, and waited for our ride back to the hotel.
I figured that I would fulfill my script the next day, but not so. On the way home, the hotel owner stopped at the apothecary– at midnight. Apparently, the pharmacist lived upstairs and routinely answers after-hours calls. Once she returned with my meds, she grumbled, “I don’t know why he was so grouchy. He comes to the hotel restaurant regularly.” Kind of comical. Who knows what we interrupted?
The next day we were scheduled to tour the famous Neuschwanstein Castle – you know it as the Disney castle. However, that was not in my cards. Such a disappointment! Of all the castles I planned to visit, that topped my list.
What I really needed, though, was sleep. And sleep I did. Later, when I ventured to the dining room, the hotel owner hovered over me like a mother hen. She sent me to the infrared room, ordered a massage, and then announced that I needed some fresh air. Back home, I would not have risked the cool, damp air, but she insisted.
Once outside, I strolled the lanes of the village surrounded in lush meadows and towering mountains. Each house was in pristine condition and neatly landscaped, like a storybook setting. Finally, I reached the edge of town, plopped down on the grass, and wept at the view.
No, I didn’t miss anything. This quiet day was salve to my soul as I gazed at the unspeakable beauty. No regrets. But my massage awaited me, so I moseyed back to the hotel.
Readying for my massage, the masseuse, instead of leaving the room, waited for me to strip. Oh, well! Totally worth it, I reveled in those hot stones. Meanwhile, the tour group joked that I was probably enjoying a Swedish massage from a sexy male massage therapist. Only half right!
Although the Austrian Alps brought surprises that I never anticipated, I reveled in my own private experience. Who would have thought I’d need an ER visit in a tiny Austrian hospital, topped with a grumpy pharmacist? All gifting me with a quiet day soaked in peace.
Life – it’s what happens to us while making our plans. Just roll with it and enjoy the ride.