Travels with Bowser Posts

Near the border to Germany, above Bregenz and Lake Constance, lies probably the most famous lookout point of Vorarlberg. The Pfänder is almost 1100 meters high, which I think is quite a bit and definitely counts as a mountain. Anna insists that it’s just a hill, though. I’m from the Netherlands, where the highest point is 300 meters above sea level. We call that a mountain, so this Pfänder is definitely one too. Anna knows it is. She just likes to act tough and brag about things Austria has and the Netherlands don’t. Anyway, since we decided to do touristic stuff this year in Vorarlberg and not just sit around all day, we took a cable car up the Pfänder last Saturday with our Innsbruck-friends Kathrin and Daniel (who stayed over after the Festspiele the night before) and some kid called Prinzessin Emma-Johanna.

Two years ago, when Bowser was still some weird thing moving around in Anna’s belly, we went to the Bregenzer Festspiele to see an opera on the water. Now that Bowser is some weird thing moving around outside Anna’s belly and Dr. Watson took his place inside, we went there again. We left Bowser at his uncles and took Watson with us. That’s the benefit of still living in your mother’s womb: you can come along late at night when human beings are going out, doing grown-up stuff. Sorry, Bowser. You can join us again in a few years, when you’re a human being too.

Half of Bowser’s family lives in Austria’s westernmost region Vorarlberg. We go there when we can, so you would think we’ve seen a lot of it. Well… wrong! This is what our holidays in Austria usually look like: sitting around a lot, eating too much cake, reading books, talking (or in my case: listening, pretending to understand and smiling politely) and putting a wide-awake Bowser in his grandparents’ bedroom at 6AM so Anna and I can sleep some more. We barely get out of Röthis, the tiny village Bowser’s grandparents live. But this summer that’s gonna change. We are going to discover what fun things Vorarlberg has to offer!

Bowser appears to keep growing every day. He even starts to resemble a real human being now. In many ways he still appears to be a baby, for he wears a diaper, cries for no apparent reason and likes spending time with his parents. Yet he is also interested in cars, runs around a lot, plays football, has as many teeth as the average 70-year-old guy and discusses interesting topics at dinner. I wouldn’t call him a full human being yet – his head is still relatively large compared to the rest of his body – but he’s also not really a baby anymore. He’s somewhat in between.

A dozen wooden tables on a grassy field at the edge of the forest. It’s still warm, but the sun is about to set behind the mountains in front of us. On our right we hear cows mooing and new-born pigs squeaking, on our left we enjoy an amazing view over the village of Röthis and the mountains beyond. We are surrounded by people laughing, talking, eating and drinking. It’s a nice day and the atmosphere is very gemütlich. Where we are? The Nachbaur Buschenschank of course! It’s May, after all.