Travels with Bowser Posts

The last few days we’ve been in Schlaiten, a village in Osttirol with less than 500 inhabitants, located near the Italian border. Up the mountain, on a farm above the village, lives Bowser’s oldest relative: die Uroma. She’s been living here for hundreds of years with her cow Linde, who is now – like every summer – on holidays higher up in the Alps where she can run around in the grass and play with all the neighbour-cows. Die Uroma stays behind on the farm with her rooster, four chickens and fat dormouse. It is a peaceful and quiet place and the view from the terrace is breathtakingly beautiful: perfect for a four-day-stop on our way from Vorarlberg to Croatia.

“Are you drinking already? At ten in the morning?” I ask Anna and her dad. They are sitting in the garden, cleaning the mushrooms Anna’s dad found in the woods, drinking a glass of white wine while doing so. At the exact moment I hear the words come out of my mouth, I realise my mistake. There is no such thing as drinking in the morning in Austria. It simply doesn’t exist. What Anna and her dad are doing (and what I’ll be doing two minutes later as well), is part of a very old tradition. And so I already know their response to my ignorant question: “No, we are not drinking in the morning. This is Frühschoppen! Do you want a beer or some wine?”

Bowser was born in the Netherlands and is half Austrian (from Anna), half Dutch (from me). He was made, however, more than a year ago in a whole different country. Now that he is almost old enough to move forward on his belly and eat half a banana for lunch, we – Anna, Bowser and I – are going back to that place: Croatia, here we come!