In a previous moo-travelogue, Angie and Ray Go to Budapest, we were told that:

A week in Uncle Peppe’s condo in Florida was just enough for a great honeymoon as far as Ray was concerned. He had little money, few vacation days and he’d never been to Disney World. Angie’s father had enough frequent flyer points to send the two of them to Europe but Ray had too much pride. Angie went along with his wishes and they did have a marvelous time but she continued to yearn for a more exotic trip.  It took about six months for her to wear her new husband down to the point where he would allow his father-in-law to spring for airfare to and from Vienna.

For the first four days they prowled Vienna and what they saw and did may be explored at a later juncture.


That later juncture is now, listlings. The Moo’s been nearly 5 months away from Austria and Otter-wah is as dull as she remembered it. So, for Ann’s birthday we all get another moo travelogue. Well, she asked for Ray and Angie in happier times 

As the city-tour bus drove across the Danube towards United Nations complex, two large hills could be seen to the northwest. The tour guide told Ray, Angie and the rest of the busload that these were the Kallenburg and the Leopoldsburg and the buildings on top were churches. The slopes of the hills were part of the Vienna Woods and a district on the hillside called “Grinzing” was famous for its wine taverns and restaurants.

“On another day, I suggest you take the number 38 tram all the way to the end of line to Grinzing, which is very picturesque. From there you can take the number 38A bus which goes to the churches on top of the hills. There are very nice places to look out over the city. And you can also get trails to walk through the woods.”

“We should do that tomorrow, and have dinner in this Grin-place,” Angie said.

Ray rolled his eyes. “It’s probably a tourist trap. We should go where the locals go.”

“And how would we find that out? Like you know any locals?”

A woman in a seat behind them on the bus leaned forward and tapped Angie on the shoulder. Angie whirled around, as did Ray when he saw his wife’s movement.

The woman behind them was small, plump and pleasant looking. Beside her sat an older woman, plumper, smaller and also pleasant looking. They didn’t look at all dangerous but still Ray was on his guard.

“Excuse me for butting in on your conversation, but I heard you talking about going to Grinzing. It’s true it’s kind of touristy but Viennese do go there. I go myself about twice a year for special occasions. The prices are not too bad and waiters usually speak English.”

The woman spoke English perfectly but Ray detected something odd in the way she said “about”.

“What’s the place called again?” Ray asked her.

“Grinzing. Gee, are, eye, enn, zed, eye, enn, gee. Just ask somebody at your hotel where to get the 38 tram and stay on it to end of the line.”

The “zed” together with the odd pronunciation of “about” tipped off Ray to the woman’s nationality. “You’re a Canadian, right.”

The woman smiled. “Yes, but I’ve been living here for a few years. I’m taking my mother around, she’s visiting from Toronto.” She actually pronounced the word “Traw-nah”. The second woman, now identified as her mother, also smiled and nodded.

Ray and Angie both thanked the Canadian woman for her input. “Well, then that’s what we’ll do tomorrow night. We’ll go up and see the lookouts while there’s still light, have a walk around the forest in the evening then go down there for supper.”

Ray, leaving the planning to Angie as usual but reserving grousing rights, said that was a fine idea. “I don’t know many Canadian. They seem pretty nice,” he opined to Angie and turned his attention back out the bus window.


The next afternoon they took the 38 tram to end of the line as instructed. Angie was armed with a pamphlet about Viennese wine taverns which told them about how these Viennese vintners have the right to serve their own wines to the public, a privilege granted to them by Emperor Joseph II back in 1784 and still in effect today. On days that they are open, vintners frequently hang a bough of pine outside their doors.

During the short walk to the bus stop for the 38A bus that would take them up the hills, they looked around at the restaurants that lined the streets and many did indeed have sprays of pine hanging from their signs.

The city bus number 38A wound them up through the forest and they could see many trails leading off from the roads into the woods.

“The famous Vienna Woods,” Angie mused, as she looked out, “It looks just like any forest back home. But it’s pretty.”

The Kallenburg bus stop was in a gigantic parking lot at the top of one of the hills. At the edges of the parking lot Ray and Angie saw people taking walkways into the woods or coming out from them. It seemed promising enough. Ray headed towards the nearest path, but Angie grabbed him by the collar and stopped his motion.

“First we go see the lookout point, Ray, while it’s still light. The hotel guy said there was a terrace at the restaurant beside an old church.”

The church and a cluster of commercial buildings could be easily seen at the far end of the parking lot and Ray and Angie walked over. They followed the direction the general drift of tourists seemed to be taking. Near the old church there was a stand selling snacks and souvenirs. They obtained a couple of bottles of iced tea, Ray muttering about the high price. Then they continued to follow the crowd and found themselves on a wide balcony on the roof of a restaurant.

From there they were able to look out over the forests and vineyards that covered the hills and got a magnificent view of the city below. Ray slipped his arm around Angie’s waist and they stood together enjoying the lovely vista. It was breezy on the exposed platform and from time to time they caught the smell of frying from the restaurant.

“They’re making schnitzel,” Angie giggled.

“Everybody here makes schnitzel,” Ray agreed. “Pork, veal, chicken, turkey, I never saw so much breaded stuff. I’m going to have a heart attack when we get home. Dr. Finelli told me not to have so much hydro-carbons.”

Angie’s sudden laugh caused her to spray iced tea out over the hillside. “Hydro-carbons, Ray? You’ve been drinking gasoline? I know you love the Riv but you’re not supposed to drink what your car drinks!”

“What did I mean, then?”


“Oh,” Ray took a swig of his iced tea and turned back to look down at the roads that wound through the vineyards beneath them. “You know, I sort of miss the Riv. Wouldn’t it be fun to drive all around down there?”

“Madonn’!” Angie exclaimed. “Even for one day you can’t stop thinking about that damned car?”


When they had had enough of looking out from the lookout, they came down and spied a likely looking path into the forest. For the next hour they strolled arm in arm along the well-maintained paths, enjoying the exercise and the fresh woodsy air. Passersby bade them a friendly “Gruss Gott” as they walked along and they had learned to say this standard greeting back to whoever hailed them with it. Finally they looped back to the parking lot. Ray was all for heading back down for some local wine and some variety of schnitzel but Angie insisted that they carry on to the other hill, the Leopoldsburg.

This time the 38A let them off in the parking lot of what seemed to be a small castle. They passed through the gates and inside the walls they found the church, some smaller buildings that were – big surprise – restaurants and souvenir stands, and to their delight, a stone stairway up to another lookout point on the castle walls. This small platform was much smaller and also much emptier than the one at Kallenburg. They scrambled up and enjoyed pretty much the same view as they had before but without the noise and jostling of other tourists.

“Aren’t you glad we came here?” Angie said.

Ray gave her a squeeze first and then a kiss in answer. They stood looking out while the sun lowered and the evening became chillier. They huddled together for warmth, unwilling to come down from their pretty perch.


Down in Grinzing, Ray didn’t want to go into the larger restaurants that lined the main streets. He ducked into alleyways and small squares off the beaten track to hunt out a smaller wine tavern displaying the expected pine bough. Angie trailed after him, keeping up as best she could but not complaining. Ray was enjoying his quest and would be all the happier if he thought he had found some bargain. Finally Ray located a tavern that looked small and plain enough for his liking and ushered Angie inside.

The waiter by the door addressed them in English, but from inside Ray picked up the sounds of German conversation and was pleased to confirm that he had found a tavern where locals went. His ear was not attuned to the different accents of Austria, so he didn’t realize he was hearing mostly tourists from other regions of the country.

The waiter seated them and handed them menus that were German on the right side of the page and English on the left. The menus turned out to be wine lists and Ray flagged down their waiter on his way back and forth to ask for a food menu. The waiter explained that only the wine was brought to the table. They were supposed to go to a counter and get their food themselves. He waived vaguely towards the other side of the restaurant before hustling off to on some other errand unrelated to the presence of Angie and Ray.

Angie was doubtful. “Do you think we should stay here?”

Ray shrugged. “If you have to serve yourself, it’s probably cheaper than a regular restaurant. Let’s go see what they have.”

It would be all of two days later when Angie would read in her guide book that in a traditional “heurigen”, food was picked up cafeteria style while the waiters served wine, confirming that Ray’s investigation had been very successful indeed.

However at this moment Ray and Angie were in doubt and stood looking at what seemed like a small deli counter. People were passing by in a line and servers behind the counter were giving them portions of various foods on displays: salads, breads, meatballs, sausages and four different kinds of roast pork,

“No schnitzel,” Ray observed.

“That pork smells good, though,” said Angie.

“Okay, let’s do it!” With that, Ray took up a tray and some cutlery and lined up with the rest of the patrons, with Angie right behind. Nor did they end up needing to worry about what language was in use – all they had to do was point to a kind of food and the server scooped, sliced or speared a portion of whatever was indicated.

Back at their table, Ray next dealt with the question of which wine to drink by the simple method of looking around the room to see which table was the loudest and told the waiter to bring whatever they were having.

The Vecchios dug into a fine feast and were enjoying themselves hugely until Angie decided she wanted some more bread and got up to walk back over to the food counter. As she passed her husband, she said “This was a great find, Ray,” and bent down to give him a kiss on the cheek.

She caught sight of a slight discolouration on the side Ray’s neck just behind his left ear. “Hold still,” she ordered and bent even closer to check it out. There was something of a dark tan colour sticking out of Ray’s skin, looking like a tiny brown leaf. She moved to pick it off but it stuck to Ray’s skin.

Angie let out a shriek when what seemed like a tiny leaf revealed legs on the underside. She pulled her hand away and screamed “There’s something on him! Ray! There’s something in your neck!”

Ray jumped to his feet and started slapping all around his own neck “Where? What? Get it off me!”

In an American restaurant, the commotion would have not only a waiter but mostly likely the management to appear immediately but here in Vienna the waiter, being busy with concerns of his own, did not materialize right away. Instead, some people at a table next to them came to crowd around.

“Kann ich Ihnen helfen? (Can I help you?)” said a grey-haired man. Angie and Ray only looked at him, not understanding.

“Auslander (foreigner),” the grey-haired man said to his friends and they all laughed. “Please let me look,” he continued to Ray in accented English, and then to his friends he said something else in German and they chuckled.

Angie was not at all pleased by this light-hearted attitude. “Are you a doctor?” Angie demanded.

“I think a doctor is not needed. Please let me look at your man’s neck.”

This didn’t seem to be much of an explanation but the man, although he had made mock of them, was the only one offering any kind of help and at least seemed self-assured. “Stand still Ray,” she said, tentatively.

Ray stood still as the stranger came up behind him and peered at the side of his neck.

“Ach so. Er hat eine Zecke, (Oh yes. He has a tick”,)” he observed to his friends, who repeated the word amongst themselves and passed the message along to people at other tables who were all beginning to take notice.

Zecke” was repeated all around the restaurant.

At length, their waiter appeared and as he approached Ray could see a small bit of metal in his hand. Ray’s policeman’s reflexes cut in and he reached for his weapon, only to realize he was on vacation and therefore unarmed.

The metal in the waiter’s hand turned out to be a pair of tweezers. The waiter held these out in Angie’s direction but neither she nor Ray had any idea what was going on. They only stood staring at the young man with his strange implement.

Their grey-haired benefactor, if he could be considered as such, said something else that made his friends laugh and took the tweezers himself. “You must not move,” he told Ray.

It was out of character for Ray to let a stranger near him with a metal implement under unknown conditions but Ray acquiesced, figuring an attack in the public place would be unlikely. The grey-haired man came close again, plucked at Ray’s skin and pulled something small away with a little twist.

“It is necessary to twist so the head does not stay in,” the helpful gentleman assured them. Both Ray and Angie cringed at this piece of information. Ray still stood frozen in place.

The man noticed this. “You can move now,” he said, casually taking up a paper napkin from his own table and folding the thing on the end of the tweezers into it. He handed the napkin to the waiter who took it away, smirking all the while.

The grey haired man grabbed Angie’s chair and pulled it to the table where he had been sitting with his friends. Then he took Ray’s chair. A woman took their wine glasses and another woman their plates.

“Please join us,” was the invitation that could not be refused since their food drink and chairs had already been hijacked. “My name is Karl.” Whereupon Karl introduced the rest of the bunch. Ray and Angie sat down where their food was and waited. No one at the table seemed the least perturbed to have a man who had just been infested.

A woman who had been introduced to them as “Brunhilde” asked Ray if they had been in the forest recently.

“Yes, we just came from there,” Angie said

The answer was translated for the benefit of the group. It seemed only Karl and Brunhilde spoke English. There was laughter again but it did not seem unkind. Brunhilde listened to one of her friends and then translated.

“Gerhardt says he once had a tick behind his ear for three weeks before one of his colleagues noticed it. The ticks fall from the trees. That is why you usually get them on your neck.”

“Ewwww,” the Americans said together. With the immediate crisis over, they were beginning to relax and try to take in the information they were being given.

“I had to pick three out of my dog just last week,” Karl told them. “There are many ticks in the woods during this season. You are not in danger as long as you have had your vaccination.”

“Vaccination?!?!?!” came another chorus from Angie and Ray.

“For encephalitis. The ticks sometimes carry it.”

“And sometimes Lyme Disease,” added Brunhilde, helpfully.

Ray and Angie looked at each other in alarm.

Brunhilde tried to reassure them. “If you have a fever you must go to a doctor and tell him you had a tick. Also if you have any redness where the tick was. If you are staying more than a year in Vienna, you should get some shots.”

Karl noticed that his guests were looking very pale and worried. He slapped Ray on the back. “It is very rare to get sick from the ticks. I’m sure you are okay. Here, have some more wine.” So saying, he topped up Ray’s and Angie’s glasses from a carafe on the table.


Ray ended up having a rollicking time with Karl, Brunhilde and their friends after he had consumed enough wine to banish possible encephalitis from his mind. But later back in the hotel room he asked Angie to check his forehead for a fever.

“With your lips, not your hand,” he directed her.


“That’s what my mother always does.”

Angie had been lounging beside him on the bed. She got up.

“You take the Riv on our trip and now you take your mother?”

“Sweet Jesus, Ange, I’m not taking anybody anywhere. They just came up in conversation.”

Angie sat back down with him on the bed. “OK, I’m sorry. I’m just a little touchy. This is our chance to be alone together and I don’t want either your mother or your car in the way. Here, let me take your temperature.”

Angie leaned over him and placed her lips against his forehead. Then she moved them around his face and behind his ear, licking and snipping at his ears and neck.

“Ange!” Ray whined, “I just had bugs there! That’s disgusting!”

Angie drew her face away. “You had one bug and Karl says people get them all the time in the forest. It’s not like you’re dirty or anything. Come on.”

“I feel dirty,” Ray complained, turning over to show her his back.

“You shouldn’t,” Angie purred. “After all, we ARE married, you know.”

Ray stayed turned away and saying nothing.

“What?” Angie insisted. “Ray, talk to me!”

He faced her again. “You’re always going on about my mother. I just said one little thing and you start up.”

“Fine!” she countered, angrily throwing her hands in the air. “You’re probably too drunk to do anything anyway.”

This last had Ray up like a bolt. “Oh yeah? Is that what you think? I could be dying of encephalitis here. Or Lyme Disease.”

“Ray, you don’t even know what Lyme Disease is. And you’re fine, you don’t have a fever.”

“Then check if I’m red behind my ear.”

“I’ll make you red all over if you don’t cut this out. Ray, you’re perfectly fine. Come on; show me how fine you are.” She lay down beside him and starting caressing his chest then moving her gentle rubbing lower and lower.

Ray sighed with pleasure and forgot for a short time about his mother, his car and the spot behind his ear.


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