MAY 14, Saturday: Dreams of Vienna (Schoenbrunn Castle) and Real Goodtimes with Laughter Buddies in Gablitz (Day Eight)
The Fire Ceremony (in the Spiritual Shed) runs twenty minutes over-schedule – Hahahahaha. We strip our beds and dump the laundry in the requested spot. Breakfast includes coffee; Beth and Frohlich Dahveedt are pleased. Elfi, Petra, Gordona and Anamika share warm hugs and wave us off from the roadway, and we draw ourselves away from Eggersdorf bei Graz.
In a few hours we are in Vienna, and reach the Parking Plaza for Schoenbrunn Castle. Anne and I and our two moms (Ruthe and Beth), along with Dahveedt, split from the more ambulatory (and eager) Marisa, Celeste and Dave. The Moms Group heads up to the distant Gloriette for the spectacular view and lunch. We stop at the Poseidon Fountain for photos and giggling at the other tourists and kids. Up at the Gloriette, Anne’s GemuseStrudel (vegetables in a creamy sauce, baked in a pastry) was excellent, and my BananenSchnitte was also worthy of praise. We descend and stroll around various green lanes. Anne and I do some picturesque Headstands on the massive lawn. The other group makes a grand tour, including a visit to the Maze.
It starts to rain! Anne and I escort Beth to a lovely subway/train station (which I recognize from a visit here 18 years ago). Beth will go to the airport and head back to the USA tonight, departing the Bus tour a little early. There’s a saying that “All good things must come to an end,” but there is still a twinge of sadness as our first Bus Tour Family member is leaving for home… on this, the eighth day of the trip.
Back to the bus and when all are aboard (they came back rapidly when the rain got heavy), we head off for the suburb known as Gablitz. The Hotel Hohnecker apologizes for the previous receptionist’s error - I must pay an additional 85 Euros. Ha ha ha! So sorry! It’s only pieces of paper with different colors printed thereon. We get an hour or so of rest, during which I discover that the wire on my cellphone charger has broken - I can’t recharge the phone. Hah!
A buddy of Thomas named Christian (he had been in the Teacher Training in Interlaken, six days earlier) takes us the ½ mile (in two trips in his personal car) to the site of tonight’s Laughter Club Special Session. We see many smiling, beaming faces - LachClub veterans all. We meet Thomas’ lovely partner of 4 years, Veronika (and her two bouncy kids); Jeannette Schulz and Monika Muksch from Vienna, Thomas’ 10-year-old daughter, and about a dozen other joyful souls. There’s an amazing potluck spread laid out on two long tables, including homemade Apple Strudels and a quiche-like dish (and a creamy spread) made with Baerlauch - a locally-grown version of garlic which is abundantly in-season. There’s even a big chunk of ham - so Frohlich Dahveedt will be able to eat something “real!”
The gently-guided session includes their suburban-Viennese version of a “Five-Minute Warm-up,” and many Laughter Exercises (classic and new). Thomas has provided an electronic keyboard and we premiere my musical/vocal work A Musical Melodrama fully acted out by members of our team. Marisa plays the Villain, Celeste the Hero, Anne the Heroine - with Ruthe as the inanimate objects/sound effects. Lots of fun and laughter for all!
As we dig into the eats, an Austrian fellow plays background melodies. The kids go outside for a vigorous, giggly game of “Hide and Seek.” After dinner, Thomas leads a few games: clapping, mirroring, making sounds and faces… As the evening wears on, no one wants to leave, as the feelings are so strong - of Freundlichkeit (friendliness) and Gemuetlichkeit (comfortable quality-time, being together). But off we go, Christian again transporting us to our cozy hotel.