“Mummy there is smoke coming out of my mouth!” The words of my Nyakio when we first stepped out of the airport, into the cold air of Vienna.
I didn’t realize how breathing out into the -7 degrees winter air was an event on its own, until I heard the happy squeaks and squeals my kids made as they blew “smoke” into each others faces!
My good friend John, who picked us up from the airport, was simply amused at how Nyakio was busy trying to unbuckle herself from the car seat to go touch the snowy trees and grass along the highway. She couldn’t understand how we weren’t stopping, because to the best of her understanding, we were here to touch the snow!… And it was right there! Lolest!
John’s wife and I go way back from campus days. We were those chicks who really enjoyed campus life and one way or another, managed to pass our exams, against the expectations of many. (haters! ). Naz was the best maid at our wedding 11 years ago and as life would have it, our kids are pretty much the same age.
Despite the fact that she’s lived abroad for about 8 years, we are constantly in touch on whatsapp, keeping each other updated on life’s unfoldings. I don’t take for granted that she put us up for two whole weeks. And over and above that, planned an amazing itinerary of trips and experiences, from outdoor iceskating, to visiting the beautiful Vienna Christmas markets. And even a two day trip to beautiful Salzburg.
Oh! How beautiful is this town!! Slazburg so happens to be the home of Mozart, as well as the town in which “Sound of Music” was filmed way back in the 1950’s. “Sound of Music” is my all time favorite musical, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that story! So, because we wanted the kids to appreciate the town just a little bit more, we all watched a classical musical before we set out on our trip to Salzburg.
Sure enough, once we got off the train we all burst out into “The Hills Are Alive” led by yours truly, Mama Tumiso!! Let me tell you guys; there’re some things that I can’t do at home, for fear of being labeled mentally unstable… but when I’m out there, where nobody knows or even cares about who I am, things like singing on the street are SO MUCH FUN!! Lol!
We sang all the way to the hotel room simply advertising ourselves as the newest miro tourists in town! Hahaha!
Salzburg Old Town is a beautiful historic town, who’s narrow streets and well preserved buildings that date back hundreds of years tell such a beautiful story of cultural wealth. One can tell that the people of Salzburg take particular pride in this little town, that boasts of a gorgeous old church, and a castle atop a hill… Things that fairy tales are made of.
We took advantage of being in there to make one of my dreams come true… Going up a cable car to the top of a mountain. Yani I can’t explain how exciting this was to me, more so, because I was doing it with my kids.
That said, NOTHING would have prepared me enough for how COLD it was at the summit! What!!! Thankfully, there was a little heated restaurant at the top, because there was no way we would have lasted out there in the cold for more than 10 minutes! And by “We” I mean Nyakio and myself. Because Tumiso on the other hand, was completely in her element! She was having the time of her life making snow angels , snow balls and other snow things for a really long time! It made me soooo happy to see her so excited and jumping all over the place.
But in as much as she enjoyed this experience, it was no-where close to being her highlight. Anyone who knows Miss T knows that she is an avid lover of wildlife, and as such, visiting not one, but TWO zoos during our trip was like heaven to her. She could not contain herself!!
All the amazing non-tropical animals that she spends time researching online were here! Right in front of her! What a treat it was for her to see snow leopards, sea lions, reindeers, wolves, tigers, bears, and a whole range of other exciting new wildlife!
The other thing she absolutely enjoyed was our trip to Slovakia. Yes… tulivuka border kidogo . The drive to Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, was an experience on its own. The snow dust covered trees that lined the highway were such a serene sight to behold.
We traversed from 1st world Austria, to 3rd world Slovakia in a little over an hour. But why this trip was such a highlight to Miss T was this: Aunty Naz stepped on a dead squirrel when we stopped to take pictures by the roadside! (hahahaha! that was actually quite funny). That, and because we let the kids do all sorts of “naughty” things while in Bratislava, like finger writing on snow covered cars, and shaking off snow from trees and letting it “rain” on them. And why not… you are a child only once in life .
As for my little Nyakio, she spent a lot of time on the stroller during our little adventures. And speaking of strollers… akina mama… the strollers we buy for our little ones here in Kenya are just for hype, why lie. During this trip I understood what strollers are meant for.
You can’t leave your baby at home… because you don’t have a househelp (nannies and househelps are for the wealthy out there). You go everywhere, and literally EVERYWHERE with your baby. Wueh!! On the train, in the bus, to the grocery store; it’s only natural that you use a stroller, because carrying the baby physically is almost impossible!
Another interesting experience was seeing all the tu little dogs wearing clothes! And they were everywhere! on the streets, in the restaurants and hotels. Yani, my kids and I couldn’t help ourselves! Every time we saw a little dog in clothes we would tag each other and point at the ka dogi, and even ask for selfies!
But there’s one dog in particular that confused Nyakio; it looked exactly like a little sheep! Nyakio couldn’t understand why the sheep, which was wearing clothes, was barking!! Hahahaha!
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do this trip for my kids.
Thanks to Naz and John Machibi for being such amazing hosts. For welcoming us into their home, and for making the holidays the memorable experience that they were. We love you guys so much, and may God bless you guys sana!!! Cheers mummies, that’s it for now!! Much love and good fortune to you all.
Wahu Kagwi is a Kenyan mum, musician and business lady. She loves to share her parenting journey to help as well as learn from other parents.