Posts Tagged ‘Mondsee’

Speed Shopping in Mondsee

March 28, 2011 3 comments

The ladies were in awe. And, for the zillionth time, I was counting myself as the luckiest man on the planet. We were on a public bus headed back to Salzburg, Austria, from the small town of Mondsee and out of breath.

The 'Abbey Church'

Like my wife and I, the three couples with us were also big Sound of Music fans. There had really been no debate whether we should see the Collegiate Church where, in the movie, Julie Andrews as Maria becomes a von Trapp.

The church is lovely and unique, but it was our rush to catch the bus that amazed one and all.

As usual, I was the last in our party to leave the church. Somehow, there is always just one more photo to take from a better angle. But my watch was howling that the ever-punctual Austrian bus service would surely leave without me if I didn’t move now.

I had only six minutes. So I jogged through the cold, light rain toward the bus stop. Somehow my restrained, gentlemanly gait and pretense of not being an Idiot American fooled no one. I reached the town square, but couldn’t see my friends. Then, I spotted Lisa outside a shop. Oh, [bleep]. I thought, someone’s buying something! We’ll miss the bus!

Picture Maria and the Captain here

I could picture a spendy taxi ride rearing its slavering, euro-devouring maw above the shop as I ran. At the front of the shop, Lisa said, “Your wife’s found this gorgeous coat!” Gulp. Four minutes left.

I burst into the shop – and stopped cold at the sight of my wife’s image in the mirror. It was a gorgeous coat. Really gorgeous: a green velvet Austrian riding coat with embossed silver buttons. I knew it was a sure sale, whether we had the time or not. So, I waved our friends toward the bus stop with a wan, Save Yourselves if You Can smile. Three minutes.

The coat was too big! Did they have another? Yes, here somewhere… . I asked the lady near the register if I could just pay now as we had only three minutes to catch the bus. She said, “of course!” Then I saw my wife’s things scattered around the shop. Two minutes.

'The Coat' on Display in Vienna

Through the window, I saw the bus pull into the square. My wife had one arm in a sleeve of the smaller coat. The shop lady was running my card. I was moving around the shop, scooping up all my wife’s belongings. Could I have a bag to put these in? Of course. There’s one right in the back. Out the window, I could see that the arriving passengers had finished getting off the bus. One minute.

My wife walks up and models her beautiful coat with a ‘Hills are alive’ twirl and a delighted smile. “Danke Schons” and amusement fill the shop as we kiss quickly while I sign the receipt, We grab our stuff, but I have to go back for my umbrella. Another customer has gotten into the spirit and holds the door open for us. In a forlorn hope, I charge straight across the square on a dead run. I can see the driver shaking his head ‘No’ as he talks to Lisa. Just as he turns to release the brake, I appear in front of him, waving at him in a plea to board. He reopens the door. As I stand in the doorway and fumble theatrically for the pass, my wife appears. Exhilarated and relieved, we both board as the second hand on my watch sweeps past vertical.

Is there any other woman in the galaxy who can – in a place she’s never been before – notice, select and buy the perfect coat in six minutes flat? I think not.

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