my austrian (flip) flop


In some states, summer has arrived. (Not in my state, but in some states.) And people who live there get to wear things like sundresses and flip flops. (I, on the other hand, am currently wearing jeans, boots, and a sweater.) But I’ll be the bigger person here and write for the warm-weather crowd.

When I was a kid, flip-flops were called thongs (a far cry from the thongs of today)…and they were rubber…and they always caused a blister to form between my toes. But I got older, and the thongs (which became known as “flip flops”) got fancier; this was especially true of one particular pair I bought in Greece on a post-high-school-graduation bus/camping tour of Europe. Pricey they weren’t (I was a bargain hunter even back then), but they were leather, gold, and gorgeous — covered with sparkly little rhinestones that dressed them up a bit. I wore them all over Europe.   

My transport for the summer....

About three weeks into the tour, our bus pulled up next to an uber-quaint Austrian hotel in the Tyrolean town of Ellmau. There, we were checked into the main guest house, with spillover lodging in another building – it was, if memory serves, separated by trees, a small road, and a bubbling creek. After hanging out in guesthouse-number-two late into the night (and having drank copious amounts of beer, as many high-school graduates visiting Europe are inclined to do), I began making my way back to the main lodge.

Our "gasthaus," nestled in the Austrian Alps....

Please note single light above doorway.

 I say “making my way,” because it was pitch-black and we were deep in the Alps, where conveniences like street lamps and storefronts were rare.  In the distance, I saw a lone light bulb hanging over the front door of the lodge; it quickly became my compass, as I blindly navigated the trees, the bubbling brook, and the road. Keeping the hotel door in my sights, I muttered to myself, “Almost there,” at which point I began to sense that my lovely, new flip flops were sinking into something that felt like mud and smelled like barn. It was at that moment, in the Austrian darkness, that a cow moo’d into my left ear.  I felt the warmth of his breath on me. There are few words to describe the experience, but suffice it to say that my scream likely scared the cow as much as his moo scared me; I broke into a sprint towards the light bulb—a sprint which was impeded by the “mud” into which I was sinking deeper and deeper with every step. By the time I made it onto the doorstep of the guesthouse, I was covered in cow poop up to my knee caps. And the gold flip flops? You couldn’t even tell I was wearing them.

Knowing full well that the US Customs declaration would ask: Have you been on a farm? Have you stood knee-deep in cow poop?, I decided to leave my crappy sandals behind. I’ve been on a hunt for a rival pair ever since.

Happily I think I finally found some….

Miss trish SPLASH; $54.95 at Nordstrom
Miss Trish Jaguar designed only for Target; $24.99,
Mixit Denim Chain sandal; $12.99,
Dream Out Loud by Selena Gomez Zahara sandal; $12.99,


Simply Vera by Vera Wang Beaded Bow Wedge; $24,
Port Jelly Sandal by Dexter; $9.99,
Andiamo Starfish thong; $39.90,
Simply Vera by Vera Wang Beaded Faille Bow flip flop; $24,

So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Or rather, it stuck to me. (By the way, that was nothing compared to the day I was pee’d on by a tiger…which I will appropriately save for my next animal-print bargain story.)

  • For REALLY cheap flip flops – get a cheap unadorned pair – & hot GLUE on the bling!

    June 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm