This was Laetitia’s first tour day in Austria. She took her group to Innsbruck. The name translates as “the bridge over the River Inn.” The town is a popular tourist destination in both summer and winter. It’s Alpine ski country, but this was not ski season, so Laetitia began the day by taking her group on a hike. Afterwards they did a walkabout in the town. One of the town’s best-known landmarks is the Goldenes Dachl or Golden Roof. It sits atop a three-story balcony constructed during the early sixteenth century so that Emperor Maximilian I could have a box seat for the tournaments and other goings on in the central square of the old town. The building to which the balcony is attached is now a museum. Laetitia took her group there and later to the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum.
At the local Bierstube where Laetitia went before meeting her group for dinner, she was within earshot of table of American tourists who had just come from Hungary. They were commenting about how many Hungarian males they met whose first name was Attila. An Austrian gentleman at a table near Laetitia saw her watching them and said, “It’s true – the Hungarians view him as their kinsman and a hero. They are unconcerned that most of the rest of the world thinks he’s a barbarian. The Roman Empire dubbed him ‘The scourge of God’ and the bad press continued because the Roman Church didn’t approve of pagans. He conquered much of Europe in the fifth century when the Roman Empire was crumbling and he likely contributed to its downfall. After a life of military victories he died somewhat ignominiously, apparently suffocating from a nosebleed while drunk on the night of his wedding to his sixth wife.” Laetitia thanked the man for his story and wrote down the limerick of the day.
Overheard in a beer hall Tyrolean
Was some talk of that warrior Mongolian,
In Hungary, a hero,
Not scorned like old Nero
Or that height-challenged general, Napoleon.
Though some of the world views Attila
As a creature akin to Godzilla
Called the vile “scourge of God”
When he used to maraud
And attack Roman city and villa.
On a night after wedding a lass
He was seen to raise many a glass
Though he died without glory
Of a nosebleed quite gory
Still Hungarians think he’s first class.
We all know when we’re wiser and older
That what’s valor’s judged by the beholder
That decides who’s a hero
And who is a zero
That should receive history’s cold shoulder.