Winter Wonderland

At least once a year I manage to go skiing. While I was studying, we went for a week. Now it is more like a weekend, meaning we arrive on Friday, go skiing on Saturday, and drive home on Sunday. Maybe not the most efficient way, but partywise it makes up for the lack of skiing. And isn’t skiing also about the “Après-ski”? The last couple of years I only managed to go skiing with my co-workers, which might sound boring to you. But guys, so not true!

This year we forewent the usual hotel and rented a chalet in Filzmoos instead. Self-catering holidays was a brand new experience for all involved parties (ok, maybe only me), but my point here is that I didn’t know what to expect from this apartment sharing weekend with my co-workers.

Upon leaving Vienna Friday afternoon we had sleet/rain/snow for most of the way to Salzburg. Not the most promising start for our weekend. Nonetheless we finally arrived at the chalet, with a little help from some friends. It is actually quite interesting to find one’s way without a navigation system in the dark when the roads are dark and signs snowed in. This heightened interest turned to mush when we entered the chalet. I felt right back at summer camp only that this time it was winter. The entrance hall showed a pile of shoes, jacket and coats all over and the smell of spaghetti wafted down from the kitchen on the first floor. Welcome back to childhood memories!

So no “Après Ski” for us this first evening (actually it would have been “Avant Ski”) but an evening full of playing games eg Bauernschnapsen and Sticheln (a really great game to while the time away), celebrating a 40th birthday in a zebra costume (don’t ask) and lots of alcohol (on the zebra part). A good preparation for an early start the next day.

Which didn’t work out because Andrea and I were the last to appear at breakfast. Our colleague Lukas got asked so many times where we were that in the end he gave up and knocked on our door to make sure we were still alive (kind of reminds me of someone…). But there was no reason to get up early because one look out of our window told us everything.001No sunshine, only grey skies and a couple of flurries. No reason to hurry.

Turned out we were wrong after all (this happens to the best of us) because the sun came out eventually. Until then we kept busy by taking the bus to the next village to rent ski. An important detail if one wants to go skiing. On the way to the bus we took a couple of pictures, here our chalet and us looking like eggs “sunny side up”.003004

After a detour to the next village, we finally got to Filzmoos and were able to rent some equipment. On hindsight I should have walked the 50 meters more to the bigger sports shop to not get outfitted in children boots. But you know, once I sat down and gave my details, my fate was decided. In the end it probably made no difference, all three of us from Vienna were out of practice and felt the pain in our calves the next day.

By then though the sun was out in full splendor and we were keen on hitting the slopes. Doesn’t this winter wonderland look amazing?006007008009011012013015016

As far as the amazement went we were impressed exactly until we arrived on top. There we met the rest of our group who of course didn’t have to rent anything and got up earlier and had hit the slopes already at 9:30 while we were still having breakfast. Maybe that is the difference between a good skier and a fun skier? Anyway, they were already on their way to the first break. But Andrea and I agreed, no break for us until we skied at least once. Which we did and it was excellent! Skiing conditions were perfect, I had a good grip on the snow and the sun was shining. What more could I ask for?

Maybe a good lunch? 023

In good company?020And afterwards a coffee in the sun, with this view?026029031

The sun and the snow enticed us to leave this lovely spot and so we did. But Austria would not be famous for its slopes if we would not also be famous for our hospitality. And that’s why you find a cozy hut around every corner on the mountains. Another stop, another drink. This time not coffee but something sweet for the girls and something clear for the guys.

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The view from this spot was also impressive. Basically in whatever direction we looked we had an amazing panorama.052054053057

But with the setting of the sun the skiing part of the day was over and the “après” part started.063064 No “camp games” this evening but rather the grown-up version. We zoomed in on the only bar in this area (ok, not really sure about this and don’t want to insult the locals, but it sounded as if there was not much else) and danced the early evening away. No pictures from this memorable evening (at least not for your eyes) but I found a rather astonishing sign right next to the bar and I am still wondering what’s the reason behind it.070 (It means “Don’t spit on the floor”). It’s not as if people here were still chewing tobacco (if they ever did). Anyway, if you got any idea about it, let me know.

When we finally made it back to the chalet, I was ready to call it a night. Fresh air always made me sleepy.
Yours, Pollybert

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Salzburg for a day

Two weeks ago I decided to go to Salzburg for day. Salzburg is about three hours by train from Vienna. Not really a day-travel distance, but Friday was a national holiday here in Austria and I had the feeling I needed to get out of the city. Plus I love taking the train. So, enough reasons for going. Just sitting on the train, reading and enjoying the view, makes this kind of transportion very enjoyable. I used the trainride to read a couple of magazines, but started also reading a new book called “In the Country of Men” by Hisham Matar. It is beautifully written but not a “feel-good” read. Needed to mix it with some trivial magazines, otherwise would have been super depressed all day. Especially in this kind of weather.

Since a year or so we have a second railway company and since then prices have been quite competitive. So if you book early enough, you get a good deal.

I have been to Salzburg before, but I never really took the time to go up and see the “Festung Hohensalzburg”. So this time I made sure to see it. After arriving in Salzburg I needed a coffee first. I went to the Café Tomaselli and enjoyed two cups and also some Apfelstrudel. After this little repast I was ready for the fortress. I took the elevator up to the Mönchsberg and had this gorgeous view.

A grey day in Salzburg

The fog didn’t take anything away from this breathtaking scenery. Maybe made it even better, a bit more mysterious. I walked for about 20 minutes from the Mönchsberg to the fortress and then took the tour. But honestly, it is a lot more impressive from the outside. I think in summer it might be even better to just take a coffee up the restaurant on the Mönchsberg and enjoy the view. But nevermind… been there, done that.

And the walk was invigorating, especially after the long train ride. The leaves had already changed colours, so beautiful! And the view from the fortress down, exceptional!

View from the fortress on Salzburg

After the tour there was just time for a late lunch and then I already had to rush to get my train. I made it back to Vienna on time to get ready for a night out with my friends. We went to a party called “Singles in the City”. Sounded a lot better than it actually was. Nevermind if you were not there, you have not missed anything.

On Friday I am leaving for Venice. Have heard the city is already flooded, but have a new pair of Hunters and am looking forward to wearing them.

Until later, Pollybert