Friday, 25 January 2008

Germany and the Silvretta Mountains in the Austrian Alps

A little recap of our holiday.

We returned early this last Thursday from our trip to Germany and Austria.
We spent most of our time in Ischgl. Ischgl is a small village in the Paznaun Valle in Tyrol Austria. Its famous ski resort is called Silveretta Areana Ischgl, it is one of the largest skiing resorts in the Alps. There are over 30 ski lifts and tons of runs (pistes)! One thing for sure, Ischgl always proves to have lively ski parties and wild nightlife.

We left early on Saturday morning. It felt like it took us forever to get to Germany. We wanted to spend time with friends from our days living in Germany before heading to Isghgl. The flight from London to Germany was only one hour long, but the airline was delayed over an hour and then we waited on the run way for nearly another hour! Once we made it to Frankfurt Germany, the trains at the station in Frankfurt only run to Wuerzburg every hour, and we literally made it in time (ran to elevator, and literally ran to train, jumped on and the doors closed behind us and the train departed!)

The first day we met up with Wolfgang, our German friend who works for BMW and picked up a car from him for a few days. Wolfgang has always been wonderful to us, we have some very special memories of skiing with him while we lived in Germany and picking out Christmas trees together each year while we lived in Germany. Plus, he just so happens to be the best German BMW salesman in Germany!

Then we headed to Greuth to visit old friends and a few of the villagers (we use to live in Greuth when we lived in Germany). We visited some friends and a nearby winery. As we drove around, we allowed the beauty of the green German fields to confine our thoughts along with the explosion of colors from the homes’ stucco. Afterwards, we headed to Stefi and Christians house, some dear German friends (we stayed with them), and that evening we all met up with some American friends (Darryl and Lori) for dinner. (It was one full day!) The following morning, Jack woke and took off running up Schwanberg mountain with full determination to conquer the hills by foot (he use to mountain bike ride the trails and road ride the paved paths, so he enjoyed running through the forest to the top by foot). Stefi and Christian made this absolutely amazing breakfast for us (most memorable was the blood fresh squeezed orange juice). Then Jack and I drove around a bit and reminisced about experiences we had while we lived in Germany and drove through some of our favorite villages and roads. We met up for lunch at a Thai restaurant that was one of our favs with some friends (Nina and Travis) who drove up to meet us (we introduced the love birds, so we are especially happy to see their deep love for one another). Afterwards, we met back up with Wolfgang and headed to Austria in the car. We arrived in Austria after a 4 hour drive and checked into our hotel and went out for dinner.

The Alps were cold but very beautiful. Day one of skiing was absolutely wonderful; clear blue skies with sun and wonderful snow (although a bit crusty and icy). Before dinner, I headed to the sauna with Wolfgang to relax and unwind. I had nearly forgotten the fact that Austrians, Germans and such do the saunas nude! Wolfgang was kind enough to mock me in wearing a suit, and we discussed the Americans' prudish behaviors. We have photos of the sauna, as it was so incredibly beautiful-every sculpture and ceramic was made with love and extreme detail as my friend says!

Day 2 was unlike day 1; clouds and dark skies with a snow storm and some fierce wind. We tried to ski, but once we hit the top of the mountain over 3300 meters, the wind was up to 30mph and it really scared me. While standing still on skies, it blew us over! In fact on one of the lifts up, I began to worry about the possibility of issues that could occur do to the wind and us being stuck in the swinging lift! (The mind is very active and full of crazy thoughts when frightened!) The snow and white out from the wind and snow storm was so intense that we couldn't see each other, although we were standing only feet apart. That was our clue to get off the mountain. We headed down and realized on our way afterwards that they were closing all but like 4 of the 30 ski lifts. Back to the hotel we went, then out to lunch, followed by the sauna and a wonderful massage.

Day 3 was short but sweet. Again, we were greeted with fresh blue skies, sun along with the fresh 54 cm of snow that had fallen the day of the storm! It was extremely cold though. I made the best of the morning skiing before my legs finally gave out from ski fatigue. We left the mountain around lunch time and checked out of our hotel and began our drive back to Germany, so we could make our train in time for Frankfurt, where we were meeting another German friend, Miriam, for dinner before we departed the next morning at 7 AM back to London.

Of course, arriving back to London proved that London traffic just sucks. It is only like 15 miles to the airport, and it took us an hour via cab to go about 5 + miles. At that point, we jumped out and pulled our luggage to the nearest tube station, climbed on and worked our way home via buses afterwards. There is nothing like pulling luggage in busy tube stops and via foot in London! (Oh days were so much simpler when we had a car, but even here having a car doesn't help much!) We are certainly doing our part in contributing to living "green” for the environment!

1 comment:

matt said...

Thanks for the great narrative Ang. As we'll miss skiing this year, it brought some welcome memories of the past few years skiing for two weeks in Utah. In particular the description of the cold/windy day reminded me of the one time that I skied up at Snowbasin. I had the same experience of almost being knocked over and sliced in the face by millions of tiny shards of ice blades. Of course, snowblindness accompanied the discomfort, making for a near disastrous day.

Of course, the only reason I headed up was based on your and Jack's recommendation :)

Your pal,