Saturday, 28 June 2014

austria may 2013 - notes tue to fri

Tuesday. Our pre-booked Ingham coach trip. I had slept quite badly with my sore head but felt better as the morning went on. A good trip, worth doing, seeing lots of alpine scenery and among some remaining snow in places (though locally there was less snow than when we had arrived). It was a warm sunny day, mostly.

We went to a monastery in Stams, then up to Stuibenfall, the Tirol's highest waterfall. On up further, over Kuntai pass, high and full of ski resorts, before back down with a stop at Gries, then on home across the river Inn to Seefeld and on home. Got local bus into Weidach, shopped at MPries, mostly for work gifts, then walked back.

Wednesday. Slept better. A wet day. Others went swimming before breakfast, then leaisurely morning, with table tennis, air hockey and arcade driving game. Cherub learnt to play patience. Then bus into Weidach after middday, connecting to bus to Seefeld the long way round via Mittenwald (ie via Germany). Ate packed lunch in Seefeld bus stop, had little wander, then back to hotel on bus mid-afternoon. We visited the Ganghofer Museum near the hotel - it was all in German only, about local history and an author with a local connection; we made the best of it.

Thursday. A day in Innsbruck. We didn't start as early as we'd planned, as we didn't set the alarm to let cherub, who'd had an upset stomach the night before, sleep as long as needed and then to wait to see if breakfast had any ill effects, but all was well. Got bus to Seefeld, but our planned train wazsn't running because it was a public holiday (Corpus Christi - we saw dressed-up folk getting ready for a parade at the church by the hotel). Many shops were shut in Seefeld and Innsbruck for the holiday, but at least it gave us time to go to the tourist office in Seefeld and get some Innsbruck maps and info before we got the train.

We visited the Gold Roof Museum, bought a sandwich lunch, went up the City Tower (Bethan didn't get out of the door at the top, but we went round the balcony outside), ate our lunch in the old Imperial Palace Square, then went to the State/Court Church, with Maximilian's tomb and an impressive set of statues, and then on joint ticket to the neighbouring Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, which was actually very good, especially the old wooden parlours. Did some more tourist shops - they were open - then back to station where we bought a drink before the 1808 train home (tried a nice local soft drink called Almdudler, which we'd also had at hotel). It was another wet day, though it was drier in Innsbruck.

Friday was the walk up the mountain in the rain and snow to the Wettersteinhutte, covered in the earlier blog post. We started walking about 1010, home about 1440. It was a bit of a damp trudge home, whereupon we all changed and had baths/showers/went swimming. We then popped into Wiedach for a final visit to tourist shops and MPries before dinner.

Then Saturday we flew home.

Friday, 27 June 2014

austria may 2013 - notes sat to mon

Over a year has passed since our holiday in Austria, Sat 25 - Sat 31 May 2013, which I did a brief blog on over a year ago, mostly about the mountain walk we did on the Friday, my favourite thing from the holiday.

I pulled out the notes from the notebook they were in a few weeks ago, because I wanted to use that notebook for this year's early holiday, in Slovenia. At last I'm getting round to writing them up here.

Saturday. The trip out was most notable for: all the German football fans we saw at London Bridge and Gatwick (many travelling very light, as if not staying the night), on their way to the all-German Champions League final at Wembley that night (we watched the second half in our hotel - Bayern 2, Dortmund 1 - junior was keen to watch it, mostly for the novelty of watching it in a foreign country I think); lunch at Cafe Rouge, which had windows with a very good view looking out onto the runways, which seemed quite unusual for airports these days (though perhaps coming back into acceptability); dropping out of the clouds to land at Innsbruck between the mountains either side of us.

The view of the runways from Cafe Rouge meant you could really see how short a time it was between planes using the runway for takeoffs and landing; also, how short a time it is between starting down the runway and lift-off. When we were in the plane, waiting just off the runway, I saw a plane coming in to land, and as it did so, so we turned left onto the runway for our own take off - it was just like letting a car past on a main road before turning left onto it.

I don't think I'll ever grow blase about the view of earth from the air, and the deceptively solid appearance of clouds when you're not just in the whiteout midst of them. It was patchy to start with - we saw the channel, then massed clouds over Europe.

We were on a charter, all with people from the same Ingham's package; our first family package holiday, and cherub's first flight overseas. I was texting Douglas from Gatwick; he and the family were going to the Lake District in a campervan for half-term, and we were both anticipating similar holidays - relaxing, uncertain of weather, plenty books and games. Exactly three weeks earlier from me sitting texting while my womenfolk were playing games on iPads in an airport shop, we'd been in Thomas Cook at Marble Arch with little idea of where we might go for our holiday. I bought a booklight at Gatwick, so I could read in bed at night, but it was broken from the start and wasn't practical enough to make me want to buy a new one.

In Innsbruck we had to wait for a group on a delayed flight from Edinburgh. A coach then dropped us off at our various hotels in various locations; our hotel, in Leutasch, was the last out, being furthest away. That worked out well for us; we liked not being in the bigger resort of Seefeld, where most people were, and there was a good bus service in the area with a period bus-pass which you could buy (and we did). We were very pleased with the hotel. Good food. As usual, foreign European food deceptively similar to home but different enough to take your tastebuds by surprise; usually not in a positive way, though just through unfamiliarity rather than badness. The music during the evening meal included Christmas songs, oddly enough; the music was Western.

The mountains were snowy, and some flakes fell while we were in Seefeld on the coach - the holiday rep said the snow had fallen last Thursday, unseasonally and unexpectedly, so not sure how much snow there is usually supposed to be on the mountains at that time of year. The temperature outside the bus was 11 degrees at the airport, down to 4 degrees in Leutasch.

Sunday. Snow had fallen in the night, and was falling lightly during breakfast, which was very nice, but it didn't lie any further than it had been doing. We met the couriers after breakfast, bought maps and booked trip. We got our packed lunch at breakfast and walked into Weidach along the river, then back via Gasse (though the trail in the woods was closed due to rock falls). We ate our packed lunch at the hotel, then hired bikes and did some coaching of the cherub, not very successfully, in the car park (we didn't do any more cycling in the week), in slight rain (clearly falling as snow higher up). The others went to the pool, then we went to dinner, and played Old Maid back in the room, then to bed.

Monday. We got going later than anticipated, walked into Weidach, went to tourist info and MPreis (a supermarket), where we got light lunch. Then bus to Geisterklamm to walk round the gorge. The walk was more hair-raising for Bethan than expected, with lots of man-made walkways and bridges along and across the gorge, so our walk was extended as there was one bridge she could not cross. It meant that we did walk into Germany, out the other end of the gorge, where we had ice cream and saw a waterfall. We walked back on a much easier arm of loop, and walked a bit back along the road until we got a bus to Weidach then a bus - the same one, it turned out - immediately to kirchplatzl and our hotel. Dinner and evening in, playing pool and air hockey, and the others went out for a walk. Bethan had a sore ear after swimming; I had a headache, possibly altitude with or without dehydration.