The Hills Are Alive…

27 Feb

3 countries were travelled through last week, all by car, and  this is the joy and a massive perk of living in Europe. I can handle the snow and the cold when this opportunity constantly presents itself whenever we wish to grasp it. Mark was meant to have 4 of the 5 days as annual leave but he ended up only having 2 as he had to get ready for the presentation in Zurich so he really only had a long weekend in which to try and unwind and enjoy the trip.

Mid-morning on Tuesday we jam packed the car up with all types of baggage and then our extended family loaded in and we set off on our merry way to Zurich. The drive, I heard, was lovely but in typical style I fell asleep after a few minutes of driving and woke up to eat lunch and then went back to sleep. I did, however, get rudely woken up by the security guard at the Switzerland border wanting to see our passports since we were no longer in the Schengen area and the EU. Slight problem…none of us brought them with us. Not sure why we didn’t think of it, maybe because we were driving and we forgot we were entering another country but after all of us presenting the next best thing, an Australian drivers license, and with the help of another guard who felt not in the slightest bit threatened by Aussies, we got shoo’d through with relative ease.

After a few hours we finally arrived at our accommodation in Zurich. It was a pretty nice 2 bedroom kind of serviced apartment. Mark had to get in his suit and jet off almost as soon as we arrived for a meeting so Tim and I took to the streets around the area in which we were staying. As we were wandering around we couldn’t help but notice the dodgy looking characters, the abundance of graffiti and the packs of policemen walking around. It seemed like we were in the ghetto so we didn’t stay out too long before heading back to the comfort of our hotel. That night we went to dinner with Jeza to an Indonesian restaurant that had some pretty rave reviews and the meal was very good. Living in Bavaria now, we have been spoilt by the fact that we can go out for a nice dinner and leave without paying any more than 60 Euro which covers the both of us. Zurich was definitely as eye opener in that regard and the sight of the prices sent us back to our ripped-off Sydney days. Pair the cost of dinner, the colourful area in which we were staying, the  poorly planned one way streets that had us driving around the circles, and the flash of light from a camera due to a slightly heavy foot on Mark’s part on the drive back to the hotel after dinner, and you get not the most favourable experience of Zurich from our first half day there. Dozing off that night I think we were all hoping to see an improvement since everyone we spoke to seemed to gush over how beautiful the city is.

Wednesday was definitely better! Not so much for Mark as he had to get to work and was out the door by 7:30am but for Tim and I who had a leisurely sleep in and slow start to what turned out to be a great day, it was a vast improvement to the one from the day before. We headed towards the city and stopped on the way for an interesting breakfast and then continued on where we hit a ridiculously expensive and exclusive shopping street.We strolled down there until we finally came to the water and there it was….one of the most special and beautiful sights I have seen, the city of Zurich! The city with the water and the snow topped mountains in the background…wow! Just stunning! We walked around some more in awe and in search for a good swiss chocolate shop but didn’t find one that was affordable for what you got, so headed back to the hotel. Jez and Mark finished up with work in the evening and we went to a traditional Swiss restaurant for our final night there – bring on the Cheese Fondue! We kicked on to a couple more bars after dinner and the night ended with an order for the boys of a single malt scotch to top off the beer, wine, and gin and vodka cocktails that were consumed that evening. We sent Jeremy off in a taxi for the last time we would see him this visit to Europe and walked back all quite merry to our hotel.

Thursday morning we took our time getting up and feeling human again before packing up the car up and driving to Austria. We made a slight detour to St Anton to check out the snow and apres life there and then continued on our way to our hotel in Patsch. The hotel was this typical Austrian place with old wooden furniture and had a very homely feel. The views over the mountains were spectacular and the hotel restaurant was also a winner so we didn’t need to venture out for dinner – lucky as we would have been hard pressed to find anything in the one horse town.

Friday was the beginning of the boys snowboarding and they headed off up the mountains to a ski area where there were 5 glaciers and apparently they had a fantastic day. Since I am still not allowed to do winter sports of any kind because of my elbow still being in recovery mode, I took Rocco out for a walk in the morning, did some of my assignment for my online course, then headed to Innsbruck on the bus to have a look around and locate a gym to smash out a workout. By the time I got back to the hotel, the boys were also on their way back and then we just had a fairly early night as they were rooted from the day’s activities.

I made the call to head back to Munich the following day and bring the pup back with me as there wasn’t much else for me to do there so I jumped on a train mid morning on Saturday while Mark and Timie continued with their snowboarding escapades for the weekend. On Sunday afternoon when the guys rolled in they were both looking pretty wrecked and exhausted but seemed content with their time on the slopes despite Saturday turning out to be a bit crap as the temperature had been warming up the past few days and Sunday the fresh powder covering the moguls resulted in some sore knees so they only ended up doing a half day. We took Timie to our favourite Indian restaurant for dinner which is the best one we’ve ever eaten at and decided to walk home to digest. It seemed the stereotypical gaseous air flowing effect was instantaneous as we sounded like a jazz band on the way home.

This week we still have the beloved Timie here with us but Mark’s short holiday is over and he is back at work. I have some medical and health issues to attend to – I had a big day at the dentist today and then off to the hospital tomorrow for my xray to see how this arm is mending. Tim is getting cultured and making his way around the Museums and Art Galleries and then we will head off for another trip this weekend again.

A forecasted 13 degrees is on the charts for this Friday and I already have my shorts, singlet and havaiianas layed out on the bed in anticipation. Bring on summer!

Till next time…..xx

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