It took me a while but I can’t miss sharing another part of my trip to the Austrian Alps with you. The four days I spent in the mountains were not just about skiing. There was also some great food, drinks, some surprises and a little bit of dancing.
I already told you about the most wonderful little mountain chalet that we were staying at for the first night – Hotel Koller. It was the most enchanting place I’ve ever seen in the snow – right out of a Hand Christian Andersen story. Green window frames, roof bearing the heave heaps of snow, long icicles reaching down from it, nearly kissing the white ground. Lovely wooden lanterns lit with candles, a cozy home-like seat by a warm green stove and a hot cocoa waiting for us when we got back from the slope. Princess Sissi wouldn’t look out of place in a house like this.
Especially if she arrived on a horse sledge carriage like we did. When the slopes closed down for the day, there was a lovely wooden sledge with two beautiful horses waiting for us at the bottom. They took us around the lit up winter village, while the snow was falling all around us. The only downside was that Peter wasn’t with me, but at least I know where to take him sometime 😉 It’ll be a secret, so shhh.
When we got back to the chalet, I asked the other guys if we should have a „welcome drink“, we were at a skiing trip after all, it was a nice evening and nobody was driving. I can’t believe it took 27 years, but that was the first time I heard about schnaps. Well, I know it, of course, it just has a different names everywhere in the world, I guess. In Slovakia, we call these strong liqueurs palenka. But they’re similar enough, I think. So during the next few days, we tasted different schnaps in every place – a hazelnut one, a plum, a forrest fruit one. Not too much, but as a cultural excercise, it wasn’t that bad. 🙂
When we moved to Dilly hotel in Windishgarsten the next day, we were on for a real treat. This hotel was much bigger and a little less romantic, but it got a BIG plus – a wonderful huge wellness. As a spa freak, I’ve seen quite a lot of them, but this was probably one of the biggest ones, mostly thanks to the most amazing relaxation areas everywhere. After trying the pools and saunas, I snuggled down on one of the beautiful canopy beds with my book and had the best time switching my gaze between the book and the snow with mountains behind the glass wall. Dinner was another treat and my friends and I ended the night by dancing to Katy Perry on a hotel „disco“ (run by at least 65-year old DJ). You’d think it was lame, but the thing is, you can have fun anywhere if you want to!
One of the most exciting and surprising experiences of my life was waiting for us the next day. After a long day of skiing, we moved to Spital am Phyrn to go snow shoe walking in the mountains. However, thanks to heavy snowing and very slippery roads, we couldn’t drive past the town, so our instructor had an alternative plan. We would take a walk around town (there was enough snow everywhere and this was a safer option). I couldn’t stop laughing at the idea of walking around the village, in the fields, in snow shoes, but I forgot about my reservations pretty quickly. As soon as we got to the forrest above town, I found myself in a completely magical place. It was just deep white snow, the silence, a smell of trees and black sky with the moon shining above us. I’ve never felt so peaceful out in the cold. When we got on a little hill overlooking the lit up village with a beautiful church, the instructor stuck his face in the snow, out of the blue. He said it was great for the skin. I made a snow angel instead.
My trip to the Alps was a reminder that mountain trips didn’t have to only be about skiing, even in winter. There is so much more to do and try. We went for a quick trip to High Tatras with Peter recently and when I saw people sledging happily down Hrebienok, I promised myself I have to try that next time, too. Enjoy the little moments, my friends. Life is short and we are lucky to get each new day to live our dreams.
Text: The Blond Zebras
Photo: The Blond Zebras