Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Lucky and Breezy Day in the Alps

My last day in Austria- Today was one of the only days we didn’t have anything actually planned out ahead of time.  First, I was able to start the day off right by sleeping in to… oh, about 7:30ish.  Doesn’t sound like much, but it was amazing.   After that, a group of us decided to get to the top of the Alps. I had a chance to take a train to Italy, which was only about 20 minutes from where we were staying, but somehow the travel would had taken a minimum of 3 hours one way.  I decided to try and cut out any extra travel time, so that idea was scrapped.   Anyways, back to the Alp: At about 9 in the morning we walked over to a train that took us over to the mountain.  After this shuttle, we jumped into our first cable car to start heading to the top.  These were made of glass so there was a good view all around.  There were three cable cars with check points after each to get out and walk around a bit before heading up to the next station.  At the final cable car we then had the option to hike up to the top.  Now, how could that be passed up?  So up to the summit a few of us went.  Going up mountains is always a little more difficult as far climbing goes because of the altitude and thin air.  Getting to the top, as out of breath as I was, could not have been more worth it; however, at the top of the Mountain began the starting point of it just not being my day.

Up at the top was a small section, partly being roped off and others blockaded by a man made stone ledge to keep people safe.  Well, I thought it was necessary to climb that protective ledge to get a good picture of everyone on the top. I hoped over to stand on the snow below.  What I didn’t realize was that the snow was much deeper than it appeared and I fel thigh deep into the snow, but don’t worry, my pants caught on the ledge, ripping out the back of my jeans.  It made for a good laugh though and a very breezy decline.  At the point where we got down to the cable cart, my camera decided to drop as well (I did get it back but also nearly dropped it in my soup later at dinner; luckily, the bowl was too small.)  A little later my sunglasses decided to fall down the mountain as well.  It was a fun time for us all to see them roll down the rocks.  At this point, I decided today was not the day to try and climb down after them. Who knows what could had happened then with the way my luck was going.

Once the cable cart came back to the top to get us, everyone walked in nicely, except for one.  I had a pretty graceful stumble into the cart if I say so myself.  Two more changeovers to cable carts down, back into the train, numerous trips and falls along the way, and then it was time to walk through the streets of Innsbruck back to the hotel exposing my rear end to everyone.  Late that afternoon we walked around in and out of shops, buying all those things no one really needs, but every American just has to get. We had dinner as a large group at the hotel, followed by a few of us going out for coffee afterwards.  This is starting to become a little tradition and is great for us all to relax and just get to know each other.
There, one of the guys tried to order a Radler, this is their local beer but that they mix it with Sprite, Fanta, or a fruit juice.  Strange sounding I know, but it’s actually quite tasty.  This place had no sprite or juice at the time, so the guy was just at a lost.  He kept asking for different things to try and mix in and finally came up with coke.  The young waiter gave him the funniest look, and in his accent said sarcastically, “you want coke…. In your beer??”  Its hard to get the image though writing, but seeing this guy pick on our friend was hilarious.  He settled on just having coffee, but later the waiter said coke isn’t that peculiar with beer.  They actually have a wheat beer that they mix with coke…. It’s real popular with young teenagers.  Of course this only lead us to more jokes.

From there it was more wandering.  In the middle of town we were able to catch a free concert and then walked back into the hotel where we sat in the lounge for a few hours before going to bed.  I’m really beginning to get to that laid back, free relaxation mode.  The low key go-with-the flow lifestyle here is getting almost addicting and its going to be hard to adjust once getting back home.  Back in the states we rush to get up, rush to have breakfast, rush to work, rush to have lunch, rush to get back, rush to meet deadlines, rush home, rush the time with our family and studies, then rush to bed to start the rushing process over.  Here, as I had posted earlier, life is slow and relaxing.  People only work when its necessary and enjoy the rest of the day.  It’s a very appealing pace of life, and I can’t say I’m quite ready to leave it yet, despite my ability to fall and stumble constantly while dropping things with ripped pants.

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