Monday, 24 February 2014

Winter Spirit day 11-13 Austria.

HDay 11: Venice to Salzburg
Today we left Italy for Austria. We headed up through the mountains and started seeing snow again!! It even snowed for part of the journey. We discovered that Austrian rest stop restaurants
are even more confusing than Italian ones. Even though the food is delicious, it's quite expensive and confusing to work out how the buffet system works, and kind do has me wishing they had macdonalds at every stop like back home.
We got to Salzburg with a little time to spare before we started the walking tour, which was spent trying to organise a group to go skiing in the morning. The tour took us past a site used in the sound of music, along the river, to the birthplace of Mozart, along the main shopping street and to a square. I had a headache at this point so wasn't paying much attention, which I definitely regret now.
We went to a restaurant for dinner where we had tomato soup, veal schnitzel and strudel. An early night tonight for the skiers, but a group went out to a bar.

Day 12: Salzburg
Today we went skiing at a resort called Flachau in the Amade. We took a free shuttle from the center of Salzburg, (FYI, you can hire ski clothing from them, and you also buy your lift pass from them) and met a rather eccentric young English guy. We chatted the way up before getting our skis and heading up the mountain on the chairlift. Visibility wasn't great so there wasn't spectacular views on the way up. We wanted to warm up on an easy run because most of us hadn't skied in a while, but our new English friend overestimated our abilities and took us on a really long run, and we ended up getting split up straight away. This particular run took me almost 2 hours to get down, because I wasn't confident enough in most parts and I didn't have Toby to encourage me. Luckily the Austrians on the run were kind enough to give me a little help when I looked like I needed it. After some time I ended up finding Toby where we got off the first chair lift and we went down the long run again, and after fixing my boots and regaining some confidence, I had a lot of fun! Unfortunately that's when I started to get a headache and couldn't ski anymore so we stopped for some chips and a Mars bar. By that time the clouds had cleared and the views were incredible, so we stood outside for a while before it was time to take the chair lift back down for the bus back to town. Ok, it may seem like that was a big waste of money only going down 2 runs, but they were very long ones, and I'm the end I did enjoy the day and would have regretted staying in town. The snow was so soft compared to the snow in Australia, and when I fell over I slid for over a meter sometimes.
Back at the hostel we had a free dinner with our beer, and €1 salad bar, and spent the night chatting with everyone.

Day 13: Salzburg to Vienna
Vienna was only a few hours away from Salzburg so we only stopped once, for lunch. We stopped at the Schönbrunn palace for 45 minutes to look around. This is where the Austrian royal family spent their summer months, and is also where the zoo is located. I didn't find out how old the zoo is, but it supposed to be one of the oldest zoos, which I find interesting as Marie Antoinette was responsible for the 'zoo' at Versailles, and she was a member of the Austrian royal family.

We then went on a driving tour of the city, past concert halls, museums, churches and the town hall. We saw some ice skating that looked really interesting and decided we'd go there during our free time in the afternoon. It turned out to be a great idea and 6 of us spent a good hour skating around the 2 rinks and the lanes that connected them. Yep, there wasn't just one rink! There were lanes that connected the 2 and were kind of like a maze, and really fun to zoom around! 
It started getting dark and Toby and I, the last of the group left on the ice decided to go back to the hostel and get some food (and I had a headache again so didn't feel like skating more). We found another of the group and walked for what felt like forever to get back. We got a little lost towards the end but thanks to all the free wifi around the place it wasn't too bad! We ended up at KFC for dinner, and relaxed in the hostel.

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