Sunday, January 30, 2011

Velcome to... (vienna)

after saying our goodbyes on the train at innsbruck (well, sarah managed to wave at the wrong bag), I stayed onboard for another 5+1/2 hrs, finally arriving in vienna.

accommodation was pretty easy to sort out. information desk. map. multiple options.

I went with the first choice, which was closest, as you can expect when thinking about the temperature.

1st night's accom = 16 euero = awesome...

up at 0900 to sort out transport to paris, and get my washing done.

reception will take care of washing for a pretty tidy sum (starting to see the cheap bed as a necessity)

find out the costs of train-vs-flying to paris.

train takes 14 hrs and is around 200 euro and done over night with a transfer in munich

flying takes around 2 hrs and is around 170 euro. can be done at early evening

decide to book the flight later, and hit the town for some photos.

here's the thing about vienna in the winter, on a sunday. It's really cold, grey, and empty...

was starting to think that i'd done my usual thing where I get myself lost in a city on the first day (usually in some industrial area), and then have to dig my way out; which means a lot of walking.

sure, I still got lost - but I managed to take some nice photos, visit the modern art museum, the haus der musik, and the opera.

like most of my city-bound walking adventures, I tend to forget to eat...
once my body reminded me at 1800 that i'd only had a coffee and pretzel for breakfast, i sought out the austrian equivelent of a hot dog - the schnitzel box...

I also managed to get lost on the way home (wrong tram + wrong direction), but that was easily fixed and I made it back to the accommodation in time to upgrade my room (solo with ensuite for 39euro)

even with the cold; the 8+hrs of non-stop walking; the 2 hrs standing to get tickets, and then standing while watching the opera (only 3euro to stand unreserved) - I still managed to fall in love with this city.

the architecture is interesting to me *(well, different), there are pretty women everywhere (all dressed immaculately i might add), and it has a good vibe.

note to self, must come back to vienna.


pretty streets

there's one in almost every city... I held out pretty long too, not until I was walking home after 7+hrs of solid footwork did I fall prey to the grande mocha goodness

see - pretty all over the place

they sure do like their statues here in vienna

sign posting your arrival into the museum quarter (quite touristy, but a good place to start)

some statues and a big old building, just across the way from the museum quarter, before I got to what looked like a palace (but was probably just a parliament building)

another angle on the big old building

tourists flock around

statue of that fraz joseph guy again

pretty church spire that I was kind of using as a landmark to navigatge

another angle on the man known as franz

doggies playing in the park

at the base of the church? (which was closed) was a massive ice-skating rink filled to the brim with happy vieneese

more of the winter festival ice-skating rink

now this is what I think of when you say traditional european architecture

just like this

one of the many churches around

everything here is named after a composer, freud, einstein, or that franz joseph guy

local taxi (horse and carriage rides for the tourists)

fancy shopping areas

I guess he told a lie

yup no kangaroos here in austria, though I did see a kangaruh in st antons

looking, looking

where the "ultra real" exhibit was

it's not performance art, in case you were wondering. it's a life size statue.

looks like a photo = an ultra-real painting

who's brad? probably not that guy

interesting to see people looking at people who are looking...

yup, it's a naked chick riding a hippo

painting of the venus, updated for the new millenium

aparently it haunts her revierie

awesome floating rock thing. it was actually floating, and I couldn't discern how it was held there....

the haus der musik (music museum) has a fairly large section devoted to the classical vienese composers, here's a shot of one of beethovens' notepads

the vienna state opera house
standing tickets are only 3 euro, as long as you don't mind waiting in the cold up to 2 hrs before show time, to ensure you actually get a ticket (first come first served), and then wrestling for a position to watch from... (normally reserved with a scarf) once the show starts, be sure to defend your position from the rude elderly french couple...

night time in vienna

ok, off to hit the town for some more coffe-fuelled tourism, before an early evening flight into paris.

auf widersein vienna, you rock

Saturday, January 29, 2011

what a difference...

...a day can make

Day 2 was still cold, but with a light dusting of snow, the ski-area magically transformed into something utterly amazing...

the whole area becomes a playground, with off-piste (ie: next to the run) powder the reward for a little extra work.

It started snowing on monday, and continued through tuesday; So wednesday (26th) had what could only be described as the best snow conditions I've ever experienced.

At times I was floating through powder up to my hip, with most runs still covered in the freshly packed light stuff.

Sure, there were still the occasional patches of ice, but nowhere near as bad as the past two days.

Thursdays adventures centered around a 45min bus trip to the local area Lech (leck) which is also skiiable on our passes.

Apres ski is quite litterally a sport over here; most evenings revolve around heavy drinking, and partying... makes it a little more difficult to get the group together in the mornings, but things usually sort themselves out by lunch.

Thursday night was toboganing (ultra-dangerous-fun-times).

Friday was cold, windy and icy.

Katharina damaged her knee mid-morning, Russell was still dealing with his dodgy neck from the last few days.

I was feeling sick at lunch, and decided to call it quits while still in one piece. I straped on the head-cam, and shot some video on the last few runs - then headed down to meet the group for some apres at the moosewirt.

after a few drinks, I still had to return my ski-gear, refund my pass, and grab some dinner.

I managed 2 of those 3 things.

It's "traditional" in Austria to take a shot of some VERY strange and potent liquer when returning your skis... combined with the apres, it did not sit well with me, and from what I've been told; things got a little weird.

To those who were woken up at ridiculous hours of the morning, to check on my sanity and health... all is good, and I can't thank you enough.


looking back at st antons from the galzig gondola

australia-day celebrations at the KRAZY KANGARUH

lifts crossing over each other on st antons

kevin has a koffee

looking at the rendl gondola while waiting for a bus to lech

apparently busses have coffee breaks

(don't worry B, I didn't go heli-skiing, this is just what i could see from the bus)

helicopter making it's run

picking up the high-flyers

awesome birdy

just flying around

and landing


village of Leck/Lech

is it gliding/parasailing? whatever it is, it looks fun

sarah skis

the alexander sisters carving up the heavy-powder

wanna drive down?

Lech Lift

another lift at Lech

sun sets, directly behind a mountain - making it EVEN colder

Halina, Ollie and Sarah on the chair

these massive steel structures are all over the mountains... basically they retain the snow on the hill, preventing avalanches closing the roads underneath

Pretty #1

pretty #2

pretty #3

pretty #4

another self portrait

pretty #5

on the bus again


view from restaurant at the top of Galzig gondola

Russell on the run


vicky boarding

now that's what I call a gondola

sarah carving up the lumpy powder

weird statue 2/3rds the way up a chairlift (when covered with snow, and in low visibility it actually looks like a stranded person from a distance)

looking into the village

MOOSEWIRT! (apres-ski-place...)

main street St Antons am arlberg

details of the lights in the main street

And now for a few photos from Russell

sarah's going to lead us WHERE?

chairlift posing

waiting at base

chillin' in the gondola

the group

updated 29th Jan 1430
Currently on a train to Wien (vienna) for a few days.

Not much else to add to the above posting, other than to say that I am indeed safe and not injured as might have been thought for a little while there... Very strange evening on 28th, not something I'm looking to talk about, but all is well.