Published: March 13th 2007January 10th 2007
"Not again". That was one of the many flurrying thoughts quickly running through my mind as my body was running around the streets of Vienna at 11:50pm on December 31, 2006; New Years Eve. Yes I know this blog is VERY ate, but hey; I'm VERY lazy. So moving on, our moving around aimlessly reminded me of my first 2hrs in Vienna during last summer, where I got hopelessly lost for 45min following "One Way" signs around the town (stupid German). That strange mix of helplessness, bewilderment, confusion and nervousness that seems to define "lost" returned much to my annoyance in the same fashion in the same city. Though this frustration was now borne not only by myself, but also by my NYE compatriots Michael and Barbara (aka Mrs Meadows with whom I am now privileged to be on a first name basis :P). We had promised Joel (the brother and son of my compatriots, respectively) to meet up with him back at the Rathaus for the turning of the year. The fulfilment of that promise was quickly fading away as us three resembled headless chooks rather than Three Musketeers (who as "heroes" are assumed to always know what
Lift With A View (Barbara's photo)
A sprawling valley. Stupid clouds!
they are doing).
At first I had a fair idea where we going since I'd spent nearly 2 weeks here in Vienna before, but with Barbara quite eager to be with her youngest son at 12:00am on January 1 2007, we asked for directions. Even the dimly witted reader would think this a logical idea (as did we at the time being reasonably intelligent), but little did we know that the Viennese themselves know the city almost as bad as we do. A person would tell us us "Go this way", and then 100m later another would tell us, "No, go that way!", pointing in the opposite direction. Then 2 minutes later... "Go this way!!!" Within 5 minutes and 3 sets of directions we were all totally lost and out of breath from all our directionless running. Yet we kept running, Barbara's maternal desire to see her son (who had been away from home for a year!) keeping her going, and us going in turn (Michael and I having no such maternal desire). Suddenly we stumbled on the Danube river front, somewhere I knew, but at least 10min away by tram from the Rathaus. With it already being 12:00am,
We had a traditional Bavarian breakfast with sausages and pretzels (the beer was just for show... it wasn't 12 noon yet :P).
and the next tram coming at 12:05, we met Joel at the Rathaus at 12:15. And so our 2007 celebrations with Joel started late in a flurry of gasps, puffs and bewildered explanations. But the most important thing was that we were there, and so was the gluhwein. Nurnberg
So let me go back a bit. Actually it's going back a bit since we're now well into 2007 and I'm going to be talking about December 06, but hey, you already know my excuse. After leaving my beloved Finland
, I spent Christmas with my Aunty and family in London. 'Twas great to be with some close family for my second Christmas away from home, but straight after that it was back into business; travelling. Leaving on a jet plane I arrived in Nurnberg, this historic German city where one of my very good friends from exchange in Turku lived; Anita. I was only with Anita for a few days; she had an "appointment" on New Years Eve so I was effectively kicked out... Hehe no that makes her sound bad! Anita was very hospitable and took good care of me, just like in Turku. She cooked me food
all the time and was more than willing to take me around the town a few times. Nurnberg does has a medieval old town that is pretty cool to walk around, so I did that for a bit. One day I went to the this museum documenting Hitler's rise and fall to power. Nurnberg was the foundation centre of the Nazi Party and so had a pivotal role in that disastrous time. It was a pretty eye-opening museum into this influential (in a bad way) life and its fruition in this city, and hinted at the overwhelming terror of his magnificence. It well explained how he brainwashed an entire nation from this place into adopting his manic hatred, something I still find hard to comprehend. It made me all the more appreciate how disgustingly insane he really was.
Other than the museum, I spent a great few days just hanging out with Anita. Spending time with old friends cannot really be explained to a third party who is not really part of it... so tough luck! Anyway, we took a day trip to Wurzberg, a town small in size but big in beauty. Anita's boyfriend Christian lives there and
While driving to Purgg in the middle of a snow storm (kinda) our car CAREERED off a cliff and we all died. No, it just went into the gutter... but at least we knocked over a post! Oh, and we weren't injured.
is a tour guide, and he was kind enough to give us a tour around the city (which was very informative, he's a great guide!). This bode well for me since I am usually hesitant to tours, but since this was one was free I was more than willing! So thanks to Christian and his cousin Ben for introducing me to the colourful history of a town I'd never even heard of. Then finally it was time to head off. So I said yet another sad goodbye to Anita, this time on an abnormally perfect Winter's morning, much different to the last goodbye we said (on a rainy Summer evening in Oslo). Thanks Anita! Purgg/Tauplitz
So it was back to Vienna where I met up with Joel, Michael and Barbara. Putting aside our shameful mockery of New Years Eve celebrations, there was no messing around in Vienna. After hanging out with the crew and Clara (Joel's friend), 2 days later we all left on the ski trip I had been so looking forward to! The mountain of choice (how envious I am that you can choose a mountain here where there is not even ONE within a 3000
km radius of Perth) was that near the mountain village of Purgg, a quaint almost-forgotten town surrounded by imposing sheer cliff faces and mountains on three sides, and a sprawling valley on the other. Thanks to Claz and her jolly father Otto (champion!) for hooking us up with her cousins' cottage with a fantastic view of the dramatic white scenery of Austrian mountains.
I absolutely loved snowboarding in Tauplitz (the resort) and is where I realised that I was well and truly addicted to this sport. I had developed/refined my technique in Levi (Finland) and was ready to tackle the real deal; and like true champions I rose to the challenge :P I've already described the joys of snowboarding so I won't repeat how great it feels to carve up snow amongst splendid views (damn I did it again!). But unfortunatley I don't have any good photos since my camera was still out of order, and I was not going to put "The Brick" into my pocket to take photos. But know that I thoroughly enjoyed careering down mountains with Joel and Clara. What excites me even more is the fact that I am ready to do a bit
Ski Lifts in Tauplitz (Barbara's photo)
Despite the depressing skies, you can't help but be impressed by snow and mountains.
of jumping after my total 5 on/off days experience, and also the fact that I am yet to witness the magnificent-blue-sky snowboarding panoramic view that looks so magical in photos. We had pretty atrocious weather with complete grey clouds all day and poor visibility which ruined the potential of the mountain views (though I was not really complaining!). On our third and last day the snowboarders/skiiers boiled down to just Joel and I, keen to get a days boarding done irrelevant of any negative circumstances. It turned out to be a pretty poor decision since the wind was so bad that we could not see past 4m ahead of us (literally). The wind was being channelled in through the valley areas of the resort, making not only boarding but even mere walking with a board almost impossible. We managed to sneak in some decent runs though where the mountain blocked the wind.
It was here where I had one of my funniest falls (one of MANY in my short career). I had proudly done a 180 on the bunny slopes the day before and was more than eager to try my new found "skill" on the proper slopes, much
Superdog! (Barbara's photo)
Michael, Clara and I on a hill overlooking Vienna with Clara's dog, Fannie (short for Stephanie). She is seriously like a "superdog" as Homer Simpson so eloquently once put it.
to no avail. I came up to a little jump off the side of the piste, bent down, ready to jump and turn. Everything was perfect, the speed, the approach, the judgement. But one thing lacked; execution. Trying to do a 180 jump, I somehow managed only a 90. Now for the quick reader this might not seem like a drastic mistake. But take a brief moment to imagine in your head a long board travelling down, then jumping up in the air and landing perpendicular to a mountain and you can imagine what happened. Jump. 90 degree turn. Land. SMACK! Immediately my board stuck into the snow and hurtled me backwards unforgivingly. Landing perpendicular on a snowboard is a guaranteed way to make a fool of yourself, and many would be hard pressed to make a bigger fool than I that fateful afternoon as I rolled and rolled and rolled again. Dazed and confused I wondered what had went wrong, and realised that it was everything. So I decided to make more efficient use of this last day of snowboarding (for the foreseeable future) and to merely enjoy the fascinating mix of relaxing bliss and adventurous adrenalin that is
Remnants of the famous Nurberg Christmas Markets
Next: Birthday in Budapest!
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