Skiing and Altitude sickness

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March 16th 2008
Published: March 16th 2008
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Kaprun Austria March 2008- Altitude Sickness

Finally, I have a minute to type a blog from the adults’ perspective. And the reason I have time to type now, is because I’ve been sick (with altitude sickness) for the last 24 hours. Today, I stayed back in the room while Dave took the kids skiing again. Altitude sickness is miserable, but, even after spending the night sleeping next to the toilet, I can still honestly say that skiing the Alps is the greatest experience. I only wish I could have joined my family on the slopes today. Yesterday, I was so enamored with skiing the Austria Alps that I was trying to calculate how much it would cost to extend our stay a few days. But, because of my reaction to extreme altitudes, skiing is going to have to be put on the back burner again; we will have to move forward with our plans to go tour Salzburg tomorrow.
So tonight is our last night in Kaprun. We will all be sorry to leave. At least once a day someone in the family emphatically states, “I could live here.” There is something about Germany and Austria that strikes a chord deep within us. David believes it is the way the people simplify everything. For instance, when we walk into the hotel restaurant, there are only two entrees on the menu. And at a bar, David simply asks for “Ein beir.” There is no discussion about the various beers available because each bar has a “house” beer and that is what is automatically served. David has also noticed that German/Austrian people don’t appear to multi-task. It seems that they concentrate fully on the specific task at hand and give one hundred percent effort to that particular thing. This may or may not be true, but it is our overall perception.
Austin is constantly asking about why the German/Austrian people live such and “old fashioned” life, when they are, in fact, master engineers. One look at the various array of cable cars going up the sheer cliff of the Alps, and there is no doubt that the German/Austrian people know how to overcome adversity and engineering challenges. Why then do Germans have a small hand held shower device over the bathtub, instead of a real shower stall? (I was told that it is to save water; if you have to get wet, turn off and put down the shower head, soap up, and turn it back on, then you won’t want to linger in the shower.) Why then do these people choose to heat their homes with wood fireplaces and walk or bike everywhere?? There is definitely a different set of priorities here.
We drove up the mountains on roads that were steeper than any I had ever seen, and sure enough along the road was a bicyclist struggling up the mountain on the bike path. Along the bicycle paths are water troughs made of wood to collect the natural spring water for the thirsty traveler. The love of the outdoors is apparent in these small details: the outdoor cafes that bring customers even when it is raining, the flower boxes on every porch, the carefully tended gardens, and, of course walkers and cyclers everywhere. This is what makes Europe so very attractive to me. When we arrived here, it was like coming home to where I belong. Too bad only a few more days.


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