Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Holiday photos can be found here.
Friday the 26th was my last day of work and the very next day we took off for a week of skiing in Austria. There's nothing like ending a job and then heading off on holiday.
Matthew had wanted to go on a ski holiday for some time and had been poking around looking for deals on the internet. I have to say that at first I wasn't all that bothered about going skiing. I had been skiing about 6 times in my life. The last time being when I was about 16. While Matthew wanted to go skiing I was dreaming of a beach holiday.
He found a great deal on lastminute.com. It was 299 pounds per person for flights, airport transfers, accommodation and breakfast and dinner. I couldn't believe it! Such a great deal, so we booked the trip. We went to Niederau , Austria. Which apparently was good for beginner skiers. I was a tiny bit nervous about falling down the side of a mountain and ending up with both my legs in casts, but threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it.
We stayed in a place called the Hotel Harfenwirt. The reviews on Trip Advisor were mixed. Some loved it and some hated it. The owner of the hotel, Herbert, was described as mean and dour. On the upside he did play the harp for his guests. The hotel did have a harp theme to it and yes Herbert might have been a bit dour. All this didn't really matter. The trip was only 299 pounds! You can't really expect all that much. Plus the lift ticket was very reasonable and the slopes were right across the street.
I thought Niederau was lovely and it was great to be somewhere with snow. Our first two days of skiing were bright, sunny and very mild. You could sit in the sun on the patio in a t-shirt. There were five of us all together on the trip, Matthew, brother in law Thomas, Becky, Ali and me. It was a good sized group and everyone got on well, dispite some shocking behaviour from Thomas ;).
Becky had never been skiing before so she decided to go to ski school for the week. Matthew was snowboarding and the rest of us had decent skiing ability. We started out on the nursery slope to warm up and to see if it would all come back to us. I was doing ok until I tried to turn and ended up going straight down the hill at top speed! It was crazy!
The hill wasn't very steep at all and there was lots of room to stop at the bottom, but you feel like you're going 300 miles per hour. There was a moment where I panicked and thought that I would fall and never ski again, but I remained calm and tried to stay relaxed in my body. I made it to the bottom and didn't fall! My legs were literally shaking in their boots.
I felt my skiing improve as the week wore on and I felt more adventurous to try new runs. I ended up going down a run that I had no business being on. I thought I was going down a nice gentle red run, but ended up going down a very steep red run that we had seen when we rode up the gondola. At first it was ok, but then I realised where I was headed. It was that super steep red!
There was nothing I could do, but go down. I took it very slow and just worked my way down the run. I fell about 3 times, nothing major, but was able to get up and keep going. I was literally talking to myself "Ok, Rhea... now to the left, nice and easy.... and now to the right." It worked and I made it down. I was super sore the next day, but I made it. I felt very proud. As I was trying to make it down in one pieced there would be other skiers zipping down like it was the easiest thing in the world. Maybe that will be me next year.
After that I was fine. Skiing is just like riding a bike; expect if you're out of shape a lot more painful. I have to say that I was so tired at the end of the day. We'd get up and have breakfast and be on the slopes around 10 a.m. and ski until 4 p.m. We usually ended up having lunch on the top of the mountain and few mugs of the old glühwein. We strictly followed the tradition of après ski and then had dinner. Most nights I was in bed before 9 p.m. I was so exhausted, but in a good way. It was great to be out in the fresh air doing something physically challenging.
One night we went for a wine tasting. That was lovely. We got to sample Austrian wines in an 11th century monastery. Another night we went out for a meat fondue. We made it down to the Irish pub, O’Malley’s for some live music. It was a great time, plenty to do if you could stay awake for it.
I enjoyed the trip, more than I thought I was going to. I've discovered that I really like to ski. Next year I am going to take a few lessons to polish my technique. I loved the skiing, the snow, the days when we had sunshine, the cheesy Austrian music, the food, the glühwein and of course the company.
Coming back to London I felt like a huge weight had been lifted and I just felt better than I had in a long time. I am looking forward to next year's trip for sure!