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Tails From the Vienna Woods

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Tirol

So This Was Christmas…

Day 1. Feeling Hopeful.

Me. “I am calling to check on the status of this lost baggage.”

KLM. “The baggage is not lost. The Amsterdam ground team is looking for the baggage.”

Me. “If the baggage is not lost, why I am calling to check on the status?”

KLM. (Looooooong Pause.) “I am sorry.”

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A Simple Sojourn

Our family summer holiday.

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Time Off in Tirol, Part II

Plans for our final day did not quite go according to, well, plan. We all voted to try cross-country skiing but alas, as we discovered the day beforehand, the ski rental shop did not have skis large enough to fit the boys. Once again the remarkable resort staff offered up maps and suggestions for how best to enjoy our time; in the end, we decided to head across the border to Garmisch, Germany for a hike around the glacial lake, Eibsee that sits at the base of Zugspitze. Garmisch was but a 40-minute drive, and in good order we hit the trailhead.

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Time Off in Tirol, Part I

We are not a family of skiers. Yes, this probably should have disqualified us from living in Austria. Add to that the relative lack of dog sitters over the Christmas holiday (Clayton Theodore does not do kennels) and the fact that we do not do staycations, and up until about a week before Christmas our travel plans were looking plenty dismal.

Saved by what turned out to be an incredible last-minute resort getaway offer, we loaded the Thule and pointed the wagon toward Tirol on the day after Christmas. Tirol always makes us happy; add to that a family suite with balcony, mountain view, spa and half-board dining, and we were rather giddy as we pulled away from the house.

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Three Days in Tirol: Krimml and Kufstein

We reluctantly departed Lienz on Sunday morning for Kufstein, plotting a route first to Krimml Falls, the tallest falls in Austria (1247 m), to be followed by a drive through the Gerlos Pass, another high alpine road of scenic import.

Our timing for viewing the falls was ideal. The temperatures were climbing and the crowds were increasing by the time we departed.  Passing along narrow pathways was  becoming a little challenging, too, especially with one member of our party who likes to weave back and forth as he wanders.
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The walk from the parking area to the base of the falls (roughly 1100m up) is 30 minutes or so, and one is completely surrounded by the music of the crashing falls during the journey.

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Three Days in Tirol: The Großglockner High Alpine Road

Honestly, we were like children on Christmas morning when we awoke on Saturday. Blue skies, sunshine, and a forecast of 15° for the Großglockner has us decorously hurrying through our (delicious) breakfast in order to begin the day.

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IMG_2226  About an hour into the drive, our first glimpse!IMG_2229

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The aptly named, Großglockner Gate.

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Three Days in Tirol: Lienz

It is no secret that we love, love, love Tirol. The scenery is unparalleled; the alpine air, restorative; the cuisine and wines, extraordinary; and the people, as cheerful and friendly as the Danes.  With a little help from the online Tirolean tourism staff earlier last week (who are incredible in their helpfulness!), I charted a course for a long weekend beginning on Friday in Lienz, a city noted for its culinary pleasures and “Italian flair.” To say that the recommendations by the tourism staff, from the hotel to the restaurants, were perfect would be an understatement.

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We Came for The Cows

And the food. And the wine. But, mostly the cows.  All across the Alps, from Switzerland to Austria, the cattle (and sheep and goats) are brought down from their alpine summer grazing to winter in warm and cozy barns. Tradition holds that if no accidents occurred during the summer, the animals are to be decorated when driven down in the fall during “Almabtrieb” or “Almhoamfahr’n.”

 

So, when an article on the, “Ten Best Almabtrieb” in Tirol landed across my news feeds, the long school holiday weekend was the perfect occasion to take our new wagon on its first road trip.

My Love Letter to Tirol, Finé

Dear Tirol,

Your hospitality is extraordinary; you know how to charm your visitors. We loved your Flea Market, your Farmer’s Market, and your Christmas Markets. Not one was too big or crowded; each was just right.
Vintage cowbells! “Jawohl!” Tony said, “Nein” to the mountain goat trophy, though.

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