Kitzbuehel won the award for the best ski area in Austria for 2013, so naturally my ski-enthused husband was delighted when he discovered that it was only a 4-1/2 hour drive to there from Prague. With the holidays behind us and the Ambassador back at the Embassy, there was no reason not to take a road trip and check “Skiing in the Alps” of his bucket list. Except….
Off we headed with Teji, the Regional Security Officer at Embassy Prague, who manages the security at our mission, and who also happens to be our friend. She too was looking forward to some relaxation which did not include having her car searched for drug smuggling and a possible stolen vehicle in Germany. This is the result of her asking Steve to relieve her from driving a bit. I think he was behind the wheel a whole 5 minutes before we were unceremoniously pulled over. Obviously he looked suspicious to these fine Polizei who were kind enough to let us be photographed with them after they scrutinized our car VIN number, Diplomatic passports and ID cards.
There should be tons of snow on the mountain by now, but it is mostly barren as you can see from the above image. While my home in Baltimore has been experiencing cold that has not been seen in 20 years, central Europe is having spring-like weather. When I pointed this out to Steve days before our departure and that the mini dogwood tree near our residence had buds on it, he discredited the idea that there may not be ideal conditions. Talking my husband out of a ski trip (despite the facts) is similar to dragging a screaming toddler out of a candy store. To be fair — we booked this several weeks ago and had non-refundable hotel reservations.
Nevertheless, Steve was a good sport today exploring the town with me instead of riding a chair lift up to the peak. I enjoyed getting a suntan in my t-shirt and later capturing a new funny hat picture to add to my collection after the sun went down.
We ended our day at a cute little italian cafe called Centro where we enjoyed some excellent grilled calamari, veggies and brick-oven pizza. Nothing on the menu was in English, so we used our Spanish, French and limited Czech skills to pick from a German/Italian only menu. Fortunately not only did we receive what we thought we ordered, but also enjoyed the “Yule-like-log” display on the TV monitor. Even Centro recognized that it is too warm out for a real wood, burning fire.
Back at our hotel, we met up with Teji and her friend Tina (also joining us from the US Embassy in Vienna) and batted around ideas for plan “B” if we should awake to similar conditions tomorrow. After all, what would a road trip be without a road trip, right? Reidel Glass factory tour in Kufstein, The Eagles Nest which stands as a monument to the Hitler era, or a salt mines tour in Berchtesgaden are all good possibilities to mull over breakfast. I would probably enjoy going to the salt mines tour just to get a picture of Steve in a miner’s jumpsuit. Of course he visioning me in one of these traditional alpine dresses was enough to end his day with a smile…..