Saturday, 1 November 2008

Safely back from our jet set week in Austria, stating in Grundlsee, about one and a half hour's drive from Salzburg, since you ask.

Beautiful, photos will follow, but the battery is flat on the camera and I am not technologically able to download flat pictures. Girls got carried away with the video feature on the camera, which uses up a lot of energy, so we have lots of clips of H walking through woods talking to camera in Kate Adie style.

My German efforts were almost useless, in a land where the number one industry is tourism they are well geared up for the Brits and the Americans so English is widely spoken, I did get a few chances to ask for a fork and to order a drink, but that was about it. No Wie kommen ich am besten zum Bahnof, but then I didn't take a train anywhere, as we had a super hire car to take us everywhere we didn't walk. We did walk quite a lot of places, down to our local lake, and around three other lakes, and on a walk in between two lakes - you get the theme. If you like mountains and lakes, I can absolutely endorse Austria as a holiday destination. We want to go back in the winter, as there is a ski slope a 10 minute walk from the flat we stayed in. Probably takes longer in the winter with skis. You can also ice skate on the local lake, in the winter, so worth a trip out there just for that. Probably more economical than paying for the Southampton one! We want to go back in the summer, as you can swim in the lakes, and there was a great looking swimming pool complex in Salzburg, and a palace called Hellbrun with trick fountains, probably best done in the summer and not on a cold day in October. The food was great, with the girls getting Shnitzel and fishfingers and pizza (not all on same day) and R getting his meat fix for the year, in a country where everything is served with cream, butter or both. Yum. Back to the diet tomorrow then!

I am going to try really hard to get a good variety of photos up here for you all and will talk about them to try to give you a flavour of Austria. But, in short, our holiday included horseriding (all of us had a lesson - the girls had 2!) boat ride on lake at sunset, and the scariest thing of all, the Parcours high rope adventure course. I talked our fearless eldest daughter into it without giving her or me a chance to look at it, and it was bad. If you are going to attach yourself to a rope by two dangly ropes 30ft high in the trees and walk over rope bridges, give yourself, and your precious offspring, a sporting chance of survival by doing it in England, where you can comprehend the finer details of the safety talk. All I got was 'orange' and I had to do it all by guessing. Not the best start for clambering up scramble nets and so on. H was utterly fearless and encouraging to Miss Scaredy Pants herself - yep, thats me - until we were near the end of the first loop of the big course, when she started crying and the man in charge had to help her. Other children were being helped by their parents, but H had the misfortune of a parent who was using all her effort in self preservation and had no spare hands or ideas for anyone else. It was a big adrenaline output morning, and we had lunch and called it a day, neither of us fancying another loop on the even harder bit. Yes, I would do it again! I need to get a bit braver if I am going to achieve my ambition of kite surfing! Or even sailing in a boat with R without hitting him for going too fast.

Incidentally, and I know its a bit horrid to mention it, but the person who wrote the travel guide '100 things to see before you die' had died, aged 47, only having done half the list. Bit galling, that, but a salutory lesson for the rest of us, methinks. Not quite as ironic as the Atkinson guy who did that stupid diet of eating meat and no carbs dying of a heart attack. Anyhow, as my ambitions get rapidly struck off the list I add on extras, so after riding a horse (round and round indoors, but I did trot and stand up and stick my arms out) I am now aiming to tame a wild wolf and learn to sew clothes properly on my sewing machine. Not all in the same afternoon. The panto will have to wait.

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