Right after New Years, we took our first trip of 2011. We drove 8 hours down to Filzmoos, Austria, a quaint little Austrian ski town in the Salzburg region. We had a little apartment and Benny’s parents took a hotel room from the same family.
Every day we would meet at the main hotel for a wonderful European breakfast buffet of fresh rolls, cheeses and meats. In addition there was a nice lady who personally cooked you up eggs on an induction plate however you wanted them, scrambled, fried or as an omelet. From breakfast we would hustle back to our lodging into what is known as the "ski cellar". This is a heated room where the ski boots are hung to dry overnight and another room for the skis. After donning their helmets (safety first these days), gloves, boots and skis, they then lumbered up the block to the ski school for the first lesson of the day.
Unfortunately I twisted my knee cap out and tore some of the ligaments under the knee cap just 6 days before vacation, so needless to say, I didn’t ski. The kids and Benny (in the mornings only) all took classes and learned a ton - ok Benny probably didn't learn a ton, he was more into perfecting his style. I, on the other hand, was able to take some pictures and watch how much progress was being made each day. Since the older kids were all further up the mountain after the first day, most all my pictures were of Tyler - but he was so cute to watch, and funny! Watching the 3-4 year olds learn to ski is really quite comical. But not the native kids. It is pretty much common knowledge that in Austria the kids are put on skis before they learn to walk. Anyway, back to my story: All in all Tyler was probably the most improved since he had never skied before, but they all looked like pros by the end of the week.
Each group held a race and during the award ceremony the national anthem of the winners country was played and the flag hissed. (That's what Tyler is watching.) And as a side note, he only missed 1st place by .02 of a second. Not bad eh. Tori, Niklas and Jeffrey were all in a group together with a handfull of grown-ups - who didn't show for the awards since none of them won anything. Poor Tori had a snowmobile cut across her path during her run!???
At 12:30pm each day they had a lunch break, which was just long enough to deem going back to the apartment to eat a quick bite, but not really long enough to relax or get into that book Tori tried desperately to make progress in. It was actually a little stressful in my opinion - ok maybe even a lot stressful. After sitting down for half an hour, Jeffrey and especially Tyler were no longer in the mood to hit the slopes again. They would have rather vegged in front of the tube. The afternoon class was not without a struggle, but after we got them there, they were happy to head on up the mountain again.
Evenings found us joining up again with Oma and Opa for a 4 course meal preceded by a short dip in the pool or a little bit of Memory played with Tyler who always wins of course. With the restaurant filled to the brim, and getting served several courses, dinner was not a quick thing. It was more like an event that took a new and interesting turn every night as we watched our children try new and exotic appetizers, soups and desserts that would not be found on our table at home.
This was one choice of main course our last night, it was fried cheese fresh from the cows of the Alps with roasted parsley served with a sweet and sour sauce and lemon wedge. I personally had never heard of roasted parsley, but it was probably my most favorite new taste of the trip. Absolutely delicious!
We ended each night playing a game with the grandparents back at our place, but it didn't take long for the grownups' eyelids to start dropping, even when the children were begging for more.
It was a wonderful week, in spite of my not getting to ski, and a vacation I hope we can repeat sometime soon. The beautiful mountain backdrop and crisp fresh air coupled with a good dose of exercise each day was in itself a week of wellness that had Jeffrey questioning our decision of buying a house in Northern Germany and not down in the Austrian Alps.