A Travellerspoint blog

January 2009

Mush! Mush!

23-25 January 2009

sunny 32 °F

The drive down to the Black Forest Friday night was difficult due to rain and snow turning to slush and ice. We weren’t sure we knew where we were going and were supposed to be there by 2000 to check in at the Languesthaus Hirschen. It was a surprise to both of us when we found it and we were able to check in. We had to have a radler to calm our nerves!
Saturday morning we drove 13 kilometers to Todtmoos which was holding the International Dog Sled Races.
The town provided a free bus to take you to the site of the race which was only a short walk uphill. There were dogs everywhere being let out of the tiny cages they sleep in.
There were several categories of racers.
Skijoring was something we had never seen before – the dog pulls a skier.
We were also surprised to see so many dogs that didn’t look like the typical husky.
The blue eyes on the dogs are so dramatic up close.
There was a place for spectators at the start and the finish and races were going on all day so there was always something to watch. The dogs were marvelous in their excitement to run. I attempted to attach a video of their craziness.

By late afternoon it was getting colder so we went to the hotel to have dinner.
Sunday was WAY busier at the races so we didn’t stay as long. However I did get a kiss from one of the sled dogs!
It was a weekend well spent – thanks to Curts parents that supported it as our Christmas gift.

Posted by ErinDriver 08:56 Archived in Germany Tagged events Comments (2)


18 January 2009

overcast 28 °F

Well we did it again – we took on the alps for another day. Today was a half day of skiing too so first we took a walk along the lake.
Every morning there is a thick fog over the lake and town. It’s hard to believe but it burns off by lunchtime and reveals beautiful days.
There was a section of the lake that wasn’t frozen and it was filled with dozens of ducks and a couple of swans.
I managed to get thru the day without adding any bruises or sore muscles! Whew! We walked along the lake to the town for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was actually a very pretty restaurant and bonus – open on Sunday!
Tomorrow we may hit some stores and then back to reality 

Posted by ErinDriver 08:21 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Tubes and Toboggans

17 January 2009

sunny 28 °F

After breakfast this morning we went to check out the town of Zell Am See. We figured since it was Saturday everyone would be skiing and we would avoid the crowds. We took in a few shops and then took a drive to Piesendorf (20 minutes) to a winter fun park.
The is place called Nagelkopfel had a tubing park, toboggan run and area for skiing. For a Saturday it was surprisingly uncrowded. With the fun card you could go from 1300-1600 as many times as you wanted down the slopes.
The tubing was the best. A cable dragged you up the hill and then you went sailing down the hill and around a curve that made you want to fly out of the tube. The toboggan run was slightly more terrifying and after the third time down I think I gave myself a mild concussion. The route was curvy with really no way to steer other than your feet. So at the turn they had big padding nailed up to the fence. The last time around I hit one of those a bit too hard and went sailing off the sled. Needless to say I didn’t last long after that.
Dinner was back at the hostel again – just can’t resist spaghetti carbonara. We are bruised and sore so will probably just stay in tonight. Tomorrow we are crazy enough to think we will be in good enough shape to ski again!

Posted by ErinDriver 08:18 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

More of the Austrian Alps!

16 January 2009

sunny 28 °F

Last night Curt and I piled our ski gear back in the car and drove four hours for more fun in the Austrian Alps. Our destination this time was Zell Am See and the youth hostel on the lake there.
Today we decided to ski for just half the day and save some money on the lift tickets. This also meant we could sleep in a have a leisurely breakfast.
Miraculously the parking near the lift was free and soon we were swishing down the slopes again. The slopes were clear on top of the mountain even though it looked ominous from down below.
The day turned out to be beautiful with blue skies and warm weather. It was so nice we ate lunch outside at the lodge.
By 1600 we were done and went to the hostel for dinner. I think tonight we will just take it easy and rest our tired legs.

Posted by ErinDriver 08:14 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Cologne, Germany

10 January 2009

sunny 35 °F

Saturday morning Curt and I loaded the car and headed about 3.5 hours north west towards Cologne, Germany. I had heard wonderful things about the 4th largest city in germany so we booked a night at the Black Sheep Hostel. The hostel was in the city center and a few subway stops from the main attraction – the Cologne Cathedral.
All tourist information for this city seems to be centered around this huge and beautiful church.
It is free to go inside but unfortunately a lot of the highlights were blocked off from our viewing.
The building of the church was started in 1248 but not finished until 1880. The structure of the church survived WWII for the most part.
The stained glass was taken to shelters and saved. Back then one of the stained glass windows cost as much two townhouses.
The windows and the pews were intricately decorated.
Tourists can pay 2.50 euro each and climb 509 spiral stairs to get to the top of one of the church spires. Your legs may be shaking by the end but the views over the Rhine river are spectacular.
And lucky for us we got a weekend with blue skies. On the way up the stairs you pass the blockenstube were 24-ton Fat Peter resides. The claim on Fat Peter is he is the largest free-swinging church bell in the world.
Cologne also claims to have the first pedestrian shopping mall in Germany on Hohe Strasse. We didn’t spend long here because Saturdays in a shopping area in germany feel as crowded as Christmas time.
Dinner was at Fruh am Dom which was a former brewery. They serve the traditional german fare with Kolsch beer. These beers are served in a small skinny glass but is very tasty. The waiter brings you more until you tell them to stop.
After dinner I took some photos of the cathedral at night. I was disappointed to find that it wasn’t lit up in colors like I had seen in photos during my research. But it was still beautiful.
We escaped the cold by heading to a theater that plays English movies and saw Australia. It’s a really great movie and doesn’t even seem almost 3 hours long.
In one day we hit the main highlights of Cologne so we will head home in the morning.

Posted by ErinDriver 08:51 Archived in Germany Tagged tourist_sites Comments (2)

Finally.....It's Beautiful!

3 January 2009

sunny 33 °F

The weather today was as beautiful as it was bad yesterday.
It was hard to believe we were skiing on the same mountain.
The trees were covered in snow and looked perfectly white – it was gorgeous.
Once again words can’t describe it so I put in some pictures :)
We were skiing from 0900 until our legs and arms gave out at 1500.
We had a couple stops for the mysterious germknodel. From day one everyone was getting these snowball looking pastries covered with vanilla sauce and bits of chocolate. It tasted a bit bland to us but atleast we discovered what was inside – jelly.
By the time we got back to the room and took showers we were exhausted so we just played cards and relaxed until they brought out the spaghetti for dinner. After a huge plate of pasta and skiing all day I was asleep pretty early. Tomorrow the travel fantasy that has been 2009 comes to a close and we go home. Thanks to our families for the great Christmas gift!

Posted by ErinDriver 07:51 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (2)

An Even Foggier day in Austria

2 January 2009

overcast 19 °F

By 1000 we had walked to the slopes, bought our 2 day lift tickets for 110 euro and were ready to tackle Kasberg. Unfortunately we couldn’t see a blessed thing on the mountain and it got worse as the day went on. It was difficult to figure out where we were on the mountain when we could hardly see the skiers in from of us.
Lunch was in a cross between a lodge and hut. It wasn’t very big but was very crowded. We carved out some space to eat whatelse but a kasekrainer, pommes and goulash. It was perfect.
By the time we were done eating it was 1340. We realized we were pretty high on the mountain so started to make our way down which took us until 1500. By now our bodies are exhausted so we head back to that lodge for some of that wonderful hot chocolate. This old man was trying to talk to us in German and didn’t seem to grasp the fact that we couldn’t understand a word he said.
Dinner was at the hostel again consisting of soup, salad an pork with potatoes. Relaxing was in order for the rest of the night because we have another full day of skiing tomorrow.

Posted by ErinDriver 07:48 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

Foggy new year in Austria!

1 January 2009

overcast 19 °F

An amazing fireworks display in our back yard by all our neighbors rang in the new year for us. So this morning while the rest of Germany is sleeping we are headed for another attempt at skiing in Austria. A five hour train ride gets us to Grunau Im Almtal where we call our hostel – The treehouse for a ride.
The place is about 10 minutes from the town and is at the bottom of the Kasberg ski area. We aren’t near much so this time we won’t have to worry about checking things off a to-do list. The ski trip is also our Christmas gift from our parents and Aunt Linda and Uncle Rod so thanks to all.
After finding our room which has its own bathroom (score!) we head up to check out the ski sight. By 1600 most people are leaving the mountain so we stop in the little restaurant for a beer, hot chocolate and potato wedges. Our hostel has dinner for 8 euro a person but not until 1900!
So we returned to the hostel and had a few drinks and chatted until dinner time. I am also very fond of this hostel because it has 2 dogs in residence and one that was visiting!
Dinner was amazing with a salad, then chicken, noodles and a vegetable concoction. Last but not least was a gingerbread cake for dessert. Not bad for 8 euros!

Posted by ErinDriver 07:45 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

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