Austria: skiing in St. Anton

Sankt Anton

Stupid spring, sneaking in and stealing my winter away. I won’t stand for it! I will find snow, and I will participate in winter activities.

Sankt Anton from above

Hooray for living near the Alps, where there is snow all year round. This past weekend we found some delicious spring skiing in and around St. Anton, Austria.  Continue reading

Ski trips from Munich: Mayrhofen

A typical ski day for a Münchner starts with a painfully early wake up. Well before dawn, you toss on your ski clothes and haul your gear to the ski bus, or if you’re lucky, the car. Grab some coffee and a pretzel from your nearest bakery (the only thing open at this predawn hour) and hit the road.  Continue reading

Snowy Christmas fun in Brunico

Brunico Italy

When in doubt, go to Italy for the weekend. The Dolomites are just a few hours away from Munich by car, so you really have no excuse not to. Last weekend we set out for Brunico (Bruneck in German), a small town in the Puster Valley. Normally the drive should have taken less than three hours, but thanks to the weather it was closer to four. I didn’t mind at all, given the snowy paradise that presented itself upon our arrival. Continue reading

Austria: spa-ing it up in Sölden

view from bergland skyspa

Our first stop in the Ötztal was the recently-rebuilt Hotel Bergland in the mountain town of Sölden. Situated as it is in the Alps, it’s the kind of place that is full of skiers in the winter and hikers and bikers in the summer. After being welcomed with lunch in their dining room, we went on a tour of the hotel and then ended up at the top-floor spa for an afternoon of deep relaxation. Continue reading

Austria: into the Ötz Valley

flying fox at Area 47

After Innsbruck, Scott and I split up to try out two different blogger trips that were offered to the conference attendees. How can you not love a conference that comes with free travel at the end?

I went for the Relaxation in the Ötz Valley (Ötztal) trip. We’ve been to this part of Austria before, but always in winter to ski. The Alps feel like a different world in summer. Continue reading

Getting charmed by Innsbruck

Innsbruck

Last week we headed to Innsbruck to attend a travel blogging conference. This little city nestled in the mountains absolutely oozes Austrian charm, so it was nice to have an excuse to go back. The old city center is full of pedestrian streets lined with shops and cafes, perfect for wandering around aimlessly. Continue reading

Merano: best lunch ever

So where were we? Oh yes: Merano, Italy. On our second day there, we asked at the hotel for a lunch suggestion. Lucky for us, the recommended place was closed, and we ended up improvising. We found Castel Fragsburg at the top of a windy road outside of Merano. The posted menu looked interesting, if a bit expensive, so we decided to give it a try. We were led through a large dining room out onto a terrace with a sweeping view of the valley below. Worth the price alone.

Before we can even order the chef starts sending us little ‘greetings from the kitchen’ Continue reading

Italy: Val Gardena

The Dolomites were the perfect place to unwind after two weeks of Oktoberfest. A friend recommended Val Gardena, Italy – about a 3-hour drive from Munich. It’s a ski resort area in the winter, and popular with hikers in the summer. Since we are now the shoulder season, we were able to get a great deal on a room with half board at Hotel Grones in the little mountain town of Ortisei (St. Ulrich in German).

Signs in the area were often posted in three languages: Italian, German, and another one which contained wacky things like ë. This turned out to be Ladin, a local language similar to Romansh (one of Switzerland’s four official languages) and about equally decipherable. At the hotel and around town we heard all three languages being spoken around us, and it made my head swim a little. Our waitress clearly preferred speaking Italian with us, while the hotel owners were happier chatting in German.

The roads were small and windy, which made for some heart-thumping every time a tourist bus came flying towards us. There were a lot of tour buses. I don’t want to imagine what it must be like in the high season.

We visited various little towns in Val Gardena (each with a cute little church and graveyard, some hotels, and at least one collapsed wooden barn). There was a little Sound-of-Music-style spinning involved. And a waist-tall squash. I’ll let the photos say the rest.

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