Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Linz, but no Linzer Torte

Changeover day dawned clear, and we were on the road by 9:00.  Our 1st point of call was a fuel station so we could buy an Austrian highway toll sticker so that we wouldn’t be fined on the motorways on our journey to Linz.

The drive from Hinterglemm was about 3 hours in total, mainly on the motorway after the 1st hour – today was about the destinations and not the journey. 

Arriving into Linz, we parked the car and set off to find food.  We ended up going Italian at an German chain we have been to before, Vapiano.  Lots of other people were wearing disposable bibs – so we thought; eat like a local!

Linz was a surprisingly appealing smaller Austrian city.  It has had an intense industrial history, and plenty of big factories were still visible on the city outskirts.  But it has also been a European city of culture and is working on that aspect with a modern art gallery and art installations.  The old part of the city has the lovely churches and buildings.  

We enjoyed the Mariendom, an exceedingly large edifice.  Here, there were many areas of stained glass that had been destroyed in WWII and some replaced with modern stained glass rather than straight replicas

One thing Linz is famous for is Linzer torte.  I had read in the guidebook, plenty of bakeries selling this local icon, and had expected it to be easy to find. The only one we saw was a dried up version in a cafĂ© which I scorned because ‘we were going to see them in every 2nd store.  Nope, not one.  I did have a Linzer biscuit the next day in Czechia, but it wasn’t quite the same.

Then it was back on the motorway and into Czech Republic for an overnight in Cesky Krumlov.  We spent the last couple of hours of daylight checking out the castle and old town of this heavily touristed small town.  The castle built on the on the rock promontory above the town river is undoubtedly impressive in position, views and buildings.  

A walk through the small streets, an average meal (probably the most expensive meal in our entire Czech Trip) and we declared Cesky Krumlov visited. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Snow times in Hinterglemm , 26 January 2019

End of January means off again for a week of skiing and a week of holiday.  Not wanting to break a winning formula it was a return to Munich for couple of days before heading up into the Austrian Alps and the little ski village of Hinterglemm.  

Normally before we go Andrew periodically checks the snow reports and we hope for a few good dumps of snow so he will have a good base.  This year it had snowed almost continuously since New Year and the reports of exceptional snowfalls were making the BBC as the highest falls in 30 years.  This year the concern was not if there would be enough snow, rather it was would there be too much.

At Munich Airport Andrew's bag arrived on the baggage carousel, but mine didn't.  After a talk to lost luggage we were issued with a compensation debit card for €70 (but only €60 could be used because of withdrawal fees) and we were off into the center of Munich.  The suitcase was delivered to our hotel the next day, so it was not to bad an inconvenience.    

It was -10C, and snowing, but we braved the extremes and went shopping and generally easing ourselves back into European routines.  We revisited a couple of our standard restaurant and ate excessive amounts of meat.

Early on Saturday we picked up our car for the next two weeks and started off.  A journey of 230km and it should take just under 3 hours.  The falling snow, combined with it being Saturday change-over day in ski-accommodation,  extended the travel time to 5 hours.  

We stopped off at the Reidel glass factory outlet store in Kufstein, just over the border in Austria.  While the prices were good, we refrained from buying.  

We took the “back-road” from Kufstein to Hinterglemm and the effects of the massive snows were still evident in the high banks of snow along the roadside.  In one place the graded road was down to a single lane. 

We returned to our previous accommodation at Anna Apartments and got Andrew issued with skies and a ski pass for 5 days of 7.  The snow was good, the weather generally favorable with a couple of brilliant blue sky days.

Andrew had a couple of technical problems out on the slope including getting his phone so cold he couldn’t take any photos.  On another day a very sad face came home, saying he had lost his phone.  Luckily, as he stripped off his clothing layers it was discovered that it had slipped out of his pocket and had spent the morning caught up in the sleeve of his jersey.  A new security bag was devised for him to eliminate that problem.

For the skier, it was a enjoyable, but hard week on the slopes.  For the worker, it was a constructive week ploughing through some data.  

Now we were off for a week driving through Czech Republic.  Apparently the country has changed its name to Czechia – but there hasn’t been a huge amount of public acceptance of that – an article from The Guardian in October 2016