Saturday 12 January 2013

Austria: Going home

Snow covered hut - Gaisbergweg, Obergurgl
The curtains opened this morning to reveal ideal conditions - dark blue skies, crisp white snow and strong shadows. The milk on the balcony had frozen solid which lengthened the tea making process.

After checking out by 10.00am, we killed a few hours by walking along the winter hiking trail to David’s Skihütte at the bottom of the Steinmannbahn chairlift for a last hot chocolate, gluhwein and a plate of chips. We walked back to the town along the snow-covered Gaisbergweg surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. I left Mrs M chatting to old people in the hotel while I wandered along some of the lower level pistes to take a few photos in the little time I had left.

Gastoff - Kressbrunnenweg, ObergurglIn the coach, I peered out of the window with a heavy heart as it pulled away from the hotel.  After stopping at the next hotel, I peered out of the window with a heavy heart as the coach pulled away. At the next hotel I peered out of the window with a heavy heart as the coach pulled away from the hotel……you get the picture. The chap behind me coughed, spluttered and snotted all the way to Innsbruck. The airport was hideously overcrowded with winter-wrapped travellers clutching oversized luggage standing in irregular lines from the terminal doors to the check-in desks. In the departure lounge, passengers were sitting on top of one another - it was the same in the aircraft. I’m sure there were more passengers than seats.

Slightly later than scheduled, we landed at Gatwick without tyres as on last week’s flight. Avis claimed that there had been a rush on five door B-class cars but after some haggling a five door C-class car was supplied for a small additional cost…..and a bit more insurance. Cars were stacked in piles at the back of the dimly-lit and rain-soaked car park - ideal conditions for a bit of husband and wife grumpiness. A further forty minutes of driving did not help matters. In Guildford, a brief stop to collect surplus luggage turned into an overnight stop. We were exhausted.

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