Week 100 of Gibraltar Diary

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Sunday 7th February 2010

We decide to go to Kitzbuhl to see if they sell better sledges. Despite it being the height of the ski season virtually all of the shops are closed - not that we see any really big sports shops. On the way we pass the occasional factory but most of Austria seems to consist of mountains, flat plains and Spar shops - which are also closed. Presumably for reasons to do with the creepy dead guy.

In the evening we go out to look at the stars which are extraordinarily bright - because of the clear air and lack of major light pollution I assume.

Monday 8th February 2010

The photo above is of our hut - the building next door is a barn for animals in the summer. Presumably they bring them up the mountains when there is grass for them to eat.

For some time we have been baffled by a sign saying "Panaramarunde" with an arrow pointing both ways - so which way are you supposed to go in order to reach this point? Well, as you have probably guessed, it means "Panoramic Route" so you can go either way. We set off with the car thermometer reading -6^C and drive round it. The view is indeed spectacular but once you have seen one picture of amazing mountains you have seen them all - you really neeed to be there.

In the afternoon the owner of the hut turns up with her pretty friend ( a few minutes after we have emerged from an afternoon nap) and I try to explain in German how we have bought two sledges to have fun with but unfortunately I get the word for "sledges" wrong and they crack up with laughter. I have a horrible feeling that the word I used is something rather private that ladies normally keep well hidden - apart from on nudist beaches, that is.

Tuesday 9th February 2010

This is the famous Golden roof in Innsbruck. In fairness, it looks a lot more golden with the sun shining on it - probably because they have "restored" it - ie made it a bit more shiny to keep the tourists happy. The last time I saw it (an embarrassingly long time ago) it looked brown.

As to what the pair of objects at the front are supposed to be I have no idea but no doubt Freud (who lived up the road in Vienna), would have had something to say.

On the way back we get fined 35e for speeding.

When we get back to the hut, the locals have all decided that if the Mad English can slide down the road on their sledges, then so can they. We join in and much fun is had by all.

Wednesday 10th February 2010

We stay in all day - this is the main room of our hut. The pink object in the foreground is Mr Piggy, our wind up torch.

The bedroom, which is a super insulated wooden box, contains only an enormous bed.

In the evening we read books and play with candles.

Thursday 11th February 2010

In the afternoon we walk up the mountain with our sledges for one solid hour. Unfortunately, when we set off down, my sledge just won't go because the snow is too deep for the narrow runners. My girlfriend's sledge has much wider runners so she pushes me down the hill. Disappointing.

Exhuasted, we spend the rest of the day in front of the stove reading books.

Friday 12th February 2010

So, how do you make ice if the refrigerator has no freezer? Well, in our hut, you just put an inch of water in a saucepan and leave it outside for an hour or so.

At 2.40pm we set off for the UK. We drive for a few hours and then look for a hotel. Usually, there are plenty about but today we really struggle. Eventually, we find one and go to sleep - only to be woken an hour later by an alarm which is built into the headboard. We examine it in fury - had I had a hammer handy I would have smashed it. We press everything in siight but cannot get rid of the alarm symbol. I spend all night expecting to be woken up. Grrrr.

Saturday 13th February 2010

We go the scenic route through Frankfurt - it has some spectacular buildings.

In Bonn, there is some sort of festival involving knickers - which are strung up in huge numbers on wires overhead. Maybe it is some pagan reminder of days gone by? Anyway, the ladies seem to enter the spirit of the day - we should have stayed longer ...

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