Our trip from Germany to Austria was truly magical. The landscapes we passed were absolutely incredible. My camera was unfortunately tucked away on the drive, but I made lots of mental pictures of the scenery. The tops of the mountains were shrouded with low clouds, but spotting the occasional castle tucked into a lush forest was breathtaking enough to forgive the grey skies. We arrived at the Olympic training center in Innsbruck in the evening (to the very loud sounds of yodeling courtesy of Ronnie) and immediately ate dinner in the cafeteria. This was one of the most interesting locations we stayed at.
Austria confirmed my love for mountains, got me hooked on Manner cookies, and really drove home the fact that I’m a procrastinator. In Austria we crossed the 4-week mark in the trip, which seemed like a significant milestone. Every time I’ve traveled abroad for an extended period of time, there is an adjustment phase. Things that happen during that phase can be enjoyed, but with a bit of a hesitant edge. Whenever the adjustment phase is complete, I am able to settle into a routine, accept that life is crazy no matter where I live, and more fully embrace the spontaneous unknown. In Austria I was able to finally be myself.
My absolute favorite outing that we did in Austria (other than our afternoon excursion to Italy), was a mountain-lake adventure. We drove an hour to a lake in the middle of some mountains. One of my best friends from the trip and I rented a pedal-boat and went out in the middle of the lake to just sit and take in the sunshine and incredible views. Sitting quietly in nature has always had a calming effect on me and I relished the peaceful moments on that lake after being on trains, planes, buses, and walking through dirty cities for a month. Leaving the lake, I was refreshed mental & spiritually.
Mountain-lake adventure. Tour of Swarovski headquarters. Manner cookies (hazelnut is my favourite & I now stalk Marshalls to occasionally find their pale pink packaging). Bowling tournament with the whole IBI group (I held the women’s lead & even won prizes). Eating my first ever banana split. Waking up to views of the mountains every day.
Mountains make my heart sing. Austria has tons of mountains. I left the country full of joy & peace.