The end is that this long trip is almost over.
Waiting for September, after over 4 weeks in Europe. The kids have been in Canada and finishing their first week of school. As for myself, I was tired of traveling and so I stayed put in Tux. Another two-day break, not in the city this time, but in beautiful Tirol countryside. The last two days have been spent relaxing and trying to understand the Simpsons in German.
Tux in the off-season is dead quiet, unlike the busier places in the Alps, Tux is first and foremost a rural community. I’m staying in a two-story Gaus house with a double bed with bathroom and TV all to myself, actually it seemed like I had the whole place to myself. It was remnant of the Mountain Inn condos at Killington back in late May 1984, except it wasn’t a cold architecture and I didn’t play bowling with empty beer bottles in the hallway.
The forecast was pretty much a repeat affair of the last week: Increasing cloudiness with a chance of rain in the afternoon. It rained on the previous day at around 2pm and checked for today forecast and it was identical. After breakfast, I paid my bill for my stay and proceed to get ready and wait for the bus. It cost me 124 E for 4 nights in un Komfortzimmer with Frutbreck.
I waited a few minutes for the bus and started being concerned that I had missed it, but I wasn’t alone. A whole ski team showed up, so this was the right place. This was nice and sunny. A jam-packed city bus showed up eventually. We managed to squeeze in and hold on for the next 9km. As we were getting closer to Hintertux, we could see the mountain tops being covered in clouds.
Hoped up the first two gondolas, as I got closer to the glacier and the restaurant at the second gondola terminal, you could see the glacier was soaked in. Needed a foghorn on top of the glacier. The visibility moved from extremely poor to nil and the conditions on that first run was frozen ice. Most harder surface than 3 days ago. Started skiing on the slopes on the other side. It helped that the glacier ice on the groomed tracked had dirty snow, made it easier to get some perspective of where was the piste, up or down. Even if the atmospheric and snow conditions were less than stellar, there were a number of kids training. A light drizzle started after a couple runs, way earlier than yesterday. The rain started falling harder as I took two runs on the steeper glacier slope then proceed to ski to the restaurant at 2600m to wait and see. It was barely 11am. The ski run had been worked on to cover the bare spot seen a few days ago. That run was the only one that was soft granular snow.
Waited 40 minutes outside under the roof, but the rain wasn’t letting up. Teams started skiing down and headed towards the gondola for download. With 9 runs, I decided to do the same and start on my long trip back home and calling it a day, a month, a season.
Raining in the valley, back to pick up my stuff at the Gaushaus. Bus down to Manlichen and train to Innsbruck. The sun started to come out as I arrived in Innsbruck, but it wouldn’t last long, it was already 7pm. I spend part of the following day in the city that hosted the 1964 & 1976 Winter Olympic Games. Next off by train through another Winter game site, Garmisch-Partenkirchen (1936), to finally reach Munich (1972 Olympic Summer Games). Beautiful city and cheaper beer. After two-nights in the Octoberfest capital, I would take one last train; a high-speed train to Paris (1900 & 1924 Summer games) with a final night in Europe. At only 89 Euro, turned out to be one of the best deals on this trip…that and the beer in Munich. Flight long the next day to Montreal (1976 games) and a short one back home to Ottawa.
This was a vacation of Olympic proportion:
Rolls of film: over 40
Pictures: almost 1400
Ski days? 7
Cost? Not cheap
Maybe it is why I skimmed so many Olympic Cities. Eight cities representing 6 Winter games and 4 Summer games. Traveling across the Western Alps, the traveling skier meet other people traveling, either for music or beer tasting.
American Eliah was playing at a restaurant in Old Innsbruck. He was playing Europe’s streets and turned out to be staying at the same hostel. We talked a few times and had breakfast together.
Here is a sample of his stuff:
It was a long trip and I missed my loved ones. It’s been two-weeks that I’ve been on my own. Summer skiing all but one of the Alps late summer areas. Was it worth it? It all depends of the distance traveled and cost associate with these days. I did a few calculations and the cost of these two-weeks (ground transportation, lodging, food and 5 days of skiing (not including France days) was approximately 3/4 of the total cost (airfare included) as my last trip to the Andes: 13 days from Ottawa to Patagonia and back. It is also a matter of perceptive. The answer is ‘no’ if you’re traveled to Europe only to ski (not talking race camps), however the Alps are beautiful and if you’re sightseeing and exploring like I was, I would say, go for it. As I mentioned to my wife and friends, this was the last time I would spend so much focus on summer skiing in the Alps. If I’m going to back to Europe to ski, it’s going to be in Winter.
Tag 34 / 31 August: Tux und Hintertux
Tag 35 / 1 September: Hintertux und Innsbruck
Tag 36 / 2 September: Innsbruck und Munchen
Tag 37 / 3 September: Munchen
Jour 38 / 4 septembre: Munich à Paris
Jour 39 / 5 septembre: CDG to Canada