Problem: How do we get 6 people to the Austrian slopes 8 hours away, outfitted with ski clothing and equipment as well as food for a week, with only a car top carrier, in a European mini-version of a car? Can you say creative car-packing? Needless to say, our hours spent 'stuffing' the car in preparation of our big ski trip were a little frustrating. And I can honestly say I am married to the "Master Packer". . After several suitcase switches, the car-top carrier (the magic box), finally closed and locked, and after a short heart-felt prayer that it would stay that way, and the crock-pot sitting on my lap, we were finally off! (I have since bribed the children with serious cash if they would just stop growing!! ---This is mainly for The Comedian as he's just about taller than me and it's getting more difficult for him to even fit in the back seat!) There was loads of humor on the drive down as every other car it seemed on the other side of the autobahn had a car top ski carrier as well.
It was a full day's drive down to Gosau, a little town 60 km south of Salzburg, and we arrived at night. So waking up to this incredible, majestic site was ...well .....there are no words...........And this was the view out our balcony windows........We walked half a block down to the lifts and everyone was in heaven to be finally on the slopes again............Well, everyone but Mom.....
I quickly surmised that I was really out of my league!! I have skied in Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana, and I am proud of the fact that Rick and I have spawned snow loving speed demons. But somehow with as many years as I've skied, I nevertheless get WORSE every year. Not sure how that happens, but it is true. These slopes in stateside ski language would've been probably double blues or blacks and I kept thinking of how much I have to live for..............All 5 of the rest of the crew were just mystified at my Weenie-ness!! But after they witnessed me walking down the mountain with skis on my shoulder, they knew that was it. I decided my money was well spent to just ride the gondolas (both UP and DOWN) and snap photos to my heart's content.
We were so BLOWN AWAY by the sheer AWESOMEness of God to be standing on the top of this mountain and everywhere you look (360 degrees) is HIS...... perfection (no other word). Always puts 'things' in perspective when you are shown your actual size!!!! A "famous" quote about creation from a VeggieTales episode comes to mind...."He just went ppppbbbbtttthhhhhh and there it was..........."
We were blessed with the most gorgeous weather the whole week. I was beginning to be convinced that the sun had gone into retirement from the earth as we hadn't seen it since .....I think it was....October. (Not complaining......just miss it.......) I was in heaven sitting outside people watching (at the bottom) without even a jacket on. The two younger girls were infatuated with a new contraption (for them) that they called the "Palm Tree lift" - of course the pommel lift- at one of the areas where we were. We could have skied for 2 weeks and not hit one slope twice. The area is so huge.
The end of the week we took a day for site seeing and went into Salzburg. We toured the Salt Mines (hence the city name) as everyone told us to do. I was leery of this time commitment, but Rick had been told by so many people that this was a must see, that he insisted. What a hoot! (I need to add here that usually anything that's REALLY fun over here, you'd never find in the States because of potential lawsuits.) Down in the mine, everyone must slide down (actually straddling) TWO 50 foot slides, straight down!!! My personal battle with speed was once again tested here, BUT I won this time and rode down with The Thinker (who I think had bruises on her arms from me holding on so tight).
One of our all time 'family faves' is The Sound of Music. So, in the afternoon, we took the Sound of Music City Tour (since it was filmed here and the real Von Trapps are from here) of Salzburg and had a ball. We had our own tour guide who was precious and spoke English well as she had lived in the US for a while in her younger years.
What a grand time we had!! However, next year everyone will be toting their own small suitcases ON THE TRAIN and we will be renting equipment when we get there..............