So, it’s 2017 eh?! Whilst it was nice to be back in England seeing family and friends over Christmas, I’m glad to be back in Austria and back to what I now consider my “real” life. The two weeks I spent in England over the holidays were pretty uneventful: I saw family, met with friends, went on a few bike rides, hit up my old gym and got as much usage out of my sister’s Netflix account as I could. Needless to say, when it came to flying back, I was looking forward to getting into a proper, productive routine again.
I arrived back in Salzburg on Saturday 7th to find the city completely transformed from when I’d last seen it. Whilst temperatures had been pretty parky, they had nothing on what they were right now – a cool -22 degrees! That, coupled with the heavy snowfall that had come in recent days, gave me the impression of having jumped into a winter wonderland. Not wanting to waste any time, I got back to the apartment, dumped my bags, then went to Adele’s to catch up with her, Bo and Toni. On Sunday, I had a day of actually getting some work done, then had to prepare myself for the arrival of my parents, who were having a day in Salzburg before going skiing in Schladming. After a few delays, they finally arrived and we went first to the Augustiner brewery together, then onwards through the now snow-covered Altstadt to Zirkelwirt. After a few beers, I walked them back to their hotel, then stopped off at Adele’s once more for an hour. The next day, it was back to lectures, and, after my Interkulturelles Seminar in the morning, I had a meeting with Alice about our forthcoming (and terrifying!!) presentation the next day. Not feeling too confident, I went off to the gym, then back home to prepare. Tuesday dawned and, after my early morning lecture, I had a quick gym session, then met Adele and Iris for lunch at the Panorama Cafe. With the mountains covered in snow and the sun shining, the view was magnificent!! All too soon, it was time for the dreaded literature presentation and, somehow, it managed to go even worse than I had anticipated, but at least it was over.
After dealing with the nightmare combination that is the Salzburg public transport system and heavy snowfall, I made it home to quickly pack my bags and make my way to the station to join my parents in Schladming. Following the horrific presentation, it was nice to end up in a peaceful ski resort, surrounded by mountains. The next morning, the ski was (mostly) clear and, despite the freeeeeezing temperatures, I was eager to get out and ski; I’m so lucky that this is pretty much on my doorstep!! We had a great day on the Planai, Hochwurzen and Reiteralm mountains, and Dad delighted in taking me far further off piste than I would usually have dared. For lunch, we stopped in a cute mountain restaurant and ate Germknoedel, Kaiserschmarrn and Gulasch soup in front of a roaring stove – heaven. That afternoon, we skied until the lifts shut, then had a quick Gluehwein, before tiredness took over and it was time to sleep. The following three days were much the same, although the weather did get slightly worse, the snow just kept falling which made the offpiste conditions perfect! On Wednesday, Dad and I took advantage of these conditions and ended up so far away from civilisation and with snow up to our waists that it took us over an hour to twist and turn down the mountain to a piste – hard work but so worth it! After four days of mountain restaurants, powder snow, Gluehwein and Kaiserschmarrn, my second ski holiday of the year was over, and we marked the occasion with a meal at a locals’ restaurant in the town recommended by the owner of our apartment. Every time I go, I’m reminded why skiing is my absolute favourite thing; being up in the mountains, alone and active is the best thing ever, and I’m so grateful that it’s so near by.
The next day, we took the train back to Salzburg and waved an emotional goodbye at the station. That evening however, it was all go again as the four of us had secured free tickets to Ladies Night at the Red Bull Salzburg Eishockey Arena. I’d never really watched ice hockey before, but I’ll make the effort to now! It was so theatrical and exciting – I loved it. We went from having minimal knowledge to feeling like major fans, standing and shouting whenever our team scored. After a tight game, we were thankful that Salzburg won! After the game, we took the long (ish) walk into the Altstadt to Spaghetti & Co. for pizza, then went our separate ways, to study and try not to think about how little time we have left in this perfect city.