I'm struggling a bit to best describe the last 7 days...
It was a cold and dreary Sunday evening...no, that doesn't do it.
What do you get when you drop 6 Americans in the middle...no, thats not right.
A priest, a rabbi and a sheik walk into a bar...no, not that either.
Eurotrip + National Lampoons Vacation = ...nope. Still not right.
Bottom line, last week was a blast. For 7 days I had 5 visitors all crammed into my little shoebox of an apartment. It was cozy (small), warm (stuffy), smelly (well, smelly), uncomfortable at times (sleeping on cables) and all in all laid the groundwork for a great vacation.
This was the first real vacation I've taken since arriving and was the first time I've seen most of my visitors since i left the states last year. Sure I've been to France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Lichtenstein in 3 and a half months...but I never vacationed anywhere for more than 4 days. I know i know...pathetic. The plan was simple, a little skiing, a little drinking, some good food, maybe a castle visit....but as with any good vacation reality was much better than the plan.
Hober and Julie showed up first on Sunday evening. Monday morning brought Angella, Lano and Bonnie. We kicked off the first day by skiing in Lech on a gorgeous sunny day. Following Lech was Silvretta Nova, St Anton and finally Flumserberg on Friday. I think we got to experience the whole spectrum of European skiing, from sunny and groomed, to cold and powdery...What can i say, i wanted to make sure everyone went away happy so i put in a special request with the man upstairs. We got an understanding. After this week I've been skiing 17 times this season but still no glacier skiing. I know i know...pathetic.
Skiing with a group of 6 proved pretty entertaining...there were people getting stuck on lifts, lost skis in the powder, lots of great falls and cutoffs (don't worry, no-one was hurt), forgotten ski pants....the list goes on. I think everyone was pretty impressed with the mtn's and facilities. Many of the lifts even have heated seats under their protective wind bubbles. Most of the mtn's offer RF type lift passes where you don't even need to show the ticket, just pass it near a sensor and BAM, your on the lift. Swatch even sells a watch that you can “load” online with ski days and then serves as the RF ski ticket. No lift ticket lines, no paper passes...just show up and go. Pretty cool. All the mtn's also have great outdoor snowbars. The people are always very entertaining and almost make the horrible umpa lumpa music bearable.
Even though skiing was the overriding goal, we got to see and do so much more. There was the abandoned castle and creepy tunnel near Sargans, the Lichtenstein castle, beer and Fondue in St Anton, beer and giant Schnitzel in Feldkirk, darts and Guiness at Uwe's Bier bar, darts, fooseball and beer at Bennies Roadhouse, Kebap in Zürich (which is the best friggin drunk food ever), more beer and darts at the Bonnie Prince Pub...and then of course, there was Radler. Ever tried Radler? No? Well, imagine this. You were out last night partying and just woke up at 7:30 to go skiing. I know they say theres no cure for a hangover like some fresh air, but for me, i need a little pick me up. Lunchtime rolls around and your mind says “order a beer”, but your stomach says “drink some pepto”...well, Radler is that lovely compromise that pleases both your brain and your stomach.
Beer...plus...lemonade = Radler. That's right, a mildy sweet beer that goes down easy and refreshes at the same time. If that doesn't suit you, there's always Gluwein...a lovely mix of hot red wine, honey, spices and mild citrus. These friggin Europeans have really taken drinking to a whole new level. I know Lano (what's his first name?) dug the Radler.
After Flumserberg on Friday, we headed back to my apt and loaded everything up in my little Toyota and Hobers Alfa Romeo for the 2hr journey into Zürich. We could've made it quicker but Hober, not Julie, was driving. Hober (who i think has a first name too) and Julie had an early flight so the only logical solution was to just go out all night. Which we did. Despite logic this turned out to be a bad idea for Hober and Julie. They went to the airport on no sleep for a 8+hr flight....i hope that flight home wasn't too bad! I also feel sorry for their fellow passengers.
Angella headed out the next day back to St Gallen to catch up on 6 days of schoolwork for the start of school Monday. Lano, Bonnie and I hung out for one more day in Zürich. I'd like to tell you we went to the Museum, toured some old churches or even at in a nice restaurant. But alas...it was 16 more hours of pub crawling and wandering through Zurich. But it was a blast, we saw the old town, some head shops, absinthe stores, a Cuban cigar shop, 2 Starbucks (wtf!) and of course the inside of a few more pubs including my personal favorite in Zürich, the Noble Dubliner. I'm convinced Starbucks is the next McDonalds. Despite all the talk of coffee fads...people just love the stuff. And Europeans are really starting to embrace the “take-away” coffee phenomenon.
All in all it was a great week. If nothing else, it was really nice to be able to speak English and not Genglish for the week. But i really enjoyed seeing some familiar and new faces and sharing my new corner of the world. Truth be told, it made me a bit homesick (if i can really even call Michigan home that is). I suffer from “out of sight out of mind” syndrome and I'm pretty bad at keeping in touch with people, so it was nice to hear about how things have been going back in Detroit Rock City.
So to all my visitors, thanks for a great week, I hope everyone went away with some good memories. I know i did. You're all welcome back anytime. Like maybe in October...in Munich...for Oktoberfest....think about it. All it takes to reserve a spot is for everyone to reserve 2 x 1.5l beers and 1 chicken....and we already know how to order more beer. Donkey Beer Me! Below are just a few of the pictures taken. There were so many that i could only throw up a small sampling. Some pictures got out of order as i intended to post them...i still haven't figured out a good strategy to load them from “Hello”. There are action shots of pretty much everyone but me. Maybe it's cause i was the fastest bestest skiier there, I'm just saying.....
Giggity Giggity Giggity!!