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Swimming outside – when the temperature is -2

… the best way to recover from a day in the snow!

sunny -2 °C
View UK & Europe 2009 on thomastour's travel map.

When we arrived in St. Gilgen it was a white town – snow covered everything (in fact our landlord was busy trying to clear the snow off the driveway so we could park). But in the days since we have had a number of warm days and yesterday was a day of rain – so the white town has returned to it's original colours and all the fields are green again. Which has been a disappointment because it has limited dave & Alex's ability to go snowboarding. we were told by the lady at the restaurant we went to tonight that it was only the 3rd time in her memory that it was not a true white christmas in the region.

However last night there was snow on the mountains and it was again worth the trip up to Postalm. Arriving there we saw that there had indeed been fresh snow and it could be a day spent on the snow. Dave & Alex wasted no time getting going with their snowboards and hit the slopes. They had only a couple of choices of T-bars and slopes, but it was enough for them to fill in the day. And Dave commented that it was still better than anything he had snowboarded on in Australia.

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Cathy & I watched them for a little while then decided it was time we did something ourselves. With ski lessons not feasible (timing wise & expense wise) we decided to go walking in (or where possible) on the snow. We hired a couple of pair of snow shoes and poles and set off on our own adventure. After a little getting used to the shoes we set out to climb one of the peaks that is normally serviced by a T-bar but was not in use by skiers, so therefore fair game for us. The effort of slowly climbing the snow covered peak was some awesome views back over the ski-field and also off into the distance. We reached the top off the T-bar by a circuitous route and then set our sights higher and climbed another peak for more magnificent views. We also had the benefit of going over fresh snow that no-one else had walked or skied over. At times it was hard going and the snowy surface was deceiving – sometimes it was a thin layer of snow over an icy crust and at other times it was a thick soft layer that you sunk right down into – even with snow shoes.

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Just being up on the peaks by ourselves with pristine snow around us made us realise the awesomeness of God's creation!

But we eventually had to work our way back down and hand in the snow shoes. But after a quick pick-me-up hot chocolate it was over the the 'magic carpet' and having a go at sliding down the slope on a ski-tube. Cathy took it pretty easy, but still managed to run into someone on one of her first goes, while I took a more reckless attitude and went quite a bit faster. It was fun, but as the day was drawing to a close the temperatures were falling and at minus 6 degrees it was getting a bit cold standing around on the snow, and as the boys had run out of steam we called it quits and headed home.

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A quick shower and change then we were all off to Bad Ischl (a town about 20km from St. Gilgen) for a restaurant tea as a farewell to Dave & Alex. And then it was special treat time as part of our accommodation deal we had tickets to the EurothermenResorts spa in Bad Ischl.

Not knowing what to expect we turned up and handed over our vouchers to get wristbands in return and the opportunity to read a whole lot of instruction signs all written in German. We eventually manged to work out enough to find the change area and lockers and get into our swim gear. Then it was off to find the spa – or should I say spa's (plural).
There was the 'Lazy River' which was at 34 degrees and started inside the building but then went outside and had water jets that carried you around a big loop with occasional spots to stop for spa jets. Next to it was another pool that started inside and took you outside, this one was also at 34 degrees but you had to put the swimming effort in yourself. Then there was the indoor pool at something like 32 degrees and finally the gigantic spa/whirlpool. What a way to relax and wind down from a big day. And also a great way to treat Dave & Alex on their last day with us before they head back to Scotland.

We have had a great Austrian Christmas, one that all of us will remember for a long time to come!

Posted by thomastour 11:06 Archived in Austria Tagged tourist_sites

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