Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter wonderland: GARMISCH!

The whirlwind continues.  I left Saarbrucken on the 27th, shared ride, headed to Munich.  From there I took the train to Garmisch.. Another step in the huge adventure.   Garmisch was great!!  It almost felt like home, despite the language and the German flair.  I went to my couch that I was going to be staying on, met Andy, my host, a guy from Latvia working as a ski instructor here in Garmisch, and then got in contact w/my cousin, Kathryn!  She had been there for the past two weeks  visiting her boyfriend who is living/working at the American resort, Edelweisse. 
It was excellent, where I was staying was just meters away from a bar they knew of.   So, Andy and I headed there to meet up, I was so psyched to see Kathryn in Germany!!!!!!!   A familiar face! Family!    On the way to the bar, I heard American being spoken behind us, and I could have sworn I heard my cousin, so, I stopped and waited for them to get closer, and said, “Kathryn?!”   Uhhh, here in Garmisch, I very soon learned, there are tons of Americans, and none of these girls who sounded exactly like Kathryn were her.  Went to the bar, and Kathryn and her bf, Marc showed up!! It was awesome to see her, we hung out for a bit, and planned to go skiing together the next day.
 Skiing reminds me of home.  No matter what mountain I’m on, I know what I’m doing, and it feels great.  The next day, bright and early, (this was actually the earliest I’ve woken up on my entire trip-the sun was not even up!)  7:30am, picked up Kathryn and Marc and headed to the Mnt.  Marc was great and hooked us up w/equipment and passes, amazing guy.  It was awesome, because Garmisch has some sort of American Army barracks and they have a specific American lodge, I was in a mini-America!! EVERYONE in there was American, it was actually really weird.  They even took American cash!  Hard cold American green.  Spent the entire morning going up and down the slopes on amazing snow.
going up the Gondola, first run of the day!!

Almost looks like Steamboat down in the valley!
 The crowds weren’t too bad and the snow was great, except for the giant sheets of ice you had to avoid in the center of some runs.  I love skiing.  I had forgotten how much I truly enjoy it, and I’m sure the fact that it brought up memories of my own mountain at home had something to do with it. 
We met up w/Andy for lunch- and planned to meet up after his next lesson. It was nice being able to ski w/ a local who knew the mountain, and showed us lots of good stuff, it was funny, he was really impressed by my technique, thank you, Dad!  I now know exactly what it’s like to be a tourist. You spend all day on the mountain, and by the end-entirely exhausted.   Needed a nap after that very long day.  Met up w/Kathryn and Marc for dinner at this cute little German place, it was awesome to hear consistent American English! 
That night, Gregor came down to meet up, and Kathryn and Marc were heading in, so Gregor, Andy and I checked out the nightlife of Garmisch.  Hahaha, it just so happened to be American night at this bar, Peaches!  They accepted American money for all drinks!  The bad part was, this bar was the kind of American bar that I avoid in the States.  We had a great time anyways. 
American breakfast the next morning of greasy cheesy scrambled eggs and bacon, with bread, bc they don’t do toast in Europe.  Another day up on the gorgeous mountain!!  I loved it, yet again.  A little sore from the day before, but would really feel it by the end of this day!  Gregor and I went up and explored the mountain, found some interesting runs and saw AMAZING views, as you would expect in the Alps.   We ended up doing a lot of hiking too, when we didn’t realize where we were going and ended up making to the highest point but once you got back down, you had to take a little hike out, or wait in a super long line for a short palma ride.  …We got our workout for the week. 

We were in the clouds!

I looked a little ridiculous due to the over-size snow clothes my couchsurfing host let me borrow, bc I didn't have any!

It was great skiing on a different mountain besides CO, and a lot bigger than anything found on the East coast.  One run we went down was the steepest run I think I’ve ever seen.  And standing at the top, it looked as though it went straight down, a little intimidating at first, until you plunged into your first turn, then all you had to do was hit the push piles and control your speed.  But, the greatest part about this run, was the second time we did it.  I had to take a picture, even though I knew it wouldn’t capture the steepness of the slope, but I’d try.  And Gregor was sitting in the snow, I said, “Smile!” and he said, “Hey, watch this!”  as he turned so that his head was facing down the drop off and began sliding, I think he imagined he’d slide a foot.  Well, it was a little more than a foot, “OhhhhHHHHH~H~HHH  AHHHHHH!!!!!“  his eyes got big and down he went!!! On his back, head first downhill!!  It was the funniest thing I think I’ve seen in a while, I TRIED to take a picture, but not sure if I’d gotten it.  He stopped at the bottom of the run and said, “Yeah, it was fun for the first five seconds!”    I laughed my ass off.  It was great. 
Down he goes.  (it was super steep, nearly straight down, check out the angle of the trees!)
yummy Speckknoedel Suppe
Long day of skiing, then met up w/Kathryn and did a bit of Christmas/souvenir shopping.  Went back to Andy’s after scouring the grocery for Kasespaetzle.  Which is a traditional Bavarian meal, but this was the pre-packaged, just throw in a skillet version.  Tasty, but I’m sure not very healthy!  
All of us at the end of a great time in Garmisch!
Kathryn and I said our goodbyes and Gregor and I are now on a train back to Munich, ready to leave for the Alps-a cabin somewhere 2hrs away from Munich- tomorrow morning to spend the next 2 days w/a bunch of friends and celebrate the new year! 
Whoopee!!  Happy New Year…almost!

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