Today I was able to "visit" two more countries by air, plane, and a Mercedes taxi-cab... but before I say anything else about me I need to say that my family back home appears to be doing amazingly well and although I'm sure they really want to see daddy, at least one of them just wants her mints (and a hug from daddy). Kayleigh and Ben with the help of Pa finished up their Pine Wood Derby cars this morning and although they used some pre-cut blocks and had a little help from mom and dad, these really are their cars and we couldn't be more proud. Take a look: 

They each chose their own color and then they wrote things in Chinese, placed stickers, and if they listened to me lubed up the tires well enough that the other kids won't stand a chance... knowing Kayleigh even if I joked about that she'd throw a fit, something about rules. I like that in K and 1st they are already writing more neatly in their second language than I ever did in my first and only. 

I shall now tell you about my day in pointless detail and then throw up a gallery of photos because it is late, I'm lazy, and I'm pretty sure my sister is going to clobber me if I don't actually try to go to sleep before midnight. This morning started at 5:00am because I'm a morning shower person and not an evening shower person, then it was off to Schipol for a flight to Munich. Since my sister spends a fair amount of time in the air, we were privileged to partake in the KLM lounge where we were met with breakfast and free wifi. I cannot believe what an animal I must have been just a few years ago before the era of pervasive smart phones. So we flew to Munich, I had a picture taken in front of a plane and then we went to the train station. Now... while at the train station we did a little shopping and for a while a person could be convinced that they were at an underground shopping mall and not a train station. We went up to the street to get a view of the area around us and sure enough, we were still at the train station... but I can honestly say I set foot on the soil of Munich East and even have a few small photos to show for it. We switched trains to Kurfstein and were accompanied half the distance by a  professional drinking team. I know this because they all had similar jackets, and had equipment crew carrying off the empty bottles of beer as they departed the train. 

Upon arrival in Kurfstein we hopped in to a black Mercedes and made our way up to the hotel. By made our way i meant we crashed in the back seat as a professional driver took us while thumping some European music. If you have a subwoofer and like rearrange the furniture by cracking the bass, I think you should give it a try. Wow... I made it this far in my stream of conscience babbling and failed to mention that country #3 was Germany and country #4 is Austria. We are staying in Ellmau to ski, eat, and if I ever get around to it sleep. The hotel is very nice and the staff even greeted my sister as though she were a regular guest. I guess that is what happens when you've been here for 10 (or 11) years running. Dear HR/Customer Service/Whoever take a note... this place knows their guess, remembers their guests, and treats them like old friends. Juxtaposed (that's a $0.25 word right) against my Uncle's story regarding the wonderfully inept (my words not his, although his sentiment was anything but positive) service at Tiffany's, and all I can conclude is that it pays to know who you are working for, and it also pays to say "I don't know. Let me check that for you". If you've read this far you just gained powerful insight to running your business (want to subscribe to my newsletter). 

Back to the slopes... as good Dutch like people we waited until exactly 3:01 (Note NOT 3:00pm) oh wait... I mean 15:01 (Note NOT 15:00) to go through the line because the free skiing starts at 3/1500 and we weren't going to pay to ski today. I can't be certain, but it appears that the Austrian word for snow fall is rain. The snow picked up around 4:00pm (1600 hours for those playing the home game) and at my last check was still coming down. The weather report states that it is raining, there will be more rain, and it will probably rain tomorrow.... I hope they are right I love fresh snow. 

Having honed my down hill skiing craft on the steep slopes of Bittersweet, Caberfe, Crystal Mountain and the occasional trip to the casino (I mean Searchmont) I was quite confident that I would be able to attack the hills of the Austrian mountains with the same aggressive approach of making as many turns as possible while maintaining a straight down the hill position. It is possible I underestimated the difference of mountains vs. man made hill. After a few runs I realized that I'm not in Kansas anymore, and I really do have quadriceps and they really don't enjoy being worked that hard. At any rate, the hills are great, even if there are piles of snow pushed around that catch an edge now and again, and I'm excited for another day on the slopes tomorrow. I'm also happy to report that my extended family is anti-snowboarder which is pretty much the only right opinion on snow boarders. I'm sure they are wonderful people who simply made a poor choice. 

After our afternoon of skiing it was a quick snack, shower (it's see through! AND I failed to pull the curtains... sorry sir up the mountain) it was time for dinner. I was warned about the food, I was told about the option of the "kids" menu, but for one night I stood firm and ate of the big people menu. Thankfully it was a beef-fillet on potatoes with bacon wrapped carrots. I've never had carrots wrapped in anything but I do like carrots and I do like bacon and I'll tolerate them happily together. The food presentation is quite intricate as you'll see from the photo below. I decided mine looked like a shark fin. I also ate creme brûlée, and these tiny things that I think are called fruit(?)... I'll have to Google that later. 

I think that is mostly everything. Oh... nope. I have declared in the hotel room, and now to the entire internet. If the temperatures approach 50F I will attempt at least a run or two wearing a bathrobe and the appropriate undergarments. Maybe I can fluff out the bottom of the robe and look like frosty the snow man screaming down the hill. I'm sure to make the website then! 

That's it for now. Adios, good bye, and (according to Google) Auf Wiedersehen. 

  • Blue coat = me
  • Gray coat = sister Sarah
  • Red jacket = Uncle Ward
  • Pink jacket = Cousin Jillian
  • Black jacket with pink stripe = Cousin Naomi

Please note: It was warm, the snow came down and melted, obviously my snow pants aren't water proof. No shorts were stained in the creation of this slide show.