Monday, December 10, 2012

Austria Take 2 - Days 2 & 3: St Johann im Pongau

When we woke up on Sunday morning, the sky was a brilliant blue. I opened the curtains and caught my breath at the vista above and all around. St Johann im Pongau is in a valley between mountains, and from our window you can see across the valley to the white expanses of mountainside, the firs with their dusting of snow and the sloping roofed Austrian houses dotted across the mountain. It looks exactly like a postcard.

There was a bit of excitement when we realised we couldn't find the room key or my hat and gloves, but eventually they reappeared and we stopped with the conspiracy theories about people breaking into our room while we were sleeping. We weren't exactly sure how cold it was, but we ventured out into the crisp air with lots of layers and scarves and had a wander around the deserted town. It was Sunday, and nothing is open on Sunday, so we hardly met anyone on our exploration of the Hauptstrasse (High Street), a little snowy garden over a cliff edge, the bottom of the chair lift and around the Dom church.

When we got too cold we went back to the hotel and noticed the weather for the day had a temperature of -10. Which we'd just been walking around in.

A soak in the hot tub warmed us up, and then we went for dinner at one of the hotel restaurants where TOWSR got a special gluten free pizza and I got one with spinach, bacon and ewe's cheese (big enough for breakfast and lunch the next day). With sorbet, icecream and fruit with chocolate sauce to follow, we thought overall it was a pretty good dinner.

Monday morning we woke up to snow that TOWSR called semi-blizzard snow. We could not see the mountains. We could not see the buildings across the road. We could almost see the edge of our deck. So we spent the morning with books, and ventured out into the knee-deep snow around lunchtime to see how far we could get.

The snow ploughs had been around clearing the roads and footpaths, and we went down into the valley to see all the buildings with their blankets of snow, wandered around and retreated to the bookstore and supermarket. There really were a lot more people around than on Sunday, and it didn't feel so much like we were two of the last vestiges of humanity clinging to life in a dead world. The snow had stopped falling, and when we got back to our room I began to make a snowman on our deck, but stopped when I couldn't feel my hands anymore. A few hours later the snow began again, and we huddled happily inside as it rose higher and higher and covered up the sad beginnings of my snowman.


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