This post embodies exactly what I didn’t want this blog post to become — in my idealized world, I’d take 200 pictures, have five worth showing, and put up the pictures to thunderous applause and Ooohs and Aaahs. Instead, I take 200 pictures, am rarely impressed by even a single one, and thus write long paragraphs in an attempt extoll the virtues of the place I visited rather than simply present one or two photos I took and let them speak for themselves. How convenient that a blog gives me the ability to justify its existence! :-)
The weekend of Dec. 16 was the ski weekend for which I had been waiting nearly six months — I’d only gone skiing twice, once in the 4000 m peaks of Wisconsin and another in the Himalaya-like summits of Michigan, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from skiing (rather than walking around) the Alps. What I found immediately is that the city of Kaltenbach is difficult to navigate without prior knowledge of its layout. My GPS wasn’t particularly smart — it recognized Kaltenbach 8, Kaltenbach 40 (both of which it placed at the same location), and Kaltenbach 16-something, but not Kaltenbach 23. Most of all, however, it didn’t help that every street in Kaltenbach is called Kaltenbach with no apparent logic to building numbering.
I fell a lot at first (no epic tumbles off cliffs, however), but the second day went much better. Even so, I didn’t trust myself to ski with a camera, so I have no pictures, crappy or otherwise, from atop Hochzillertal. Take my word for it, however: skiing in the Alps is really something. If only I had more than ten vacation days a year!
I came away with no Alps pictures and still lacking the sunrise picture that I’d been wanting since August 13, but what this weekend did accomplish was to spawn an idea for my final weekend. I mentioned before that I had fallen in love with Europe, but after multiple exploits to the Austrian, Bavarian, French, Italian (though indirectly), Lyngen (unrelated, but they’re still called “Alps” after all), and Swiss Alps, I think I finally realized — maybe it was the skiing this time that finally beat the sense into me — that I was just delaying the inevitable realization that perhaps I did like the Alps more than I denied in my first Zermatt post four months ago. In my experience from this skiing weekend, the magic of the Alps is strongest en plein hiver, so on the day before I was to fly back to the US, instead of packing or taking it easy in Stuttgart or even having a proper Christmas dinner, I instead headed southwest, southwest to the mountain that got me subconsciously enamored with mountains. What an expensive love affair that mountain has created.