Countries, Europe, Skiing

Aussie beer games and Tirol

It’s probably a more restrained affair than the carnage of Aussie beer games and Tirol that I got caught up in back in the day.

But heck, Kitzbuhel in Austria has it all.

Our friends in Tirol have alerted us to the news that they have made it easier for English-speakers to learn about their picture-postcard resort.

Through the Museum Kitzbühel and its free audio guide.

In 33 chapters, it takes you through the areas of town history, winter sports and Alfongs Walde.

And from now on, English is also available to our visitors in addition to German.

All you need is a smartphone and the Hearonymus app, which can be downloaded free of charge from the App Store and Google Play Store.

Whether the Topdeck passengers of circa 1985 and 1986 make it into the annals (more likely anals) of Kitzbuhel, or its neighbour, Kirchberg history is another matter.

Das boot

Boot-iful: The Glass Boot. http://www.hopculture.com

Centred around the festivity in the party chalet was a beer game.

It involved a glass boot filled with best Austrian beer.

Among the rules was to keep the toe centred, pass in the correct direction.

And, of course, not to regurgitate when you turn the heel and hit the bubble.

Of course just to keep you lubricated between shots was the Hexengeist schnapps which you set fire to to before downing.

Schnapps to it

Name on the frame: Schnapps in Ehrwald

A strong chocolatey taste from what I can remember it was known among our circles as an F*** because that’s what you do when you drink it.

Search for ”Museum Kitzbühel” in the app and the voices of Wido Sieberer, museum director, Michael Berger-Walde, actor and grandson of Alfongs Walde, Melanie Preston and Nevena Lukic will accompany you.

Through all the exhibition areas and onto the spectacular roof terrace.

Visitors simply listen to the background, stories and anecdotes via the smartphone speakers or the headphones they have brought along.

The  Museum Kitzbühel

For Arts’ sake: The museum

The museum is situated in the Hinterstadt of Kitzbühel and it was first mentioned by name in the 16th century.

Only the southwest tower dates from the time of the town’s founding around 1271.

Now, of course, when you’re in Kitzbuhel and Kirchberg you need to take part in the outdoorsy activities too.

We did, even though it was the autumn and we were moving on from the Oktoberfest.

Slip slidin’ away

Heart and Soll: With The Scary One in Soll

And that meant the tobogganing which, of course, I took an alternative way of negotiating…

On my back, sans my board…

And, yes, once the beer and schnapps and whisky wore off, it hurt like hell.

Particularly writhing around the bunk bend of the booze bus which also accommodated a kitchen downstairs.

I have, of course, been back since those days of Aussie beer games and Tirol.

With the Scary One skiing and sliding in Soll in the wintertime.

And on a walking trek in Ehrwald with the speedy superannuated.

And still on my back

Slippery slope: Above Ehrwald

With Top Flight for Schools where tobogganing was again on the schedule.

And despite the roll-on of years, yes, you guessed it.

I went down on my back and side, and went back again for more.

 

America, Countries, Europe, Skiing, Sport

A broom to sweep the Alpine bar

You trudge the peaks to the top of Europe only to be handed a broom to sweep the Alpine bar.

This broom though is a curling accessory, you have a stone in hand and a circle on the ice rink to target.

It’s not what you’d expect when you are escorted through the curtain of the Ice Bar.

At the top of the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland.

But you’ve got a Swiss dram (yes, really) at the bar.

To warm and energise you for your initiation in the ancient Scottish game.

Ice bowls

Sweep crack away: The Curling

Aye, ice bowls, as it is sometimes dismissively referred, was invented (as everything is) in Scotland.

When an ice skating religious minister glided across Duddingston Loch…

Well, that can’t be proved definitively.

Scottish style: The Skating Minister

But do check out the Henry Raeburn painting at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.

Curling has us in our grip every four years when Scots Olympians take over Britain and our curlers swap their Saltires for Union Jacks.

Alas, just like golf which we also gave to the world, the world learned to do it better.

As evidenced in Beijing just now.

A Scottish gift to America

Stone me: And a bullseye

And we’ve struggled recently to replicate the success of Golden Girl Rhona Martin from the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.

Unsurprisingly as the Scottish footprint is all over the States the Americans are among the world’s leading curling nations.

And news comes to us from winter sports centre Lake Tahoe of how much more they put into the game and all winter sports.

With 17 of the US team calling the base in the Nevada/California border calling Lake Tahoe its home.

Learn to curl

Dark Destroyer: Curltime Jimmy in Switzerland

Helpfully the good folk of Lake Tahoe are offering help to curl and saying you’ll be able to show off on the next Zoom meet.

The rest (to get out there) you’ll have to ask your friendly neighbouring travel agents about.

Drams are made of this: Whisky in the Alps

Now, if you’re lucky enough to live in Scotland then you will be able to take your first baby steps in winter sports.

I’ve done it myself and yes with my old friends in Ireland Topflight for Schools, it has led me to the Winter Olympics.

Bavarian Games

Get your skis on: Channeling the 1936 Games

Albeit Hitler’s 1936 Games at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria.

Where pictures of the winners adorn the walls of the showpiece restaurant in the town.

A page in history: German Olympic winner

And the centrepiece is the ski jump.

Maybe better sticking on firm ground (or ice).

Hand me a broom to sweep the Alpine bar.

 

 

Countries, Europe, Pilgrimage

Wunderbar Germany is open again

Ja beauty Wunderbar Germany is open again. Neujahr!

In the best booster of all, the UK has been recategorised as a ‘high-risk area by Germany’.

It sounds scary but it is in fact one down from ‘an area of Covid concern’ which meant temporary banned entry.

A high risk worth taking

A holy place: Oberammergau

Over to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office who gave us all a late-night pep.

They said: ‘From 23:00 GMT on 3 January 2022 the UK is designated a high-risk area.

‘You may enter Germany from the UK for any travel purpose if you are fully vaccinated.’

Right, if you’re not why not (and I need a note signed by a parent)?

And you rightly won’t be treated like the rest of the staff.

Jab, jab, jab

Our prayers are answered: The Bavarian town

They go on: ‘This means that travellers arriving from the UK, who are not fully vaccinated, are subject to 10-day quarantine, and test and release is available after 5 days.

“Fully vaccinated and recovered individuals are exempt from this requirement, once they have uploaded their proof of status on the pre-departure digital registration portal.

Yes, it’s not untrammelled entry but der baby steps.

And we’ll need a negative PCR test result that is no more than 48 hours old at the point of departure, if travelling to Germany via plane, train, bus or ferry.

Our prayers are answered

Der Jesus: A German Jesus

It sounds as if our Christmas prayers have been answered.

And I think I know who has been behind this.

Yes, the most connected man in Travel only got in touch with Jesus himself last year.

And I asked him if he would get the show back on.

Jesus prophecy

Auditioning: For Oberammergau

By Jesus, of course, I mean Frederik Mayet who I interviewed last year ahead of the renewal of the Oberammergau Passionsspiele this year.

I had, of course, done my prep work in the Bavarian town on my Top Flight For Schools trip to Ehrwald in the Austrian Tyrol.

And Frederik assured me that he has been growing his beard assiduously since the lockdown in preparation for his big part.

All of which I recognise as the mark of a holy man as I’d done.

By growing a beardie on the same on the Camino to Santiago.

Oberammergau

Slice of Bavaria: Town life

And so you can plan for your Oberammergau either independently.

Or as we discovered on a quick browse through agents McCabe Pilgrimages.

They are offering a one-week, two-centre holiday combining a choice of Austrian resort hotels with the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play.

With prices starting at £1,670.

Germany, here we come

Plague history: Oberammergau

Jesus won’t be the only Second Coming to Germany in 2022.

We aim to be back too having kept in touch right through 2021 with our German friends.

While Daddy’s Little Girl aims to fulfil her trip to Berlin (we might just follow on).

Ja, it’s a beauty, and Ja Wunderbar Germany is open again.

And we’re open to clink steins, look into our pals’ eyes and bark Prost.

Just like I’ve been doing since I first fell in love with Germany 37 years ago.

And yes, if it’s good enough for our Teuton pals, then what’s keeping notre amis en France?

 

Countries, Europe, Pilgrimage

Growing your beardie for Obeardammergau

So I HAVE been using my time productively in the last year… growing my beardie for the rescheduled Oberammergau, or Obeardammergau, for next year!

In a world of imitations and accessories the ten-yearly Oberammergau Passion Play keeps it real.

The main man

And they require of their participants to grow their hair and beards from a year out of the Passion Play.

Our friends at Der Passionspiele have been updating us on their preparations for next year’s renewal of the world-famous spectacle.

The Spanish Flu

Giddy up: Always a showpiece in Oberammergau

And our Bavarian friends have experience and precedence in these matters having been down this route 100 years ago.

When the Spanish Flu ravaged the world in 1920 the organisers gave themselves another two years before putting on the Passion Play.

That should fir me

Such prescience should come as little surprise to us.

Because as we all know the Passion Play itself was born out of The Black Death.

The Lord is a listening Lord

Giddie up: Always an occasion in Oberammergau

The villagers had promised to put on a tribute to Our Lord in their village if they were rid of the plague.

And God being a listening God, it worked.

Fast forward to today and Passion Play Oberammergau 2020 was in full flight when an all too familiar intruder knocked.

And only eight weeks out of Jesus taking his first steps they had to rearrange their plans.

All of which means that Oberammergau 2022 will be even better for the organisers having had two more years to plan.

Der youth

Medieval man: When in Oberammergau

Oberammergau 2022 will be putting the emphasis on the youth of today and tomorrow.

And they have special offers for tickets for the spectacle.

Oberammergau truly is a spectacle, in and out of Passion Play.

I saw for myself on my Top Flight trip out there on how it wears its history on the side of its buildings.

While the locals like nothing better than dressing up.

Whether it be in the fashions of Palestine 2,000 years ago or in liederhosen.

Written on the walls: In Oberammergau

And, of course, it’ll put a smile on your face to be sat opposite historical figures and be able to clink steins and say Prost, at the end of the day.

We’ll be keeping you up to date on all that’s going on as the year progresses.

But now that I’ve no place to go thanks to our politicians…

I just think I’ll sit here and watch my hair grow and dream of Germany.

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Moanday Morning – Electioneering

Holidays are coming and so is electioneering. In fact where you are it may already be here.

All over Britain people are drawing curtains and turning down their televisions for fear of encouraging the doorsteppers.

Our time will come in Ireland in the New Year.

When election posters will go up on every available pole.

No electioneering here: In Tirol, Austria

It’s like being gatecrashed by the annoying people down the pub.

It’s not just that they have an opinion on everything and promise you the Earth with no intention of delivering.

Or eat into your time when you’re watching I’m A Celebrity.

But those damned posters are so distracting in your eyeline when you’re driving.

At Thiepval, Belgium where they honour my Great-Uncle

I’ve seen how they do it in other countries and although, of course, I’ve not been in the tinpot dictatorships of the world.

I’ve found other people do do it better.

For example in Ehrwald in Tirol in Austria https://www.tyrol.com.

Where they were holding a general election when we visited with https://topflightforschools.ie.

You wouldn’t have known it as nothing cluttered the pure white vista.

He’s out electioneering in New York

And Daniella, our Italian hotel host, seemed pretty non-plussed on Election Day when I’d asked who’d won.

In other European countries too they make sure politicians don’t become a blot on the landscape.

Like in Belgium where they make sure half of their government is French-Belgian and the other half Flemish.

They know from history that compromise is the only way to peace… A pilgrim’s prayer and https://www.visitflanders.com/en/?country=en_GB.

And the best vote is ME

You may have caught on that screen in the corner of your room that the Americans are ratcheting up their Presidential race.

But when we visited New York as a family back in November 2008 it was all low-key on the street.

Yes, you could get buttons (or pins as we like to call them).

And I recall wearing a We’re With The Duke button when I was working in Boston in 1988.

I can always be depended on to pick a loser.

Maybe not… In Jordan

Back to Obama and that election race and it being Halloween when we visited I was particularly taken by the Obama pumpkins.

While even better are the Trumpkins… New Yorkers https://www.nycvb.com can be guaranteed to give you your (not their) opinion too.

And have been since the days of Hamilton…

Vote this way

Of course for all our ennui with politicians and elections there are some countries for whim true democracy is still nascent.

Which our South African hosts shared tales of queueing from the early hours to vote Nelson Mandela in in the Nineties.

When I visited Port Elizabeth http://www.visiteasterncape.co.za and the Eastern Cape with https://www.southafrica.net/uk/en/.

I’m putting my cross next to the Monster Raving Looney Party.