For Father's Day this year I put together a book of photos for my Dad from a family trip to Austria that we took a few years ago. While making the book it was so sweet to go through the photos and look back on our trip, and I decided to put together a post highlighting some of our favorite parts!
We flew into Munich, Germany, from which we headed to Mayrhofen, Austria, an adorable village in the Tyrol region, right in the middle of the Zillertal valley. It's cobbled streets are lined with cozy restaurants and alpine shops, and there is a lift right outside of town to take you up the mountain.
Future Mr. and Mrs. Richey :-) We got engaged 3 months later.
Fun fact: This was the first time that John and I skied together! John is an avid skier, and when we started dating it was a major criteria for him that I knew how to ski...thankfully I did, although it took me two years to prove it to him.
We spent our days in Mayrhofen on the slopes, taking in the views of the Alps and enjoying runs longer than any you can ski in the US. Since you can ski between mountains and resorts, you can sometimes go for almost an hour before hitting up a lift!
Aside from the long runs, one of my favorite parts of skiing in Europe are the mountain restaurants that stud the Alps. You will be skiing way up there, surrounded by peaks as far as the eye can see, and then round a corner and find a cheery wooden hut built into the side of the mountain with outside lounge chairs, local dishes of pasta and schnitzel, soups and salads, local beers, cappuccinos, and the richest hot chocolate. Definitely beats our American ski lodge fare if you ask me, and the views cannot be beat...
I think we would all agree that the best skiing we did was on the glacier across the valley from Mayrhofen. We would jump on a bus and head up there in the early morning and spend the whole day tearing down treeless slopes, before reuniting at the bottom for a celebratory end of the day bier. After a round and some snacks we would load up all of our gear and head home on the bus, with legs that felt like jello and grins plastered on our still pink faces.
We stayed at the Alpendomozil Neuhaus Hote while in Mayrhofen, which we loved. (I particularly adored the elaborate included breakfast spread most of all: made to order eggs, local charcuterie and cheeses, fresh yoghurt and fruit, smoked salmon, all sorts of bread and toast options...) Our rooms were in the newer wing, and were simple (think Scandinavian--all white and blonde wood, sparse furnishings) but very comfortable. In particular, our bathroom always smelled so alpine and I am immediately brought back to that room when I distill eucalyptus in our shower at home.
We didn't spent too much time in our rooms, though, as when we got back to the mountain we all usually headed down to the spa and sauna, where there were a series of showers, plunge pools, steam rooms, and saunas to help relax and unwind after a long day on the slopes. It. was. heaven, and...nude! I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, in the spirit of fair warning, but this is Europe after all....There were separate male and female sides, although there were some crossover areas where we utilized our towels and strategic timing, but it really wasn't a big deal. Wild, right?!
After celebrating Christmas in Mayrhofen, we headed to the city of Salzburg for the rest of our trip!
Salzburg, even in the dead of winter, was stunning. All the lovely pastel colors of Eastern Europe, cobblestone streets, a medieval fortress, and all sorts of holiday activity. We spent a day doing a Sound Of Music themed tour, where we drove all around the city and then out to some surrounding towns to see where the Von Trapps lived as well as where the movie was filmed, including the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married. My mom, a huge fan of TSOM, was in heaven. We also ate our weight in Mozart chocolates, and loved strolling through the old part of the city as well as along the river.
We ate some amazing meals in Salzburg, including our multi-course New Years dinner. My favorite part of our time in the city, though, has to have been the concert we attended after that dinner, in the castle that crowns the city. An orchestra played some of Mozart's classics, and then afterwards we all went out onto the balcony overlooking the whole city and sipped champagne as fireworks went off both above us and below. From where we stood we could see countless smaller displays going on in every direction, of all shapes and sizes and colors. It was like watching confetti pop all over the city, and it was the most magical way to end our trip. I'll never forget it.
In Salzburg we stayed at the Hotel Elefant, which, although it didn't have the same caliber of breakfast spread that we had enjoyed in Mayrhofen, was comfortable and in a fantastic location. Definitely worth looking into if you are looking for a place to stay in the city.
Thank you to my mom and dad for including us on this lovely trip! It has been so fun to reminisce on it, and is giving me some serious wanderlust! Luckily, we have some exciting plans in the works for later this summer, so stay tuned...
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