At the time of writing – Sat on the plane heading back, having opted through two reasons to be remiss in updating my diary in the what I presume, though don’t know, as it happens style.
1 – no wifi aside from some surprise occasional outbreaks in unexpected locations
2 – it seemed better to try to partake in events rather than hand over time to documenting &/or reflecting on them.
So was it a great holiday, no they never are, was it fun … At times yes .. Was it unpleasant … No & did it provide escape from the more mundane – yes it probably did & would have quicker possibly but for reticence.
To be clear the people on this trip are not what can be called friends, they are good regular & irregular acquaintances with common interests.
I know this group through two of their number being friends of a friend (the friend being Oscar, who I came to know back in 2006, I think it probably was, while working in Westminster).
The trip organiser & their sort of ring leader, I went to his wedding last year, a ski wedding & his engagement party.. I was & remain a little confounded by how I came to be invited – concluding only this, that there were many in attendance, none the less it was very nice to have been invited. My point if there is one, I think probably great and good holidays need the who along with the what.
I’ve been largely away from the normal routine for some 2.5 – 3 weeks barring a forgotten brief intermission around new year & it’s been a good thing.
I’m starting at a point without reference to where I left of – though having made some notes I fear I may have reversed up over a point in time I had already gotten to …
Going via a change at Kings cross – St.Pancras where the Thameslink service that heads north-South through London intercepts and provides the Gatwick bound connection.
It’s not the fastest, as if operating to a timetable from a by gone time before the era of the train and when the Thameslink was a barge dragged manfully along by a sturdy thick set horse.
Still everything is ahead of a schedule that had buffers in it for instances such as total rail failure, the type of failure to which our line has so recently been quite regularly treated.
Aside from being repeatedly delayed, – oh and a small child behind me (with a still smaller sibling to attract parental attention) who quickly developed an unquenchable interest in the table at my back and football.. Up and down the table went, the clip was turned and the table tumbled before a kick was offered up – it was quite the relaxing experience.
The crystal rep who met us on the coach was an interesting choice, appearing as became clear to struggle with much that his role here must regularly entail. Still i guess such level of surprise and surly wonderment must be solid antidote to boredom. Though we would see little of any other reps beyond this initial voyage in the Austrian darkness further example of this victim of career misalignment would come to light, including today where we believe the notion of the 24 hour clock was introduced to an environment insufficiency prepared for such revelations in human thinking.
Still this fine fellow managed to convince me to hire ski and boots through them – never a solid plan of you want to get good equipment but it does save time & with the first days skiing fast approaching, I did as I have predictably done before and went along with the propositions of pass and hire offered up.
Some of the others have their own equipment, I do not.. Boots I’ve a mild inclination to think it’s a good idea, skis no – I don’t really recall what they look like when they’re handed over but I know how reliable is their condition on being handed back & were they mine, I might need to look beyond ‘how did that go and happen?’ & ‘this I a bit embarrassing, sheepish, hi, here’s your stuff ‘… I don’t know how it happens, damage to the top not the bottom of the ski, normally a colourful spot where the slices & missing parts of the motif can be clearly appreciated. I don’t take them to untoward terrain, I don’t have many falls & yet somewhere out there are the Orange offerings marking out my tracks.
So before I get myself fully into today – we arrived, dumped out stuff off, discovered what an Austrian twin rooms consists of, shrugged, did some swift unpacking & set about locating dinner.
Two of us are staying there and five of the collective had been dropped off by our coach slightly before, at their hotel.
We all regathered, our colleagues already around the bar (aside one – Charles Dew, Barrister) flying in from Manchester and 30mins or so behind the restored of us) at a restaurant in close proximity to our hotel/b&b.
Schnitzel-schwein Mit pomes frittes for me .. Only really one way to go & that was likely to be it every time
It was a rushed choice with the kitchen definitely closing in 5 minutes.
It was quite alright the schnitzel and didn’t mind settling for red wine, wouldn’t have chosen it, not a social drink but everyone else had their beers and I’ve never quite managed to take to that.
After this we headed into town, we were never going to make it far, the scent of beer and the enthusiast impatience of some was always going to see us head toward whatever shiny light or neon bar sign first alerted us to its presence, so it proved to be. That aside it was drizzling in a way you don’t quite welcome on a skiing holiday and inside tended to trump out.
It was rather UK like inside, dark long and skinny – UK in the early 00s before smoking bans in taverns, restaurants & public places came in.
It nice enough, good atmosphere metaphorically, actual atmosphere is heavy and acidic becoming more noticeable as we stay.
It was already better than france & certainly better than Andorra where the night time offerings in way of entertainment where somewhere between abscent & undesirable. In France they don’t seem to get going until midnight, my energy levels after a days sking are low enough by 6pm if I don’t do something then, well it’s food and after food its digestion & old man nappy nap time..
My colleague with whom I was sharing was tired & the most uncomfortable with the thick nicotine haize & so with an early start ahead of us – collecting equipment & passes etc – we headed back, leaving the others to indulge in some more first night evening inhalation.
We got back and put most we’d been wearing on the balcony – a couple of minutes of that & the room may never have been the same again. As I lay there my eyes burnt in their crevasses, it was more pronounced than I remembered it from the way back when, before times – when pipes where puffed, cigarettes stabbed out and minstrels played their most recent dance track.