Apropos Bar – First Night: Too Smokey.. That was the major negative, very traditional and not too tourist pub.
Good for just hanging out, having a quiet but social sort thing going on. Has the darker grungier thing in its corner.
Scotland Yard – Couple of visits: Also smokey but a little less that Apropos Bar, due to having smoking and none smoking sections. It doesn’t have anything really going for it or anything against it, inoffensive, easy to get served most of the time and serving both food and cider, as well as the standard bar fair. Good for larger groups looking to relax.
ICE BAR – Shuts earlier. Its really the post skiing bar, in Mayrhofen. Loud, full and really only any good if you want beer. It is what it is, not a place for having conversations or chilling but if you have energy after a days skiing and dont have claustrophobic issues then … its the obvious choice
Brückenstadl – Seating, music, space & open until late. Probably best as a place to finish up in, everyone seemed to be having an enjoyable time, the music selection was at best variable but its hard to pick too many faults with it.. perhaps a little large and industrial with no live music, causing it to be at risk of becoming a little repetitious.. but this is stretching matters a bit
On the last night on making it back to Mayrhofen from night skiing we went to the Neue Post, it had been recommended and generally came with the reputation of being a better establishment.
The food variety was decent and the standard was probably moderately above the average, perhaps.. but the service was unfriendly, notably so, to the point of being almost being just a little bit more than bizarre.
It was not an eventful evening after that.
Neue Post – [1.5/5]
Manni’s – Visited Twice . Decent for Pizza’s and more traditional options – [3/5]
Cafe Tirol – Smart, moderately average kitchen – [2/5]
Grill kuchl – Friendly Small, not largest portion sizes – [2.5/5]
Landhaus- Carla -Restaurant Tiroler Stuben – Probably the highest standard of food during the week, pleasant environment & the best place to go – [3.5/5]
I was keeping an eye out for the others, thinking that given the barrel which was the limited range of available pistes that a crossing of paths mights occur… At one point i did see them from a lift, least i think i did, familiar looking jackets, but at i headed back down it became clear that if it was them, they had been heading back toward bars and restaurants and not headed where i was. Even the interesting little black I’d accidentally stumbled upon went from being open and reasonably engaging, to being closed and no right turns, over the course of what was really remarkably very little time. I couldn’t fathom the rational but there was no denying the notable barriers that had been erected in my intended path. They were in a bar, the others, that that was the update i received after the remainder of the lifts made their last run up the mountain. Regathered we made our way down, the last run of the day was the run back to town and although there was an intention to stop of in any bars on the way down that didn’t quite work out. The top of the run actually has a closing time along with a red and green traffic light to denote when your meant to go on through.. We only just made it to the top in time for that but thereafter the speed of the decent presented problems, it was quite rutted and this caused issues for the back markers. It was this speed of decent issue that ultimately put pay to notions of stopping off.
Once down and having located Damon, the last to arrive over here who was waiting by the valley station, we went over to the kiosk to buy our evening passes. They were old school, pieces of paper completed with the highly skinny elasticated threads that were once common place. Damon was concerned by the piste, its a red run and he’d been on the blues for his lessons. The piste was not in a good way, especially toward the end, very rutted in places, so while eager to encourage his participation and not see anyone head back to Mayrhofen, the questions deserved forthright responses. Daud, whose approach to such matters is less than forthright but more considered, opted then to head over and ask the people behind the counter about the piste basher and whether it would be doing customary flattening of the pistes pre-night skiing. A much more sound idea, which faltered only upon a language barrier, i rummiged around for my German and managed to ascertain that they would indeed be doing the flattening. So with everyone now in i separated off.
It had become clear that earlier intentions to eat at this time were no longer current, so i headed off on a solo mission having half suspected, half hoped, that one of the hut shaped lights in the distance was a Schnitzel burger stand of sorts… The hunger had come, oh yes it had and any further skiing might perhaps be aided by stomach aids. There were multiple bars but most of them had emptied out by the time i headed back to meet up with the others. The bar they were in was similarly emptying out from a not entirely banging starting point. So a migration occurred, a larger bar with big external TV screen flashing out called them hope.
I can’t with any level of accuracy state that any or all of the above were playing during our time in this bar but it was our last night of Apres-Ski and so if the soundtrack of this holiday is ever to be duly noted it seemed like this might be that point.. though they are not THE SKI songs … that remains with the only one true king of the ski tunes
The time spent night skiing was limited, the train did not run so very late and after that it was taxis, not everyone was in favor of this and so it was for the train we would head. Oddly though despite the lack of things going on or probably the lack of energy with which to do them and the extensive amount of time we had to burn, we ended up leaving hurriedly to head back over to the now reopened lift.
By the time we’d gotten back up to the half way station, the top of the night skiing some things had taken hold, one of these was rain, a developing more than drizzle that just never belongs in a ski resort let alone at the top of a run, there is something very not right about that.
The other thing that had happened is a total departure of the legs, this became evident not so very long after as i attempted to ski down. At this point i found my legs had a far stronger memory than I, clearly remembering that all ski holidays were 6 days long ans this was overtime, or as they saw it retirement time though they didn’t seem in full agreement on where they wanted to be going with that time.
By the time Charlie and I were back down i was soaked, thankfully wearing waterproofs it was only the outer layer but it pulled of a far shinier look than normal, it was kinda really grim out, not the level of grim that would be anything remarkable or even noteworthy back in the UK but it didn’t belong here. A few decades ago, winter holidays back in Switzerland at still lower altitudes, so very snow abundant was it that my family would regularly build me a little igloo/snow house in the garden. A place to which i was a little irrationally drawn to dwell for cold defying periods of time, while the car needed quite the effort to be dug out. Its really not so long ago in any scheme of things that isn’t viewed from the perspective of the may fly.
The way down had not been as flat as talk of piste bashers would suggest, certain sections had barley been dusted down at all with the basher seemingly edging up most narrow along one of the sides, leaving the rest largely as it had been earlier. Wherever the others were, our second run began with us setting off in pursuit, we found them on route, Damon was taking it slow, studiously but somewhat stiffly heading down.
We stopped off on route, a place we had intended to pause at earlier as part of the skiing down crawl that wasn’t, time had not allowed for it then especially once Damon had arrived, it wouldn’t have done to stop off while other waited at the bottom for our fashionably late entrance. It was a small, octagonal or round, the bar stood at its center. From within we watched the rain descend and heard from the bar staff about how such troubles had been ever more in evidence in recent years. To a tired mind and person who had perhaps come to the point of over familiarity with the generally welcome JaegerTee, this was all a little depressing stuff… by now the missing of the last train had been insured. Besides Damon was of a mind to give it a second go, having made it down the once his personal objective of completing a red this week was behind him. Now he was of a mind to see he couldnt maybe do it again, take what he’d done, what should now be more familiar and do it better. A sort of admiral obstenance applied to a clear ends, there’s something to be said for that, certainly when its set to solid ends.
Once more back up and round… Once more into the piste side bar.. On leaving the bad, Milton pointed out the visible grass as we left, grass or rather turf that smeared out where snow had been not long past, when we’d headed in. Then down.
There was time for more, the skiing was open until after 9pm but among the group as a whole not the mind for it, dinner was probably coming back into mind. We found a taxi, they loitered most eagerly around the bars and the valley gondola station and headed back, big old people carriers, though surprisingly the price went up as the driver realised there was more of us, enough to all but fill the vehicle.. seemed odd to have some sort of unit price situation going on for a single journey but the difference was small and our options none existent.
At some point on day two or there about, i had opted to remove the visor from my ski goggles – an act that would normally render them somewhat less than useful, however mine were camera goggles and while the goggles had proven since their first outing to be off questionable quality the video remained quite the handy way to keep a record of the days. The visor by this, only the third or forth time of use, was so blotchy as to present quite a vision obstructing challenge, so while the visorless goggles provided no practical assistance nor did they inflict any additional impediments.
On the penkenbahn there were two Scottish chaps sharing the lift down with us, they started talking too us on the back of apparently recognising me and my visorless goggles from earlier in the day. I have no such recognition but they were not the first to notice, not even the first to bring it up… i think someone had even advised me about the clearly less than subtly missing element ..
By now the sun was gone and Mayrhofen appeared beneath, yellow lights shining up in the dark, it was the first time we’d seen Mayrhofen from above, having skied in other areas since the general cloudy fogs of the first day.
At the base of the Penkenbahn there remained the ICE bar, there were only three of us on this occasion so the act of negotiating a mutually acceptable social forum was that bit simpler, all voting parties were socially lubricated if only most moderately so & it was just so damnably conveniently just right there.. So we headed in … No Cider here … hmmmm .. Once more unto the Jaeger Tee it would need to be .. once more
After being in there for a bit Damon came to the realisation that a fair chunk of his ski school were also in there, near the back and he wanted to go and meet up with them. Along with the Irish contingent from the ski school & their friends, there was also the instructor, a man who went by the mantle Wolfie. He in turn had given the mantle ‘Speedy’ to Damon, which he explained was due to a lack of a natural propensity for turning.
Between investing time in alcohol and the girls of his group Wolfie shared some other stories, though the clarity of his speech was by now on the decline, he had been a world cup down hill skier, this i knew from Damon. He’d gone 130/140 or something close to that down the “Harakiri” (Austria’s steepest marked run, the 78 per cent), had been bricking it and taken three turns to come to a stop, all most impressive stuff – he was also Stephan Eberharter’s room mate from a time on the world cup circuit.
A day without fluids or much in the way of sustenance – along with it being among the longer days skiing seemed to have an impact, offering efficacy enhancing qualities to the chemical reaction occurring within my system. Id slowed my intake of alcohol anyhow, the sweetness of the Jaeger Tee’s on which i was stuck, quickly proving too much having already had two up upon the mountain.
It was quite the oddest thing one side of my brain seemed largely to operate unimpeded – remembering with an unusual level of efficiency .. one of the worlds great mislayer of things and forgetor of desirable next steps – it had a most full and clear notion of the things needed to be sure were in place – jacket, phone, boots (these having been removed around the time we’d entered), it had decided that this now was all quite enough .. what it wasn’t able to do was in act all it wanted to efficiency through the other half, the half responsible for implementing such thoughts. The most telling evidence of this came after i had successfully retrieved my jacket from the mass of clothing upon the floor, Damon asked for his, my crouched self turned back and rummaged some more… then upon getting confirmation of having located it, i sought to lean in and drag it forth… my tired crouching legs wobbled, i failed to respond and instead of re-balancing they quaked, gave way and i rolled backward like a partially upturned tortoise – impressive stuff. Seldom to never can i remember my head being so peculiarly segmented, one side so well aware and able to spectate upon the spluttering chuntering seized up efforts of the other … The phone was the central concern – a work phone – I’ve lost a work blackberry before now, Ischgl some years ago, on the last day and found that moderately embarrassing, eager not to repeat… found it, mislaid it without moving it, found it again .. arguably not the finest of thinking times but very pleased with how it all worked out..
Damon and I headed back to our hotel leaving a still happily absorbed Daud to some more life in the ICE bar. Damon had a locker, so no stuff to hoick about, i had no locker, it would have served me poorly, what with the moving around and skiing different days in different ski areas. It was not early, it probably hadn’t been early for a while now & as such the hotel locker room was locked, leaving the smuggling to room maneuver the only available option. Damon suggested a quick turn around and a heading off for dinner, it was clear this was a most solid idea.
Back in town we returned to yesterdays restaurant of choice, i’m not sure why, i heavily suspect it wasn’t my call and was simply happy to be making strides toward the end goal of eating stuff.. (http://www.sporthotel-manni.com/en/restaurant.html) We filled up, targeting some hefty stuff, for the first time i went for a starter , Goulash soup – with Damon suggesting bread as an accompaniment – it went down well, then potato, a form of hefty old Rösti, with egg, metal platter or greasy … not the meal of choice on most days but it was different and the eyes had fixed their not yet clear gaze upon tomorrow.
Back at our hotel Damon found his phone (doubling up into the role of alarm clocks) was not with him, he was a little perturbed by this and having rifled about confirmed its absence… we should go back, check the restaurant, why not, its only a small town, no more than 10-12 minute walk – no harm… Back out we went..
Today really was quite a good day – a few self created bumps but Damon emerged with his phone, found by the seats where we’d been sitting … and for all that interesting..
Within relatively quick succession and only on this day randoms started to converse with me, in German on the lifts, i remember little to nothing about why. Differently I’m not entirely clear on why i seem to add additional layers of not so native speaker to my response but there seems to be evidence that something of the Brit abroad is being unnecessarily painted on.. still despite some rusty German and additional layering they seemed to make a head from the tail of the responses i gave both opting to question how it was i came to speak German… Shock that a Brit would speak a foreign language, the German language… somewhat or perhaps just marginally unduly, there are plenty of UK dwellers who have found their way clear to speaking a language other than English .. (some, it could be harshly argued, have similarly seen their way clear to speaking less) .. back on the point of the ski lift people, relative to other countries, they have a point, the British do seem to have reduced propensity toward the foreign languages, i only speak this one due the half Swiss side, an explanation that settled their surprise.
My notes are taking too long – its two weeks since i returned to work over two weeks since the skiing – not so much happens back here, though the work questions are resolving themselves. Still time to attempt to pick up the pace on the retrospectives.
We made our way across to Gerlos and close to the far end of the ski area.
We were running out of time to make it back to Zell am Ziller, it was going to be tight with a couple of key lifts that we had to get too before they closed if we were to make the connection. We made it too just above the first of these connections, only no Cirrus, the back markers of our small collective had arrived but no Cirrus… time was finite, with everyone down the unsubstantiatable working theory was that he must have fallen. The lift was getting away from us, the sun was low and the unknown closing time was looming, Cirrus eventually arrived – Photos / Selfie … timing, its all in the timing & the timing saw a curly mustached man stand authoritatively in the middle of the piste as we headed down. Rather than complete the run he pointed us toward the piste side restaurant, an unexpected sort of dead end and the piste turned into a mountain side restaurant car park, it became clear we would be skiing no further. We’d only made it as far as the Umbrella bar – not even as far back as Gerlos and it was anything but clear how we were to proceed from here.
I headed back over to the curly ends mustache man, he seemed friendlier now as this person with the perplexed air duck waddled himself over to seek out some advise.
A ski bus, I’m told, it comes all the way up here with the stop somewhere over by the car park, things were looking up. There is no doubt its smoothly and well organised, trains arrive and buses are waiting, here this somewhat odd little dead end of a valley has its ski bus connection. We barely had to wait any time at all for it to turn up.
It wouldn’t take us all the way home but it was a connection back to Gerlos, the minimum target we had and the place we knew to have bus connections back to Zell am Ziller. The stops are not announced and one tends to rely on general motion to inform a decision, here the general motion was to exit the bus and so we exited the bus, as it transpired possibly a little prematurely and not in Gerlos center. Still we came upon a stop for Zell headed buses and had 30 minutes until the next, 30 minutes …. and Daud didn’t even need to put in the effort of sniffing out a bar, there were two in plain sight, the immediate future required little insight to be predicted.
When that was done and it was insufficiently eventful to warrant much thought here, the abiding memory was a spot of sitting, darkish lighting and re-acquaintance with smoke thickened air. The bus, when it arrived on time or possibly before was unexpectedly headed all the way to Mayrhofen. It was not comfortable, it was convenient, the bus was rather full and like us each of them came with a snow board or skis. In the aisles they stood, most notable a tall one, posh accent, young and rarely throughout any part of the less than swift journey back, we got to hear about his premature knee operations among other topics. The two most obvious types of Brits abroad, the boozed up, lairey & disrespectful or the hoity, entitled & disrespectful. Many Brits fly beneath either such radars but if the microcosm of this bus were to be taken then certainly only a few people stood out, only one was unmissable.
Back in Mayrhofen i took the opportunity to return my equipment to the hotel and to freshen up a little before heading out to rejoin the others for dinner.
The portion of my mixed grill wasn’t exactly the largest – rather imagine if this were presented to an American they might be left to wonder how they’d come to order from the children’s menu but the atmosphere and all round nature of things was superior to yesterdays dinning. Daud & Milton opting for a meat fondue and certainly ending up with the best option of any of us.
Charlie was tired after dinner and had it in mind to return to his room an idea Daud could not not agree to and so in an emergency change of plan he sought to bring forward any intention to return to last nights Brückenstadl bar. I’d long held and expressed the view that the bar was less likely to be of such interest in the earlier hours as it had been lively in the later slot of yesterdays visit.. But something needed to be pulled out to keep the attention and stop the dithering which seemed set to turn back the less enthusiastic and more uncertain of group members. It worked, Daud secured the wobble, no doubt it’s a skill.
Guarded by a solid set and bald security chunk we again meandered in unfettered by being padded down and checked on with suspicious gaze. We settled on the table next to yesterdays again conveniently free, although the seats were laid down beneath assorted coats, jackets and assorted clobber. We’d barley cast a intentful eye toward it when members of the table behind were on their feet and gathering things up, the clobber was clearly theirs and withing moments it was gone, most helpful and polite indeed.
It was a little less lively than last night at the beginning and the music of choice seemed to have a little less of the local popular choice about it, a little more international in flavor. As we stayed the place filled up some more and Charlie woke back up from his post dinner slump.
After a while of being there the security chap came wondering, he did that quite a bit – random wonderings – this time he found himself over by our table. Approaching Milton, who was sat at the tables more exposed end, he pointed to the cage that hung aloft above the stage and said something, apparently suggesting to Milton that he might want to go up there, a spot of performing in the bird cage. Milton, so often (if stories are too be believed) the victim of impromptu bouts of involuntary performance volunteering at the hands of his friends (those here today – Daud) though normally when under a substantially greater weight of alcohol. Milton declined and no halfhearted efforts to convince him to receive the notion in a more positive light would be about to change that.
Daud, married these days, distracts the stumpy candle of his attention span through the smart phone and was glued to it, here where he’d sought to be but busy in his researching of other places where we might go.
He found somewhere else on one or other review site, professing however how useful the telegraph website was proving to be in such matters. By now we’d been stationary for some time, no member inclined toward a more buoyant and exuberant form of participation.. Some might be on another day, with more lubrication and/or less fatigue from the day before, either way the dance floor remained unsoiled by our feat aside for some shimmying, scuttling runs across toward the toilets between the jostling bouncing masses. In short we’d taken from the place as much as we were about to and leaving seemed about right, besides the bar he was advocating (called Scotland Yard) was located not so many additional steps of what was the route back.
As we approached it was dark, we had an agreement – if it were closed there would be no more random ferreting about and we’d go off home, if it remained open we’d go in … it looked dark, it looked closed as we approached.
It wasn’t – somehow the world seems to want Daud to have his way, that his pursuit of alcohol and generally flighty ways should be gently and persistently reinforced .. the winds they see fit to fuel his sails. Personally i remained largely agnostic, its holiday and being out and about seemed to have its charms while going back and getting some reasonable sleep before the next days early start, that would surely have its advantage.
The bar was a little smokey and relatively quiet, well we’d come from a pub/club, this was a more traditional pub that would not look out of place in a UK market town… I’d been offered the incitement of cider appearing on the menu, in way of an unnecessary additional attempt to try to sure up my compliance with the idea of coming here – there was cider, not necessarily a favorite but at this point a pleasant alternative, for those such as myself who are disinclined toward bear.
The consensus was this was probably a bar for earlier in the evening, a place where we could actually talk with quite some ease to one another and sit in comfort on cushioned benches.. Generally by now energy levels were low, Charlie and Milton were first to leave. When Milton departs you know things must be serious, rarely one to leave Daud to drink on most holidays it is Milton who stands among whichever group is the last group standing. I was flagging. The warm, the hour, the comfortable seat, the dusky sort of lighting – as i neared the end of my drink a return to the hotel was calling. Meanwhile Daud had returned from the toilets and had attempted a now well established maneuver of using his return leg to sidle up to the bar, close enough though to be in ear shot, a tactical error that allowed for an interception.
Despite instructions to the contrary he went on to procure an additional pint of Guinness for Damon, when its arrival was not welcomed and attempts were made to reject the idea of consuming it, the rejection seemed to hit an emotional nerve… the disappointment in Dauds face was palpable, might the drinking be soon to end? might the intentions be scuppered .. it was like a puppy having its favorite toy bone taken from it and placed within sight but out of reach. It was though time for hotel, time for sleep – personally thoughts were now quite clear, I’d had my fill and thoughts had turned to tomorrow/later that day – shortly after we left.