Judge your day by the size of your smile

Hogmanay 08/09

It’s the last day of my holiday before heading back to work in the morning after spending Christmas at home with family and Bergsilvester (New Year in Innsbruck). We enjoyed some live music, drank lots of Edelweiss and watched thousands of fireworks before I lost my friends but I ended up being adopted by some friendly locals and kept out drinking until 7am.

Thanks to the plummeting pound it turned out to be 25% more expensive than it would have been a few months ago but most things were comparable to UK prices. I’ve been on enough cheap holidays when sterling was strong to not be overly bothered but I still wish I had exchanged a load of money for Euros a while ago. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

There are some beautiful old buildings in and around Innsbruck and of course the famous Golden Roof but I was keen to have a look at the Zaha Hadid designed railway stations which didn’t disappoint.

The snow in the surrounding resorts was fantastic and the slopes were also very quiet but it was so cold that a cup of coffee froze in front of me while I took a break for a quick hot chocolate at the bottom of the piste. My friend and I treated ourselves to a run down the Olympic bobsleigh track at Igls. It was a really enjoyable insight to some of the forces involved. We clocked in at 59.67 seconds which I think is somewhere around Cool Runnings territory. Our pilot told me at the bottom that he couldn’t steer properly because I was too tall and my legs were in his way which I found somewhat worrying.

On our last day we went along to watch the third installment of the Four Hills Tournament along with over 20,000 others. It was genuinely exciting and is evidently a very big sport for the Austrian, German, Norwegian and Swiss fans in attendance. The atmosphere was bouncing and the TV commentator did his best to keep everyone warm with Mexican waves between rounds. It was a home one, two with a second straight win for Austrian Wolfgang Loitzl.

Hangovers notwithstanding, it was an absolutely brilliant week. Time to start thinking about next year and the ‘J’ installment of our alphabet tour. All suggestions welcome!

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