Alpine Adventures: Kitzbühel & Zell am See

After assuming the whole of February would be taken up by my C1 German course, I hadn’t really made any plans to do anything else, yet after finding out it had been cancelled due to lack of participants, I knew that I had to get out of Graz and explore somewhere else for a few days! A fellow Lancastrian Helen (find her year abroad blog here – https://abientotbritain.wordpress.com/) is currently working as a language assistant in Kitzbühel, so I decided I would pop along and see a little of what western Austria had to offer!

Also Griaß di’ zusammen! Don your Lederhosen and hop on your skis – Wilkommen in Tirol.

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To be honest I wish I could confirm that I had done just that, yet due to time restriction and largely expecting that skiing would result in me spending a large proportion of time ending up in a heap, I decided to pass on that this time. Instead I opted for a more ‘spot the tourist’ approach. (i.e camera on a neck strap, snapping every single cute alpine hut and posing with life-size cardboard cut outs of Mozart…oh dear.)

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My trip commenced with a 4am alarm, and after only managing about to get three hours sleep that night, it is needless to say that the first few hours of dawn were spent nodding off, hoping that I didn’t miss my stop and awkwardly end up in Frankfurt. I even set an alarm just in case! The journey from Graz to Kitzbühel took almost 6 hours with only one change, so once the sun eventually came up, I was quite happy to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, rather than think about how long I had left to go. It was rather pleasant to say the least!

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When you first think of Austria, you imagine picturesque traditional towns, full with colourful alpine-style houses, all dusted off with snow; scenes of the kind that you would only see on postcards – Kitzbühel did not disappoint! Upon my arrival in Kitzbühel, it was like I myself had stepped out the wardrobe into Narnia. Helen met me at the station and it was so good to see a familiar face! We walked then to drop my things off at the hostel, and it was just the cutest.

This place seriously took ‘gemütlich’ to the next level.

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The town of Kitzbühel itself is small and compact, yet everything you could need is within walking distance. A great contrast obviously to what I am used to in Graz, but it was great to experience such a different area. Rather amusingly everyone else apart from us seemed to be there to ski, and to my great surprise most of the people we heard out and about were Brits on holiday. I genuinely think I heard more English in Kitzbühel in one day, than I have in the past six months in Graz. Annoyingly even in restaurants and shops in town, people who worked there would insist using English, however we then insistently kept on replying in German, just to cause them confusion. DEUTSCH BITTE!

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After lunch we decided to head up almost 2,000m above sea level to the Kitzbüheler Horn on a cable car, and the views from the top of the mountain were worth every cent of the 20 euro return ticket! I’m not going to lie, some parts were a little scarily high and at ridiculous gradients, and there were a few moments when it started to slow down momentarily, which caused a few sweaty palms to say the least!

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On the evening we went to the cinema in town and watched ‘Traumfrauen’, a German romcom set in Berlin, which considering it had no subtitles, I understood pretty much everything that was happening! Progress!!! … endlich!!

After a good nights sleep, we were up and ready to head off to Zell am See, which is about an hour east back in the direction of Graz. Zell am See is a small lake-side town, again all set up for tourists, surrounded by vast mountains and ski slopes, and the train track runs right along the lake, so it makes for a very impressive arrival in the town.

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Before heading back to Graz, we decided to pop into a local restaurant, to sample the local sweet delicacy! Kaiserschmarren! A chopped up thick kind of pancake with raisins and apple sauce. Well, it would be rude not too! A great way to finish off the day anyway!

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…Yes, it was as good as it looks.

After saying our goodbyes, I headed back on my way to Graz. An unfortunate bridge collapse however completely shut off the train line, and I had to get a replacement coach back for the last hour of the journey, which was a bit of a nightmare as no-one seemed to know what was happening. Yet regardless of the stress and the fact that it took almost two hours longer than it should have done, I didn’t let it ruin what had been a fantastic little trip!

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Katie.


erasmusexplorer.com

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