||After one month in Abu Dhabi and
Oman it was time for a little adventure before returning to San Francisco. I
had received an invitation to visit my friend Sylvia Huber whom I'd met the
previous year in the UAE. She lives in Nassereith, a tiny village in Tirol, the
northern providence of Austria.
Now Nassereith does not have it's own airport. In fact, it doesn't
even have a train station. It only has a population of 2,000! Nevertheless, I
wanted to go so I found a great deal with Alitalia, the Italian airlines. I
could go from SF to Milan to Abu Dhabi round trip. On the way back, I could
take a weeks break thus allowing me to train my way from Milan to Innsbruck,
the capital of Tirol. From there Sylvia would meet up with me.
|Everything ran smoothly until I
got to the train station of Milan. There was a huge delay! This presented a
problem as I had to transfer trains at Verona. I was a little bit nervous here
as I was running short on money, I spoke no Italian (they don't speak much
English in Verona), and I didn't have Sylvia's phone number (we had just agreed
to meet at the train station). Nevertheless, the train going to Munich (via
Innsbruck) wasalso delayed so I got off lucky.
The train ride was a sight for sore eyes
with beautiful alpine views of northern Italy and Austria. Once I got to
Innsbruck, I met up with Sylvia and her car-driving friend Silvia. I thought to
change my name to Silvya, as to not cause any confusion but decided against it
at the last minute. The Huber's turned out to be wonderful hosts as did
everyone else in the small but super- friendly Nassereith. Like all my trips to
Europe, I met all sorts of people who were incredibly friendly. There was a
slight shortage of English translators in Nassereith but fortunately Sylvia's
English had improved drastically in the last year. Nevertheless, I'm not
complaining as I don't speak German.
Silvia (notice the "i") was very helpful,
especially in the driving department
||We weren't just tied to
Nassereith though. The Huber's took me off quite a lot of trips to the Tirol
countryside, including a visit to a mountain right on the border of Austria and
Germany. The unique part about this was, after a lengthy gondola ride to the
top, we reached two peaks. One peak was Austria, the other Germany (take a look
at the photo on the left). At the right season, this place in apparently a very
popular ski/snowboarding resort.
Silvia turned out to be a great help. She drove Sylvia and me around
wherever we wanted to go and turned out to be incredibly cool. I got a good
touch- up on my reggae as that seems to be the predominant youth culture
movement in this area. One great thing about the Austrians is their love for
Red Bull, without a doubt the most delicious drink in the world. It's
manufactured in Salzburg so this is the Austrians claim to fame. I drunk more
Red Bull in the one week I was there than I do in a whole year in America! The
Austrians drink Red Bull with their beer as well as mixing it in just about all
their cocktails. Can't say they don't have class can you? No wonder they're so
good at snowboarding!
Left; the Huber's were great hosts. That's Sylvia in the
middle...... Just Joking!!
The highlight of my trip to Austria
must have been the solar eclipse. We (Sylvia, Silvia and the Glennaldo) all
went to the Weissen Sea to view this. It was a nice clear day (somewhat of a
rarity in Tirol) and we got to see the whole thing through our specially
designed sunglasses. It was certainly an incredible experience as the sun went
out completely for about three minutes and the whole place went pitch
week in Austria ended with a bang. Both Sylvia and I decided to celebrate our
upcoming birthdays (her 18h, my 21st) and we went to a popular local nightclub
where we partied the night away on beer and Red Bull! The next morning Silvia
decided to bring Sylvia her birthday present. An appointment at the local
tongue piercing shop! Wasn't Sylvia's mum proud? Erm, not exactly
Nassereith is a very conservative Catholic community and I can't say that
parents there are too keen on the traditional 18th birthday tongue piercing
ritual that has somewhat besieged this generation of young Austrians. There was
drama galore but it all worked out OK in the end.
So it was on the train and off to Milan
for the night. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to really see the city
but I got to see most of the tourist attractions such as the glorious Duomo
Cathedral which is a must see in Milan. The next day I caught the plane back to
There's Sylvia, on the left and her
friend..... I think she's called Barbara, not to sure though.
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