See Austria – Part II (Austrian Tourist)

Welcome to Part II of our See Austria series.  I’ll assume that you’ve already read Part I.  It’s a new day in See, and I decided to go pet some of the locals.  Wait…what?  Yes, pet the locals.  You see, just outside our kitchen window, we could see two cute donkeys (a mother and baby).  The owners were feeding them, so I decided to say “Gutentag” to the people, and possibly give the donkeys a scratch.

Checking out the donkeys

Once I was through playing ambassador, we decided to check out the town.  During the winter, it’s a great area for skiing, so we thought a walking trip to the tram would be a good choice.  One of the nice things about See is that there are beautiful flowers everywhere, so I just had to take one with Anya.

Big flowers

Activities Sidenote:  When we checked into the apartment, the landlord gave us all a Silvretta Card.  I didn’t think much of it at first, but once Heidi started reading the guide, it turns out that this little card would get us into most of local attractions for FREE.  Cardholders can get free access to the local cable cars, chair lifts, public buses, and a great number of other things.  The local tourist association also has programs for children and teenagers, so if you travel in Austria (or anywhere for that matter), checking with the local tourist agency can save you big bucks!

At the base of the mountain, we showed our Silvretta Card, and hopped on the Bergbahm tram…no charge.

Anya and Alan going up

Five minutes and 2500 feet of elevation later, we at the base of the Tyrolean mountains.  It was beautiful.  There were a number of other families hiking, but it was by no means crowded.  I took a picture of a couple, and asked if they could take our picture.  It’s nice to get a picture of all of us.

Austrian Tyrolean Mountains

Near the tram building, there was a playground area for kids and a zip-line.  The kids loved the zip-line.  Heidi not so much.  Sorry, couldn’t resist.  The kids alternated back and forth, and even asked me to give them a good push.  I sent Anya flying, and luckily she was holding on tight, because she swung parallel to the ground, and let out a big squeal.  Heidi was not so enthused with the speed, so on Lars’ turn, I didn’t impart quite the energy that I did during Anya’s turn.

Anya having fun

We hiked around for a couple of hours or so, came back to the tram landing zone, and explored the Wellnesspark Medrigalm.  In it there are some Kneipp (hydrotherapy) facilities, foot massage paths (submerged with spring water), color therapy chairs, and other sensory stations.  It’s all kind of new-agey.

It's cold! It's cold! It's cold!Color Therapy Stations

Heidi and the kids were doing the Dip-Your-Feet-In-Near-Freezing-Water station and loved it.  I took off my boots and socks, and got my feet in the water.  Holy crap it was cold!  You’re supposed to walk around a path that’s maybe 10 feet long on both sides, with a wooden handrail in the middle.  I only got about 3 feet, and it was like my ankle joints just froze.  It was so painful, I just had to stop, and get Heidi to help me out of the water.  I guess I’m just a little Girly-Man.

After the hiking and the foot freezing, we were all ready for a break.  We made our way back down the tram, and had a leisurely walk home for some food, and a bit of relaxation.  Now that we’re relaxed, we decided to check out the newly constructed swimming lake.  It looked like a lot of fun.

Swimming Lake in See

As always, the kids wanted to jump in, so they went to the dock, and jumped in.  Heidi swam out and then they all asked me to come in (family can be so pesky sometimes!).  I was worried about the water temperature, but jumped in, and yes…it was cold, but not too bad (once I caught my breath).

Lars and Anya about to take the plunge

Across the lake from where we jumped in, there was a floating wooden platform that was anchored to the bottom.  There were several kids playing around on it, and it looked like they were having a lot of fun, so all four of us decided to swim over and get in on the frivolity.  Remember how I said the platform was anchored?  Well, only one side was anchored.  The second anchor point had come loose, so if too many people got on one side, it would tip.

I don’t want to bore you with a physics lesson on tipping platforms, but needless to say, when I got on the platform, it started to tip in a big way.  I wasn’t expecting it to tip so much, and once it got past a certain point, I knew I was coming off, and not in a graceful fashion.  Heidi was laughing her head off.  And once my large mass was off the platform, those on the opposite side started tipping the platform the other way, and more bodies crashed into the water.  We were having so much fun, that other people came to join our fun.

We played on the platform for a long time and tired ourselves out.  We got out of the lake, dried ourselves off, and went back to our apartment for some dinner.  During one of her walks with Anya, Heidi found a very cool cemetery at the church that was just down the road from us.  I’m not as big a fan of cemeteries as Heidi is, but her enthusiasm convinced me I should check it out.

Well, I was surprised.  Each plot was very simple, yet elegant, with freshly planted flowers and lit candles.  There was a variety of crosses, and the designs were unlike any I had ever seen.

Parish Church [Pfarrkirche]

We did a lot of cool things today, and with the light fading, it’s time to head in for the evening.  We have to pack, because tomorrow, we’re heading to Switzerland!  Stay tuned for the third and final part of our See Austria series.  Our last day in Austria brings an interesting experience, which is exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing.

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