Our European Chrismas

Trip Start Nov 02, 2010
Trip End Jan 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Mondschein Innsbruck
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Saturday, December 25, 2010

So this is our first Christmas as a married couple and our first Christmas away from our families. We decided to go to Innsbruck, Austria.  In our heads, we pictured a quaint little village in the Alps...good food...people caroling in the streets...Christmas lights and decorations, etc.  The reality is that Europeans take Christmas very seriously.  They do not work in hotels or restaurants or tourist sites.  They do not leave their houses at all.  When we got to Innsbruck, we thought we had to be in the wrong place.  It was a huge, industrial, dirty city.  This is where the Olympics were?  EVERYTHING was closed.  Lights were off.  Hardly anyone in the streets. 

We drove to our hotel and found that they had showed us one room on line and then given us an awful, different room.  It had two little windows that were barely big enough to put your head out of and one of those all in one shower/toilet/sink things.  We complained that they had been dishonest on their website and they told us to take it up with the police.  In 3 months of staying in hotels, this was the only time this ever happened, but it finally does on Christmas?!  So I spent Christmas Eve in tears...

Christmas morning we went down to eat the breakfast included with our room to find that they had not only run out of food, but coffee.  Who runs out of coffee?!  I sat there in the dining room imagining the yummy breakfast that my mom would be making Christmas morning back home...and cried some more.  My wonderful husband decided that we were not going to stay there one more night, so we packed up and left. 

We wanted to go skiing on Christmas day in the Alps.  Sounds pretty idyllic, doesn't it?  We drove to the Stubai Glacier, bought a ticket, and got on the gondola.  The Glacier is so high that you can ski on it year round.  Unfortunately, the clouds were so low that we couldn't see a thing.  The last thing I saw before the clouds set in were huge crevasses that appeared to be in the middle of the ski slope.  We got off of the gondola and the couple in front of us had on skis with harnesses, ropes, and ice axes?!?!  Since it is a glacier there are no trees marking trails and no definite "downhill".  The cloud we were in was so thick that we could barely see our own skis on the end of our legs!  I really have not been that scared in a long time.  We finally made it to the bottom without falling into a crevice, took off our skis, and left.  Needless to say, I cried - again.

Mike gave me a hug, put me in the car, and drove us to Garmish, Germany (about 2 hrs away).  There is a military base there with a wonderful hotel created so that members of the military can rest and relax with their families (European hotels are not really kid friendly).  It looks like you are in a Colorado ski lodge as soon as you walk in the door.  We wanted some kind of exotic European Christmas, but when we walked in there and saw American families playing board games in front of a huge fire, Santa Claus decorations and lights, got to sleep in a bed with actual sheets, and watched Christmas movies in a language we understood - we were so happy that I can't even put it into words. 

We decided that we are not the kind of people who enjoy trying new things on Christmas.  We are the kind of people that want to wake up in our parents houses, eat the same food that we eat every year, and spend time with our families.  You can visit other places and learn about their cultures anytime, but Christmas is all about being at home - for us at least.  Sorry there are no pictures...we were too busy being sad.
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