Tag Archives: Austria

Why yes, that man in the woods wore a Tyrolean!

17 Feb

Wikipedia notes that a Tyrolean hat is:

a type of fedora hat named for the Tyrol in the Alps. It is essentially the shape known as the trilby. Tyrolean hats are made of felt, traditionally having a corded hatband and a feather on the side as trim.

And why does this matter, you ask?  Well, it’s one thing to see a fedora on a nice Shriner back in the US who is telling you about the good work they do for a children’s hospital, and quite another to see one on a man who appears suddenly from a cozy-looking cottage in the middle of the woods, in a snow-blanketed landscape, speaking German with you and insisting that he take your picture.  You blink a few times and wonder if it’s real.

Last weekend, on a quick trip to see Vienna, Austria, we took a train to the Alpen town of Semmering, south-west of Vienna, to cross-country ski for a day.  Our morning had already had a few adrenaline-induced charges (the train station platforms were not terribly self-explanatory, and we had to do some searching before finding an outfit to rent cross-country gear), but finally we were set up in traditional skis (no skate skis available) and took off on the trail.  Few people were out, and after a few kilometers, we came across a log cabin, with a fire and all of the window shutters wide open.  We stopped, had a drink of water, and pulled out the camera.  To our surprise, a friendly Austrian man in his Tyrolean (or Alpen) hat came out to chat with us (in German) and insist on taking our pictures.  I was so focused on remembering German that I forgot to take a picture of him – he must have skied to his place, as there really was no other access.  He told us he owned one side of the property that was split by the cross-country ski trail, and it appeared that he spent a lot of time greeting people who ski up past his place.  It was definitely a highlight for us.

Our new friend in the Tyrolean hat insisted on taking pictures of us - I just wish I had taken a picture of him!

Our new friend in the Tyrolean hat insisted on taking pictures of us – I just wish I had taken a picture of him!

Cozy does not begin to describe this little abode!

Cozy does not begin to describe this little abode!

After approximately 130 turns where we would decide if we should keep going up the never-ending hill, we finally gave in and turned around.

After approximately 130 turns where we would decide if we should keep going up the never-ending hill, we finally gave in and turned around.

We spent most of the afternoon out skiing, primarily discussing our interpretation of the “trail” information and whether or not the trail was an out and back or a loop.  After a never-ending uphill slog, we decided that the trail must have been an out and back, and turned around to ski downhill.  For me, I practiced snow plow until my legs were jelly – Justin swooped along like he had never stopped downhill skiing years ago.  Back in Semmering, we had a very long lunch that would make our Spanish friends proud (and it was complete with 3 different hot alcohol drinks – hot chocolate with rum, Gluhwein and hot tea with brandy to warm us up!).  Completely refreshed, we made our way back to the train that would bring us the 180 km back into Vienna.

Many of the houses in Semmering used solar panels.

Many of the houses in Semmering used solar panels.

The following day in Vienna, our goals were to see the open air market, sample lots of chocolate, and experience the famous music scene.  We did the first two items on our list easy enough, and then finally ducked into a music store to purchase a compilation cd set of the famous musicians of Austria.  Our music collection is now graced by Mozart, Strauss, Haydn and Schubert.  The food in Vienna was fantastic, especially a dinner we had in a small restaurant recommended by our hotel that was out of the touristy center.

Temperatures were cold, with a blustery wind.  We took any and all opportunities to taste chocolate.

Temperatures were cold, with a blustery wind. We took any and all opportunities to taste chocolate.

The golden horns must be functional to keep the horses' ears warm, but there was a lot of eye rolling - we're not sure the horses liked being dressed up as cows.

The golden horns must be functional to keep the horses’ ears warm, but there was a lot of eye rolling – we’re not sure the horses liked being dressed up as cows.

...and after a while, the disagreement escalated to a lot of finger-pointing...

…and after a while, the disagreement escalated to a lot of finger-pointing…

The Naschmarkt was one of the best open air markets we had been to, as it was not too crowded.  We enjoyed the cultural diversity, including more eastern European foods.

The Naschmarkt was one of the best open air markets we had been to, as it was not too crowded. We enjoyed the cultural diversity, including eastern European foods that were completely new to us.

Sauerkraut is made from green cabbage and then fermented in enormous wooden barrels.  This fresh stuff looking amazing, although Justin gave the barrels a wide berth.

Sauerkraut is made from green cabbage and then fermented in enormous wooden barrels. This fresh stuff looked amazing, although Justin gave the barrels a wide berth.

Car2Go is the same car sharing program that we have in Austin!

Car2Go is the same car sharing program that we have in Austin!

Vienna has its share of modern buildings, often nestled next to distinctive historical buildings.  This is the Haas House, located a stone's throw from St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Vienna has its share of modern buildings, often nestled next to distinctive historical buildings. This is the Haas House, located a stone’s throw from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

This picture was my favorite of those I took of St. Stephen's - unfortunately a good part of the building was under restoration.  Many of the historical structures we have seen in Europe have been involved in these types of reconstruction or restoration.

This picture was my favorite of those I took of St. Stephen’s – unfortunately a good part of the building was under restoration. Many of the historical structures we have seen in Europe have been involved in these types of reconstruction or restoration.

We thought about renting bikes and exploring the city that way, but opted to walk since the zone we had targeted was in a limited area.  However, we always notice the bike culture of a place, though!

No track stands allowed!

No track stands allowed!

Curiously, the rider appears to be sidesaddle.

It’s probably better for your knees to not ride bow-legged.

We fully intended to have a beer here, but never made it!

We fully intended to have a beer here, but never made it.

Wir machten viel Spaß!

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