Journeys of CG

Just a blog on my various trips - and my thoughts likes and complaints about them.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ski Amade, Salzburg Skiwelt 2016

Again this year I went skiing with the guys on the specker trip to Ski Amade, Salzburg Skiwelt, in Austria. It is a massive resort and a good variety of runs etc., testing enough for the likes of me. The weather was a bit better than last year there was two sunny days one very cold and one very snowy day, and two ok days. The last 3 days I found skiing totally different than the previous day (for ice, to powdery snow to slushy). I found the lift people very helpful and considerate to the guides and VI skiers and most other skiers were understanding and very interested.
The resort was full of dutch people? apparently one of the weeks of the dutch mid-term, and the dutch downhill championship was on this week. Dutch Skiing Championships!!!!! for a country without a mountain I hear you say. Maybe we should have the Irish championships there next year;). The gang was the usual faces a good gang, and good craic was had, a couple of nights of sing songs, and other nights of cards, and the usual cabal who practice the dark art of “Shot Dice” a mystery to me, we all found ways to have a laugh and fun. Skiing with Mick my Phibsboro Chess Club colleague (who got me involved with this gang originally) was good fun but for someone unfit like myself the former para-olympian left me wrecked after a week of trying to keep ahead of him. My Skiing is not improving, but my enjoyment of it, and this trip each year seems to grow. The guys in the Hotel Post, and from Siegi Tours treated us well and I would highly recommend them and many thanks to Dave and Eileen and Pete and Eveyln and Caroline and Peter and Windy for their organising etc.(sorry if i left anyone out). I hope to go again next year, my skiing is not improving, but my enjoyment of it, and this trip each year seems to grow.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Ski Amade Austria - Ski trip

After a late decision I enlisted to go on the Specker ski trip again this year, and again it was amazing (super-cool to quote the Siegi rep.) holiday. While the weather wasn't great only one full day of sun on the slopes and a couple of days where there was white outs for a long time still it was a great trip, and the under ski conditions were excellent. We only covered a fraction of the Ski Amade region, and I would say it is a place I shall return to. Guiding was quite easy and fun for me this year, since i was guiding a VI skier who followed me, I had a full day effectively free skiing when i just followed another guide an excellent skier. Over the week it seems i guided for about 100km and skied freely for about 30. The lift workers were very nice, and helpful especially when you were with a VI skier. A couple of nights sing song as well as an interesting Austrian culture night we had some craic. The hotel was fine and the food excellent, I like German/Austrian food, they were also very helpful in the hotel and with the group. One thing about the ski-amade region is the engineering of the ski-lifts, the gondolas and chairlifts were impressive, but the g-link was an amazing feat of engineering. My flight to saltzburg was at some inhuman hour but had to be done, the saltzburg airport was pretty basic especially behind at the gate, one coffee shop, and 4 euro for a coke... I suspect i will end up going again.. and hope to do so.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gdansk-Sopot and Hel

My 2nd trip to Poland, still struggle with even the token pleasantries in the language.
Sopot nice sea side resort, with a long pier, while the weather was very good, the town had an end of season feel, and that its rumour party reputation was not as evident as you would have thought.
Gdynia and Hel, I like travelling on trains when I am abroad, and the trains in Poland I found quite efficient but our venture into Gdynia was cut short by us missing the train, and while promised to return later, our prolonged trip to Hel put paid to that.
Hel I found very nice, the end of a long bar, spit of a peninsula poking out into the Baltic Sea sand, sea, sun, seals and schnitzel. The Seal Sanctuary I am not sure about, they looked pretty lazy languishing in an artificial place for them.
Gdansk was a real surprise, the old town is a must see if your in that part of poland, how the buildings survived or were revived is testament to the spirit of the poles. The history of the war, of the communist era and of the shipyard strike. Everywhere from churches to the shipyards you see pictures of the Pope now St. John Paul II, the pride and respect they have for their pope and what he represented and gave to them during the final years of the communist era is tangible. There seems to be a lot of investment and development going on and time will tell if it is being well spent, so far they seem to be doing a good job.
It is a place I hope to return to some day, i missed the chance to get over to see Kaliningrad/Koingsberg but maybe next time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Oberjoch Specker Ski trip 2014

Well I decided to go again on the Ski trip to Oberjoch in Germany. The weather was very nice maybe too nice the area could have done with more snow, however the slopes were finely pisted and good skiing was had. I had the new experience of guiding a blind skier for 4 days, and calling the turns from a few meters behind him, eventually we worked out a pattern and we traversed the mountains easily enough stopping off for the mandatory currywurst, hot choclate, Ski wasser and goulash on occasions.
For two days i was with a V.I. skier who followed me trusting soul he is. Had a few burns on my own which was when i had my traditional couple of spills, thankfully no one there to witness these;) Also the mandatory couple of visits to Josefs had to be done.
Good restaurants as I have always found in Germany, and evenings such as the mad frenchmans restaurant, Schnitzel Night as well as a couple of sing song nights, a few musical darkhorses there, as ever if invited i promise to learn a few songs for next year. A big thanks to the Dave and Eileen for organising, much appreciated.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Czech Republic for Neil and Danielas wedding in Kromeriz

Well a few days in the Czech Republic Neils & Danielas wedding in Kromeriz (can't do the accents), really enjoyable nice place and delighted i went. Went via Brataslava, and got mistaken for a German in a restaurant for some reason. Kromeriz was lovely, a place I would otherwise never have visited I suppose. One thing i really like holidaying in Europe is travelling by train, I went to Prague on a bit of an journey, via Hulin and Olomouc, then the mainline to Prague. Prague is lovely ok parts are a bit sleazy but I liked the Architecture and History, the castle the jewish quarter, the bridges the river. Alas got mistaken for an american or english person which kinda annoyed me.  Watched the intercontinental cup with a few jewish americans, nice guys but I had to explain offside, and "No the game is not divided into quarters!"
visited 18 states (8%)
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Oberjoch Specker Ski trip

Well after being asked to go skiing by my chess team colleague for manys a year Mick, it seemed to suit me and I enlisted to go to Oberjoch, in Germany for some skiing, staying in Bad Hindleberg. A little different from my previous ventures skiing, as part of the specker gang I got paired with Cove, and we grouped together with mick, terry and annamarie. The VIPs easily show you what a coward you are, but we manned up and did a good bit of off piste, only one dramatic fall by myself and i have bribed the person who took the photo not to show it...

The group was good craic and the organisers deserve a massive thanks for making the trip such good fun. Apologies for my guitar playing on two nights, I should really learn more songs, and not sing!

Oberjoch is a small resort, with 9 lifts, 3 double t-bars and 1 chair lift, great plans to put in some new chair lifts which would be great and to link it to the next valley. Oberjoch is on the border with austria with one of the runs on the austrian side where my phone kept beeping text messages. Bavaria is very like Austria, I find it hard to tell the difference. I like German food, which is funny, and Austria food, that grostl like thing i had was stupendous I also had 3 Currywursts through the week, it now seems i have a check list of ski cuisine, bratwurst, currywurst, appelstrudl, schnitzel and grostl.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Helsinki and Tallinn

My first time in both Finland and Estonia, and I quite liked both. Flew into helsinki, very much like other nordic towns prices were quite high, but not that different. A mad taxi driver took us to the harbour and we got a ferry to tallinn which took 2hours, it is very much like a baltic town, not unlike some northern german ones, the old town is very nice, seen Paul Keres chess house, some nice old buildings and a night out prices were cheaper for food and drink.
The problem with tallinn is that if your anglophonic they assume you are an english stag party.. Returned to Helsinki on the ferry, and went for a walk to some park met a hedgehog and down by the coast and harbour, via the olympic terminal and back to the town. The Ice bar which is a must was disappointing since it was empty, wrong time of year perhaps. The cloakroom charge for every coat is annoying and kept you from bar hopping too much. Finns are mad, and i like mad people and a few good laughs and a late night.
Did the boat trip to Suomenlinna Island and Sea fortresses is excellent, the trip in bay was nice and the island is amazing well kept, well worth the UNESCO status and a visit is a must. The Harbour market is very good if your a tourist and the food, was so enticing alas we skipped it planning to visit later. A quiet night out yet we still managed to stay all hours talking to some strange Finns. The late night meant we nearly missed our taxi to the airport but the pleasant finns waited, the return flight via stockholm, reminded me of the benefits of the euro and annoyance of looking for credit card for snacks in the airport. Overall I liked both helsinki and tallinn, there was lots to do and lots we didnt do, and things would be much better in the summer. I would go again, which is the sure sign for me that i liked it. Next time, go during summer, go to olympic stadium and get that grostel like dish with meatballs at the harbour, hire a bike and take another bay tour. Two New Countries so
visited 16 states (7.11%)
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