The Fine Line Between Austria and Germany

I’m pretty sure that Austrians and Germans would disagree with me on this one, but it’s a very fine line between their countries and their cultures, especially on the border.  Driving from one city to another on our week-long trip, we often (seamlessly) passed from Germany to Austria and back.  We don’t speak German, so of course, Austrian German sounded like German German.  The food is really similar, if not the same.  The Bavarian architecture runs rampant throughout the entire area and you can even ski from one country to the other without knowing it.  Anyway, you get the point; to us, these regions are really similar.  Oh, and did I mention it’s one of the prettiest, most spectacular areas we’ve been to?  (You can also take a look our previous trips to this area here and here.)  There are lush green valleys (when it’s not snowing), towering mountains, and lakes dotting the landscape.

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Olmsted Ski Trip – Part 2

Looking towards the frozen part of the lake

After the first couple days of non-stop snow, the second half of our Olmsted ski trip has been blue skies and warmer weather.  Bobby and I ventured to Konigssee Lake, the clearest body of water in all of Germany, on Wednesday and then Bobby skied Flachau Ski Resort on Thursday.  Today, we tried a new winter sport – the biathlon!  This has been an absolutely wonderful trip and we’re pretty sad to leave tomorrow (although we are returning to 60 degree weather in Florence!)

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Olmsted Ski Trip – Part 1

Ski village below Obertauern

Last June, I started planning a ski trip for Bobby’s Olmsted class.  Finally, the time came to set out for beautiful St. Martin, Austria.  We were greeted with a couple of feet of fresh powder and it has been snowing on and off every day since.  Although our first day on the slopes wasn’t ideal (the visibility was pretty poor due to the snow storm), we have since made up for it.  We have had the pleasure of skiing the beautiful runs at Obertauern Ski resort and we took a group snowshoeing trip near our cabin.  Our chalet is a part of a 9-cabin eco-friendly resort and it is a perfect place to spend a winter vacation.  So far, we’ve had a great time spending time with 3 other Olmsteders and their families and we still have several more days to go!

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Frohe Weihnachten from Vienna!

Trees decorated for Christmas

Wien, or Vienna to us English-folk, was the first stop on the 2012 Flammia Christmas adventure (stay tuned for the next installments of the trip in the High Tatras Mountains in Slovakia, Prague, and Munich!) Along the way, we intended to meet up in Slovakia for Christmas with other Olmsted Scholars who live all around Europe and Africa.  However, everyone had like-minded plans and several families (including us) got together for a visit to the Christmas markets and dinner in Vienna as well.  We were very excited to be able to spend more time with our Olmsted/military family!… [Read More]

Around the World in One Day: Minimundus

Bobby's excited!

On our last day of our Eastern Europe trip (disclaimer: we want to head further east than this in the future!), we stopped by Graz and Klagenfurt, Austria.  Austria is probably our favorite country in Europe, outside of Italy of course, because of its breathtaking beauty and ‘relatively’ affordable lodging and food.   The drive from Slovenia to Austria was amazing.  We got up early in the morning and headed north, where the foliage became more and more colorful.  Did I mention that autumn is my favorite season?  Graz, the second-largest city in Austria, is known as a large university town.  It has 6 universities and over 44,000 students.  I did laugh at this though, because I am an alumnus from a university that has 50,000+ on one campus! :)  The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well-preserved Old Town and in 2003, it was Europe’s City of Culture.  When a city gets selected to be the City of Culture, it often builds new structures to welcome tourists.  It’s kind of like getting chosen for the Olympics in this respect, just on a much smaller scale.  You can see this influence with two very interesting and very modern structures: the Kunsthaus Graz (a modern art museum) and Murinsel (a floating platform/amphitheater in the middle of the river).

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Journey through the Alps: DAY 2 – Innsbruck, Austria & Chur, Switzerland


After a day in Salzburg, we made our way across Austria and into Switzerland.  Our destination was Chur, a small Swiss town located in the Alps.  It seems like an unlikely destination, but we decided to stay there because the following day, we wanted to go to the Swiss baths in Val (about an hour away.)  Hence, Chur.  We had a rather leisurely journey, stopping in Innsbruck, Austria on the way…. [Read More]

Journey through the Alps: DAY 1 – Salzburg, Austria

Northern Italy highway scenery

After getting the word from the Air Force base that our car was officially in Italy, we decided it would be a great time to take a week off from language school, pick up the car in Aviano, and take a trip.  Aviano AFB (Bobby’s “home” base for his flight records, medical, etc.) is in northeastern Italy and is only two hours from the Austrian border.  Naturally, that was a great place to visit.  First up: Salzburg!… [Read More]