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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Skiing the Dolomites


For the past month or so, the weather in Florence has been very mild.  We’re talking temps in the mid-to-high fifties.  Conditioned by our surroundings, we were skeptical of the snow conditions for our upcoming trip to the Dolomites.  Thankfully, we hit the jackpot.  We had clear skies and near freezing temperatures (great skiing weather!) the first two days, while the next few days we got some fresh snow.  Bobby and I spent the week skiing, snowshoeing, and eating some superb food from our base in Santa Cristina in the Val Gardena ski region of the Dolomites.  Once again, we found ourselves thanking the Olmsted Foundation for this absolutely amazing three years in Italy.

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Our 2nd Italian Anniversary

First night on the water

I know I’m a little late, but September 6th marked our 2nd Italian anniversary.  This means we have passed well over the halfway point of Bobby’s Olmsted experience.  Wow!  I’d like to highlight some of our favorite travel spots we were fortunate enough to see this year (see our first year favorites here). First though, we’d like to reiterate to the Olmsted Foundation how incredibly grateful we are for this amazing opportunity.  We never thought we’d get travel like this as a couple, nor have the chance to learn a second language while experiencing the culture first-hand.  We can’t express our gratitude enough – thank you, thank you, thank you!… [Read More]

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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Weekend Ski Break at Monte Cimone

I think they're cold

There aren’t too many ski weekends left, considering we have pretty much booked ourselves solid until May.  We decided to try out one of the ski resorts a little closer to home last weekend, in the Emilia Romagna region.  Just north of the Tuscany border lies Monte Cimone, the highest point in the Apennine Mountains.  At Cimone Ski resort, you can park in one of three small towns (we chose Montecreto) and take a long (and quite slow!) chair lift to where the “foothills” of Mount Cimone begin.  This resort reminded us a lot of Snowbasin in Utah, (although probably a little easier in terms of skiing) because of its wide open runs.  Luckily, it turned out to be an absolutely beautiful Saturday for some afternoon skiing.

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Skiing Cervinia and Courmayeur

Gorgeous white day

Last week, I decided that enough was enough and we needed to break in our skis.  This was on Wednesday, and by Friday, we were off to Val d’Aosta, the Italian Alps region that borders both France and Switzerland.  We found a beautiful little house perched midway up a mountain near the town of Nus to stay the weekend and we were greeted with fresh white powder for the entire trip.  Having never skied in Italy before (I know, that’s a foul in itself!), we wanted to see as much as possible.  On Saturday, we decided to ski Courmayeur Resort, which is famous for Mont Blanc (or Monte Bianco in Italian) and then on Sunday, we skied Cervinia, which is famous for the Matterhorn (it shares the mountainside with Zermatt, Switzerland).  Unfortunately, because it snowed both days, we didn’t actually get to see either landmark.  Well, we couldn’t miss the base of Mont Blanc (it is ginormous!); the top, however, disappeared into the clouds!

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