Wow, what a weekend of surprises! I didn’t expect this.
After a Friday night out in East London for craft beers and a dodgy curry we got got home just after midnight, slightly tipsy and dropped off to sleep. Three hours later I was awoken starkly to a piercing alarm! Mitch told me to “get up, and pack your bags”. Very confused I sleepily got up then once it set in panicked and started throwing random things into my bag. Struggling with what to pack, Mitch suggested a passport and warm clothes would be vital! A taxi picked us up 45 mins later and we headed to Gatwick Airport, I sat quietly wondering where we were going (… Norway? Switzerland? France?) I didn’t ask, enjoying the anticipation of the surprise.
A few set backs at the airport including a freak snow storm at Gatwick then the de-icing of the plane had us delayed, but we eventually flew into Salzburg with its picturesque snowy mountains bordering the airport runway. We picked up a 4WD and headed to Hangar 7, a museum (owned by the founder of Red Bull that has a large collections of historical aeroplanes, helicopters, and Formula One cars along with two bars and a flash restaurant! All of the vehicles are fully functional and are frequently used and kept in pristine condition.
We headed south over the border into Germany stopping in authentic village of Ramsau before then heading on to Königssee. Königssee is a natural lake in the German state of Bavaria, near the Austrian border surrounded by steep mountains. In 1944 a sub-camp of the Dachau concentration camp was located nearby and both Hitler, Himmler and other Nazi leaders had holiday residences, including the infamous Eagles Nest. Almost all of the remains of the Nazi’s have been demolished by the locals as the residents do not want the beautiful spot to be tainted by its horrible past.
We took the ferry across the lake to St. Bartholoma, a famous pilgrimage church. The ferry driver stopped half way and pulled out his flugelhorn and blasted a few tunes which echoed as if seven other flugelhorns were in his band. Arriving at the other side we were unprepared for the sun going down and cool chill setting in so we settled onto the small cafe for a hot chocolate and traditional apple strudel. Mitch found a 55 pound trout mounted on the wall. I got up to my usual trick (just kidding, didn’t do this on purpose) when we attempted the pay by credit card and they only took cash. We emptied out our pockets and bags, managing to find 8.65 euros, just 6 euros short. Feeling awkward, Mitch luckily had some pounds and ended up paying 50% extra in foreign currency, because he felt so guilty.
Heading back to the village Mitch was dead keen on going up the gondola to Mt Jenner. I wasn’t so keen it look like it had had its day and didn’t even seem to be working. Much to Mitch’s disappointment we hopped back in the car with another idea to follow the scenic road up the mountain so we could get a good vantage point for a view of valley and some “photos”. Stopping once for photos Mitch insisted we keep going up, as the view was clouded by trees. Further up the windy icy roads we finally stopped at the top, which happened to be the start of the tobogganing course. The view was beautiful, I quickly had my camera out was snapping away before turning around, and was completely shocked, Mitch was on one knee with a ring out!!! Initially I was thinking “what are you doing?” before I began whimpering and sat on his knee and said “of course I will”.
Luckily there was a perfectly positioned post so we set the camera up on timer and got some cheesy snaps to capture the moment. Feeling very overwhelmed we decided to drive to our accommodation which in the booking Mitch looked like a very basic apartment. Sitting in the navigators seat but distracted by the ring (once Mitchs’ Great Grandmothers), I wasn’t really keeping an eye out as to where we were going before Mitch said “I think this is it”. We drove up the long windy drive to a place that looked much too flash for 30 euro a night! Pulling in, a concierge in a ritzy suit greeted us and took our bags away in a gold trolley and then parked our car. Mitch had outdone himself and this was real treat! I don’t think we have ever stayed in a place of this class…
Our room overlooked the valley and there was literally a ski field directly below the resort. There was even a indoor and an outdoor hot pool settled in amongst the snowy trees which was all very romantic. The surprises kept coming, Mitch had also made a booking at a Michelin star restaurant! He decided to go all out and order a seven course meal, while I went for the “slightly” smaller 5 courses. The meal was ridiculously amazing. With all of the “in-between” dishes it was at least a 14 course meal! Would definitely recommend a Michelin star restaurant, it exceeded expectations!
We woke up on the Sunday morning and it was snowing! We took the opportunity to build a snowman on the deck. Still full from the huge meal the night before we decided to skip breakfast and go skiing below. The ski field was small but was perfect for fitting in just a few hours. Mitch initially forgetting his skiing skills, his trusty snowplow quickly becoming a dangerous crisscross of skis, much to my entertainment. But after managing the initial tumble he was back in the game. He felt a bit more confident, enough to get off the bunny slopes and up to the top of the mountain. The snow however was surprisingly thinner and icier up here; a great place to lose all confidence gained. Concerned this may not end in smiles I nervously watched Mitch ski down the mountain at an out of control pace, gaining speed rapidly and ended up in a big fall. Mitch was still in one piece and surprisingly happy, but we decided to sit that run out for the remainder of the day.
The afternoon came around quickly and Mitch had one more surprise up his sleeve. Slightly suspicious that bob sledding might be on the cards after a minor slip of the tongue from when talking to our parents, I sat nervously in the passenger seat. We drove back to Konigsee and this time I noticed the huge ice track in the bob sled arena! We were doing it and there was no getting out! Bob sledding was popular, as we began our walk up the hill we watched at least 5 sleds whizz down the track at 125km/hr speeds. We made it to the top where we handed in our tickets. There was a queue so we had more time for the nerves to settle in. Once at the front of the queue we were given helmets and told to hold on tight and keep our backs straight. If we crash off the course…keep low! He slammed our helmet visors down before we had the chance for any questions/concerns and without any hesitation we were pushed off down the steep ice! Holding on for dear life as the acceleration had me forced hard against the seat, I kept my head slightly to the left so Mitch could see. We speed straight down before twisting into a circle and finishing on a slight rise that brought us to a halt. An exhilarating 1:01 minutes in which we felt grateful to have survived!!
Buzzing with excitement we went into Berchtesgaden for a our final Bavarian meal before departing the beautiful Salzburg region. We had a connector flight in Hamburg and we then flew back to London Monday morning – Mitch ready for a days work.
So, now we are engaged, it’s the start of some new adventures in Europe and abroad, but no doubt, the same old scams and fun.