Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How Vas the Vod-Ka?!

Last month, I wrote about a funny little incident involving a certain famous gazebo in Salzburg. That, of course, sparked a million other memories of my exchange student days in Austria.

One of my favorites involved a trip to Innsbruck, Austria. Admittedly, I’d label the majority of Austrian towns as ‘gorgeous and amazing’, but … oh my … is Innsbruck ever cool. It’s situated right in the midst of the Austrian Alps, which makes for great hiking, especially when you’ve been blessed with stunningly beautiful weather!

Just so you can impress your friends and family with your vast knowledge of international Olympic trivia, here’s a few interesting tidbits about Innsbruck:
  • The Olympic Winter Games were held in Innsbruck twice, first in 1964, then again in 1976. The 1976 Winter Olympics were the last games held in the German-speaking Alps (Austria, Germany, or Switzerland).
  • Along with St. Moritz (Switzerland) and Lake Placid, NY, Innsbruck is one of only three places which have hosted the Winter Games twice. (It also hosted the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics.)
  • And … this excited me quite a lot … on December 12, 2008, Innsbruck was chosen as host of the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held from January 13 to January 22, 2012.

OK …back to the story …

We decided to visit the Alpenzoo first. Situated 727 meters above sea level and nestled into the mountain, it is the highest zoo in the world. And, as its name would indicate, it is home to animals that originate from the alpine region, showing them in their natural habitat. The Alpenzoo, in and of itself, could be considered a hike for many.

After visiting the zoo, our group split into two and my dear friend, Rachel, and I decided to hike up into the Alps. It was my absolute favorite day in Europe … exhilarating and incredibly beautiful. Halfway up the mountain, we were joined by Marco from Germany. We had no clue who he was, but he stayed with us for the remainder of the hike. He seemed nice enough, as did all our fellow-hikers that day … and, I guess back then crazy stalkers weren’t as prevalent on our minds. I’m still quite certain he was a bit enamored with Rachel!

We made it above the tree line and, after a few moments of sitting and taking in the beautiful view and brilliant blue sky, decided to commence the joint-pounding trek down the mountain!

At the end of our descent, we passed another hiker who was headed up the mountain. As he passed, he greeted us and asked, “How vas the vodka?” Well … that’s what we thought he said.

You know how you respond when you don’t really know what someone has said, but you still want to reply in a friendly and jovial way … you kind of do a hearty laugh and throw your head back like you ‘get’ the joke or the funny comment … even though you haven’t a clue as to what they actually said?

That’s what we did. And, I think we added something like, “Gut … sehr gut!” (Good … very good!).

We giggled as we tried to figure out what had possessed him to ask us about vodka. I mean, we knew these particular hills were alive with music, but not vodka-drinking hikers.

It wasn’t until a few laughter-filled minutes later, that it dawned on us what he had really asked.

“How was the walk up?”

Rachel and I still laugh about that story to this day. And, it just goes to show that the hills are alive … with music, yes … but also with fresh air, exhilarating views, and very friendly German-speaking hikers. No vodka required.


Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Ha! Ths makes me want a good dirty martini. Thanks for stopping by again Kelly! :)

CC said...

hee hee! Answer English questions like that ALL the time.

I'd love to go to Austrai some day....

Unknown said...

SO FUNNY! That story totally made me smile :)

PJ Hoover said...

Hilarious! Vodka. Walk up. I totally see it.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

That's hilarious!
While we lived in France we vacationed there and loved it! Amazing really is the right word!

Corey Schwartz said...

So funny. The Alps are gorgeous. I remember being in Interlocken, and taking like 100 pictures of the same mountain because I kept thinking it was getting more and more beautiful as I got closer. (Then I got them developed and they all looked exactly the same :)

Thom - - Dr. John said...

Now that's funny!

Kelly H-Y said...

Everyone ... loved, loved, loved your comments! They made me smile! I'm glad you enjoyed the story ... it was a fun one to 're-live' and write about! :-)

Sherrie Petersen said...

That's great -- don't you just love language?! Beautiful picture, too!