Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How Vas the Vod-Ka?

This is a re-post from about a year ago, with a few minor updates. I've been thinking about Austria lately, and this is one of my favorite memories. And, I'm so thrilled for the upcoming Winter Olympics, I can hardly stand it ... so there's a bit of Olympic trivia at the end of the post. Enjoy! :-)

One of my favorite memories of my exchange student days in Austria 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.

We visited 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. 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!

Towards 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?”

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!”

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?”

To this day, Rachel and I still laugh about that story. 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.

~~~~~~~

Now for the trivia! Just so you can impress your friends and family with your vast knowledge of international Olympic trivia, here are 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.

20 comments:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

That is such a funny story! I would love to visit there someday.

Thanks for sharing! :-)

Lisa and Laura said...

Ha! I think I might want some vodka for that kind of hike....

Kelly said...

Funny!
And it looks GORGEOUS!

C.R. Evers said...

LOL!

and great pictures! :)

Susan R. Mills said...

You always have the best stories. Thank you for brightening my day.

Jeff B said...

That's a lovely dress you're wearing.

Yes, I'd like a bowl of pickled herring.

Our family's version of your story.
Thanks for the chuckle.

Keri Mikulski said...

Wow!! Too funny and amazing pics. :)

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Oh I mastered that laugh and head toss for when I had no idea what people were saying. Sometimes it got me into terrific messes.
Fun story!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I've seen how those Germans drink. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find them at the top of a mountain pounding vodka!

Hilary said...

What a fun story. Gotta love those tales which keep providing giggles through the years.

She Writes 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?

YES! I sure do :). This had me laughing out loud!

LadyFi said...

Great story! And what a fabulous photo. My parents went to Austria on their honeymoon and still remember how beautiful it was ... (51 years ago)

Sarah Laurence said...

Aren’t you lucky to have been an exchange student in Austria. That is a funny lost in translation story. I actually ran into German hikers in the Alps who had canteens full of alcohol. Honestly!

Debbie(singlemom;complicatedworld) said...

How funny! And what beautiful memories!

CC said...

I like that story. And I just loooooove that you've been to Austria!!

Nezzy said...

Oh girl, this story is priceless! Ya sure had this Ozarks farm chick rollin' off the hay-wagon. You pic is marvelous!

From the hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa, ya'll have a wonderfully blessed day!!!

Anna Lefler said...

I love that story!

And I remember the 1976 Olympics. I watched them from the comfort of my lime-green beanbag chair. I believe I was wearing yarn bows in my hair.

Good times.

:-D Anna

Shelli said...

im so xcited about the olympics! love it!

Suzette Saxton said...

Lovely family - and how lucky you are to have traveled! It was fun to read about. Thanks for sharing!

kanishk said...

I think I might want some vodka for that kind of hike....
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