Gut und Bad!
After our grueling hockey tournament in Ljubljana, we headed off to an Austrian spa town for some much-needed R&R 😉 The man found an excellent shoulder-season deal at a classic hotel with very new spa facilities in the snowy mountain town of Bad Ischl. They charge less so we can have the place nearly all to ourselves? Fantastic! We took full advantage of all the Goldener Ochs had to offer ~ 2 saunas, 1 dampfbad (steam room), an infrared heat and chromo-therapy booth, massage, soft-solarium (a little tan, mostly basking mmm), pool, fitness machines, Kneipp (okay, not my favorite, especially as it lacked the hot side, but the stones were pretty to look at), many relaxing lounge chairs with pleasant views, and a trickling pine bough wall of meditation similar to the one at Bad Kreuznach, although I’m afraid this one lacked the healthful radon. The whole spa facility felt new and clean, very modern of the driftwood and river stone esthetic. The hotel was of a certain vintage, but well-maintained and charmingly decked out for Christmas. Our floor had a large living-room type area with couches and fireplace, tables and chairs, Christmas tree, lights, garlands, and ribbons. Soft music through the system filled the spaces and kept it from getting echoey. The package included half-board, being a fabulous full breakfast and huge dinner, and also a salad bar at lunch, which was certainly all we needed between the other two offerings. Oh, except for afternoon visits to the famous Konditorei Zauner, a local sweets and pastry shop frequented by Empress Sissy when she was in town, quite posh with chandeliers and damask upholstery.
It really served us so well to get in the holiday spirit, being blanketed in fresh snow with more falling all the time. We took a walk to the top of a hill where a tower stood and would be open for food and hot drinks at the weekend, but we were greeted only by goats and chickens. Fine with me, they appeared healthy and well-cared for, so I was pleased to spend a few moments with them.
When we were adequately steamed, baked, bathed, relaxed, and fed, we set out for Munich to take in their marvelous Weihnachtsmärkte, Christmas markets. It was just magical, with enormous, implausibly fluffy snowflakes drifting and blowing through the city as we strolled along, surveying Gluhwein mugs, maybe sampling a bit, eating wurst and germknödel, and mostly soaking up the lights and sights and chill in the air. An old family friend of Craig’s lives in town and it feels so good to have a home and homey base, our U-bahn stop (Böehmerwaldplatz), and a familiar neighborhood to do our German grocery shopping. Sure, why not another box of Lebkuchen? Yeah, the oblaten (chocolate covered) ones. And you do love those Landjäger. We drove out as the sun returned and the snow would inevitably slip away, full to the brim with old-world, northern European Christmas feelings and memories to carry us through the rain and other-ness of the season here. Merry Christmas to all!
Good photos by: cvl