This has been a complicated week in terms of travel logistics. The simple bit was travelling together in the campervan as far as the bottom of Spain. There, we parted ways: I caught a plane from Malaga to London for a work training weekend, and Neil, Adam, Matt and Katie and the campervan caught a boat from Algeciras to Tangier Med in Morocco.
Straight after the training weekend and catching up with some really great fellow teachers, I caught plane number 2 from London to Innsbruck, where I was going to be working for a week. What I didn’t know before leaving is that pilots need extra training and a special licence to land in Innsbruck – the flight path cuts right through the middle of the Alps along the Brenner Pass. The mountains at either side are 7 – 9000 ft high. Ben Nevis is tiny in comparison. It’s stunning. Possibly pant-wetting in the fog.
It was a great week at work; early starts but when you have such an impressive mountain view (and such great students) who’s complaining. Innsbruck’s very pretty. You learn to ski at 3 years old as standard, like Brits learn to swim.
The accomodation was in the grounds of a convent – cleanliness is next to godliness, and it had wifi, so a great place to stay if you are ever Innsbruck way. It was called Haus Marillac.
We had a tiny mid week adventure, which involved getting a little bit lost on the mountain, a hot Gluwein in a wooden bar half way up, finding a terrified cat en route who followed us all the way back to civilisation, and, we think, her home (after an hour hiking with us), and playing ceilidh music as we descended in the almost-full-moonlight. I blame it all entirely on the Gluwein.
It was so worth it for the view of the lights of Innsbruck in the valley below. At the top – we were a long way from the top – you’ll find, as well as an igloo bar, the steepest ski slopes in Europe – at a 70 degree angle. That’s more or less free falling to me. “Only one person dies a year” the local teacher told us. I stuck to the swings.
This year there’s been very little snow, the least in 10 years, and whereas there would normally be 5 metres at the level in this picture, there’s almost nothing. The triangular structures are to slow down avalanches as they descend into the valley.
The other arm of the family are meanwhile on the edge of the desert in Morocco, right now 100km from Marrakech.
Katie spent her 10th birthday on Tuesday a few miles north of Casablanca and had butterscotch Angel Delight for tea. That packet of Angel Delight has clocked up nearly 40000km since we bought it. I’m missing Katie this week but we’ve arranged, since our birthdays are close together, to celebrate them this weekend. The years have flown by little toot, and I can’t believe it’s double figures this time.
Can I just apologise Katie for never buying you jammies of your own – tough having big brothers sometimes.
It will be nice to be back together again, and I’m so so excited about seeing Morocco. I’ll have to pack up my gloves and boots in my tiny allocated space in the campervan, ready for next time.