My alarm bell went off yesterday at 5:45 am, which for a Sunday does not go down so well (or so often) within these four walls. But – I rolled out under the warm covers, peered under the small slit left open in the blinds to see a fresh layer of white, powdery snow and reconsidered whether I really wanted to join the crazy snow freaks in their bulky and uncomfortable boots to hit the slopes.
It was a tough call but the little devil on my shoulder didn’t win – I woke up with an aim; to master that snow plough*. And after a few hours, sore shins, frozen fingertips and an elegant fall in an unexpected mound of deep, fresh snow, I had mastered it – and even on some “proper” slopes. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I’m a little proud of myself. Having donned the skis for the second time after almost 27 years of missed opportunities, I don’t think I’ve done too bad for myself – but I won’t be seeing any black runs any time soon thanks.
Alongside the skiing, it’s safe to say that this winter is really feeling like winter.
We were blessed with a winter wonderland one only dreams of over the festive holiday.
We built a snowman outside the apartment on New Years Eve, who resembled my grandfather but was sadly defaced with leftover fireworks.
I enjoyed watching my brother and my Alex shovel the sidewalks, only to have them recovered in snow only three hours later.
We escaped to the alps, where we sipped fancy drinks by wooden fires and woke up surrounded by snow-covered peaks.
I’ve even had more than one opportunity to wear my favourite ear muffs (not that one should really have to find a reason to do so).
And while December brought some unbelievably rare, blue skies for German winter standards, January has seen my tally of sunny-winter-days looking a little sad. Let’s hope this changes.
And with my newly acquired skiing skills, I’m happy to say that I’ve so far made the most of these below-freezing temperatures.
I hiked across landscapes to see wild deer grazing and icy waterfalls.
I hiked up a mountain purely to fulfil a childhood dream; to sled all the way back down. While I sled down with a little caution (on a natural mountain track, your only barrier are the trees that line the hillside) there was not a moment you couldn’t see a grin across my face.
I have laid my exercise mat in the icy snow of my favourite nearby park to complete a good set of burpee frog jumps, lunges and high jumps (thanks Freeletics) and as a result, eat a good mouthful of snow.
I put on an awkward looking and even more awkward feeling pair of snowshoes to trek up untrodden tracks while listening to the mountain stories of a local.
And I hit the ground countless times as I made a brave attempt at cross-country skiing.
So, from someone who had only known winter to be a 15 degree sunny day, who’s winter wardrobe contained only one wool coat and who’s hands would be ice cold in 26 degree heat, you could say that I haven’t shied away from the German winter. By dressing warm enough, I’ve finally realised why so many Germans don’t seem to be bothered by getting out there and embracing winter.
But let’s not get too carried away here, over the last few grey days I have been constantly dreaming of the blazing sun on my skin, seeing the heat steam off the asphalt roads, the sand found at the bottom of every handbag and how much I’m definitely going to miss a truly sticky Australia Day celebration (code for lamingtons). Hurry up summer!
*Yes, I managed a little more than this – but there’s no need to talk it up too much…