Um.... ouch...

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 (DAY 7)
8:20 p.m.
Hopfgarten, Austria

Today’s activities kicked my butt, and man does it hurt! The day was supposed to kick off with a mountain bike ride, but as we stepped outside and our hair began to frizz and we felt droplets of water tickle our faces, we soon found our intrepid plans postponed because of the unpredictable weather. So in the meantime, while our fabulous tour manager concocted a new day itinerary, Katherine and I wandered this quaint little town’s streets. By noon, we had found enough time to visit the local church – the epicenter of any Austrian town – grab a tastey pita sandwich, buy a few souvenirs and return to our humble abode just in time to get the news of our alternate biking tour.

Instead of mountain biking, we got a biking tour of the town. And that, my friends, was just enough of a workout for me. We circled the town, making stops at the church, a fishery (where you catch, kill and eat your own trout) and a restaurant for a mid-ride ice cream treat. We also got to see a lodge where Contiki ski tours stay. Since Hopfgarten and the seven neighboring towns make up Austria’s largest ski resort, in the winter the lodge hosts some of the world’s most daring ski bunnies. It was a cool little place made up of four-person rooms, with two bunk beds in each, and a bar downstairs where the vacationers have theme parties every night. This is definitely a place I’d consider revisiting.

Anyway, after all this bumbling around town, we found ourselves in yet another downpour. Our guided ride ended with all of us with mud-soaked backsides, but since we were already wet, a group of us decided to venture out on our own a bit. (Bike rides in the rain are quite marvelous – well, they’re at least fun every once in awhile.) We started up towards the mountains with Geoffry leading the way, but most of us quickly found out that our muscles didn’t quite have the same capacity as our eyes. Feeling the burn in our thighs just halfway up the first shallow slope, several of us decided to split off for a more leisurely jaunt. (But don’t get me wrong, it was still hard work.) Kathryn, Marian, Luke, Sean and I circled the chalet-speckled residential roads awhile longer. In the end we figured we covered 10 miles of ground (give or take a few miles). Of course, hard work equals a hungry stomach and tonight’s dinner was pretty satisfying – chicken, broccoli, veggies, fruit salad and some of the most amazing tater tots I’ve ever had.

Tonight we went to the Silver Bullet, a popular Contiki bar. I didn’t think I’d last long since I forwent a nap for the second half of “Something About Mary” and a pit stop at an Internet café, but as usual this Contiki crew has a way of energizing you. We danced to our day songs which have grown near and dear to our hearts as well as other great dance tunes. Some of tried the local fare… sperm shots anyone? Another fantastic night with an early morning.

Here’s to the night!

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