A Journey through Austria and my psyche (such as it is.)

Triumphal Arch Innsbruck

Part 2: Arriving

Austria is landlocked, surrounded by seven countries: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary (in Vienna there are signs for the Budapest airport), and Italy. Poland and Croatia are a mere stone’s throw away. You drive through borders relatively effortlessly. Within Austria, there is a state system of government. Innsbruck, where we were heading first, is part of Tirol. Tirol is in two parts that do not actually touch, kind of like Michigan I guess. I found all this fascinating in light of our national emergency.

History is not my strong suit, nor is geography, but you have to be impressed by a country that has survived invasions and attempts at control by countless others since the fall of the Holy Roman Empire (most recently Austria was annexed by Hitler in 1938) nad yet has one of the highest GDPs and standards of living in Europe.

Dee and Kevin have rented an apartment in Innsbruck for the winter. They are blogging about their experience and (shameless plug) I added a guest post during our stay. Kevin, a scientist, is fascinated by how well everything works in Austria and writes eloquently about it. And I mean, small example but I rented skis online through a shop in Innsbruck and the pick up/drop off was so much smoother than anything I have experienced in New England ski areas.

Cheryl, Dee, Kevin and Justin at The Speckeria on our first night in Innsbruck.

The national emergency that we have been living through for two years was also weighing much more heavily on me than even I knew. My beautiful friend Dee played the role of therapist while being my lift buddy. There was a run early on where I skiied with tears streaming down my face. Dr. Michael Genovese recently tweeted, “When we exercise, our body releases a number of chemicals, which can cause the body to respond in different ways. Tears may feel alarming, but this is a natural response for the body.” Dee noted that I was “leaking,” and with each passing moment and tear came a release of tension and guilt and anxiety.

Cheryl and Dee at Schlick2000.

Thanks so much for reading. Part 3: Favorites will be coming soon. It probably should have been the first entry but as you can see I have been processing!

I would love to know what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments.