The BBP welcomes you to September.  Amazing how fast August flew by and now we're here.  In less than a week, the BBP tour of Europe will be coming to an end.  While I am sad to a degree, I am also certainly very happy to get back home.  Got things to do and it's also coming up to my favorite time of the year so lots of stuff is happening.

Onto this past weekend.  WOW!!!!  That's all I can say at this time.  I went to Austria and spent a couple of days in an area known as Hintertux.  This has snow year round as their is a glacier on top of a mountain that is nearly 12,000 feet tall.  I saw some sights of other mountains that put The Great Smokey Mountains to shame when it comes to the smokey look.  It was absolutely beautiful there and the people were so friendly and even incredibly helpful.  I was speaking to a bartender while waiting for a pizza, yes it seems pizza over here is a very serious matter, and he told me what I should do to get the best chance for some good skiing.  I took his advice and it paid off.

Got to the mountain at 8:15 am and instead of skis, I opted for a snowboard, thinking I had mastered that over 15 years ago.  Got in the gondola and rode to the first point, which was only a measly 3000 feet or so, and then got on the second lift which went to about 9000 feet.  Finally, got on the third lift that went to the top of the mountain and got off to a pleasant 27 degrees.  Now, the ski lifts I've experienced in the states were much different as you get off the lift, you ski down and start over.  Well, this one had a hill from the end of the gondola station which actually caught me off  guard and had me a little intimidated but the steepness and the fact I hadn't snow boarded in over 15 years and soon realized I needed to relearn.  I finally made it down the hill and then walked over to the first set of lifts, which were T-bars, not chairs.  You basically sat on them and let it pull you up the slope.  However again, I hadn't ridden in over 15 years and never saw these types before, so my first few attempts were ridiculously unsuccessful and I only managed to get maybe 50 feet up before losing control and falling over.  I was not my normal, graceful self.  Luckily, I couldn't understand anything people were saying about me cuz I might have been a bit pissed.  Finally, I figured out the correct way to get a good hold on the T-bar and made it up to my destination and then started boarding down the hill where down towards the end, when snowplowing, the lip of my board caught on some snow and ice and flipped me over and sent me crashing and rolling down the rest of the hill.  OUCH!!!  That hurt.  I sat there for a few moments, catching my breath and making sure nothing was too hurt. 

I went back for more punishment as it took me 2 more attempts to get back on the T-bar properly and get to the  level I wanted.  I began slow as this was a little steeper and had some style going until I hit some ice and crashed hard on my shoulder and left side.  That one really hurt and affected me for the rest of the day.  I had also figured out that my foot locks were not angled the way I was use to from, again over 15 years ago, and that affected my control.  I tried to adjust them but was unable to so I tried to make the best of it I could.

Finally, after beating myself up for over 3 hours, I decided I was done and was looking to get back to the gondola station, which was up a hill roughly 150 feet high, with snow and ice all over.  I asked the lift operator where the easiest way was to get down to the other station and he pointed to a HUGE, very steep slope that took you down the mountain.  I was like, no thanks.  Then he pointed at the T-bar lift, that I had been having serious issues with all day and thought, no way am I going to make that.  So my last option was to walk to the gondola station on the hill. 

I swear, I have never been so tired, wore out or ready to give up and let the wolves find me.  It was only a quarter of a mile, if that, to the station, but the ice, snow, altitude and climbing, plus I had no water or anything to drink as I thought they might have a snack bar or something up here, my body was dead tired.  It finally took me to pull out my inner, inner strength to get to the station where I promptly fell over and tried to catch my breath.  By this time, there were large, flakes of snow just covering me and I was completely done. 

Rode the gondola down to the next station and drank a huge bottle of water and recovered enough to get down to the next station and grab some pasta salad and more water.  Finally went down to the bottom and last station, turned in my equipment and was more than ready to leave and come back to Germany.

However, on the way up there, I did see an Alpine Slide so guess where I had to stop and ride.  I have to say, the one I rode a few weeks earlier was nothing compared to this one.  I would almost count this one as a roller coaster as it had drops, tight turns and pulled some G's.  I got it on video and will be adding it on here.  I am glad I stopped for that one though.

So after many hours of pouring rain, traffic jams and plain uncomfortable with my shoulder, I made it back to Stuttgart.  I have less than a week and can't wait to get home.  So...

Bill out...