Alberni Wrestlers in the Alps - Europe Update August 3

Post date: Aug 7, 2012 10:32:39 PM

Friday found the Alberni Wrestling tour in a traditional Alpine "gasthof" (guesthouse), high in the mountains above the Winter Olympic town of Innsbruck cowbells tinkled in the distance and Innsbruck was invisible, far below, under the clouds! The drive up the night before in the dark was interesting. Some of the travellers were happy that we had arrived in the dark last night as the morning descent through the switchbacks was quite "hairy".

Thursday evening was a highlight for us. The Wrestling Club of Inzing - a small village outside Innsbruck, hosted an evening of international friendly matches, followed by a reception and entertainment. The hosts took care to pair wrestlers of similar skill and experience. Consequently, the Alberni crew were much happier with the results this time. Strong performance were put in by Jonathan Spencer, Michael Cappus, Cole Walton, Connor McDonald, Katie Taylor and Johannes Kulich. Johannes became a crowd favorite for his enthusiastic style and the local children then began collecting his autograph!

Cullen Hines, who has been collecting a "Tyrolean" outfit of "lederhosen" and Alpine hat, was invited to take part in the entertainment after the bouts. A troupe of dancers in traditional garb came to the front, led by an accordeonist, to perform some energetic foot-stomping, shoe- and hip-slapping routines and dances. They invited Cullen to join them - which he did. This really broke the ice for everyone, to see him in his Alpine outfit, dancing with the Austrians.

Our hosts then served a traditional meal of wienerschnitzel, potato salad and rolls, followed by Apple strudel. Look out, "Little Bavaria"! We were sorry to have to leave our gracious hosts after such a memorable evening but, we still had to find our "gasthof" in the mountains.

On Friday our driver, Giovanni, took us from Austria to neighboring Switzerland, to the winter sports Mecca of St. Moritz. We followed the river Inn until we drove "through" the Alps via 3 long tunnels. The scenery was breath-taking. Despite being a small town of less than 10,000 people St Moritz has hosted two Winter Olympics in 1924 and 1948. It was clear why this is a favorite vacation spot for the rich and famous of Europe.

Friday afternoon we had some free time to explore activities of individual interest. We thoroughly enjoyed some of what this recreation paradise has to offer - hiking, mountain-biking, gondola rides up the mountain with big-wheel scooter rides (scary) back down, to name a few.

The evening was free to experience the night life of the jet set.

Today we headed north through some of the most amazing Swiss country side and alpine regions. We are now in Liechenstein for our third international friendly meet. We tour the capital Vaduz this afternoon before heading to the village of Gamprin for our wrestling match and social evening. Tomorrow we are up at 4 am to travel to Zurich to catch the high-speed train to Paris.

So many new experiences and sites every day as this lucky group of travelers glob trots across Europe. The trip will end with 6 amazing days in London during