WEEK 8-Sport Lov
It’s Sport Lov week in Sweden, week 8 of 52 (they keep track). Which means Swedes everywhere take a weeklong holiday to ski and do other winter sports. (Don’t you kind of wish you were Swedish?) I mean, WHO DOES THAT…gives the whole country a week off to trounce around in the snow?!?!
Oh. Right. They do that in America too. It’s just in America no one gets paid and it’s called a “Snow Day.” Snow Day makes it sound fun. How about a phrase that reflects the true horror of a 5 a.m. wake up call from an automated voice messaging system: “Yeah, all those plans you made (evil laugh) forget it. It’s time to bake cookies with Jr.”
The thing is, here in Stockholm, we have no snow, just grey slush–a Slurpee spilled from heaven. Maggie informed me today they were eating “slushes at school.” (This is Sweden. They don’t serve slushes at school.) Further questioning produced the truth. Yep. She and her friends at outdoor time were eating “wet snow.” (No I didn’t ask if it was yellow.)
So on Week 8 we could…
A) Head north and find snow (and more darkness). No thank you.
B) Do what we did last year and go to Garmisch Germany, a charming Bavarian mountain town resort, home to the Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain and most formidable ski slopes.
I choose B!
The Zugspitze has three glaciers and enough snow for skiing six months out of the year. But that’s not why I’m going. The Zugspitze has unbelievable views. From the top you can see 360°, a panoramic wonderland of over 400 mountain peaks from four different countries. And yep, I’ll post pics.
Not far from where we’re staying, is Neuschwanstein Castle. We toured it last year and I have to say, walking up that mountain once in a winter (or in a lifetime), is probably enough. If I really need to see crazy Ludwig II’s castle, I’ll go to Disneyland—the iconic castle is based on his design. Truthfully, the tour was disappointing. The inside was freezing, just as cold as outside, and the guide had fewer talking points than Wikipedia. I’d been there as a teen in the summer and it was the most enchanting thing ever, ever, ever. This go around was nowhere near as magical. In part, because of the weather, and maybe because “my guys” had seen one too many castles. On the way up they asked, “Can we skip the tour and go to where they sell the swords?” You know. Someday. They might just thank me.
As the Olympic games are on everybody’s mind, I’ll mention that Garmisch was the first Olympic venue to host Alpine skiing in 1936. The Nazi regime was in power and while the IOC selected Berlin to host the games, Hitler changed the location to Bavaria because it was home to his German National Socialist Party. The IOC was none too happy, but Garmisch did have something no one else had, a death-defying ski jump built-in 1923, forty-three meters high and five meters wide. Today, athletes from all over the world compete in the annual New Year’s Ski Jump competition in Garmisch. The ramp has since been modernized, a cantilever design looming even higher, a terrifying 100-meters. Lit from behind at night, the ski jump resembles Thor’s bridge to Asgard. (If I see any Norse gods, I’ll post pictures of them too.)
Photo courtesy of Archdaily.com Design by Prof. Klaus Loenhart and Christoph Mayr
Garmisch was a part of the recent Munich bid for the 2018 Winter Games, but the IOC vote on July 6, 2011 awarded the games to Pyeongchang. Go Pyeongchang! (But do you have a ski jump this cool? Just askin’.)
I’ve got my suitcases waiting to be packed, more books on my Kindle than I’m going to have time to read and the fridge emptied (since no cooking for me for another week–yipee!). I’m ready to go! Even though this is not a paid va-cay for us American’s, I’m glad for the built-in winter escape on the Swedish calendar. Week 8 you’re awesome. Week 8 let’s make this a yearly tradition. Week 8 you’re great! It’s catchy, don’t you think?