Driving to Kitzbühel with my Dad, Mom, and Brother was the first family trip we’ve had since before I moved away to the UK in 2014. It started off as all our trips do; with my Brother making inopportune food requests, my Mom experiencing some kind of panic (my Dad’s driving on the autobahn), and my Dad sweating (in his defense, it was weather related on this occasion); but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Off the Grizwalds went, to the Alps!
The drive took about 2 hours, including one stop for iced coffee, treats, and to purchase our vignette (or toll sticker to drive through Austria, make sure you purchase one of these for less than 10 euros for 10 days of use, to avoid a 120 euro fine!). We arrived at Hotel Gamshof in the early afternoon, and despite forecasted rain, we ran (well…walked with occasional bursts of speed …) to get the cable car to the top of the Kitzbühel Horn; a mountain just under 2000 meters high. Now that I’ve been on a few cable cars, and even one to the highest peak in Germany (over 3K meters) where I thought I would surely meet my demise, I’ve become accustomed to them; but if you are of the faint of heart and/or afraid of heights (like my mom..) exercise caution. One of my intern colleagues can’t stomach cable cars; to the extent that he hiked an extra hour down a mountain to avoid what he thought was a rickety death trap. But I digress, up the Jenkins went!
Now, I cannot properly explain what it’s like to be on top of a mountain in the Alps, but it’s without a doubt the most incredible experience I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in my 21 years of life on Earth. Of course, it’s more worthwhile when you’ve hiked 9 hours to get there (stories to come…) but nevertheless it will, and rightly so, take your breath away. And the best part of the Alpine mountains you ask? When you hike or take a cable car to the top of one of these peaks, there is almost always a bar waiting for you. Boldness for emphasis. It’s just the cherry on the top. Of course my brother was highly excited by the accessibility of snacks atop the Kitzbühel horn, but if you are ever going hiking or otherwise, I highly recommend taking advantage of these establishments, and take some time to sit amongst the clouds, beer in hand, and take it all in.
But alas, time atop a mountain is never long enough, as reality crept back in upon our return to the hotel to freshen up, where my dad and brother proceeded to get my room key stuck atop the roofed entrance way. While my mother and I pretended to belong to a different family, they worked and eventually managed to retrieve it by doing an amateur circus act featuring a stolen broom. A classic Jenkins family holiday moment. Later in the evening, we strolled around the town of Kitzbühel, taking note of the many bars, accommodation, and restaurants it had to offer through the windy cobbled streets. The tyrolean town is home of the Streif; also known as the greatest downhill ski race track in the world. As a non-skier (Little did I know this would change come winter…) I wasn’t too impressed, but I could picture the little tucked away town would come alive in the winter with après ski shenanigans. My dad and I continued bar hopping while the rest of the Jenkins clan retired to the hotel, and met some other foreigners who moved to Kitzbühel for seasons at a time to work at resorts and in hospitality; seems like a good idea if you want to travel and make money.
The next day we traveled back to toy town (Freising), and real life started. Kitzbühel was a short trip, but it made me the alpine addict I am today.
Borrowed clothes: For this trip, I had to borrow soap and shampoo from the hotel, which they didn’t already have in the shower (Ugh first world problems). I also “borrowed” one of my mom’s light knit khaki sweaters to wear when it got a little chilly at nighttime, and safe to say its found a new home in my exclusively ikea furnished room.
Pro travel tips:
- If you are planning a ski holiday in Kitzbühel, book it well in advance, as I have tried recently to do this and prices are through the roof for a baller on a budget!
- They speak German in Austria…I just feel like I should clarify this in case it helps even one person not feel like an idiot.
- As noted before, make sure you get a sticker for your car if driving to Austria from elsewhere!
- Bring a camera.