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Bad Gastein - January 2011

January 2011 - Bad Gastein, Austria

 

Twenty five of our worldly Club members departed for “holiday” to the quaint village of Bad Gastein located in the Austrian Alps. Our goal was to indulge in the “spa experience”, parlay our monies at the Casino, and ski the surrounding mountain resorts.



Our route took us to Munich via Amsterdam, and then by bus to Bad Gastein in Austria. We were fortunate to stay at the four-star Elizabeth Park Hotel, in the heart of the village. Bad Gastein, the birthplace of Mozart, was everything you would expect of an Austrian village. The village climbs both sides of a ravine,  with a rushing stream at its center. The main street, our location, bridges the stream as it cascades over a monolith of granite. With a plethora of fine restaurants within walking distance, we settled into a week of Austrian living. Of note, was the travel maturity exhibited by ALL as we worked our way through the maze at each airport.

Our route took us to Munich via Amsterdam, and then by bus to Bad Gastein in Austria. We were fortunate to stay at the four-star Elizabeth Park Hotel, in the heart of the village. Bad Gastein, the birthplace of Mozart, was everything you would expect of an Austrian village. The village climbs both sides of a ravine,  with a rushing stream at its center. The main street, our location, bridges the stream as it cascades over a monolith of granite. With a plethora of fine restaurants within walking distance, we settled into a week of Austrian living. Of note, was the travel maturity exhibited by ALL as we worked our way through the maze at each airport.

Our contingent included an array of groupings each with a multitude of objectives which so often is the case with International forays. There were the Farrar family, which included Ray and Nancy (grandparents), Chris and Amanda (parents), and their two young daughters, Hanna and Abigail.. The Murphee ensemble, consisted of Hobart and Maureen and their son and daughter-in-law Terry and Debbie Leff, and couples Jeanne and Bill Bigley, Jason and Claudia Poucher, Joe Patti and Josephine De Lira, Bruce Vander Lind and Rhonda Martin, Mitch and Pamela Womble, and the single group consisting of Charlotte Clifford, Betty Gram, True Mann, Tom Keever and yours truly.

Our Texas Ski Council (TSC) Welcome Party was held in the Casino Ballroom. We were welcomed by town dignitaries and those that attended the first TSC trip (25 years ago) to Bad Gastein were recognized. Champagne and Hors d’oeuvres were served. One Honoree was our own Mitch Womble who was in the 1986 contingent of 1400 Texans. Mitch was again honored as he was the TSC Expedition Leader (my boss) of the Austrian trip. A TSC Farewell Party was held in the Hotel Bar/Lounge on Thursday. The featured event was the dancing duo of Ginger Rogers (aka Betty Graham) and Fred Astaire (aka stumble-feet Moore). There were Excursions every day, and skiing on the three mountains directly above Bad Gastein. The main mountain, Stubnerkogel (about 7000 ft) was serviced by a Gondola and an up-to-date mountain lodge. The Group basically split their time between skiing and excursions. Due to the foresight of our Trip Leader, George Kelly, we enjoyed two pre-paid Club Dinners which served as rally events for our Club, and provided a forum for comparing activities, etc. Although George became sick and Al Moore became his temporary replacement, George was there in spirit, and toasted at these dinners.

The Farrars were soon developing their own excursions after Ray mastered the local train system. We all began to understand that the two girls were the true leaders of the Farrar group, in fact, maybe the whole Club.  A highlight of our last Club Dinner was the presentation of the girls ski school performance medals given to them by their father. Another highlight was a Ski Safari over six mountain ridges and return by bus (50 miles). Those participating included Hobart Murphee, Jeanne and Bill Bigley, Bruce vander Lind and Rhonda Martin, and Terry and Debbie Leff   

Some of the trip happenings included the excellent dinners enjoyed by many, the nights at the Casino where Betty Graham under the tutelage of Charlotte Clifford won 60 Euros in less than 30 minutes; the travel info provided by True Mann, the world traveler; Bill Bigley’s new hair style now he is free from corporate chains; the bell rang at the famous Munich Hofbauhaus by Mureen (it commits you to buying drinks for the table) – curiosity and energy often lead to (??) which the Queen of the Murphees’ (and in fact the Group) relishes- a dull Maureen is an oxymoron; the disappearing treks of Joe and Josephine; the quiet welcomed support of our Club President, Tom; the last minute appearances of Jason and Claudia – where have they been; and where would those great skiers David and Terry be without the two pretty young women (Rhonda and Debbie) to remind them to when, where, …; and what a neat way to end our sojourn then over farewell drinks in the small but cozy bar in downtown Munich, before catching a 3:30 AM Bus arranged for by George to take us to the airport.

Al Moore

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