Markus Joins My Tick Box

As my 40th birthday trip was such a success, we decided to try another to celebrate the start of Markus’ 5th decade. Since my mom was not on hand to watch Annie, we made it a family trip. (Seriously, this post is mostly about Annie, but that is the way it goes with a very cute 3-year-old around to take pictures of.)

Markus scouted out a ski region in the province of Salzburg called Ski Amade that had reports of excellent snow and hundreds of ski runs to choose from. We originally were going to book a package at a hotel that included breakfast, dinner and two 3-day ski passes. But after more internet-poking around, Markus discovered a small apartment on a hobby-farm about 10 minutes from the lift. So instead of €900 for a single hotel room, we paid less than €400 (including ski passes) plus food money that wasn’t much different than we would have spent at home. And that was for a much larger space with a kitchen as well as separate living and sleeping area.

It was a bit of an experiment, this farmhouse accommodation, as they are very popular all over Austria. If this worked out it would be a great and relatively inexpensive option for our family vacations throughout the year.

We drove into the town of Wagrain on Wednesday afternoon, which is an absolutely adorable village with the proud claim that Joseph Mohr, the writer of Stille Nacht, was perish pastor there during the early 1800’s. On arriving at the farmhouse we were greeted by the owner who showed us to our room with this view from the balcony:



The Austrians have a phrase for this kind of snow-covered wonderland: “kitschy-beautiful.” I think it is fitting for this almost over-the-top scene.

All in all we had an absolutely wonderful time. We decided to ski only two days so that we could visit a wellness pool driving back to Innsbruck. We put Annie into half-day ski camps, which she loved. Markus stayed with me for the first couple of hours on the first day making sure I didn’t kill myself with my pathetic ski skills. But the hill he set me up on was very forgiving and the snow was perfect, so I did my own thing for a bit after lunch while he explore more challenging options. The second day I took it a bit easier while Markus went off on his own for over 3 hours of skiing bliss.

Getting ready for a day on the slopes.

Getting ready for a day on the slopes.


On the second day after skiing, Annie was tearing up the floor with her moves at the apres-ski restaurant. (As my friend Nicole often says to me regarding Annie: “Hillary, you’re screwed.”)

Shy she ain't

Shy she ain't

The Solid Gold Dancers live!

The Solid Gold Dancers live!

The birthday itself was rather low-key, as suited Markus. We had cake on Thursday for the official birthday and Annie and I made a card.


Blowing out the candles. (Annie as usual, is featuring her no-pants look frequently seen these days.)

Blowing out the candles. (Annie, as usual, is featuring her no-pants look frequently seen these days.)

In terms of the farmhouse aspect, Annie adored feeding the ponies and bunnies as well as sliding down the snowy sidewalk on her plastic disc.

Crazy kid

Crazy kid




Feeding the rabbits while wearing her ski participation medal, which she didn't take off until...well, she's still wearing it.

It looks like both ski holidays and farmhouse vacations are going to be at the top of our list for the rest of our time in Austria.

Happy 40th Birthday Markus and here’s to a wonderful year ahead!

One Response to “Markus Joins My Tick Box”

  1. Lori says:

    Sounds like a great time. Please wish Markus a happy, happy birthday from all of us!

    Love from Lori