After our fantastic experience with Sommerrodelbahn, we did the only thing we really could have the next day — we went back! This time, we did 5 whole round trips, and we were becoming pretty well expert at the whole process. Liam still wanted to ride with me, and B wanted to ride with Dan, so that’s how we did it again the second day. We all got braver and went even faster — I only used the brakes when Liam told me to, and Dan actually let B drive for several of their trips down. It was just as much fun the second time.
This time, though, I opted not to bring my phone (I spent much of the first day worried that it would skip out of my pocket on either the way up on the lift, or on the way down in the sled), so instead I’ll share a few pictures of the big thunderstorms that came through later that afternoon . . . and a picture of B playing with a cat, because it’s cute. (I’m really grateful that we didn’t get caught up on the chairlift in that weather!)
It was quite an experience to watch the storm roll in to the northwestern edge of the valley, and then move across towards us at the southeastern end. At first we could see the rain falling as it approached, but as the storm moved closer, we gradually lost sight of more and more of the distant mountains, then the valley, and then everything that wasn’t right in front of us. Behind the storm, the air got cold, so unlike our first few days in Sankt Koloman, where we were trying to keep cool in the evenings by staying out on the balcony, this night I had to come inside after just a little while, because I couldn’t keep warm.
We’re getting a pretty massive thunderstorm in Vienna right now. It’s been windy all day (and getting cooler since about 3:00 — woo hoo!) and raining on and off, and then a few minutes ago, the thunder and lightning started. I don’t know enough about the weather patterns in central Europe to speak with any authority, but I imagine these winds and storms blowing right down from the Alps. They have that kind of gravitas.
Back at home, everyone is hunkering down for a massive storm of their own: Hurricane Irene is upon them with flooding, winds and general, low-level panic. All up and down the east coast of the US, people are evacuating and bracing for intense damage. In the DC area, they get it all: hurricanes, massive snowstorms, flooding, tornadoes . . . even earthquakes, as proven earlier this week. They don’t really specialize in any one kind of disaster. We got to do all of them from time to time, with neither enough practice nor enough local funding to handle anything perfectly smoothly. Everyone stocks up on toilet paper, milk and water and stays in. I’m not criticizing — I think it’s a pretty good plan, and has served us well for everything from hurricanes to “snowmageddon”.
I think I’m safely out of the path of any hurricanes while I’m living here in Vienna, but I’m thinking of everyone at home and hoping that they all stay safe and dry. I’m sitting here in a big storm, too — I’m with you all in spirit.