The hills are alive

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AUSTRIA, TRAVEL

Second year of uni flew by at a terrifying speed and before we knew it, exam time was upon us. After our trip to Lisbon, we knew we’d return to a London where everyone was knee deep in work and no one had time for social stuff anymore. People started their revision routines and occasionally I didn’t see my flatmates for three days. It’s the time of year where your life is dictated by the library opening times, the sight of stressed, crying girls around campus is absolutely normal and the bins are overflowing with Red Bull and itsu takeaway. Our exam time table was very tight but at least we were done before the end of May – short but sweet. With thousands of formulae floating around my head, sleepless nights wondering if I knew how to calculate a triangular pressure distribution behind a cantilever wall (which turns out I didn’t) and many ups and downs in my love for engineering, I was more than ready for my four months of summer holidays. On top of that, right after exams finished I was again called back for a final Morgan Stanley Assessment Centre for next year’s Summer Internship. I successfully converted my Spring Week and was fast tracked for a 10 week Equity Research internship in Summer 2016 – which meant I could (had to) enjoy these holidays all the more!

Straight after exams I headed to a Barcelona with my best friend from home, then went on to a Greek island for a week and returned to London for a two week university field trip in Wales. But then… finally… it was time to properly kick off my summer!

And what better way to do so than go on a hiking trip with my Dad and his three 50 year old friends. No, not lame at all…

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We spent three days in the Salzburg area around Filzmoos and ended our trip with a visit to a two Michelin Star local restaurant. I mean it when I say that I was looking forward to some time in the mountains, surrounded by fantastic panoramas and breathing fresh air. But no one seems to believe that I was there for any other reason than the infamous Johanna Maier experience.

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We returned to the valley at golden hour and stuffed our cheeks with amazing, homey traditional Austrian food. Then one, two Schnapserl and I was ready for bed. The next morning we set off for a 16km hike with a 1500m climb. But about half way in we found ourselves surrounded by thick grey clouds, heavy with rain, so I packed away my camera safely and put on everything plastic I was carrying in my backpack. The rain came down in torrents and soon my waterproof coat was not so waterproof anymore. The last 4 hours, I was very miserable. I was soaked down to my underwear and the wind up at 2000m seemed ice cold. My thighs were sore and there was still more than a third of the way ahead of me.

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The horrible and wonderful thing about hiking is that there is no other option but to keep going. After a certain point, you can’t turn around anymore and you need to follow through with your initial plan, no matter the weather, no matter the muscle ache. Ironically, it can be rewarding to be stuck in such a situation. Once you arrive at the final destination, all the pain and cold is quickly forgotten when you sit around the fireplace and play cards all night long. You’ve finally reached the mountain hut, but you feel good about yourself and all you wanna do is get outdoors again as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately though the bad weather lasted and just when our entire equipment was dry again, we had to head back out. I pulled the full body plastic cloak over my head to avoid yesterday’s mistake but it was the group’s decision to cancel the 20km route and to take the most direct way back down to the valley. In Filzmoos, the big boys napped for a while until it was time to exchange the hiking gear for a suit. I really liked dinner at Johanna Maier’s Hubertus with the great company of four old men. It was a quiet evening in the award-winning restaurant and so we enjoyed the staff’s full attention. The head waiter had fun serving such a bunch of wine connoisseurs that he brought out the most special gems of his collection. All in all, dinner lasted four and a half hours. Finally time for bed.

Despite the gloomy weather, the three days in my beautiful home country were an amazing way to kick off summer, which is filled with lots of exciting travels to come!

2 thoughts on “The hills are alive”

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