Lermoos - May Zugspitze, bottom half in shade, top half in the setting sun.

As a bit of a treat for Jules' birthday we headed off to Lermoos to stay once again in the lovely Mohr Life Resort.

After an uneventful drive to Lermoos, we had as good a check-in experience as last time, a glass of pink champagne to welcome us and a room with lovely views out over the Zugspitz.

After enjoying the light lunch buffet a little too much we headed out for a bit of a stretch of the legs. We tried a route just to the north of town, up the Tuflalm to the lookout point above the valley. It was a bit of a climb - yours truly a bit tired from the week at work, and legs not entirely happy after four days of cycling and running. However, we managed the 8.5km with 600m ascent/descent in 2 hrs 15, so quite a respectable time.

Loisach river, fishing for trout.

Back at the hotel Juliane headed off for a massage, and yours truly retired to the bar for a different type of therapy.

On Saturday I tried my hand at fly fishing - good fun after the initial shock of the fishing guide that I'd never done any before. After a bit of casting practice in a wide open space we then headed off to the Loisach river. We didn't have much luck with the trout - Marco said that the water was too cold for the fish to be biting, but I suspect that might have been politeness on his part. That said, Marco caught the only fish of the day - a medium brown trout, and he and I each managed to hook (but not land) one more each. Whilst we were out enjoying the river, Jules had a great western riding lesson, including 360 turns.

In the afternoon we retired to the spa for a nice relax in the very hot Finnish sauna with views out of the glass wall over the Zugsptiz, and a gentle swim in the outdoor pool.

We had a lazy start on Sunday aand after a good breakfast we went for a gentle stroll via Bieberwier and then back around the Moosweg where we saw some Alpacas and some very small baby cows. It was a pretty gentle 6.6km, with 150m ascent/descent and which took us 1 hr 15 minutes. It was a good way to round off a lovely weekend, with both of us happy that the hotel and area lived up to our memories.

Weekend Away Amsterdam - April Small boats on an Amsterdam Canal

Fancying a bit of a change of scenery, Jules and I headed to Amsterdam for a chilled out weekend wandering around and generally taking in the sights. We were very lucky with the weather which was glorious for the entire weekend, which really made a difference. We stayed in the Hoxton hotel in the Canal district, just to the west of the centre which was a great location and a very pleasant hotel with a nice bar and lounge to chill out in the evenings.

We arrived Friday afternoon, and after checking into the hotel we wandered out and found a nice bar nearby, next to the canal in the sun. After we'd relaxed a bit we spend the late afternoon and early evening wandering through town, around the canals and past the flower market. We stopped for dinner at a Thai restaurant before heading back to the hotel. We finished the evening with a cocktail before retiring - quite surprised that the waitress asked us if we were going out for dinner - had to explain that although it was early we were going to bed!

On Saturday we headed down to Albert Cuypmarkt for a wander around. We then continued to stroll along the canals stopping for a coffee and a beer. We had lunch in Stuy Ve Sant wine bar In Haarlemmerstraat with lots of funky shops around before heading back to town. In the late afternoon Jules went clothes shopping whilst yours truly retired to a cafe with a book. For dinner we headed slightly further into town to Humphrey's restaurant for a perfectly acceptable roast ham for me, and an excellent Dover Sole for Jules. The highlight of the evening was the Spanish family exclaiming "Mas Canales" on the way home. We finished with a cocktail at the bar before retiring.

We had a slightly lazy start on Sunday, before heading to Leidseplein for a good brunch at the ITA , then a stroll around Vindelpark, where Jules finally found some Poffertjes after many days of searching. In the afternoon we headed down to Dana & Jaspers for a barbecue - an excellent choice in the lovely sunshine.

On Monday we got up and made our way steadily to the airport for a lunchtime flight home to complete a lovely weekend in Amsterdam.

Skiing St. Anton - February

For my main skiing holiday I headed to St. Anton to spend a week with the Gileys (and some runs with the Olives). I stayed in the Hotel Goldenez Kreuz again, and it was as convenient, well organised, and pleasant as last year. The snow conditions changed a bit over the week, with a good base down, then snowing at the start of the week, then very warm towards the end.

I started the week with a gentle day cruising around St Anton. There was fairly good snow up at Albonagrat, and I also made it up to the top of Schindler Spitz for a run down Skiroute #86. In general conditions were better on-piste, although there were little pockets of soft snow to be found. One change I noticed was that there appeared to be more skiroutes than in previous years - a good addition, I think. The highlight of the day was an excellent pasta tartuto with fungi at Base Camp - possible the best pasta I've ever had. Overall the day clocked in at 42.1km, with 8,200m descent over 18 runs.

Marcus and Wendy on a ski slope with bright blue skies.

We woke up to pretty bad conditions for skiing. It was snowing quite heavily and heavy winds had closed the top of the mountain and even the Nasserein lift was closing on and off. We pottered about in St Anton lower down, but did manage to get to Galzig and back down black #52. We met up with the gang for lunch at the restaurant in Gampen - surprising good, and worth booking a table if you're tempted. After lunch we all skied together down blue route # 50 to finish off a pretty easy and relaxing day. All in it was 22.1km, with 4,900m descent over 9 runs

The storm from Monday hadn't fully blown through by the morning on Tuesday, and conditions still weren't great. The top of the mountain was still closed, so we stayed pretty low and local. We headed over to St Christoph for a late lunch in the Hospice-Alm with the Olives, which was good fun as usual. After lunch we skied down blue 56/55 to get back to the St. Anton side. That wasn't much fun for the beginners - poor visibility and lots of people around made for nervous conditions. Slightly exhausted we finished with apres in Sonnegg. It was another fairly easy day, clocking in at 23.4km with 4,400m descent over 11 runs.

No plan survives first contact, and instead of doing the white ring, we decided to meet up with the Olives for lunch, which necessitated staying a little closer to home. It was the first good day of the week and everyone was out to enjoy the weather. We ended up staying quite low on the mountain where the lift queues were shorter (interestingly) and did some really good cruising runs under Gampig lift, including the red & black in perfect conditions with hardly anyone on them. With a bit of time to spare before lunch we headed over to Reidl for a bit of a cruise around (great snow and good visibility) and where I persuades Giley to do the first skiroute of the holiday - #16 From the very top, which was good fun although it would have been easier in powder skis! We had a good cruise down back to St. Anton then headed over to Stuben Via ski route #75 (Somehow persuading Wendy to go down - I think I’m still in the dog house about that one). We caught up the Olives struggling down route #100 in really terrible conditions - massive moguls for a blue run and generally no fun at all for them. We did a quick loop via Stuben before meeting up for late lunch at Alte Post House in Stuben After lunch cruised back via very busy route blue 55 - a tiny bit better than on Monday, but still a long way from enjoyable. In total the day was 37.3km and 7,400m descent over 16 runs.

View down into Lech town from a little way up the ski slope.

With another excellent day ahead, we decided to do the White Ring from Nasserein. It was as much fun as usual, and my concerns about long queues never really materialised. We stopped at Rud-Alp just above Lech for an excellent burger, but then decided to head back - Giley hiding his slight disappointment about once again not getting to Warth. We did a couple of extra runs on the way back, and finished the day about 3pm having started in the queue when the lifts started that morning. In total it was 37.4km and 7,100m descent over 17 runs

I woke up not feeling great - a bad nights sleep caused by a lousy cold. We had a fairly relaxing start and did a couple of runs under Gampen to warm up, before heading up Schindler Spitz to do Skiroute #86 (Woo managed to be persuaded), then headed back to Gampen for lunch with the gang. After lunch did three runs of blue #26 & #50, both of the Olives doing very well. We celebrated with a beer in Base Camp before heading back for medals for the kids and refreshments in Sonnegg. The day clocked in at 28.9km and 4,900m descent over 11 runs

We woke up on the last day with bright blue skies once again. We were all together for the morning and started out with the Olives, a couple of runs on the button lift to warm up, then down route #50 - not a particular success, but we got everyone down safe and sound eventually. The Gileys and I then headed up to Rendel, for a quick blast around the mountain there before stopping for a relaxed lunch. Suitably fortified we headed back down into St. Anton for one more run down under Gampen to finish - slightly marred by a spectacular backwards cartwheel down the hill by monkey - not seriously hurt, thank goodness. A gentle day to finish a lovely week.