I I‘ y!" I
George Davidon slips off
to the Austrian slopes for a summer break .and. like a true Brit abroad. mourns the absence of tea and toast.
It wasn‘t a promising start. Thanks to a delay at Luton Airport — a knock-on from the shambles in Spain — it was dark by the time we reached Innsbruck. and the most prominent feature ofthe town by night was the bright red neon sign of a McDonald‘s hamburgery. I‘d taken my two daughters to Austria to give them a
' taste ofa different culture. and this
certainly wasn‘t the culture I'd had in mind. What had happened to the Austria ol‘ the (‘lzalct School books the girls were reading? Had we come too late'.’ Fortunately. however. American cocacolonisation hasn‘t penetrated very far into this region yet. and even in the main tourist centres. the 'l‘irol is still ceniral European. not mid-Atlantic. in character. British tourists are catered for. but they‘re not pandercd to — though our hotel complex did have a Britannia Bar. where for £2 you could get beans on toast or a ploughman's lunch ‘with real cheddar cheese‘. Maybe it had real British beer too. but l never went to look. Finding somewhere where you could get something like real British tea was more important —
.-,_- ’1; 43»
Austrian tea seems to be brewed with tea-bags that eyeryone else in liurope has already itsed.
'l’he Austria ol’ the (little! School days may still be there. but it's pretty certain that the ('halet School itself wouldn‘t be. By now . it would be the (‘halet Hotel. The 'l‘irol is one \‘ast holiday resort with mountains in it. liyen the smallest \ illages seem to haye two or three guest-houses. and in Seel'eld. the yillage we were staying in. it was hard to l'ind a house that wasn‘t a hotel. .-\t present. Seeleld has 250“ inhabitants and 13.000 beds loi' tourists. and there are still more hotels under construction. But despite. or perhaps because ol. the pressures of tourism. the building is done very tastelully and in keeping with the surroundings. .\'o matter how big the hotels are. they are all built to look like chalets - that may sound horribly twee. but the towns and yillages don't look cute or kitschy. they just look nice. 'l'he only place in which I saw high-rise lilats was Innsbruck ~ they were the lel't-oyers lrom two ( )lympic \‘illztgcs.
So what is there to do in the ‘l‘irol'.’ l-‘or a start. there are the mountains. You can do a lot ol' things on or oil the mountains in :\ttstl‘ia. Looking at them l'rom behind a glass ol beer in a Village cal'e in a nearby yalley comes highly recommended. 'l‘hen il~ you want a change ol'scene. you can take a lunicular. cable-car or ehairlilt to
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The List 2 — 15 September 1988 53