June. My final month in Innsbruck.
I would like to invite you on a jaunt through June.
On the first Sunday of this fine, summer’s month, after a night spent in a mountain hut, I was a long way above sea level, battling my way through Mother Nature’s fury with Serena (half-Swedish half-Austrian and passionate for adventure). We fought through hail and snow, thunder and lightning and an adrenalin-wrought descent through the thickest of thickets. We waded waist-deep through glacial melt-water and trudged on and on, shivering, hungry and exhausted, until suddenly (finally) we crossed the border into Italy. Italy, where the sun was shining on luscious green meadows and there was a pizzeria just around the corner. Sometimes the stereotypes are true.
Lesson learned: Sometimes it’s ok to take the easy option.
A week later, we were hiking again, except this time, the sun was shining and we were on a mission: to rescue a forgotten T-shirt and to swim in Tyrol’s largest and coldest lake, Achensee. A German with a beer in his hand had stopped us at the halfway hut, given us his mobile number and asked us to retrieve the T-shirt he had left at the peak. As for the lake, that’s self-explanatory: where there’s a lake, there’s a swim.
Several hours later, the sun had set, we were standing shivering on a pebbly beach, but our mission was complete.
Munich was next. I was introduced to Bavaria’s capital by Alexandra and her parents, Andrea and Armin. I first met this wonderful family when I stayed with them eight years ago for my school exchange, and spending the day with them in Munich reminded me of their extraordinary kindnesses to me and of the precious time we had spent together in England and Germany on numerous occasions. Munich is, of course, famous for its Weißwürstl, its beer, its Rathaus-Glockenspiel; what I didn’t expect, however, was a strong surfing scene. Experts of the sport displayed their talents on what is known as the Eisbachwelle, while members of the public looked on, somewhat lost for words. Yes, I live near the sea – but no, I can’t do that.
While in Munich, I also returned the T-shirt to its rightful owner – and received 50€ for my efforts!
The last half of June in brief (to reflect the speed at which the time flew by): I spent a relaxing weekend away with a group of Christians from Innsbruck; Harriet, a friend from Durham, came to visit me for a few joy-filled days ; and my farewell party*.
All good things come to an end, they say. Still, my excitement for what’s next alleviates the pain of goodbye: I have finally managed to organise the rest of my summer! After spending a few days in my home university town for my friends’ graduation (I’m on the train to Durham as I write this), I will spend a month working as an Activity Leader at the Devon School of English in Paignton. My Year Abroad isn’t quite over, however! The call of Russia was just too strong to resist, and at the beginning of August I will return to St Petersburg for a two-month internship with Eclectic Translations.
But all that belongs to another month’s story…
*I have done academic work this month, too. I promise. I’ve learned more about the madness of Gogol and developed my ability to debate in Russian.