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Bonkers via Honkers - to Austria

offshore171

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Many of us would remember the old Cathay Pacific jingle, which used to go "you'd have to be bonkers, not to go via Honkers".

I suspect a lot of travellers would feel different at the present time, with the Coronavirus outbreak, but over new year, we did exactly that.

The plan for the trip was to get to Lermoos in the Austrian alps, where we had booked a stay in the amazing Hotel Post.

csm_I-Luxury-Hotel-Winteransicht_83f52ffad8.adaptive.jpg


Getting there was on points, so we had to be a little flexible, and I picked up 4 x PE seats to LHR out of HKG. These were booked about a year ago, before the democracy protests and virus.

The route was:
  • Staging flight SYD to HKG
  • 48hrs in Honkers
  • CX Award flight to LHR in PE
  • Few days in London
  • BA Award flight to MUC (Munich)
  • 8 night stay in Lermoos, a village in the Austrian alps
  • MUC to FRA on Lufthansa
  • FRA to HKG
  • 19 Hour layover in Honkers
  • HKG to SYD
Family of 4 travelling and departed SYD 30 Dec.




Previous Trip Reports:

Lake Como and Zeppelin Flights in Germany
Bermuda and Boston
 
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offshore171

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And we're off.

Travelling to a snowy part of the alps for winter sports, by necessity entails a fair bit of luggage. So for the trip to Sydney airport, we booked a Tesla X with Evoke. I've found them super reliable and the car makes short work of the luggage.

Then we check in with CX and visit the Qantas lounge. It's standing room only and absolutely filthy.

Flight is uneventful, other than sampling Cathy's in house beer, "Betsy".

lerm - 1.jpeg
 

offshore171

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The original plan for Hong Kong when we were planning the trip was to stay downtown, see the New Year's fireworks and so on.

Then the protests started, and continued for many months.

The accomodation offered free cancellation, so I rearranged things to stay near the Airport, at the Novotel Citygate. The fireworks were later cancelled as it turned out.

Arriving into HK airport on 30 Dec, and I noticed that they had set up a temperature scanner screening all inbound travellers. This was the first sign that something was going on...

This hotel is about 10 mins from the airport via free shuttle.

Novotel Citygate is a large hotel, directly connected to the Citygate Mall and the Tung Chung metro station.

New plan was to spend the 2 day stopover in Lantau island and not venture downtown. I had heard that the crowds were well down at HK Disney which is nearby. Not a huge fan, but a easy way to spend the day and the kids were keen, so off we went.

True enough, the crowds were fairly low, and the longest wait for a ride would not have been more than 10 minutes. The highlight was the Iron Man ride, which I understand is quite new.

Back to the hotel and we visit the Citygate Mall. Noticed that the MTR ticket machines at the Metro station had all been destroyed by vandalism during the protests.

I tried a couple of local beers:

lerm - 2.jpeg
lerm - 3.jpeg
 

offshore171

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The next sector was CX239 HKG to LHR in PE. This flight offers very comfortable timings for a leisure traveller - departs at Midday and lands in LHR around 5pm.

Formalities on arrival were pretty quick and we were soon on the Heathrow Express to Paddington.

Here we check in to the Novotel Paddington.

Next morning we wander through a very wet Hyde Park
lerm - 5.jpeg

To our eventual destination, the Victoria and Albert museum (aka the V&A)


They have a temporary exhibit on historical cars that is worth a look, but the main attraction is the antiquities.

lerm - 6.jpeg
 

offshore171

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The next couple of days in London were a mix of Notting Hill markets, visiting friends, and pub dinners.

The pick of the pubs was The Avalon, in Clapham.


The proximity of the Novotel Paddington to the Heathrow express made the short visit to London super easy, and would definitely do that again.

Next day, it was onward to Munich.
 

offshore171

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We catch the HEX to the airport, and check in for our BA flight to MUC.

The BA T5 lounge is super busy, but we find some space to wait for the flight.

It's a midday departure, but there's been an aircraft substitution. Our seats were in row 12 (from memory) which had become an exit row on the replacement aircraft, and under 16's aren't allowed.

The replacement boarding passes are in steerage - the very last row! The upside is that the plane is chockers and our row has the only 2 unoccupied seats, so the extra space was welcome.

Arrival into Munich was so easy. One of my 3 favourite airports, alongside Tokyo Haneda and Singapore.

We'd arranged to lay up at the Airport Hilton that evening prior to catching the train into the alps the next day. As airport hotels go, this is one of the best. Direct connection to the terminals, nice bar and pool, efficient check in. All the things you want in an airport hotel.

Dinner is at Airbrau, a german restaurant inside the airport terminal.


I had possibly the most german dish ever. Yes that's a bed of sauerkraut underneath.
lerm - 8.jpeg
 

offshore171

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Next morning it's the train ride into the Tyrolean alps and the village of Lermoos, the main purpose of the trip.

One thing about the European train stations - particularly the germanic countries - is they have excellent bakeries at the train stations.

We grab some supplies for the 2.5 hour train ride.

lerm - 9.jpeg
 

CaptainCurtis

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The next sector was CX239 HKG to LHR in PE. This flight offers very comfortable timings for a leisure traveller - departs at Midday and lands in LHR around 5pm.

Formalities on arrival were pretty quick and we were soon on the Heathrow Express to Paddington.

Here we check in to the Novotel Paddington.

Next morning we wander through a very wet Hyde Park
View attachment 205548

To our eventual destination, the Victoria and Albert museum (aka the V&A)


They have a temporary exhibit on historical cars that is worth a look, but the main attraction is the antiquities.

View attachment 205549
Any more pictures of the cars?
 

offshore171

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We get the train out of Munich HB, and take a scenic trip through Bavaria, crossing into Austria just after Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Finally, we are at the main objective of the trip, The Hotel Post, in Lermoos.

lerm - 36.jpeg

So why Austria and why here?

As a keen skier and general winter/mountain/snow enthusiast, I've been to all the usual suspects - Japan, Canada, Europe, US - many times. But for the overall experience and atmosphere, nowhere matches Austria. There's also such a variety of non skiing activities on offer, such as curling, snowshoeing, winter hiking, rodelbahn (more on that later!)

There are places like St Anton, which have the raucous apres-ski and extreme terrain, other places like Lech and Zurs which are known for glamour, and then there's the smaller family oriented resorts like Lermoos.

Here we are able to walk to the lifts or drop the kids at ski school within about 3 mins. Or explore the wider interconnected ski areas of the Zugspitzarena, which spans Austria and Germany.


The other thing I like about Austria, is that many of the alpine villages, including this one, are accessible by major train lines, so no messing around with buses or hire cars.
 

LadyC

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I'm interested to read more of your report - we are just starting our journey as a skiing family so am interested to know about ski resorts, especially family friendly ones.
 

offshore171

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I'm interested to read more of your report - we are just starting our journey as a skiing family so am interested to know about ski resorts, especially family friendly ones.
First ski trips with the kids can be very exciting. My picks would be:

Japan: Myoko Kogen. Myoko Snowsports is the best kids ski school in the world. Simple as that! See the tripadvisor reviews
The village is also compact and walkable.

Austria: Seefeld, Lech, Lermoos are 3 super options. Seefeld is great because it's got so many other activities in the village, and some really nice kids ski runs. Lech is pricey, but has a very good ski school and readily accessible kids pistes right in the village.

Myoko
1lerm - 1 (2).jpeg

Lech
1lerm - 1 (1).jpeg

Lech has a "pre" ski school that takes kids 3.5+
1lerm - 1.jpeg

Seefeld

seefeld.jpg
 

offshore171

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Back to the trip report and we've checked in to the Hotel Post. Now a bit about the hotel.

The Hotel Post is a traditional Tyrolean establishment offering full board (with 7 course dinners!), very large rooms, spectacular views across the valley to the Zugspitze Massif, amazing spa facilities and probably the best hotel swimming pool I've ever come across.

http://instagr.am/p/B7ignNfpOv0/
One of the traditional ways to stay at an Austrian resort is the half/full board arrangements offered at many of the better hotels. I think I managed to get a photo of each night's menu, as well as most of the wines, and these will come in later posts.

There's also a cosy, well stocked bar, and live music in the dining room every second or third night. One night we had a performance from a saxophonist with the most spectacular mullet I have seen since the 80's!

Bar: lerm - 23.jpeg
 

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