I've spent the last few weeks on continuous travels. After a stay in Italy and a short rest at home in Paris, I packed again my backpack and set off on another trip.
Direction: the Alps.
As a photographer and skier, I could hardly be happier. Thinking about taking pictures of mountain landscapes, skiing on the slopes and trying out some new activities like ski touring or snowshoe hiking, filled me with wild excitement.
During a 6 days roadtrip, organized by The Best of the Alps, I was going to visit 4 charming mountain towns: Kitzbühel, Cortina d'Ampezzo, Seefeld and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. 3 countries, different, interpenetrating cultures all shaped among alpine peaks, a variety of languages and regional flavors - all this experienced in an excellent company of fellow photographers from different countries, as well as dynamic and super friendly organizers' team.
Exploring beautiful nature is definitely something I secretly miss while living in a big city. Alpine landscapes are spectacular and Italian Dolomites are my long date favorite, however it was witnessing the sunrise high above Seefeld in Austria that literally took my breath away...
Getting up at nearly 4:30am had never been so worth the effort. The sea of clouds, immaculate snow and those pastel blue and pink skies, slowly turning into mild orange and gold. Words can't really describe such beauty. Hopefully, images can ;)
And then, the sun came out:
Snowshoe hiking was just as full of gorgeous sights, however such unique light conditions can only take place very early in the morning.
Hiking itself turned out to be a very playful and fun activity, even if requiring some stamina while going up the mountain. However, the absolute highlight was ski touring. Quite tough but extremely rewarding, allowing to fully enjoy and appreciate the beauty of forest and light shining through snowy branches. A free ride in a fluffy snow, although a bit short, gave me a great foretaste of how addictive this activity can be. It is pretty sure that I'll try this one out next winter.
Luckily not all the time was spent on the mountain tops and I had some time to enjoy all of the 4 picturesque towns too. Whether in snowy Kitzbühel or sunny Cortina, there were quite many occasions to wander around those fairy-tale-looking towns and learn about their rich cultural heritage.
Needless to say that I particularly liked excellent ski slopes and first signs of upcoming spring :)
And the local cuisine of course!
Thanks to Audi that powered the whole road trip, we were able to move around independently and take photos off the beaten tracks too.
I believe Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the town where we spent the most time visiting. Nothing strange about that - its unique architecture seems to be the quintessence of a typical, alpine townscape known for rich, painted decorations and wooden details.
We had also the chance to visit an absolutely stunning shop - Trachten und Modehaus Grasegger - manufacturing gorgeous, traditional, made-to-measure clothing.
Fell in love with all those colors, textures and such a beautiful way to engrain tradition into cultural fabric of every-day life.
The day spent in Garmisch-Partenkirchen was made complete by the best sunset location that I could imagine. Going up the famous Große Olympiaschanze - a ski jumping hill - turned out to be the cherry on top of the whole trip.
The bravest among us were even able to sit on a ski jumper's bench.
While others (including me) were simply enjoying the most spectacular view of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, lit up by the last rays of the sun.