Altitude 2012: 24th March

I arrived on Saturday after a miserable easyJet flight. Having paid for Speedy Boarding, which got me through check-in in fifteen minutes rather than eight hours and then into my seat of choice – right at the back by a window, while everyone else on the plane fought over the front rows as usual, I got kicked out of my precious extra-price seat half an hour in because “a gentleman is very unwell” and the stewardess wanted him to lie down for a couple of minutes. Apparently instead of moving the two people who were next to him next to me, they kicked me out and moved him. And then he was “so unwell” that he had to stay lying down. I would like to add that by the time we were even thinking about coming in to land, he had perked up and was enjoying my view while I was stuck in an aisle seat. I hate him.

I landed in Innsbruck expecting to join thirty-odd other Altituders on a coach to Mayrhofen and was astonished to find instead a man standing there at Arrivals holding up a card with my name on it. Yes, I was going in a minibus. But I was the only passenger. He dropped me outside my guesthouse, which is right out at the far end of Mayrhofen and saved me the effort of searching the town with a 19.6kg suitcase following me. I left my stuff in my room, gathered my bits of paper and hurried to the Europahaus, which is a monstrosity of a big white conference centre, to check in. I say “hurried”. The Europahaus is a good twenty minutes walk from my guesthouse and because I’d only arrived ten minutes earlier, I didn’t really know where it was. I walked, spotting things I recognised from having been here briefly over various summers and walked and walked until I was convinced I must have passed it.

I hadn’t. But I was too late. It had closed for the evening.

That didn’t matter too much. I had to collect various bits – a programme and the wristband that lets you into the shows – they didn’t start until Monday so I wasn’t worried. The transfer ticket for getting back to the airport, that I didn’t need for another week. But I had an idea that I was supposed to be starting snowboarding lessons at 9.15am and that I had to collect boots and board and lift pass before then. I didn’t know a lot about the lessons. No one had mentioned whether it was for complete beginners or whether there would be some people who just needed a helping hand and so on. I didn’t know where to go, what would happen if I wasn’t there, whether I was even expected first thing Sunday morning.

Getting home in the dark was harder than I’d expecting. I had to navigate to part of town I’d seen briefly half an hour ago, in daylight. In the process, I learned that my guesthouse is so far out of town, just as you’re convinced you’ve gone too far, you’re nearly there.

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