Looking through the window one sees a different world outside - one where everything is covered in snow - postcard perfect. The old grandfather clock is striking 11h00 - there are 2 couples playing a card game at the table opposite me, near the fireplace and across the room are 3 old ladies playing scrabble. The hotel staff are very busy preparing the tables for lunch. The Waldblick Hotel is a family run hotel - since 1918 - by Mr and Mrs Finkbeiner - the son is the chef and his wife is also involved and they have a daughter, Mila, who is 13 months and who also knows all the guests!. It is also known for its cuisine and many people visit just for a dining experience. (www.waldblick-kniebis.de)
George and I start each morning with a swim in the pool before going to the diningroom for breakfast. We have just finished a delicious and leisurely breakfast - I enjoyed the fruit salad, salmon and seeded rye bread - George licks his lips while eating various cheeses on slices of bread and black forest ham (very good), Lize fills her plate with sausages and Nico ends off each breakfast with a second helping of croissants filled with Nutella hazelnut chocolate spread - I tasted one this morning and can see why he can't wait for breakfast each day!
We have really enjoyed being surrounded by snow - whether you are walking in it - making a "crunching" sound or just sitting and surveying the white landscape, it is really a unique experience. We built a snowman on our first morning - we christened him, Franc. We found an open ski slope a few minutes drive from Kniebis and had our first taste of skiing - well, mine was a little less adventurous - I took the safer option of a toboggan. What a fun day it was - it was bright and sunny and the ski slope was fillled with people of all shapes, size, ages and skiing ability - some skiing like pros down the slope and others, slipping and sliding while maing their way down and then trying again. It was the first time since his accident that Nico attempted (with his Doctor's permission) skiing and it was Lize's first time since learning to ski on her first skiing trip. George took up the challenge of snowboarding and after a few false starts got the "hang of it". That evening we spent some time in the sauna nursing our weary bodies before sitting down to eat a much needed meal.
We explored the area around the hotel yesterday by walking across a wide open slope opposite the hotel and then later in the afternoon walking through a forest path behind the hotel. Being Christmas eve, the guests were asked to congregate in the main section of the diningroom for a Christmas message after dinner. The organist from a church in Freudenstad, played some piano pieces from well known composers e.g. Mozart, his daughter sang two songs and inbetween, we sang Chrstmas carols (in German). Mr Finkbeiner read some bible verses and wished us a merry Christmas. We stayed on after the other guests retired and waited for 24h00 when we gathered under the Christmas tree and opened our gifts.