We are not a family of skiers. Yes, this probably should have disqualified us from living in Austria. Add to that the relative lack of dog sitters over the Christmas holiday (Clayton Theodore does not do kennels) and the fact that we do not do staycations, and up until about a week before Christmas our travel plans were looking plenty dismal.

Saved by what turned out to be an incredible last-minute resort getaway offer, we loaded the Thule and pointed the wagon toward Tirol on the day after Christmas. Tirol always makes us happy; add to that a family suite with balcony, mountain view, spa and half-board dining, and we were rather giddy as we pulled away from the house.

It is known that Clayton Theodore is perhaps a bit spoiled. In that he receives a plain hamburger from McDonald’s on any road trips requiring a rest stop kind of spoiled. He knows it, too. Just look at that Foxhound Focus.

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Did I mention that the resort happened to be not just dog-friendly, but Austrian dog-friendly?   One of the two resort restaurants offered canine travelers their own menu; and the totally enclosed canine playground adjacent to the resort included a seasonal swimming pond. In our suite, His Highness was provided his own bed, bowls, snacks, and a door tag to alert housekeeping of his presence.

Another incredible feature of our resort village? It was open! On a holiday! (26 December is St. Stephens Day in Austria, and as I routinely grouse, the Viennese squander no opportunity to shutter stores and quell liveliness.) After checking in we strolled through the postcard village, poking into shops and oohing and ahhing at the Karwendel peaks. Yet one more reason to love Tirol.

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Our dining included a five-course meal that changed every evening, and offered modern adaptations of traditional cuisines as well as international and vegetarian menus. And an exquisite wine list.  This particular entree is roast duck with parsnip puree and apple crisp.

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After a brisk and beautiful morning constitutional with Clayton Theodore the next day, and a few minutes spent with the terribly helpful resort staff, we decided to undertake a moderate 10km hike along the Wildmoos Alm (Wildmoos Meadow) to break in the new hiking poles Tony received for Christmas. Simply gorgeous.

More or less halfway along the route is Lottensee and its Hütte, except, being an alpine lake in winter meant Lottensee was dry, naturally. The outdoor tables were busy, and so we were especially happy to find one at which we could bask in the sun and share plates of traditional Hütten “snacks” of Käsespaetzle and Gröstl. If you notice the portion sizes, you’ll understand why we shared!

The second half of our hike rewarded us with even more spectacular scenery.

The hiking, the food, and the fresh alpine air meant we all needed a little solarium time before dinner…

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