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Hey Canadians, Lets Not Wimp Out

Posted by Dani on February 26, 2014

Snowy Bike in Paris
This winter has been brutally cold. It has tested our Canadian mettle.

Canadian mettle apparently can be fairly easily tested, as I found out during last spring’s trip to Europe. Paris in the spring last year happened to be very cold, and even snowy. My family was there for a stopover on a ski trip to Austria, so we were able to make good use of the warm gear we had packed in our ski bags. The nicer clothes we chose for Paris were tossed aside, and we put on our Canadian woolies.

Notice at Notre Dame Cathedral - Closed Due To Snow

These weren’t even enough when we got to the Austrian Alps and the sub-zero temperatures hit us hard. We loaded up on more merino wool base layers in the local town. So much for being hardy Canadians.

Girl With Goggles Drinking Cappuccino

How did that happen? Weren’t we supposed to be used to the cold weather? We’re Canadian. Our country includes the North Pole. And those well-dressed, stylish Europeans put us to shame.

Do you know what Europeans do during cold weather? They sit in outdoor cafes and sip chilled sparkling wine. Not giant cups of hot mulled wine held in frozen hands – no, they drank sophisticated COLD drinks. While we shivered.

Outdoor Cafe, Austria

And they did this while wearing fashionable leather shoes, not sheepskin lined Uggs, or giant Sorels rated to -40. Stylish Parisians will not give up their outdoor cafes, or their style, even during the winter.

Some of the Austrian cafés came with little sheepskins thrown over the chairs so you wouldn’t freeze your buns off, or with throws tossed around to tuck around your lap. Believe me, I made good use of these.

Outdoor Cafe With Blankets And Sheepskins

Now, I realized early on these Austrians are tough. You actually have to tell them they are not allowed to bring their babies on the chairlift in a rucksack. While it’s travelling UP AN ALP.

Sign, no babies on the ski lift

An Alp is a giant of a mountain. The kind of mountain that eats people like me up. Look what it did to my athlete of a daughter.

Snowboarder, lying down

I clung to those chairlifts for dear life. The view from the chair looked like this. Can you imagine your kid dangling over this? Do we dangle out kids over the Rockies? Nope. No wonder the Austrians grow up tough, while we stay inside and shiver.

Austrian Alps

These people actually think about hitching a kid to their back, riding up a mountain, and skiing down. And then stopping at an outdoor café for a shot of Jagermeister. Probably one for the kid, too.

Jagermeister sign

As we passed outdoor café after outdoor café, I started thinking it might actually be nice to take a bit of this attitude home. They weren’t afraid of winter – they completely ignored it and went about their business having fun and socializing on the streets. No hibernating at home for these people.

So did that inspire me during this past freezing cold winter? Nope. I kinda forgot all about it, and went back to my normal complaining about the cold. Until recently when I saw these holiday pictures again. The only exception was this awesome party we attended to watch the NHL Winter Classic outdoor hockey tournament – while outdoors. In -20 weather. We watched the game, and then kept partying, even dancing on the frozen swimming pool. See? It can be done. Booze helps, but it can be done.

Backyard party in the snow

Chilly Vodka

Hopefully there won’t be too much left of this crazy weather, despite what the groundhog said. But, however many cold weeks are left, we might as well make the best of it.

We need to take a lesson from the Parisians and Austrians and get outside. Embrace the weather. Go for a walk. Grab a coffee. Be brave and drink something fancy that’s chilled. After all, we’re Canadian – we ARE winter! If there’s any winter where we need a little of this attitude, this is it.

And we shouldn’t be afraid to wear nicer shoes. They go much better with chilled bubbly.

 

Check out more of our Paris and Austria posts – our Paris Apartment, Hermes On The Rive Gauche, and Austrian Hearts.

24 Responses to “Hey Canadians, Lets Not Wimp Out”

  1. Anne says:

    Guess I’ll leave Austria to the Austrians! Enjoy your hypothermia people, I’ll stay indoors until the worst is over!!!!!!!!!

    lol

  2. Shauna says:

    I know I’m Canadian, but I just can’t adapt to the cold! Not gonna happen!

  3. What a great post! I like the idea of sipping chilled wine, drinking coffee in an outdoor cafe, and I LOVE the chilled Vodka – now that’s a shot of pretty inspiration! My daughter is the Jagermeister lover in this household – maybe I’ll challenge her to get out there first! 😉

  4. I do love how Europeans brave the cold, sit outside in the square at bistros, bars, coffee shops, and just generally get outside more than we Canadians… I think it has to do with our living in the suburbs, driving cars, having heated garages, etc. It is a different mindset for sure!

    • Dani says:

      You’re so right, Karen. Every time I see it, I want to be like that. Hard to integrate into our lives, though. But I remain optimistic 😉

  5. I love winter!! The cold doesn’t bother me thankfully since this has been one wicked winter!

  6. I’m not a Winter person. Well, I like sitting inside and looking out at it… does that count?? Your backyard party looked great, eh and that Vodka idea is cool. Yeah, cool. Like Winter!

    • Dani says:

      I’m totally with you Heather, but after this winter I thought I would try to change up my attitude. NOT going as well as I’d hoped!

  7. Okay winter aside what an amazing trip that must have been! The views alone are stunning, but carrying a kiddo on your back up a mountain would have me running for the airport, LOL. I love the idea of the throws put outside for patrons of the cafes though. They certainly are hardie stock!

    • Dani says:

      It was an awesome trip for all of us. And the Austrians are really outdoors people! My husband’s aunt used to hike with a folding canoe on her back so she could paddle down a river! I have a LONG way to go to get there!

  8. Jenn says:

    Great post!! I wish more people would embrace the cold!! I love the idea of an outdoor cafe in winter!! What fun!

    • Dani says:

      Actually outdoor cafes with sheepskin throws are just the thing that would get me outdoors on a cold day 😉

  9. Ok, I am totally wimping out on this winter… maybe if I was dressed for skiing I would be OK. But waiting for my GO Train to work in -30oC, and I DONE! I am counting down the days until the snow melts.

    • Dani says:

      Standing outdoors in this weather is no fun. I think a cosy throw and something good to drink would make the wait bearable. The GO Train could use a little European touch 😉

  10. I’m a wimp. It gets below -10 and I don’t leave my house hahaha.

  11. Love the chilly Vodka! In the past we have been ok with winter. Snowmobiling, campfire int eh snow etc. But this year is too cold for me . Looking forward to spring

    • Dani says:

      The chilly vodka actually helped nicely with the cold 😉 Fun activities really help keep the winter fun, but this year has been a bit of an extra challenge!

  12. fun post! I love those outdoor heaters, that is where I would be standing if I was at that party! I don’t think I could do a patio cafe is fancy shoes though, I wear slippers in the summertime!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks Jennifer! The patio heaters are usually my best friends when I get outside. At the party I barely left them!

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