13 November 2011

Innsbruck

Innsbruck, Austria marked the beginning of the second week of my European Cavalcade tour. Me and fellow traveler, Christy, started getting into the swing of things - finally getting used to the fast pace of this tour. We had so much fun driving from Liechtenstein and into Austria, blaring "The Sound of Music" of course. I found that the landscape seemed to change as well - the mountains more rocky and, seemingly a transition from Germany to Italy. Upon arriving into the city, our first stop was at Our Lady of the Four Pillars church. This church was small, but left a huge impact. It was a lot smaller than most churches the average tourist visits in Europe, but it was absolutely beautiful. The outside was cheery and inviting and the inside was so intricate, delicate and...dare I say, gaudy? But I completely fell in love with it and it was such a special experience to just sit inside and take it all in.

Overlooking the Inn river, near the center of Innsbruck

          Our Lady of the Four Pillars                                                       Inside the ornate church



Soon thereafter, we headed into the heart of Innsbruck to walk around, see the famous buildings and perhaps visit a shop or two. I truly loved Innsbruck's charm - the unique, iron signs hanging in front of each shop, the pastel-y colors, the way the walls of different buildings created a zig-zag effect - windows jutting out into the street's space. It was amazing to catch glimpses of the Alps while walking down certain streets, making it impossible to forget where you are. It was quaint, charming and magical...and the fact that we bumped into a lively austrian band just a few streets up, made it even better!

Down one of the main streets in Innsbruck

                                                                                                                                                      ©CM

One of the signs hanging above the shop windows   ©CM

The Golden Roof building built for Emperor Maximilian I


Innsbruck's buildings were so beautiful and unique

As part of our European Cavalcade tour, we got the opportunity to go just outside the city and take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the countryside and some of the cottages that dotted the base of the hills. Our whole tour, about 40 of us, piled into two different carriages and were led by some of the nicest Austrian people you could ever meet and who also lived here in the countryside. We started out on a regular road, then a gravel road and then completely in nature - mud, grass, everything. It was SO bumpy, but we had a great time - occasionally stopping for a taste of a local drink or stopping for drinks and snacks at a small hotel. Around nightfall, we headed back for our hotel - watching Star Wars in the local language ("Nay!!" as Darth Vader proclaimed) and enjoying dinner with our newfound friends from halfway around the world (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.) One day I would love to come back to Austria (if only to visit Salzburg and Vienna!). Innsbruck just scraped the surface of Austria's true character.

Heading off on our carriage ride         ©CM

The horses that so kindly took us on our excursion. (They're hugging!)   ©CM

One of our tour mates (with his Liechtenstein beanie!) making an Austrian friend    ©CM

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