Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Bridge Over the Inn

It is hard to believe that our time in Austria is half over. It has been amazing and I can't believe how much we have done in the last 2 months. Last weekend we decided to visit Innsbruck. Located in the western part of Austria, it is a 4-hour train ride from Vienna. 

We stayed in the Old Town area at Weisses Kreuz (White Cross). It was a charming inn that has been there since 1465 and has some great history. One being Wolfgang Amadeus, at age 13, and his father stayed at this hotel.
Strolling around the old town area you feel like you have been transported in time. The 800 year old city has so much character with pastel medieval houses along with wonderful gothic and baroque style buildings.
Among the beauty of the old town area, you will find the most famous landmark in Innsbruck, the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof). It was built for emperor Maximilian I as a gift. He would sit under this golden roof and view the activity in the square below. You will not spend much time here other than snapping a few picture, I thought it was a bit underwhelming.
Since there is not much more than snapping photos of the Goldenes Dachl, they provide you with some Austrian dancers to entertain us toursits.
The Leopoldsbrunnen Fountain monument is between the palace and theatre. It is dedicated to Archduke Leopold V who was the ruler of Tirol.
Next to Leopoldsbrunnen Fountain is a public garden with a large frame for toursits to take pictures. Of course, we had to take advantage of this photo opportunity.
It was like stepping into heaven! An entire store dedicated to BACON! 
Don't mind us, we were just acting like big kids at one the parks.
I don't know much about this building other than it is called The Ottoburg and is considered to be the oldest houses in Innsbruck. It is now a restaurant.
Located on the southern end of Maria Theresienstrasse (Maria Theresa Street) is the Trimphal Arch. It was built as a monument by Empress Maria Thersia over the loss of her husband, Francis I Stephan. Maria Theresa Street is one of the busiest streets in Innsbruck lined with great shops and cafes.
St. Anna's Column is on Maria Theresienstrasse between the Trimphal Arch and Old Town. The column was built to commemorate the liberation from the Bavarian in 1703. The statue on top is of the Virgin Mary on a crescent moon 
Happy Austrian musicians....
Although a bit hazy, we decided to take a cable car up to Nordkette mountain. This view is from Seegrube, which is about 1,905 meters (6,250 feet) above sea leve. 
Back on the cable car, we started venturing up to the highest peak.
Oh my gosh, it is COLD up here! We arrived to Hafelekar and I was definitely not dressed to be 2,256 meters (7,400 feet) above sea level in snow.
Above the clouds...
BRRR.... You can see the snow flakes
We headed back down the mountain and ventured over to see Bergisel Ski Jump Stadium, which was used in both the 1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games. 
This is the view from the top of the ski jump. I can not imagine the rush you must feel flying this high in the air and seeing the entire city. I gained new appreciation for ski jumpers after seeing the view from the top.
The next day it was a bit rainy so we headed to see the Castle of Schloss Ambras, situated in the hills above Innsbruck. I have been in a lot of castles and churches in my travels and I am still in aw of the detailing and beauty of the buildings inside and out. 

The Spanish Hall
The arms and armor room.
Scott took some great pictures at night of old town. 

This is Stadtturm (City Tower), built around 1440, and once was a prison. You have to climb up 148 stairs to get to the top. We did this on Sunday and the views are amazing.

Views from the top of Stadtturm

It was a quick three day trip to Innsbruck but we definitely saw a lot. I love so much of Austria it is hard to say which is my favorite place I been but Innsbruck is definitely in my top five.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oh, to be the Habsburgs......

The Schonbrunn, meaning beautiful spring, was built as both a palace and a summer residence for the Habsburg royal family. For over six centuries, the royal family ruled over half of Europe

This is actually an entrance into the Vienna Zoo that is located next to the Schonbrunn Palace

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