20.08.2011 - 20.08.2011 33 °C
Late start today as I gave Allison a lift to the train station for her 11am train. After dropping her off I began the drive to Innsbruck (with TomTom avoiding toll roads!) The sat nav lead me along the most beautiful back roads through the Tyrol. Gosh the alps in Austria are breathtaking (I know that I tend to make this comment every second day but the landscapes just keep improving!)
The drive from Salzburg to Innsbruck took about 4hrs, and the drive was very pleasant.. Slow tour through the mountains… Aah.. Lots of steep rugged mountains, covered in dense pine forests and twisty, windy roads. Made a stop in a small ski resort town of St John for morning tea.. Gee its funny to see ski slopes without snow on them! Just green pastures in the middle of dense pine forests. I think it is also interesting to see the chair lifts and gondolas running even though there aren’t any skiers going up! More often than not I could see mountain bikes and their riders going up as well as an occasional dog and its owner!! (yep the dogs sit on the chair lift and up they go.. not sure if I would want to try and hold my dog down once it gets up off the ground but… Just thinking out a loud but how do you get off a chair lift if there isn’t any snow????? You can’t ski off.. do you have to run off??????)
Arrived in Innsbruck just before lunch so went downtown and got myself a tasty panini for lunch and went hunting for the tourist bureau. When I found it I decided to do something that I don’t normally do and purchased a card for discount travel etc for Innsbruck (the Innsbruck Card). I don’t normally buy these cards because more often than not you can’t use the value before it runs out, but in the case of Innsbruck there were a couple of things I wanted to do and when I worked out how much they were going to cost it was going to be cheaper to buy a card!
Once I had my card I really only had two hours before most things closed so I decided to go and do some site seeing in the Aldtstad (Old Town). The market square is dominated by a very old palace that is most famous for having a golden roof. (The whole roof of the palace isn’t made of gold- just a small balcony’s roof is made of gold). The golden roof and it’s balcony’s frescos were actually protected during the second world war by a huge concrete wall that was placed around this famous Innsbruck landmark. This palace was built for Maximillian II of the Holy Roman Empire (fore runner to the Hapsburg Empire) and king of the Tyrol.
The palace is now a museum dedicated to Maximillian II and his direct descendants. I would love to have more time to properly understand the links and inter marriages of each of the countries back in the 15th to 19th Centuries as I find it amazing that most of the countries in continental Europe were “owned” by multiple different countries over the years.. The Tyrol is a good example, it has been French then part of Holy Roman Empire, then Austria, then Germany, then back to Austria again!
Spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the different shops and buildings in the Old Town just soaking up the atmosphere. Went to bed early tonight as I have a big day planned for tomorrow!