21.08.2011 - 21.08.2011 32 °C
Early start today as I really wanted to tick off a couple of sites, namely the Swarovski Factory and I wanted to get up one of these ski slopes to check out the panorama.
Trouble was neither of the sites really got happening til 10am so I decided to do Swarovski first and save the ski lift til after lunch. So off to Swarovski I went. Caught the bus out to the factory and entered their tourist attraction. For some reason I had gotten the impression we were going to the factory (and with my background I had a bit of a professional interest in how gems are made and cut) however I was quite disappointed. The Swarovski visit is actually a visit to this modern art gallery that the Swarovski company has installed on their factory’s property (and of course the obligatory gift shop). Don’t get me wrong the gallery is pretty amazing. You enter the gallery (which is built under ground) through this towering “giant’s” face with glittering gem eyes that cleverly incorporate a couple of fountains. In fact the whole exhibit is interesting. There is a gallery that uses precision engineering to move around clothing and manaquins, there are glittering gem sculptures (actually every gallery uses gems in some way), rooms of colour and sound. Very arty and very nice just not what I was expecting. In heindsight I really should have known that we wouldn’t get a look in the factory, but………..
I did do the tour of the gift shop but didn’t really see anything that caught my eye (not for lack of looking though!) before heading back into town to go up the ski lift and check out the view of Innsburck.
I actually had wanted to go up the day before but would not have had enough time to get up and down before they closed the lifts. To get up the mountain you first take a cable car and then a gondola. I’m not sure how high the mountain is but I would guess at least a thousand meters (but probably a lot more!)
Got to the top and the view was pretty specky! Unfortunately at the moment here in Austria it is really hot so the haze was pretty bad making the views not as spectacular as I could imagine they could be. At the top of the mountain it was blessedly cool (its well over 30 today but up the top probably about 27) with a nice breeze blowing. Not so sure about skiing here in the winter though! They reckon the runs are all moderate but holey moley they look pretty steep to me!!!!!! There were plenty of hikers and mountain bikers up the top.. I guess they all catch the cable car/ gondola up and then hike or bike down.. Again not sure about biking down! I guess they have breaks though….
By the time I had some lunch and had a look around it was nearing 4.30 so thought I’d better go back down and see at least one more site before everything started closing down for the day. After getting back to town I headed into the Hapsburg residence here in Innsbruck. It was definitely one of the more opulent interiors that I have seen. I’m guessing the old Hapsburg’s weren’t hard up for a buck! Apparently the last Hapsburg died a couple of years ago in America and his body was returned to Austria for burial! Enjoyed the wander through the palace and was glad I didn’t pass it up as just another “castle” (which I am starting to do!!)
Had a bite to eat (Indian tonight) before heading back for some deserved sleep—the old feet are starting to feel it!