Chapter 4 - DAY4 - Heidelberg to innsbruck

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September 10th 2011
Published: September 12th 2011
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Austrian Folk EveningAustrian Folk EveningAustrian Folk Evening

The little guy played Edelweiss on the saw - awsome effort
Today was supposed to be a comfortable drive from Heidelberg through spectacular mountains which surround Fern Pass, our route to the Austrian city of Innsbruck. All started well and we were making good time until we hit traffic which meant we did half the journey at a crawl – making it another long day in the coach.

We drove south into the Bavarian Alps to see King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most spectacular in Europe and to have some lunch. I had goulash and Jeanette apple strudel – sampling local fare! A bit further along we also stopped to see Germany’s highest mountain Zugspitze.

In general the views from the road were stunning, with huge mountains overlooking the green valley’s below. The valleys were dotted with small villages.

Farming is still carried out in the traditional way; a famer might have 50 cows (all with bells around their necks). There are very few fences, apparently the farmers have been there for generations and just know where there farms stop. We saw quite a few examples of a large grass area where half the area was cut and half in its natural state, there were
Germanys highest mountainGermanys highest mountainGermanys highest mountain

Jeanette and I at comfort stop - in the background is Mt Zugspitze - Germanys highest mountain
no fences but one farmer had cut to his boundary.

We arrived at Innsbruck about an hour and a half late but still had time to walk around the city before dinner. It is a city of around 100,000 people and the centre has been preserved as a historic precinct. It’s very impressive, in terms of the historical buildings the star of the show is the Golden Roof.

It is also the home of Swarovski Crystal and they have just opened the biggest Swarovski store in the world. Very exciting for Jeanette she managed to restrain herself quite well and only bought a couple of small pieces. The temperature would be high 20’s and it was an awesome feeling wandering around such a historic city in such a beautiful setting with the spectacular Austrian mountains as stunning backdrop.

In the evening we had an excursion to Tiroler Abend with Familie Gundolf – an evening of traditional Tyrolean Folk Dancing, song and yodelling!

It was awesome, a few of the women in our group bought traditional hats compete with pigtail hair, and some of the guys the funny felt hats

Amazing historic city centre. The building in the middle is the Golden Roof. Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the city
with feathers coming out the top. The girls also had green tee shirts with a yellow road sign in the middle which had a picture of a kangaroo and the wording – NO KANGAROOS IN AUSTRIA! Apparently lots of people come to Austria and ask where they can find the Kangaroos (unbelievably they mix it up with Australia - So the tee shirt was born)!

We had the best seats in the house and were treated to a brilliant show. The cast all played a variety of instruments and the traditional dances included:

The Wood Choppers Dance – part of which involved chopping a log of would to create a unique musical sound (being in the front rows meant a good chance the odd wood chip would end up in your beer!

The Miners Dance – lots of banging on ‘coal’ which ‘catches fire’.

The Jealousy Dance - mock fight between two men over a pretty young woman.

Among the highlights of the evening was a young bloke playing Edelweiss on a saw (just your average garden variety wood cutting one) – amazing! Also the Cow Bell Dance where a woman did an incredible
Tyrolean Folk DanceTyrolean Folk DanceTyrolean Folk Dance

The cast take a bow as our evening comes to an end
job coordinating cowbells of different sizes into a very nice tune.

On the way back to the Hotel we all had a good sing along on the bus – good times indeed


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