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Published: December 28th 2013
We happily set off for Innsbruck, looking forward to the rest of our journey. We were driving through very scenic countryside (according to our guidebook) but we couldn't actually see it. Occasionally we would get a glimpse and by the time we reached the town of Lofer we could see part of a mountain looming above the town. We made a stop at Au to see the iconic pink onion-domed church but because of the heavy cloud covering it wasn't particularly picturesque. We had lunch at Lofer and by this time it was sunny and raining at the same time. By the time we got to Kitzbuhel you could see blue skies and we arrived just in time for a traditional funeral for a local resident. This involved a procession through town with townspeople dressed in local costume and an Alpine brass band leading the way. There was singing at the church and a purple robed priest officiating. This was not the highlight of our trip to Kitzbuhel, however. The very best thing that happened to us there was parking opposite the phone company that had sold us the "locked" SIM card in Salzburg. There in the wonderful city of Kitzbuhel
a pimply teenage boy, pressed a few buttons and unlocked our phone and returned us to the 21st century. Finally. We were connected. We had GPS. Things were definitely looking up!
We spent a few hours wondering around the very pretty, medieval walled town, every house a different color and the window boxes overflowing with flowers. We then joined the highway to Innsbruck and arrived at our destination of Aldrans in record time (I love you GPS). Aldrans is a small farming village on a mountain overlooking Innsbruck. I booked the Aldranser Hof over the internet. It is a small Alpine hotel with wonderful views of Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains from the room's balcony. It is located next to a working farm and some people complain of the smell and the flies. When we were there, there weren't any flies and although the smell was quite sharp outside, there was no smell indoors. I loved staying there. It was really comfortable and nice staying outside of the city. We ate in the pizza place in the village most evenings. I don't really remember what we ate most of the time in Austria. The food wasn't terribly exciting. I
seem to remember fish/meat/chicken on a plate with boiled potatoes. We ate a lot of kebab and pizza.
Fantastic looking cakes tempt you from every shop window but I never did eat any. An inexcusable breach of etiquette on my part. I cannot explain it. I am still wondering about that. The breakfast at the hotel was good and apart from the pizza in the evening, it seemed to be enough. So food was not a big part of our trip but the scenery was. It just got better and better. Innsbruck is a very pretty, small town, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and with the Inn River running through it. The heart of the old town is a pedestrian zone with fine examples of Renaissance and Baroque buildings. There was an art installation where you opened an umbrella and the song "Singing in the Rain" started playing and it "rains" on your umbrella. Nice. Innsbruck is full of small squares and some really lovely parks.
Before leaving Innsbruck we drove back in the direction of Salzburg and continued our sightseeing from Kitzbuhel. We visited Krimml, the biggest waterfall in Europe. The force of the water falling from 380
meters sprays the entire area with a fine mist. The surrounding countryside is stunning. I enjoyed looking through the souvenir shops and buying bells, slippers and small articles of wood. Nearly all the wooden houses in Tyrol are built in traditional style with flowers cascading down the walls. From Krimml we took the Gerlos Alpine toll road and it is a really exciting ride. The scenery is amazing, very dramatic. There are not too many places to stop along the way. The Krimml Falls is also visible from the road in the middle of dense forest.
Back in Innsbruck we drove to some of the pretty villages around Aldrans, Patsch and Igls. All of the villages have walking paths nearby for mountain hiking. Apple and pear trees were heavy with fruit and the pear trees were grown on the walls of the houses. Many of the houses had wall paintings and mounted deer antlers. These villages also had cow barns between the village houses. Sensible policy in a country with severe winters. I liked Innsbruck. Hope to visit again one day.
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