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Published: January 11th 2016
I confess, today was a very lazy day for us. Our last day in Innsbruck and Austria altogether, and there wasn't much we desperately wanted to do. All that remained on our list was visiting Ambras Castle and Olympiaworld, and do a little bit of shopping.
Like yesterday, we were in no hurry to leave the hotel. We had breakfast down in the restaurant again, which is expensive, but we came with a lot of money here (well, not a lot, but more than we needed) so we were able to afford the breakfast here everyday. After that, we rested up in our hotel and finished off getting ready before heading out for the bus that would take us up to Ambras Castle
On our very first day in Innsbruck, I had seen a sign pointing to it, and thought it would be nice to walk it; thankfully we decided against it. As I have mentioned previously, Austria public transport is fairly easy to navigate. It lists every stop on a bus or train route very clearly, so you know where you're going and what time you should be arriving. You also don't need to press that stop button
This is taken from a room above which looked over the chapel
for the driver to stop, either - they'll just stop at every location anyway, which is very helpful if you're not exactly sure where your stop is.
The most confusing part is getting tickets. When we were in Salzburg you needed to purchase tickets at a tobacco store (which there are a lot of here, and conveniently placed near bus stations). So, we thought it would be the same in Innsbruck, but when we went in they told us to buy on the bus. They also told us a completely different bus number than what Google had told me, and when we went to check, that bus number didn't even exist, so we went with Google's suggestion. Once we found the bus stop, though, we were able to discover that Google had it right!
Bus tickets were relatively cheap. We managed to get 2 return tickets for 5,40 euro (not each, but combined), so not really out of pocket.
All bus routes stop at Innsbruck station, and as it is only a 5 minute walk from our hotel, it's easy to begin there. Once leaving, the castle was only 4 stops away and about 15 minutes. We
Back then, they played with 64 pieces
had plans to stop at Olympiaworld on the way, but we were unsure if the bus driver had understood that was what we wanted to do so decided to go straight to the castle instead just in case our tickets didn't cover another stop. We would do Olympiaworld on the way back.
I loved the castle! It's not your typical one with those famous jagged tours at each end, or anything, but the history dates back to the 1500s, so it's still old. Medieval things like that and castles and jousting tournaments and knights in armour, are all things I'm interested in, so it was great to actually be in a castle which is still in tact. Albert enjoyed it, too, but he probably wasn't as excited as I was for being in there.
The entry to the museum area is 7 euro each, so not too bad, but you can walk around the garden area without charge (though, I think they had a lot of it closed off due to winter).
There are two sections - the one near the entrance is the armoury, and the other includes things like the rooms and halls. We began
in the armoury, which was interesting. They showed swords, suits of armour and even guns which date back centuries ago. It was the first time seeing jousting poles up close, and my goodness, they're frightening. I wouldn't have liked to have seen that coming at me in a tournament, that's for sure.
After that, we headed to the upper castle. What I found the most exciting part was that although they had done refurbishment of the castle and added a new staircase to go up, they had kept part of the original staircase visible. It was made of brick, and went in an opposite direction to us, but it was still awesome to see. They also kept part of the original wall visible, which had moss growing all over it.
This staircase led you into what was called 'The Spanish Hall'. Unfortunately, there was no information regarding what it was used for, so we don't know exactly, but it was stunning. Paintings covered the room from ceiling all the way down to the walls. The paintings of people represented important people and emperors of the Austrian empire, which was founded in the 12th/13th century.
After this, the
They are a lot bigger close up then they look here
next room was led by a spiral staircase! Yes, a spiral staircase! Clearly no the original, but they probably had one similar. This led into a little courtyard with a few rooms. The first was St. Nicholas Chapel. It's a tiny church, but very beautiful. Up more stairs and you enter another section which shows you old bathing rooms and baths. They were like a swimming pool - not due to size, but to depth. They also had rooms which we would now refer to as sauna rooms.
Up there was also museums about glass and the postal service which had existed in the 16th/17th centuries. Apparently, the Austrians helped to establish a very vast postal service which delivered to the main centres of the empire. It's all fascinating.
We then took a wander around the garden and castle grounds, but they went so far we couldn't possibly look at all of it. There were so many odd paths that led all different ways, it's amazing to think what they had been used for 500 or so years ago.
If only we had a time machine...
Anyway, after our visit, we caught the bus back to
Model of the castle
Because Albert, who photographs for this blog, didn't take one of the real one
the station, skipping Olympiaworld. The research that we had done showed there wasn't much to do there that appealed to us. You could do a bobsled ride with professionals, but that was expensive.
Instead, we returned to our hotel for a bit and then headed out into the old town area for shopping. We had money left over and it was our last day; why not spend it?
Well, we tried, but all I managed to come back with was a Sudoku book and some postcards. They cost me under 10 euro. Albert came back with nothing.
So, again, we returned to our hotel, changed, and decided to check out the casino which was connected to the hotel.
It's interesting, how it works. To get in you need to pay 30 euro, and are given a card with 600 credits on it (this is equivalent to the 30 euro). Rather than coins, you put the cards into the pokies machines and rather than displaying money, it shows you how many credits you have.
We decided to give it a go, and I must have been lucky because my first spin I won about 200 credits,
In the middle ages, rhinos were a myth/legend to the people, and when they final saw one, it became almost worship-like
then every spin after that between 10-50. I changed machines and kept winning more after that.
Albert wasn't so lucky, but we knew we only had 30 euro each, and after that was gone, so be it. I ended up gaining 11,50 euro, but they make you spend the 30 you originally put on the card. So every time I went to get my card cashed in, I got my winnings, but they wouldn't let me leave until my original 30 reached 0. Interesting, but I wasn't too worried, as I'd already cashed in.
We had dinner at the hotel restaurant again, and now the packing comes for tomorrow. The method of trying to squeeze all you have into your bags. We can do it!
Our plane leaves Vienna at 10pm local time, so over 24 hours until we actually take off, but we are both looking forward to coming home now. It's been a wonderful adventure, and we have seen and experienced a lot of things such as historical information and lifestyle differences.
Now, we come back to reality.
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