Europe 2010:
Day 5 - Austria


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Europe 2010: [Day 1 - Luxembourg] [Day 2 - Germany] [Day 3 - Switzerland] [Day 4 - Liechtenstein] [Day 5 - Austria] [Day 6 - Germany] [Day 7 - Czech Republic] [Day 8 - Poland] [Day 9 - Netherlands] [Day 10 - Belgium] [Day 11 - England]

Tuesday, June 29, 2010: After a delicious breakfast in the hotel, we checked out and found two bottles of Liechtenstein wine and an apology letter waiting for us. The manager of the other hotel got some help from our hotel to figure out what name we were checked in under. All's well that ends well.

We were heading out of the country ...
... oh, wait, we left our water bottles in the refrigerator in our room so we had to go back for them.
So, we were heading out of the country again, heading for the Swiss autobahn, when we decided to drive through the northern part of Liechtenstein instead of going around it.
Here it is. The mountains in the distance are Switzerland, but the hills are Liechtenstein.
There's no "Welcome to Austria" sign at the Austria-Liechtenstein border; just a border checkpoint that we were waved through, ...
... and a place where you can buy your Austrian autobahn permit, which we did and added to our windshield collection. The Swiss permit is valid for one year, but you can buy an Austrian permit valid for as little as 10 days, which is much cheaper.
Austria is like Switzerland except much larger, and with more level roads.
That's not to say that the Austrians don't like to perch their villages, forts, and churches on the top of impossibly steep hills. They do.
This was more of a tourist destination than a rest area. Filled with shopping and decorated like a classic Austrian building, it was a maze of stairs and hallways to get to the restrooms, but that was probably the point, because the shopping was easily accessible. It even had a small museum.
Another pretty church on top of a hill. Note that we'd call this a mountain in the midwestern US, but in Austria, it only merits hill status compared to the mountains behind it.
We arrived in Innsbruck and headed straight to the main tourist square.
With buildings as ornate as the Helblinghaus, you can see why.
The primary attraction is the Golden Roof, or Das Goldenes Dachl in German, which does indeed have a golden roof.
It also has rows and rows of windows, each with its own window basket of flowers.
Also in this square is the Innsbruck Clock Tower. We went inside and got a photo of this model of it.
There don't seem to be all that many stairs to the top from here. It turns out that you just can't see them all.
Here are the mechanics behind one of the clocks in the tower.
When we made it to the top, we had a great view of the square below. There was a little excitement as someone was being treated by an ambulance staff. We saw ambulances in every single country we visited. We decided that Europe loves ambulances.
Here's the view just over the top of the Golden Roof looking north. Our next destination was Seefeld in Tirol, tucked behind the mountains on the left in this photo.
We turn our heads ever so slightly to the right for this view.
From the south side of the tower, we had a view of one of the ski jumps used in previous Winter Olympics.
We need some of these fish gutters on our house.
Our last shot before heading out was of the local McDonald's which blended in quite well with the surroundings.
We had to backtrack just a little to visit Seefeld in Tirol. Through a series of coincidences, we learned that friends would be visiting Seefeld at the same time we'd be in Innsbruck, and they invited us to visit them for lunch.
Leah put together a great lunch for us while Mike kept the Austrian beer flowing. We brought Indy 500 cars for Dexter to play with, ...
... but Chloe was a little more shy until ...
... she found out that Debbie loves Hello Kitty too. Here's Chloe with her Helly Kitty shirt and collection.
They're good looking people, aren't they?
Time passed much too quickly and it was time to leave, so we took some photos.
Being good 4D developers, Debbie and Mike both had their 4D baseball caps with them (although Mike's has been worn significantly more, apparently), so more photos were required.
Debbie was temporarily distracted by the lupines in the neighbor's garden.
Bye! Thanks for the great afternoon!
Back down the mountain and past Innsbruck, ...
... with a very brief stop to photograph the entrance to the Swarovski Kristallwelten (Obvious German translation: Crystal World).
We did not go in because we had a schedule to keep.
Our route to Salzburg took us into Germany briefly and then back into Austria.
Maersk!
After some nasty rush hour traffic getting into Salzburg, we arrived at the Hotel Sacher.
We had splurged on a junior suite, but were surprised to find that we had been upgraded to a full suite. It was named the "Bastien and Bastienne" suite after a one-act opera by Mozart (yes, we had to look it up).
The suite was amazing. It was a top floor corner suite with a living area, ...
... fantastic corner view of the Salzach River and the Hohensalzburg Castle, ...
... and bedroom area.
Our living room table offered a fresh fruit plate, welcome letter, and two small Sacher Tortes, the dessert for which the hotel is famous. We returned the very large key to the front desk when we went out later, and when returned, the person at the front desk -- who was not the one who originally checked us in and whom we had never seen before -- reached for the key and handed it to us as we walked up. Whoa.
Here's the view from the corner windows, ...
... and here's the view from the bedroom windows.
The bathroom was gigantic, with a separate bathtub, chocolate-scented amenities, ...
... bathrobes, slippers, shower, and a separate room for the toilet and bidet. Fancy!
There was a pillow menu with at least six different options, ...
... including the "Men's Pillow," the "Anti-Aging Pillow," and the "Horse Hair Pillow." We stuck with the assortment that came with the room.
We ventured out toward old town Salzburg and immediately took a photo of our magnificent hotel. Our room was the top floor corner suite facing us.
We discovered that Austria, too, has cow statues.
It was just a short walk to the Getreidegasse, the main shopping street in the Salzburg old town.
It's a beautiful little street with shopping, restaurants, and passageways to hidden courtyards.
Again, we resisted the lure of the McDonald's but admired how well it fit in with the rest of the street.
We searched for a cafe for dinner, and stopped dead in our tracks when we found this cafeteria-style restaurant called Nordsee that featured endless seafood options.
Tom had shrimp cocktail and rice pilaf, and Debbie had an open-faced shrimp sandwich and mixed seafood.
Of course, there was Austrian beer too: Edelweiss.
After dinner, we happened past Mozarts Geburtshaus (Mozart's Birthplace). We suspect that we've seen this building on Amazing Race, but we're not sure.

We wanted to spend time in our schmancy suite, so we didn't linger in the old town. We crossed the Salzach River via a different bridge to take this picture of the Hohensalzburg Castle and the Hotel Sacher.

When it was dark, we took advantage of our suite's amazing view to get this nighttime shot.

Day 6 >


Europe 2010: [Day 1 - Luxembourg] [Day 2 - Germany] [Day 3 - Switzerland] [Day 4 - Liechtenstein] [Day 5 - Austria] [Day 6 - Germany] [Day 7 - Czech Republic] [Day 8 - Poland] [Day 9 - Netherlands] [Day 10 - Belgium] [Day 11 - England]

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