Alpine Voyage – Innsbruck, Austria
The next stop on our voyage to Munich was in Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck just happened to be on our way, and we were going to hit it right around dinner time, so it was a great chance to stop and see another town. Innsbruck is nestled amazingly in a valley among the mountains, see above for evidence. :)
One of our first stops happened to be a Swarovski store – just for fun. Swarovski is manufactured in Austria, in a small town called Wattens that is just next to Innsbruck. The store had a crazy winter-themed Swarovski exhibit downstairs that was pretty fun to wander through.
Innsbruck has a great historic area (Altstadt) with lots of cute shops, historic taverns, and all pedestrian walkways.
The picture to the left shows the ‘Golden Roof’ (Goldenes Dachl) a landmark built in 1500. The building itself was for the emporers of what is now the Tirolean province of Austria. The balcony itself was built to give the Emporer a place to sit and watch tournaments in the square below.
In keeping with the theme of how ridiculously old things are in Europe, Ryan and I ultimately chose to eat at a restaurant in the Old Town at a Restaurant that was 400 years old. Just because we could.
Dinner turned out to be an interesting cultural experience (and a great Italian lesson), when we struck up a conversation with the Italian couple sitting next to us. My vocabulary failed me at times, but the Italian man wanted to know how Americans felt about Obama being elected. I made some general comments about how I thought it would probably be impossible for him to live up to the myriad hopes that different interest groups had for him. But I quickly found out that what this man was really getting at was that he was shocked that a country that used to have African slaves had managed to elect an African-American President. He said that Americans were still very racist, and that ws why Obama was getting death threats. I responded that while there are some Americans that are racist, the majority are not, and that every president gets death threats. He was not convinced. As far as he was concerned, I was too young to know what I was talking about because I wasn’t alive during the times of intense racial tension in the United States. It was a pretty interesting conversation – I really wouldn’t have imagined that perspective on Obama being elected. I wonder if there are current news reports in Europe that make Americans appear racist, or whether this man’s entire argument was based on hearing reports 50 years ago about racism in America. (Come to think of it, it’s pretty interesting to hear anyone from a country as homogeneous as this one making comments about racial acceptance …)
Conversation of the Day:
(Between us & the Italian couple at the next table – slightly amusing, and good practice with conjugation)
Kate: Lui guido, io dormo. He drives, I sleep.
Italian Man: Anche noi, io guido, lei dorma. Us too, I drive, she sleeps.
His wife: No! guidi, io vedo. No! You drive, I look [around].
(The waiter arrives, and the Italian man orders dessert for his wife)
Waiter: Ordine, ma Lei mangia? You order, but she eats?
Italian Man: Si, ordino, Lei mangia, e tu paghi! Yes, I order, she eats, and you pay!
Quote of the Day:
(After stopping in Verona and Riva del Garda, Innsbruck was our last stop before heading to our hotel outside of Munich – Ryan made this comment on that last leg of the drive)
This was such a great day, I can’t believe we get to do something fun and interesting tomorrow!