Saturday, 19 January 2013

Austria part 2- Innsbruck

Our flight from Gatwick took us to Innsbruck airport. We bumped down between the alps in the largest city of the Tirol valley. On our first day in Austria, we were given a brief tour of its picturesque old town area. This included the famous Goldenes Dachl (golden roof) shown below and in the distance, below left, juxtaposed against the golden arches of modern day fast food. Next to it are photos of the Stadtturm, the old watch tower in Innsbruck.

Here are some photos of the wonderful town center. I have to say I found the newer and the commercial parts of Innsbruck less charming. It is their squat blockiness combined with  small square windows that no doubt are very practical but that I feel that gives the buildings an ungainly and ponderous air. It is all just too hefty and solid.

Dotted around the old town are depictions of fairy tales. On a bright sunlit day these hanging figurines are pleasant enough. But for myself, with just the thought of wandering those streets alone in the fog, am more inclined to find them a little disturbing. The brooding forests in the backdrop certainly cast an ominous air too and calls to mind the Black Forests of Germany. While not the fabled forest itself, these Austrian variants certainly were really dark! They weren't at all like the bushier pines in France and Swizterland that I am used too. Those were friendly trees that grew at healthier proportions. The trees on Glungezer were crazily tall and huddled close to each other, with an occasional threadbare trunk teetering up high over its companions and defying any concept of gravity (examples of this can be seen in my previous post)

We also dropped by a Swarovski boutique (one of the largest in the world). There was a range of displays, from intricately cut dragons and animals to Swarovki element studded golf balls. Really, it felt more like a gallery than anything else, full of people ambling around and ogling crystal sculptures. But amidst all that splendor, what delighted me most  were these cute little forms.

The day after our arrival, we trundled back to Innsbruck as spectators to the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup at the Bergisel Ski Jump Stadium. I have watched this on the television before, but it doesn't half capture the distances the competitors fly nor how steep the slope really is. It becomes magnitudes more interesting when you can see people whizzing past your head and the 3 hrs we stood there with our heads crane up into the rain hurried by surprisingly quickly. The Austrians were also very good at working up an atmosphere. Multitudes of flags were whipped out and swung around, flicking muddy rainwater on us with each swipe I might add, to cheer every Austrian participator. True to their hopes, it was won by Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer.

This blog will be moving to a new, more appropriately named, domain soon:
Updates soon to come!

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