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A drive through Italy, Swarovski crystals, and Innsbruck's Nordkettebahnen

sunny 78 °F

Sunday July 31: Today we left Oberdrauburg for Innsbruck. The fastest route took us through part of Italy.


We stopped in the town of Rio Pusteria for a lunch of spaghetti and gelato, both of which were quite tasty. We communicated with the waiter with a mixture of Spanish, English, German, and Italian--quite a hodgepodge, but it worked.

The drive was very pretty. In addition to the mountain scenery, we spotted several castles (or buildings that looked like them) from the highway.


Once we reached Innsbruck, it was time to hit the playground. We then did some walking around the old quarter of the city (Allstadt), had dinner, and called it a day.

Innsbruck's famous Golden Roof commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I

The Inn River

Monday, Aug. 1: This was our big sightseeing day in Innsbruck. We started off at the Swarovski Crystalwelten (Crystal worlds), which is just outside of the city. It wasn't exactly what we expected. Some of the exhibits, like the largest and smallest crystals they had made, or the crystal-themed works by different artists were fun and not too surprising. However, the dark passageways, giant theme, and the mechanical theater of dancing pants and shirts were rather unusual.

Entrance to the Crystalwelten (the Giant)
The largest crystal
Crystal tree by Alexander McQueen
Funky passageway
Large crystal jellyfish

Unexpected or not, the exhibits at Swarovski Crystalwelten did keep my daughter's attention. Fortunately, she was not in the mood for her stroller because there were plenty of steps. I did see others with strollers, though, so there are probably elevators that I just didn't happen to notice.

The grounds outside the Crystalwelten were also part of the attraction. There was a hedge maze...
and a playground with a great mountain view.

After lunch and an attempted nap, we checked out the Nordekettenbahnen, a funnicular and cable car that take you up into the Nordkette Alps that surround the city. My daughter enjoyed riding both of them. The funnicular route begins at the city's convention center, crosses the Inn River, and drops you off at the town of Hungerburg at a height of 860 meters (about 2,580 feet). The views were great even from this lower point.

From Hungerburg, the cable car can take you as high as 2,256 meters (about 6,768 feet). Because it was later in the day, the highest observation point was closed, so we went to the second highest, the Seegrube, at 1,905 meters (about 5,715 feet). The views were pretty impressive.
Riding in the cable car
Looking up
There was a building with a restaurant and terrace there.
Cows would congregate at the edge of the terrace.
My daughter fed this cow some grass!
On the way down, we stopped in Hungerburg to have some strudel before taking the funicular down to the center of the city. It was a delicious end to a great day!

Posted by amikulski 11:41 Archived in Austria Tagged mountains buildings children animals europe crystals

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