Thursday, 14 January 2010

New Year in the Alps

We set off for Austria on the 29th in full sun and thick snow expecting to find Austria looking similar. Wrong it was very green although it was sunny. There was snow on the mountain peaks but everywhere else was green although the mist rising from the valley below obscured a lot of the mountains.

On New Years Eve just as the festivities began, it started to snow. We all went outside to watch it come down, as though we'd not seen snow for a decade. At the stroke of midnight the Austrians in the valley set of fireworks and the sound reverberated and echoed round the valley. New Years Day we awoke to a white world and our drivers were a bit concerned that our coach would need snow shoes to take us down the mountainside to Salzburg. However the roads had been cleared and we managed to get to Salzburg without trouble.

In the Mozart Plaza there was a small ice rink where the children were really enjoying themselves. I would have loved to have had a go with the penquin but think I might have needed several to keep me upright.

Just round the corner from the Mozart Plaza you can see the HohenSalzburg Fortress standing on top of the hillside overlooking the town. Its the largest fortress in Europe and houses a small town inside its walls.
It is quite a climb to the top of the Fortress ramparts and by the time I got there my poor old lungs were protesting loudly. But the view over Salzburg was spectacular.
Back in the town we had hot chocolate and very rich cream cakes in one of the many small cafes in the lanes leading off the main square. Under one of the arches in the square were a quartet of blind musicians. I did take a small video so you could hear them but when I played it back I have a small child wandering backwards and forwards in front of the camera, very annoying so maybe I'll do better next time. (the man standing is hiding the 4th player)
We spent half a day in Mayrhofen in the Ziller valley and thought we'd take a ride in a gondola to the top of the ski run. We weren't sure where the cable car started from but several skiiers seemed to be going in the same direction so we thought we'd follow them. Instead of getting to the cable car we found oursellves in back street where we realised too late that they were taking their skis back. to the rental shop!! By the time we did find the lift it was too late to make the trip.
We've not been to Innsbruck before so we were looking forward to the visit but it was freezing cold and snowy a bit uncomfortable to be outside for long. We couldn't go to the Olympic Ski Jump either (although it dominated the town) because a competition was being held and all the roads had been closed to traffic. Incidentally when you stand at the top of the ski jump ready for the off directly below you is a cemetry!!
Because it was so cold we spent a lot of time indoors. This ceiling on the Dom is actually flat but is so skillfully painted that it gives the impression of being domed. I haven't done the colours justice they were quite vibrant even if there was alot of brown.In the old quarter of Innsbruck there are several 13th and 15th century houses that had survived the WWII bombing. This one was once the main the residence of Maximillian and the panelling shows him with both his wives (not married to them at the same time just shown at the same time). And with his councellors.

This house on the corner is known locally as the "Wedding Cake" house and you can see why, especially with the pink and white decorations. We spent quite a lot in Swarovski's 15th Century shop where I drooled over the crystal and marvelled at the prices.
They had a small exhibition in the basement this is the Swarovski "Wedding Cake" It was a
bit over the top for my liking and as the basement was quite dark rather difficult to photograph but I think you get a feel of what it was like.

Our journey home started off well with sun on the mountains making them sparkle, very pretty. However by the time we got down out of the mountains we hit blizzards, road works and traffic jams. All in all it took over 15 hours to get to Leige where we stopped overnight. When we got back to the UK we had more snow than Austria!!

I have done some sewing since I got back which I haven't yet photographed so I'll keep them until next blog.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Your trip sounds eventful but enjoyable. Your photographs have brought back some lovely memories of our trip to the Tyrol a couple of years ago. Funny that Austria had less snow than us when you got there but your journey back sounds a bit hair raising! I'm having a giveaway on my blog if you'd like to join in. Just leave a comment before next Thursday.