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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Two Weeks In Alpine Europe Part II: Austria

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Google Map of our recent vacation

(Continued from previous post...)

Our next destination was the Karwendel range of the Alps spanning Austrian Tyrol and Bavaria, wedged between the Seefeld valley, the Isar valley, the Achensee and the Inn valley. Many of the peaks can be reached by fairly good paths, and the more difficult ones are marked as well, for the adventurous ones traveling without a baby in tow:-)

We were in and out of Austria and Germany while covering this region. The area was incredibly pretty, the weather was perfectly sunny and warm (at least at the valley, was pretty cold at the top at about 2500+ m).

DAY 3: Evening, head out to Seefeld, in the federal state of Tyrol, Austria, destination: Mösern.

Arrived around seven at Mösererhof lodge, settled in and headed out to walk around the town and find a place to sample local food.

Habhof Restaurant was close to Mösererhof and the waiter was very friendly even though we barely spoke German. D and I brushed up our German enough to ask for little things though, and they seemed to appreciate that. Plus a handy English-German/German-English dictionary is invaluable in such small towns :-) And, to our advantage, my aunt, a German resident living and working in Germany, graciously accompanied us, so, we managed just fine...

Habhof menu was good, we had some interesting spread. Bärlauch, (Ramsons) one of the special herbs of the region was in season. We tasted it in a simple potato soup which we had as a starter - even Baby liked a lot.

We had some dinner and headed back to the lodge to get some restful sleep.

DAY 4: Had breakfast at Mösererhof, then headed out early to take the Karwendelbahn rope-car to the top, walked in the 500m tunnel to the Dammkar area, saw some enthusiastic skiers taking off on the longest ski run in Germany.

Got back down and headed out to Leutasch, Tyrol in the Seefeld valley, Austria, to the LeutaschKlamm (Gorge), to take the Spirit of the Gorge trail.

Unfortunately, my camera batteries gave up and i didn't have new ones handy (nor did i get a chance to recharge the other set of batteries I had); so I couldn't get pictures of this "scary" walk - but the pictures in this link shows the trail we walked on - on the lead was Ana squealing with delight and running ahead while her altitude-phobic vertigo-prone mom was clutching the rails and crawling along just to see what all the fuss was about:-)

It was gorgeous! The narrow bridge across the klamm (gorge) froze me on my tracks for a bit - reminded me of Indiana Jones' Leap of Faith in The Last Crusade, but, I made it :-)

Then, we drove back to Mittenwald to pause for a simple lunch of bread, cheese, danish, pretzels, ice cream and coffee.

From Mittenwald, we decided to check out Swarovski Kristalwelten in Wattens. I am not a jewellery-enthusiast and I didn't own a single Swarovski crystal until then. My skeptical mind was tamed by the beauty of the place both inside and outside, more outside than inside. As this site explains, it is not a tour of the factory, but more a gallery for exhibiting artists' works. Thankfully we had Baby's stroller and she blissfully slept through this Swarovski Kristalwelten tour, and woke up just in time to play in the park outside while I looked for some stimulating and restorative caffeine...

They have a store as well, of course, and much to Baby and D's impatience, I *had* to stop in and look. D ended up buying just a small token gift for me priced at less than two fancy coffees, and looks incredibly elegant and simple, just my style ;-)

Then, we drove to Innsbruck and decided to just explore the town a bit, getting as close to Zentrum as possible. Found a parking spot about 4 tram stops away from Old Town Central Square, right next to a Bang & Olufsen store!

We hopped on a tram to explore the Old Town and to find some supplies for the night as we didn't feel like splurging on a restaurant meal again. Spotted Sillpark and found an Interspar there and got some bread and local cheese and beer, some fruits and yogurt for the Baby and headed back to Mösererhof Lodge to rest for the night.

DAY 5: Waved good-bye to beautiful Mösern and hit the road towards Neuschwanstein Schloß.

(To be continued...)

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