Our first big trip since arriving in Germany was to Innsbruck, Austria.  We had such a great time with our friends and would love to go back to Innsbruck again.  It was about a 6 hour drive from where we live.  After a little confusion trying to find the hotel, check in, and find parking, we settled in and started to enjoy the view!  Here is the view from our hotel rooms…

You can see the Golden Roof on the left.  It was built in the 16th century for the Emperor Maximillian to watch tournaments and events down in the square.
Close up of the Golden Roof
Also from the room we could see the clock tower, which we later climbed to the top of!
Kathryn reading to us about some of the sights in town
Enjoying wine and snacks before heading out

We had reservations for dinner at a restaurant on top of a mountain overlooking Innsbruck.  We knew we would need to take a cable car up the mountain, but weren’t exactly sure where the cable car station was, so we walked around town for a while looking for it and checking out the sights.

Cathedral of St. James
The river runs right through Innsbruck and has the prettiest pale aqua color
Most of the buildings here are painted in these beautiful pastel colors.  It makes the town look so inviting and vibrant.

The view from the other side of the river.
We finally found the cable car station!  Those lights on top of the mountain are where we were headed.
The cable car has arrived.

We took the cable car to another station halfway up the mountain, got off and had to buy a ticket to get all the way to the top.  When we got up there, we found a little surprise​…

An igloo bar!  We had no idea it was here, but it was a fun addition to the night! 

Enjoying some gluwein (it was the only drink that sounded good because it’s hot, and I was freezing!)
Gluwein and a fire on top of a mountain, so much fun!
The view of Innsbruck from the top

We eventually headed inside to our dinner reservations, and the meal was delicious!  There were 3 spreads set out on the table with bread.  We were trying them all and loving them, when we started to try to figure out what one of them was.  We finally asked the waiter and found out it was a duck fat spread!  Interesting, never had that before! It was so good, but finding out what it was kind of ruined it for me 😦  After dinner we went back out to the igloo bar to use up our free drink tickets that were given to us by the man in the ticket booth.  The bar was now packed with mostly people who had been skiing all day.  It was funny to see people dancing at a club in all their ski gear and bundled up.  There was some dance contest on stage where the bartender got up and sang “Macarena, Macarena, Macarena, Macarena” to the tune of Macarena, and a couple club goers were on stage with her doing the dance, then she poured a shot in their mouths.  I guess the Macarena is truly an international hit!

The cable car ride back down was amazing.  We were so high in the air looking down at snow-covered trees and steep slopes.  It was almost eerie in the dark, but such a cool view.  It’s too hard to describe, just something you have to see for yourself.  When we got down to the middle station to get on the other cable car, we unexpectedly found out that station was closed!  A few moments of panic set in before we luckily saw a city bus nearby and hopped on that instead.  It was late to bed and early to rise for the next day.

Our first ski day was to Axamer Lizum.  We got dressed in all of our snow clothes, grabbed our skis from the car, and walked around looking for the right bus stop.  All the ski resorts around Innsbruck have free buses from the city out to the mountains.  The bus we rode to Axamer was like a regular city bus, and so many skiers and snowboarders packed themselves onto this thing.  It was about a 45 minute ride out to the ski resort.  When we got there we had planned to take a ski lesson since both of us were new to skiing.  The lesson wouldn’t start for about 2 hours, so we thought we’d try some easy slopes with our friends (the experienced skiers) to see if we could get the hang of it a little before hand.  We rode a tram to the top of a mountain, and by the time we got to the top I was terrified.  Did I mention I’m afraid of heights?  I won’t go into all the embarrassing details but basically it did not go well for me.  Hubby did alright and actually made it down the mountain, I did not.  My girlfriend was so patient with me and I really appreciated her help and calm demeanor.  The run ended up being much more steep and challenging than we expected, not a good place for a beginner skier afraid of heights.  Hubby came back to get me and I ended up walking back up to the top (I didn’t make it that far down)  and it was official that I was done skiing for the trip.

However, the view of the Alps from the top was amazing!

Breathtaking view!

Gives you a little size perspective.  You can also see the trail a little bit.
Hubby did pretty well on the skis but missed his snowboard.

We ate lunch in the restaurant at the top.  It was a beautiful sunny day and the restaurant’s huge window panels were open, making it like eating outside.

There were a lot of people just sitting with the sun shining on them and relaxing
The view out of the restaurant.  So gorgeous!
This is the restaurant from the outside.
Innsbruck hosted the Olympics in 1964 and again in 1976
End of the day, happy travelers!

Once we got back in town, we decided to walk around a little bit before all the shops were closed up.

Checking out the goods.

We wanted a Christmas ornament and spotted a shop for them.  The amount of ornaments inside was incredible.  There were also all these eggs painted with any theme you could think of.  Sets for every holiday of the year.

Which one do I want?

Bustling streets.

We also found a little food shop and picked up some treats.  We had seen on a Rick Steve’s DVD that Mozart Balls (little chocolate balls with a picture of Mozart on the wrapper) are all over Austria.  So when we saw them we had to try them.  I got a jar of macadamia cream-so good.  And after asking if it was legal, we each got a drink to carry around with us.  We eventually wandered back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

Ready to eat!

The next day was a little bit of a picture fail.  We went to the Stubai Glacier. our friends skied, Hubby rented a snowboard, and I enjoyed the ski lodge with a book 🙂  The glacier was awesome, we saw deer and mountain goats on the slopes on the way up.  It was a huge ski resort with a ton of different runs and lifts.  Pictures wouldn’t have turned out too well anyway since we had a lot of snow that day and the visibility wasn’t very good.

Last day in Innsbruck was spent seeing last minute sights.

Mozart stayed here once.
Our hotel!  Hotel Happ was perfect, great location and a wonderful breakfast each morning.
We wanted to go into the Hofkirche (a church) but there was a special ceremony to commemorate an Austrian soldier who was a hero for them, so we weren’t allowed in.
View from the top of the clock tower
Cathedral St. James from the clock tower
On top of the city!

After the clock tower it was time to head back.  We stopped for lunch in Ulm, Germany which is the birthplace of Albert Einstein.  It also has the largest church steeple in the world, which sounds surprising but the reason is because this is a Lutheran church, not a Catholic cathedral.

Inside the church.
It was lined on both sides with these statues that seem to be looking at you
Ceiling of the church
One of the stained glass windows 

Finally time to really get home.  There was little time for relaxing though, as we had Fasching the next day.  More to come on that soon!