Category Archives: Austria
I always liked Austria in spite that it never happened to stay there for a longer time. But every time I passed through things impressed me more than in any other country. A smiling and nice people, amazing cultural tradition that still preserve an aristocratic but casual feeling, great food for decent prices, a “gemutlich” atmosphere, people on bikes going to work, great minimalistic modern design unmatched in Europe all being surrounded by an amazing and deep Central European tradition. I’ve never been traveling in Austria on long hauls but just on short stops in Vienna, Innsbruck, Salzburg or around its borders coming from somewhere else.
Innsbruck, the Olympic city, was a pleasure especially after the rainy weather somehow skirted us. We did not have any hopes after the weather forecast showed three days of rain in a row but in the morning the sun shone over the city. After a chat in the hotel with a group of American kids and teachers from PA and FL who were here on a Bible camp we left to climb the mountain and after several tries in finding our way we bought city tickets (E31) that open you all the city doors for a day and we got on the train going to Hungerburg and further with the cabin to Seeburg at 1905 meters and Hafelekar at 2248 meters. The weather was quite iffy, with lots of clouds traveling on the side of the mountain that blocked the entire view of the peaks. So in spite of the lack of visibility to the mountains we still decided to climb it. The decision proved to be right because on top the view was magnificent with the craggy peaks of the Alps surrounded by moving clouds in a very spooky atmosphere.
We shot great footage and walked around on all the peaks deciding in the last moment to walk down to Seeborg on a very steep and rocky road that took a little more than an hour. The clouds were moving continuously and occasionally the view opened over the city for a short while to close up again for a long periods. From Seeburg we took the cabin to Hungerburg and after a short stop in Alpen Zoo we got down in the city center that was beaming with life.
The time was short but we were able to fast walk in the old town, adorned with the beautiful buildings renovated recently and conferring an impeccable air to its center. A concert in Hofburg, the old town castle, a quick visit to the Golden roof, a tentative climb in the tower and a pleasant walk on the numerous gasse lost in the medieval atmosphere. In the evening we returned to the hotel where we were able to leave the car for the entire day, booked on iPhone a hotel close to Bolzano and left for Italy. The hotel we booked for the night was in Laives, close to Bolzano. We found the town in a great celebration. They told us that is nothing special just a “festa” for the town, a very Italian event with music, food, drinks, good spirit and dance till midnight.
We arrived in Vienna in the night and we zipped to have dinner in Leoopold restaurant, somewhere near Votive Kirche. The temperature dropped amazingly and it felt extremely cold. The people were wearing late fall coats and we just arrived from over 100F… So we ran, more than walk, to get to the pedestrian area and we just took a brief look inside St. Stephen Cathedral
We flew to Vienna where we rented a car in the airport, a charming small European car so different from the tanks that we drive in the US and planned to drive through various countries in the Balkans, a term that is not very fond for the people of Slovenia or Croatia. But before anything else we watched in Vienna the Euro2012 final match where the Spaniards won superbly. The original plan was to shoot first in Hungary and Serbia followed by Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Slovenia finishing in Vienna. But when you put the available days on paper you realize that is not enough time so we dropped it and drove directly to Slovenia. We stopped on the way in this village in Austria its name maybe giving a hint of the original inhabitants.