//PHOTO A DAY 2013
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Tag Archives: ski
After 8 days of travel, I was happy to have a day off. I did go on the optional excursion to Seefeld, Austria, for a few hours in the morning though. We went to the Innsbruck train station first. More than 300 trains per day come through the station, including the Oriental Express once a week. We took the train to Seefeld where we had horse and carriages waiting for us! We went on a scenic tour of Seefeld in the carriages and ended at a cute little bed and breakfast. Peter, the owner, showed us how to make apple strudel. It was quite tasty. Then we went into the barn. The rest of the day, I spent relaxing, shopping in Innsbruck, and reading The Hunger Games. It was nice to charge my batteries.
Before hitting Austria, we had to go through another country. What? Yes, Lichtenstein, an area the size of Washington, DC, is it’s own country. Obviously, the first thing I do is run to the tourist information stand and get my passport stamped. Super cool. We only stopped long enough for lunch, so after some pizza we headed to Austria. We passed into the European Union easily and landed in Innsbruck.
Innsbruck, Austria was my favorite place by far After unpacking at the Hotel Innsbruck, we started a city tour. What I love about Austria, is that all the buildings are painted beautiful colors! Bakersfield is so plain… We took the bus up the mountain to the olympic ski jump and looked out on the city. Coming back we started a walking tour in the heart of Innsbruck. It’s pretty amazing, because cars aren’t allowed there! What a change from the US. The small, cobblestone streets, an infinite number of cafes, and stunning architecture – Europe was everything I’d hoped it would be.
By this point, we are halfway through the trip and I’ve really started to bond with the other travelers. I believe I’ve said it before, but I’m 22. In my group of 40, there was another girl who was 32, and a few in their 40s. Besides that, everyone was in the 65+ crowd. I’ll never forget an event that happened on our bus ride from Bern to Innsbruck. My tour guide got a phone call and then comes over the loud speaker, “The hotel just called with a message. You know who you are. ‘Your false teeth have been found.’” Then a man cheers in the back of the bus. How funny! But you know, I really did bond with those older travelers. They were from all over the US, first of all, which was interesting in itself. I met a couple from West Virginia. They seemed so small and fragile! I remember thinking, “I hope they can make it through the trip ok.” Then, I noticed the man bought a chess set and I asked him about it – it was very beautiful. He proceeded to tell me that he collects chess sets and has over 500 from all the places he has been. The best, he said, come from Iran. This guy had been to Iran! Along with a list of countries I can only HOPE to see in my lifetime. From that point on, there was no judging books by their cover.
I woke up early to on the third morning to see the Bern farmer’s market. I got some cheese and bread to eat when I got back after a long day of touring. At the cheese stall, the man spoke German constantly. So, in my best German, I asked if he spoke English. He kept going on and on until finally he stopped, looked at me, and asked, “Land of Obama?” At first I didn’t understand, then I realized and laughed, “Yes, Land of Obama.” Eventually, I managed to get some cheese.
After another phenomenal hotel breakfast, we hit the road early for the Chateau de Chillon. We toured the old castle where Lord Byron was inspired to write “The Prisoner of Chillon.” However, the real treat of the day, was seeing the city of Montreux. What a breathtaking city. It sits on Lake Geneva. We saw the hotel where Deep Purple wrote “Smoke on the Water” and the honorary statue to Freddie Mercury of Queen. The alps with the water and the incredible amount of flowers… it was wonderful. I also bought Sean his Swiss army knife here!
Lunch was, again, a learning experience. We went to a buffet with the idea that seeing the food we pick should be easy to manage. Wrong! Luckily, I chose foods that were supposed to be cold – salad, pasta, bread, stuff like that. Others, not so much. Apparently, the food on the buffet is always kept cold, and then you are supposed to ask to have it heated when you pay for it. Who knew? Not our tour group, that’s for sure.
After lunch, we touch a scenic train up the mountain to Gstaad. Gstaad is like Vail, Colorado. Only the super rich could afford to stay and ski there. The only thing I knew about Gstaad is that there was some tennis tournament held there. After a little walking around and some coffee, we hit the bus and headed home.