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Back in Austria, Innsbruck and Reith im Alpbachtal

Jul;y 14,15,16 and 17

We drove back to Austia from Italy. This time it was from Bolzano to Innsbruck. We selected a route going through small towns avoiding the tollway. Driving on the tollway is very fast, but you miss the small towns, markets and cafes which are on the normal roads. While driving on the narrow single lane roads we could see the tollway erected on tall pillars high above us.

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Tollway on high pillars above the narrow single lane road

Innsbruck is located in the west of Austria, adjoining the river Inn. It is at the foot of the Austrian Alps. Austria has nine states or provinces. Innsbruck is the capital of the province called Tyrol. It has a long history, has been the home for many past leaders and literary giants. It was selected twice for the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976. It has become world reknown for its famous ski jump Bergisel.
History of Innsbruck goes back to the time of stone age. Later in the fourth century, Roman forces occupied the city. Then in the 15th century, Emperor Maximilian made his home in Innsbruck. During the second world war, Innsbruck suffered immensly. It was bombed no less than 22 times, destroying many valuable historical buildings. Still the old town has some beautiful buildings . One important building is the museum building. It was built by the emperor Maximilian .

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Part of the Museum Building

The building was covered with gilded copper tiles and is known as the building with a golden roof. The main street which is known as Maria Theresia Strasse becomes crowded with tourists in the evening. Maria Theresa's statue is in the centre of the square.

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Statue of Maria Theresa in the main city square

Our hotel, Best Western Plus Goldener Adler, was on the cross road that leads to the main street. We wanted to drive up to the hotel, but the police has cordened off the road for some reason and did not allow us to go there. We managed to drive to an underground public parking station which was not very far from ther hotel. We walked to the hotel and found that our hotel is also in a very old historical building.

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Hotel Goldener Adler building

The hotel building was built in 1390. Among the famous people who stayed in this hotel are people like the Emperor Joseph 11, Poet Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, King Ludwig 11 of Bavaria. There are wall hangings outside each room to show the famous people who occupied those rooms at some stage in history.

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A woman posing as a statue in Innsbruck main square

Innsbruck is always full of tourists. They are either roaming the streets or sitting in open air restaurants and drinking beer or coffee. There are icecream parlours everywhere. Ice cream is so popular that there are long queues to buy them. You could see many women and young people walking with an icecream in their hands.

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Piano Player in the main square

There are several Swarowski crysatel outlets in the town square. We visited both, but Mala wanted to visit the main Swarowski factory in Wattens which is about 15 km from Innsbruck . We have visited this factory long ago during a former visit. We decided to visit it again on our last day in Inbnsbruck that happened to be a Sunday. On Sundays the city shops are closed, but Swarowski factory is open.

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Swarowski Crystal figure

It was a good day to visit the factory. We went through the exibits and then visited the factory shop where you can buy Swarowski jewellery. Factory prices are very reasonable compared to the prices we see in shops. Mala ended up buying a few small articles.

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Entrance to the Swarowski Crystal Museum

Our next destination was a castle in a small town called Reith im Alpbchtal. It is a small town in Austria, only about 50 kilometres from Innsbruck.
We selected this place, mainly because the hotel was a converted castle and we wanted to see how we could spend a day in an old castle. The castle hotel is called Schloss Matzen.

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Open area inside the castle Schloss Matzen

When we arrived there, we asked the receptionist to give us some information about the history of the castle. It was built in the 12th century. It was originally owned by the Knights of Freundsberg. Then it changed hands several times. Improvements and renovations have been carried out by various owners. In 1776 the castle caught fire. In 1873, an Irish woman Fanny Reade bought the castle and renovated it. Her son William opened this castle to British and American tourists. In 2008, it was purchased by the present owners, Rueter family.

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Mala in Schloss Matzen Castle bedroom

The castle is very tall and has four floors. We knew it has no elevator. Knowing that it is difficult to carry bags to higher floors, we requested for a room on the ground level. The hotel staff were veery understanding and the only room that was at the ground level has been allocated for us. We still had to park the car outside the castle and drag the hand luggage along the steep stone paved path. The entrance to the castle is a huge metal door. After checking in, we just entered into our room that was in the corner pasaage of the ground floor.

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Schloss Matzen castle seen from the road

We had the entire ground floor and the outside furniture at our disposal. The room was huge and the furniture was antique but not very old, may be close to hundred years . The bathroom was elegantly decorated and had modern equipment. There was no air conditioning . Mala checked with the reception why they do not have air conditioners. The answer was simple. They nevere needed air conditioners in the past. The huge castle with it's stone walls and high roof are very cool even in hot summer. He was correct. Our room was cool and cosy. We had only one night in the castle. We saw several other parties arriving at the hotel. The receptionist is a strong young fellow. He carries the visitors bags up the staircase and putb them in the rooms. The nezxt morning, after breakfast we left the hotel.

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Mala with Fruit farm owner

Close to the castle hotel, only about a kilometre away, there was a fruit farm and a fryuit stall. They sell fruit from their farm. If you wish to, you could pick your own fruits from the farm . We had no time to spend picking fruit, though it could have been very interesting. We just drove there, bought some fruit punnets and started driving towards our next destination, Munich.

Posted by fernando65 15:23

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