Friday, August 13, 2010

The Great Glass Elevator

The plan for Thursday was to go west from Innsbruck. The weather continued to be rainy with a lot more rain in the forecast, but we weren't going to hang out in our hotel room all day. Our final destination was Bregenz at the far west border of Austria & Switzerland. This town has a huge lake and opportunities for hiking (like every city) and water sports.  Our drive took us through the Alps, yet again.

In St. Anton am Arlburg
We stopped for a bit in St. Anton am Arlburg; this town is called the cradle of Alpine skiing for good reason. It is located in a valley between the mountains. Many of the shops and hotels were closed because of the off season. The bakery and grocery store were open to grab a bite to eat. 

Where's the elbow?!?!
One activity that was up and running were the gondola ski lifts. Matt is not a fan of heights, but he was game for the challenge. The clouds were starting to roll in so this was our only chance to make a worthwhile trip. The gondolas were very similar to Willy Wonka's Great Glass Elevator, and the ride was not far off from that as well. We could see the town of St. Anton am Arlburg and beyond, and soon we were up in the trees and clouds. We've seen the Alps for several days but this was quite a different. Riding above the trees and eventually the clouds was quite an experience. There was not a lot to do at the top of the mountain as it is the off season. The WC at the top of the mountain was the best one we've used up to now.

Spooky ride up

Top of the mountain
The descent was different than the ride up. The clouds moved in and we floated back to Earth in a cloud, which was good and bad. Matt didn't have to experience the feel of falling through the glass at a steep angle. We operated on the ignorace is bliss principle hoping all was well. As you can tell we survived the ride.

The way back down
The village
The journey continued toward Bregenz. So did the rain. It seemed that the rain became stronger after each mountain tunnel and the decision was made to turn back for the two and a half hour drive to Innsbruck.

Tonight in the Altstadt (Old Town) was a recreation of a street fair for Maximilian I. Maximilian himself attended along with acrobats, ballerinas, and musicians. We lasted all of about 10 minutes because everytime a "proclimation" was made they read it in German, English, Italian, and Spanish. Really? Just do the show. Insetad of standing with the masses we got Gelato and walked through Altstadt one more time.

To end the evening we watched the Slingbox in the lobby (since the wireless internet does not work in our end of the building) and uploaded our photos to the remote hard drive. By the way we're at about 600 pictures with 5 days to go in the vacation. That's going to be one long slideshow.

As a side note, I'm glad to not be a Blagojevich juror. 12 days and only 2 of 24 counts decided, ugh.

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