We're back home now and back to reality!! All that planning and preparation and the trip is over already - but, boy, was it worth it!
Our last ten days were spent in the beautiful country of Austria. Firstly we headed to Innsbruck, the gorgeous city in the heart of the Tirol region, where we were able to experience the city's old and new.
We chose a hotel just over the River Inn from the Alt Stadt (old town), very convenient to walk into the city to take in the sites, visit the local restaurants, or catch a bus or tram to destinations further afield.
Austrians are, rightly, very proud of their beautiful country and it's no wonder why. It really is like living in a scene from a postcard and we never tired of the views.
Innsbruck is full of things to see and do. We visited the Golden Roof, one of the city's most famous attractions, in the Alt Stadt. The roof is capped with more than 2000 fire-gilt copper tiles and was built in the 15th Century for Emperor Maximilian I. It is truly an amazing site and the brightly painted and frescoed Medieval buildings around it, are well worth a look, too. Our sightseeing each day started with a walk through the Alt Stadt and we often dined at one of the many outdoor cafes or restaurants that line the lovely pedestrian-only streets, sampling the traditional Tirolean fare of gulasch and knoedel (bread dumplings), followed by apple strudel.
Walking along the River Inn, buying fresh fruit and rolls from the market and wandering the streets looking for souvenirs, easily whiled away the time but, having been away from home for so long, we were all starting to get a little desperate for some retail therapy. After all, we were getting pretty sick and tired of wearing the same t-shirts every day! A visit to the modern Sill Park shopping centre was just what the doctor ordered. We all managed to find something to suit from the many stores on offer, including the popular Swedish department store, H & M.
Our trip one morning to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds at Wattens was most enjoyable, and we then headed on to Achensee, a popular holiday resort about an hour from Innsbruck, where we swam and relaxed by the lake.
Before leaving Innsbruck we decided to check out the new Ski Jump just a couple of kilometres from the centre of the city. Originally built in 1925, it was rebuilt for the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, and then rebuilt again in 2002. The views of the city from the top of the ski jump are spectacular and give you a good indication of just how close the city is to the surrounding alps.
From Innsbruck, it was time to move on to Zell am See, another of Austria's popular lakeside towns. Located in the popular Zell am See - Kaprun Sport Region, the town is a skiiers delight but has plenty to offer the tourist in summer, as well.
Having visited here before, we knew exactly where we would stay and what we would do - nothing! Our last week was chance to just make the most of having no schedules to stick to before we got back home to reality!
Our days in Zell am See usually started with a walk into town each morning (a leisurely 10 minute stroll), followed by lunch and then something a little more strenuous in the afternoon. We hired bikes and rode around the lake (12km), hired an electric boat to catch the views from the water, did lots of walking and stopped at plenty of cafes for coffee and cake - the Erdbeertorte (strawberry cake) is to die for!
On previous visits we've visited Salzburg (about an hour away) and driven the Gross Glockner high alpine road, so this time, we were happy to stay put. We did, however, visit Saalfelden, about 15 minutes away, to ride the summer rodelbahn (luge), which was a lot of fun.
All too soon, our time in Zell am See, was over, and we headed off to Zurich for our flight home, with lots of wonderful holiday memories.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about our travels.
© Holidays to Europe