Innsbruck, Austria was, by far, our favorite city that we visited on our trip. Innsbruck is a little ski village right in between the huge Alps. The combination of the huge river that runs through the city, the beautiful buildings, the Alps and the snow on them, made Innsbruck our favorite stop.
We started our visit by taking a very interesting tram up the mountain. The tram had individual cars that hung down, but attached at the top, so that when they went up the steep mountain, they could change levels. We even went down a tunnel and back up and in the tunnel which was a little scary. There was only a really short part of the track where the trams could go around each other. Everywhere else they share one track. We figured out later that the tram was on some sort of circular pulley system so it was impossible for the trams to collide. Once we reached the end of the tram line, we took a cable car to a ski lodge where we ate lunch. A good lunch! I had a cheese dumpling with sauerkraut, Michael had Pork Schnitzel, and Brooklyn had frankfurters. I had an apple and pear tart for dessert. We spent a little time outside with Brooklyn making a snowman and then we headed up the mountain some more.
We took another cable car to the very top of the mountain where the views were even more amazing than the ski lodge. It was much windier at the top so we didn’t stay long.
On the way back down the mountain we took Brooklyn to the zoo. The zoo was on the mountain so we did lots of hiking to see the animals. Some of the animals were hiding because of the cold, but we got to see lots of animals up close like beavers, otters, moose, farm animals, and a bear! Brooklyn was a little scared of the big bear getting so close, but we still managed to talk her into getting a picture near him. Brooklyn is currently OBSESSED with bunnies, even asking us to call her Bunny (which is strange because she usually fusses at us when we call her by something other than Brooklyn), so she was really excited to find a bunny hat in the gift shop.
After our trip up the mountain, we went to the center of town to see the beautiful Christmas market. Michael got a really good fried potato that they cut in a spiral, all still attached, and Brooklyn got to ride a pony. We wanted a quick dinner this night, one reason because Brooklyn was asleep in the backpack, so we got a quick slice of pizza. I got pepperoni, which was exciting for me, because you can’t find pepperoni in France, only chorizo. Brooklyn slept in the backpack the whole time we ate, and I must admit, it was nice to eat dinner in peace!
Next stop, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
On the last day in Strasbourg we drove to a small town about 45 minutes away, called Colmar. It was very similar to Strasbourg, but they had more things to do for kids. Brooklyn got to ride a kid’s ferris wheel and a kid’s roller coaster, and had a great time!
The next day we were off to Germany. This, I think, was Michael’s favorite day because he got to drive on the Autobahn! Our little Beamer isn’t much for speed and topped out at 200 kph, but it was still quite the experience. What surprised me was that transfer trucks were allowed to be on the Autobahn. They did have a speed limit, but I still thought that was odd. Also, some people still went a fairly normal speed. Michael had a great time and was only a little jealous when a Ferrari roared by.
We stopped at a Beergarden for lunch and had some really good German food. They gave us pretzels to start with and we had the pork snitzel and a turkey soup in pepper gravy. Yum! We chose this beergarden because they have a herd of reindeer and Brooklyn enjoyed seeing them very much! We spent the rest of the night walking around downtown Munich and wandering around the Christmas market. We ate dinner at a sushi restaurant that had a conveyor belt and Brooklyn really enjoyed getting us new plates when we saw something we wanted. We ended the night by going to the Hofbrauhaus. Michael had been to one of these restaurants in Las Vegas and wanted to go to the original one too. The restaurant is a huge building with lots of tables with bench style seating. You basically sit wherever there is room, even if it is with another family. They have a band that plays music and the beers are HUGE! I’m glad we got to go experience this place, even if it was only for a little while.
My favorite part of Germany was going to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. It was neat just driving there and getting to see the snowy German countryside. Right before we got there we saw a white church surrounded by snow that was so pretty, it looked like a postcard. Before we got to the castle, we took some pictures of Brooklyn in the snow. If you look very closely, you can see the castle in the background. The castle is called Schloss Neuschwanstein. Don’t quote me on this, but the shortened version is that the King of this castle passed away before it was finished so only 1/3 of it was finished. Crazy, huh?! Especially considering it is still humongous! After his death, they opened it to the public. We didn’t get to see a lot of it, but what we did see was very neat. This castle is also the inspiriation for Cinderella’s castle.
Next stop is Austria!
This past week we traveled to Strasbourg, France for three days. Everyone kept telling us that we must go to Strasbourg at Christmastime and see the Christmas markets, so we did!
Strasbourg is extremely close to the border of Germany so the town has lots of German influence in the buildings and the food. We really enjoyed seeing the city, especially the old part called “La Petite France.” Strasbourg has canals running through the city and while we were walking along, we realized they have a lock canal to get the sightseeing boats from a lower body of water to the higher canals. It was very interesting to watch. To me the best part of the city was the decorations. The stores do a fantastic job of decorating the buildings with huge wrapped presents, animals, and greenery, to name a few. My favorite was the pigs, of course, and Brooklyn’s favorite were the winged horses. Michael’s favorite was when we weren’t shopping. 🙂 There were many Christmas markets scattered throughout the city, but I wasn’t very impressed with them, hoping for more handmade gifts and ornaments, but it was still nice to see.
I’m not sure that I would want to visit Strasbourg in the Summer, but I am still glad we came. And now we are off to Germany!