Monday, October 14, 2013

Top o' the mountain to you

I'm sitting in the basement waiting for a washing machine to become free. I feel a little bit like a college freshman, except my bedtime is much earlier now. 

I am in Salzburg. I will tell you about glorious Innsbruck in a moment. First I am going to complain. 

I read a column several weeks ago about the types of direction givers and how basically all but one type are wrong -- giving specific instructions about distances and street names is the only way to go. So tonight, I get off the train and start heading out. I don't have a map, but my reservation email includes instructions that make sense. 

And then I looked at them for real. They're no bueno. Sure, they're specific -- walk 200 meters, turn left, walk 300 meters -- but I don't measure walking unless I'm going around a track. I need street names or specific, obvious landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower or the Mississippi River. I'm not talking the funny house on the corner or the house where the dog never stops barking. Unless that dog is Clifford the big red dog -- street names. 

However, after a few false starts, I walked, I turned, I walked, I turned, and I found it. Then I stood awkwardly by as a guest at the hostel berated the clerk for losing something. Apparently this had been going on for two hours. At first I thought it was her backpack and I totally understood why she was so upset, although there's nothing the hostel will do and we all take that risk. However, I think it was her lock. I was less impressed with the outburst. 

But back to Innsbruck. This was a late add, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. First, the Alps. 

There's a tram that goes pretty much to the top of one peak. Once you get there, it's a bit of a scramble to the very top, 2,256 meters. 

Obviously I scrambled. 

I went to the palace, the Triomphal Arch (put in place to commemorate the marriage of the regent's son, as well as the regent, who died on the 12th day of his son's wedding party. That's one way to put an end to the festivities.) and Swarovski's Kristallwelten. I don't have the words to describe this. Look it up and judge for yourself. 

It was a cool art show thing, but it's really far away from Innsbruck and there's a special shuttle that only runs every two hours. Looking at the map, it didn't seem too far to walk, though, so I figured that was an option. Until we drove for a long time to get there. I looked at the map again. Yeah, the marker for the Kristallwelten was only to point the direction it was and tell me it was 12 kilometers away. Fortunately, I figured this out before I started walking. 

And now I'm in Salzburg doing laundry. I've been looking forward to it all day. I'm starting to smell. 

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