Our Austria tour didn’t end in Austria. Crossed the north border, we wanted to see more of Alps in Bavaria, southern part of Germany. The Zugspitze, at 2,960m (9.709 ft) above sea level, is the tallest mountain peak in Germany. At the summit, one can have a panoramic view of both Bavarian (Germany) and Tyrolean (Austrian) Alps. At the back of Partenkirchen railway station, we took the cog railway train, travelled to a higher altitude plateau, Zugspitzplatt, then connected to a cable car which took us to the top of Zugspitze.
Tag Archives: Alps
One hour by train, to the east of Innsbruck, we arrived at Kitzbühel.
Historically, Kitzbühel produced copper and silver. The town habitants became wealthy from the mines for decades. Several buildings from the 15th century are still standing, such as the relics of the town walls and the gates. Some of the miners’ houses still exist in the suburbs. The town attracted the eyes of the world all the sudden in the late 1920s as Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, King of United Kingdom (reigned for only 326 days), later Duke of Windsor, came for a visit with his lover Wallis Simpson. Following his footsteps, the rich and famous upper class folks in Europe flocked to this town and created a nice skiing resort area among the Alps. Nowadays, the Kitzbühel Alps are Austria’s largest skiing area.
Swarovski Kristallwelten. Do I even need to say more about Swarovski crystals? It’s likely the largest crystal manufacturer to produce precisely cut crystal jewelries, mini-sculptures and other home decorations, and has its products, if not it’s own stores, in almost every shopping district, displaying it’s famous swan company logo. Much less expensive than diamonds, yet still presented elegantly with a rainbow appearance (by the use of special metallic coatings), no wonder they are popular in jewelries. Their figurines, especially the miniature animals, are also very adorable.
Most of the pictures here were taken on the way from Innsbruck to Crystal World (of which I will talk about next time). Since the tour bus was moving at speed of 60 to 100 miles per hour, I chose to use the continuous mode on the camera and hope I could later find a good one out of each scene.
“bruck”, derived from German word, brücke, means bridge. The name Innsbruck has the meaning of “the bridge over the Inn River”. Situated on the Inn River and in a valley surrounded by mountains of central Alps, it’s regarded as “the jewel of the Alps”. Innsbruck is the cultural and economic centre of western Austria. It became the capital of all Tyrol in 1429. In the fifteenth century the city became the European politics and culture center as Roman emperor Maximilian I who reigned and also resided in Innsbruck in the 1490. 300 years later, it’s prosperous again under the reign of Maria Theresia.
Before continuing to the west in our Austrian tour, we took a detour south east to this charming little town. As there is no direct train from Salzburg, we needed to travel east to Attnang Puchheim, then hopped onto another train south to Hallstatt station.
Since the very first time we set foot on European soil and visited various cities in Germany in 2009, we felt in love with the railway system in Europe. It’s just so convenient. You can reach almost all areas in the region, and there are multiple schedules to fit in your itinerary. In comparison, the railway systems in US and Canada is not so broadly available. One would argue that North America is not so crowded and people can have their own vehicles – parking space is comparatively more available, and since they have cars, might as well drive them between cities. But driving is no comparison to being able to relax for a couple of hours, enjoy the country sights, read a book or two, have a nice long conversation with your company or maybe just someone you get to know on the train, without being distressed by the traffics, road and weather conditions, or exhaustion which could induce accidents.