A crystal world in the Alps, fun on a zip line, and Baroque splendor.

Innsbruck Travel Blog

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Bright sunny Alpine morning on the Inn RIver

I was very tired after my very long day so, I slept in. This is a common theme for me, for those of you don’t know me. This sleep would help me adjust to my trip a bit better.

I got up had a leisurely breakfast in my room. I could see through the window that the sun was shining brightly. There were some clouds but they were just around to enjoy the view of the Alps. The sun was …… powerful, a strength that we don’t see in winter in Nederlands. I miss this!

So, once I was prepared for the day. I crossed the street from my gastof and the beautiful River Inn sparkled brilliantly as the sun’s rays bounced off it’s bubbling surface. I made my way out onto the bridge, taking many pics. I stopped halfway and turned to take a pic down river and the true enormity of the mountains shocked me.

What a picture...right?
In the sunlit day, they towered over the tiny town. I felt very small…….very small. It took my breath away. Austria is so beautiful……Innsbruck is just another city that cements that, for me. I just stood there for a few minutes absorbing the sun’s rays, the amazing views, and the crisp Alpine air.

In the middle of the bridge on the up river side, is a sculpture of the crucifixion. Today the sky made it a dramatic subject. Take a look at the pic…..very interesting composition, if I say so, myself.

I continued on, making my through the Altstadt. Many people were out enjoying the wonderful day, tourists and locals alike.

My main focus today was going to be the Kristallwelten, Swarovski’s museum/gallery that sits next to its factory in gorgeous Wattens, Austria.

I found the location of the pick-up and shortly the bus arrived.

THe entrance to Swarovski Crystal World
The round trip price of 8.50 euro seemed expensive but, it is a dedicated shuttle.

The journey took us past many picturesque Austrian villages, as if they would be any other way???!!!

There was one lone little church that was on an island of a small hill surrounded by a forest below and the snow covered Alps tower behind……quite a contrast.

The 25 minute ride was filled with distractions but, we had finally arrived. I could see the eyes of the Swarovski head in the distance.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Swarovski business, the Crystal Worlds Experience was created in 1995. Innovative creations by famous artists along with different rooms with unique experiences take you on a crystal voyage of your wildest dreams.

What it's like inside a Swarovski Crystal.

You’ll experience walls of crystals, a horse in a garment of crystals, art created using crystals by such famous people as Dali and Warhol.

 There is a crystal room where you are, in essence, inside of a crystal. There is mystical music playing as colors alternate blue, green, red, and white.

There’s even a crystal Christmas tree designed by Alexander McQueen. Also, there is a special exhibition area with a history of jewelry using Swarovski crystals. The gift shop had the items that you could find in any showroom but also, crystal sculptures priced up to 20,000 euro (30,000 dollars).

After leaving the museum/gallery, I walked the grounds and found a lookout point.

A crystal jelly fish
From here there was an unobstructed view of the surrounding Alps and the valley. From the lookout I could see a maze in the shape of the hand. I made my effort to conquer it and found my way to the center on my first try, however, there really wasn’t anything special once I had found it.

Walking back down the hill to the entrance, I saw two swing set looking things……but they were colored with orange and yellow decorations. As I got closer, I was thinking that it would be interesting if there was a zip line between them. After thinking that…..I saw the line resting halfway between them. COOL! I had to do it. So, while trying to take a picture…….I zipped from the upper tower to the lower. It went at a pretty brisk pace. I hit the stop at the bottom and it rubber-banded back to almost the halfway point. This was fun! I proceeded to do it 5 or 6 more times, videotaping , trying at least! It was a lot of fun!

I continued down the hill and exited to the parking lot. The bus would be here soon.

The area around the Swarovski factory and Gallery....Wattens, Austria
I met a guy from Hanover and we talked about how amazing the exhibit was. The landscape was equally as beautiful as the art on display.

The bus was on time and I made the return journey talking with the guy I met from Hanover, Germany.

As we exited the bus, I wished him a good journey and he did the same to me. It was getting late and I needed to get moving to make my other museum for the day, Grassmayer’s bell museum. They are the oldest bell foundry in Austria, founded in 1599. The same family still runs it.

I crossed the horse shoe shaped Altstadt to the Innerstadt to get to Maria Teresien Strasse, which runs the length of the city form the river to the ski jump on the opposing mountains.

I walked and walked and walked.

Baroque tower of Stilt Wiltens
It was turning out to be farther than I had expected. There was another church and possibly a second one that I wanted to visit.

After a good 20 minute walk….at my crazy pace, and I was there but, the two churches were in sight, as well. I was concerned that the light my have faded by the time I exited so, I continued on to the churches. They are both of Baroque splendor….I can’t resist!

The first, Stift Wilten, founded around 1138, was a small timber structure with surrounding huts. The church was rebuilt in the 1300’s in an early Gothic style. In 1651, the Baroque church that we currently see, was begun. Of particular importance is the late Gothic crucifix, with real hair (around 1510) had remained intact when the church collapsed in 1644, so it enjoyed great respect among the people.The altarpiece behind the cross shows Mount Cavalry and the city of Jerusalem.

Altar of Basilika Mariae Empfangnis

Then quickly I crossed the street to the other, Basilika Mariae Empfangnis in Wilten, the most famous Rococo church in Tyrol. It is classic in its extreme decoration. It is colorful and expressive. These are some of the reasons that I have a fascination with Rococo. It shows so much emotion.

The sun is setting, I race back to the bell museum, the gate is locked. I think I missed my chance so, I walked into Grassmayer’s shop and was looking around. The attendant greeted me and asked if I wanted to see the museum. I asked if I had enough time….she said that she would stay open until I finished. SO….I got to see it. That was so nice of her.

The museum (5 euro) is actually a combination of museum, foundry, and sound room.

Grassmayer foundry
This is quite a unique place to visit. There is a history of bells given and examples of the continually changing bell architecture from the 12th century to the 18th century.

The Grassmayr family has been casting bells for the whole world for 14 generations. It has 400 years of experience, history and tradition to build upon. In the casting hall, bell forms of loam are modelled in accord with the age-old customs of traditional craftsmanship.

In the shop I bought a small grassmayer bell, very nicely made but, I would expect nothing less. The sound it creates……reverberates for quite a length of time….quality.

Back out into the cold…now colder as the sun had set.

On my walk back to the Innerstadt, I was checking out different food options as I was quite hungry.

Night on the Inns RIver. The station in the mountains is lighting up the upper ridge....wow.

I stopped at a little café near the Golden Daschl. I had a fantastic potatoe soup with brown bread, a piece of apple strudel, and a glass of Austrian while wine. It was a delicious meal and the atmosphere was casual and warm….very nice, Café Mieze Schindler.

Full stomach, I was ready for continuous warmth. I needed to pack and get to sleep early. Tomorrow, country # 60, would be Liechtenstein.

But, first I stopped on the bridge and with the clear sky, I was able to get a fantastic picture of the houses lit along the river and the station lit high up on the Alps. Wow!

Back in the room….a bit of blog and an episode of True Blood and I called it a night.

RobMeetsWorld says:
Wow, the Swarovski museum looks great
Posted on: Feb 02, 2010
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Bright sunny Alpine morning on the…
Bright sunny Alpine morning on th…
What a picture...right?
What a picture...right?
THe entrance to Swarovski Crystal …
THe entrance to Swarovski Crystal…
What its like inside a Swarovski …
What it's like inside a Swarovski…
A crystal jelly fish
A crystal jelly fish
The area around the Swarovski fact…
The area around the Swarovski fac…
Baroque tower of Stilt Wiltens
Baroque tower of Stilt Wiltens
Altar of Basilika Mariae Empfangnis
Altar of Basilika Mariae Empfangnis
Grassmayer foundry
Grassmayer foundry
Night on the Inns RIver. The stati…
Night on the Inns RIver. The stat…
photo by: Hummingbird