Friday, January 25, 2013

Above the Clouds in Austria

We woke up in Innsbruck and didn't really have much planned for the day.
I've mentioned that this was a relaxed trip and we were probably remiss in our pre-trip planning.

Little did I know that THIS was what the day held in store for us!

I realize it's not a great picture.  But, I had to include it.
My eyes are closed because my smile is SO big.  I am bursting with joy.

On this day, we ventured up above the clouds and to the top of the world! 

With not much on the agenda, we wandered around the old city a bit
and followed a map to the base of the funicular that I had read about briefly.

We found this little station with an electronic ticket booth.
After trying to decipher the German we purchased two tickets to somewhere.

We really were just flying by the seat of our pants with not a clue what we were doing. 

We quickly realized that this was not your average ride up a hill.
The city of Innsbruck was soon spread out below us in all its beauty.
And up we went.

We got to the top and found another ticket booth.  This time for a gondola ride even further "up." 
I thought we'd gone far enough but TE quickly purchased tickets before I had time to consider what was in store.

I think I've mentioned my fear of heights.
And the fact that everyone else had on full ski gear, should have been a clue.

And UP we went!  Soon there was snow, lots and lots of snow.
And then it was foggy and cloudy. 

Up.  Up. UP!

And then suddenly, we were actually above the clouds and in the sun!

I get butterflies just thinking about it!  It was so fantastic and so unexpected!
And I was so amazed that I forgot I was afraid!

When we got to the top we hopped off and found ourselves at a full-on Ski Chalet at the top of a 
This was a mountain that from below we didn't even know was there because it was hidden in the clouds. 

There were tons of people taking off down the slopes.  TE took another ride up even higher!
I was content to stay at the chalet and be amazed with the sites (and visit the Ice Bar). 

What amazing views! I've never seen anything like it!
There we kids learning on the bunny slopes and
adventurers heading straight down the mountain on more adventurous trails.
(Innsbruck has hosted not one, but two Winter Olympics.)

Obviously, we weren't exactly dressed for a day on the slopes.
But we weren't the only ones in jeans with a camera who had just come for an explore. 

We had a beer at the chalet and spent some time people watching and taking everything in.
I wish the camera could capture the entire experience.  I just don't have the words.



We could not wipe the smiles off of our faces. 
What a fantastic surprise to stand above the clouds and see the world spread out before you.

After some time relishing the experience, 
we reluctantly decided to head back down to the real world. 
We hopped back on the the gondola basking in the joy of an amazing experience.  

Since the sun was starting to set, the gondola was packed with tired skiers in full gear.
There was the faint sent of cold, body odor filling the air.

About 3 minutes into the ride, I was awakened from my revery by my husband yelping "Owww!" very loudly!
And the sound of a man yelling "Oyyy!" and then fussing, vehemently in German. 

I looked at TE and he was pissed!

I followed his gaze down, down, down to see the red cheeks of a precocious toddler
looking up at TE with blatant challenge all over his face. 
 The three year old skier was apparently annoyed with the close proximity and
had just stomped on TE's foot with his full-metal toe ski boot!


TE was so not amused and scowled back at the little tyke accepting the challenge.
The parents apologized, tutted and scolded the little monster, glancing nervously at TE's not-amused face.  

I, of course, made the mistake of giggle-snorting which made TE even more angry!

The rest of the trip consisted of TE fuming,
the toddler twitching to stomp that big foot just once more, 
the parents trying desperately to convince him not to
and me trying not to wet myself laughing.

And once again, I forgot that I was afraid of heights.  

Best. Day. EVER!


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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fifty by Fifty

Ta-Da!  Here is my new blog design!

Bobbi at Ready to Blog Custom Blog Designs did a fantastic job, don't you think?
I just answered a few basic questions and she did the rest.  I couldn't be happier with it!

I've really been thinking about this blog and what I want it to be.
I've invested in a makeover and I'm also planning on investing in other ways.

I want to take some writing and photography classes this year.
I'm also going to spend some time getting up to speed on the technical stuff, SEO and HTML, and such.

It's also going to be year of travel.
After all, it is about "the places we will go." 

One of the reasons we decided to move to the UK, was so that we could explore Europe.
TE is an avid traveler and has managed to visit over 100 countries and all 50 US states.  
I don't think I'll ever catch up with him, but I will certainly try.

I've often said that one of my very favorite things to do is to experience something for the first time.
That's what makes traveling so much fun. You are constantly learning new things and stretching your horizons.
It's all about those moments.  

I've done a little bit of traveling, but now is really my chance.
I've set the goal of 50 by 50 and here is where I'm at so far.

1. USA      2. Philippines     3. Germany     4. Switzerland     5. Italy     6. Vatican City     7. France
8. Mexico    9. Jamaica      10. Puerto Rico     11. US Virgin Islands     12. St. Kitts     13. Aruba
14. Curacao     15. Mexico    16. England     17. Wales     18. Belgium     19.  Netherlands
20. Greece     21. Turkey     22. Scotland     23. Austria

I have less than 4 years to get in 27 more countries! 
But, I love a good challenge.  This is what is in the works for this year.

Over Easter weekend, we are taking the car to France and venturing into Luxembourg (24).

We are taking an Explore! trip in April to Spain (25) and Morocco (26).
This will be my most exotic trip so far and I am SO excited!

Then we're planning a Baltic Sea Cruise in the Fall which has stops in
Sweden (27), Finland (28), Estonia (29), Denmark (30) and Russia (31).
Very exciting!  We love cruising.

A few weekend trips are also on the table...  
Portugal (32), Croatia (33) and maybe Ireland (34).
(We also want to squeeze in Venice even though Italy will be a repeat.)

I think we can do it.  And we will certainly have fun trying!

I know I'm not your typical travel blogger.

I'm over 40.  I hate carrying a backpack, way too heavy.
I don't own a pair of hiking boots, binoculars or an Outback hat.
I had to Google "couchsurfing" to see what it was.

You will never catch me rock-climbing, bungee-jumping or sky-diving. 
I refuse to do anything that involves a harness and a waiver.

I'm not very adventurous and a bit of a fraidy-cat.
I am a very picky eater which drives TE crazy!

But, I am a traveler and I am a blogger.

So, dear readers, what kinds of things do you want me to blog about as we travel this year?

Do you want facts and figures? Do you want links?  Photographs?

Itineraries, travel tips and recommendations?

Do you want my thoughts and impressions? The stories we collect along the way?

How can I make this not-so-typical travel blog interesting to YOU?

Of course, in between travels I will have my usual stuff.
Any suggestions you have on that content is also welcome.

I really do need your input.

Because let's face it, it's not really a blog unless someone reads a post
and then returns to read another one.

You are as much a part of this as I am 
and that's the best part!

Innsbruck, Austria

Onto, the next stop of our Winter Trip!

We had an overnight in Innsbruck and again we focused our short time in the historic city center.
The Inn River flows through the center of town and snow covered mountains surround the valley.

If Zurich is sophisticated and elegant, then Innsbruck is her more colorful neighbor.
The bright whimsical colors don't hide all of the rough spots and wrinkles,
but it's such a charming city.

Pastel colored, medieval buildings line the narrow streets and are full architectural character.

We found the prices in Austria much more reasonable.
And like Switzerland, we didn't have a bad meal.

Take a look and tell me what you think?



Tomorrow I will share our mountaintop experience!

If you've popped over here from the Move Guides  featured guest blogger article
then welcome to my little corner of the blog world.

I'm so glad you are here and I hope you stick around for awhile.
I'd love to hear from you!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Switzerland's Rhine Falls

If you visit Zurich, be sure to leave a half a day to visit the Rhine Falls!

 We took a train from Zurich to the Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall.  
We had a change in Winterthur and it was about an hour trip each way.
We purchased Zurich Day Passes for the train which were 25 Swiss Francs each.

We then walked up the trails from the train station to the Welcome Center.
Admission to the falls was about 8 Swiss Francs each.
This gave us access to a museum and to the trails leading down by the falls.

The museum was small and in German, so we buzzed through pretty quickly.
But the views started right away.

 They are the largest falls in Europe and we were both so glad we made the trip.

The trails take you all the way down to the base of the falls to a viewing platform jutting out over the water. 

You feel like you are right in the middle of everything.
The water is roaring by you and spraying a heavy mist up into the air. 

You can feel, hear, and see the power of the water all around you. 

Did you know that the Swiss flag with the white cross on the red background
is one of the only two square flags? 
The other square flag is flown over Vatican City. 

The Rhine Falls are quite spectacular and should definitely be experienced if you visit Zurich.
Next stop is Innsbruck, Austria.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!