On The Road Again
As Americans we have a deep and abiding love of the open road. After three weeks in big city apartments it’s nice to be behind the wheel again and Austria is perfect for a roadtrip.
Hohe National Park
Traversing the park is the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (High Alpine Road). Completed in 1935, it is considered one of the world’s most beautiful mountain routes. We drove a 50 mile loop that rose to 8,300 feet.
The Road Through Tyrol
The road to Innsbruck took us across Tyrol. The green valleys, picturesque villages and stunning peaks roll out in front of you like a picture postcard come to life.
Every town seems to have at least one Gondola. If it’s sunny, ride up and walk down. If it’s rainy, ride roundtrip.
We stayed the night at a Gasthaus in Leogang that has been run by the same family since 1471, so we figured that they probably knew the area fairly well. The hostess recommended that we stop in Rattenberg, a restored medieval town that specializes in hand blown glass. We didn’t see it in any of our guide books and it’s no wonder, it is the smallest town in the country.
* Useless But Interesting Fact #417: Rattenberg sits in the shadow of Rat Mountain and can get pretty gloomy in the winter. In November 2005, the town announced they were building 30 specialized rotating mirrors called heliostats to reflect sunlight into parts of the town during the dark months. The EU planned to foot half the bill for the $2.4 million operation. However, the project was never implemented.
We had somehow imagined that Innsbruck would be a high end ski resort with hilly streets and exclusive ski chalets. Wrong! it’s about 20 km from the nearest ski slopes. Innsbruck is a big, beautiful and very busy city. It sits in the Inn valley beside the river Sill and is filled with thousands of tourists on a nonstop shopping spree.
This store sells Bacon. Nothing but Bacon. Every kind of Bacon you can imagine. I was outside taking the picture, two men stood next to me and when they realized what the store was, their eyes glazed over, their jaws dropped and in hushed reverent tones they slowly exclaimed, in unison, Wow.
This store is to men what shoe stores are to women.
Now I know that Bacon, like all really great stuff in this world, is bad for you and that we shouldn’t eat Bacon, but I keep telling myself that this is European Bacon. It has to better for you then crummy old American Bacon. I’ve almost convinced myself, that over here, this is a kind of high protein health food.
The other day I had a Bratwurst wrapped in Bacon. I haven’t had a cholesterol hit like that in years. My body is still tingling from the excitement. At my age a threesome is Bratwurst, Bacon and Beer.