Archive for the ‘Innsbruck’ Category

Annie and Her City

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Well, Annie certainly has come to make Innsbruck her own. We walked to a downtown shopping center this afternoon, and when I blew by the place we sometimes buy ice cream, she looked back at me from her stroller like I was more than a wee bit insane. “What in the world do you think you are doing?” her face read and in a very calculated voice declared, “I want some ice cream.” Später, my love.

Annie frequently points out stores or has a running comment on streets that she is familiar with. I’m glad she is identifying this as her hometown, where she has memories and adventures. Every time we put on her warm boots, she asks if we are going to play in the snow, which obviously isn’t something she has or will experience in beautiful warm Victoria. We all need connections, don’t we?

As to how the temporary single mommyhood is going, I have to say that weekends without Markus are the most difficult for me. We struggled through the morning, as we both are sick and Annie woke up early with a cough and trouble breathing. But then she had a 3 hour nap, which allowed me to have a bath, relax and work a bit more on my soon-to-be late Christmas cards. (You’ll all be fine with a post-Christmas card, right?) Actually, I have no idea how long it takes for mail to get from Austria to Canada, so I might be fine. We’ll see and I’m sure you will report back.

After lunch we went to said shopping mall. I tried their service for the first time where you can drop-off (ditch?) your child for up to 3 hours while shopping. Annie, oddly, had a few tears at first but then saw the doll and stroller and was all “see ya mom”. She didn’t want to leave after 1 1/2 hours when I picked her up. It was a great way to blast through some errands and then have a relaxing cup of hot chocolate. Definitely going to do that again. And since Markus is staying another week in Canada, perhaps we’ll be going back to that mall again, and again, and again…

Innsbruck Attractions

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Well, not much to say about today. It was the last day of the Level 2 in German. I can’t believe that 8 weeks have gone by already. (I have learned so much, but have so, so far to go. Oh well…I was due for a challenge in life.) We had a small party and more dancing. I’m going to be a pro at Turkish dancing before this whole thing is done. Not to mention picking up some Turkish phrases; I can already (almost) count to 10.

View of Innsbruck from the 360° Cafe above the City Hall

View of Innsbruck from the 360° Cafe above the City Hall

Since there is no particularly interesting news from my life, I thought I would tell you a little bit more about Innsbruck. I don’t have many recent pictures of the city, so I’ll put some in from previous visits.

Innsbruck became the capitol of Tirol in 1492. I think that the old town (Altstadt) is one of the prettiest I have seen in Europe. The main attraction there is the Golden Roof, which was built in 1500 from 2657 fire-gilded copper tiles. Here is a shot of Beth and George in front of the Golden Roof during their visit in 2006.

The Golden Roof in the Altstadt

The Golden Roof in the Altstadt

And here is a closeup:

The Goldenes Dachl

Das Goldenes Dachl

The Imperial Court (Hofburg) is also an interesting building and has a great museum with displays of historic art, artifacts, jewellery, etc. We have been a couple of times in the past, but I’m due for another visit during our extended stay here. Here is a shot I took a few years ago:

The view from the Olympic ski jump is amazing and this has also become quite the tourist attraction. Innsbruck hosted two Olympics, in 1964 and 1976. Here is a shot of Annie and I when she was a wee babe.

View from the top of the ski jump

View from the top of the ski jump

I’ve already posted about The Alpenzoo and a bit about Scholß Ambras, which are two other great attractions here. And I’m sure I’ll be posting lots about the mountains when ski season hits.

I’m off to pick up Annie, so that is all for today. Tomorrow will also be dull, as I’m just packing for our trip, but I expect next week to be more interesting as we have our jaunt to Vienna. As a taste of what is to come, here is the hotel we are staying at:http: //www.jjwhotels.com/en/grandhotelwien/the_grand_hotel_wien/history.html

A Little Jaunt to Hall

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Since I’m going to have a quiet day off at home tomorrow, Markus thought it would be nice to go for a drive this afternoon after I finished my class. We drove about 20 minutes to Hall, a little town about 10km east of Innsbruck.

After a tasty lunch at a restaurant called Geisterburg (with a great wood-fired pizza oven), we walked for a bit around the old town. It is such a pretty little place. There are about 12,000 people living in Hall, and it has a lovely small-town atmosphere.

Hall’s claims to fame includes a silver mine on the outskirts of town and a mint in the city, as well as a salt mine. The Austria silver coin, der thaler, was minted in Hall for centuries. This is where the English word ‘dollar’ comes from. Hall is about 800 years old, similar to Innsbruck. The old town has very pretty, narrow streets lined with storefronts that are centuries old, just like we North Americans think of when we imagine a European town.

I didn’t have my camera with me, but here is an image of how Hall will look in about 4 weeks after a couple of hearty snows:

This life where neither of us are working regular hours is pretty special. I know it won’t last forever, but I am certainly feeling grateful for the time these days spent with Markus enjoying the beautiful area around Innsbruck.

Cute Girl Update

Annie’s German is just incredible. I am constantly asking Markus what she is saying, and it is really helping me pick up on everyday words. Annie’s caregiver, Gabby, plays the guitar and teaches the kids songs. There are a couple where Annie knows all the words and hand actions, and she is teaching them to me. I’m especially a proud Mama when she inserts her own words to the tunes that she learns to go with whatever situation is at hand. (Clapping, eating, misbehaving, etc.)

I’m also pretty thrilled that Annie likes crafts. We sat on the floor a good while this evening cutting, gluing and tearing paper. With these sticky gluedots I have I was even able to make her some snowflake stickers (for her hand, of course, because that is where stickers go these days.)

And Dad is pretty tickled that Annie is into block building. I’m not sure if she’ll ever be as Lego-obsessed as cousin Devon, but she sure likes building towers, as this picture shows:

I just feel so in love with that little girl right now. Since we had such a hard time together a few weeks back, this makes me feel incredibly happy.

Love, Schmuv. All You Need is Friends.

Friday, October 17th, 2008

I love my friends. Really, really adore them. I must have done something very lovely in a past life, because I’m pretty sure I’m not deserving in this go around to have such amazing people in my world.

You know what else I love? The Internet. Here I was at 6:00 in the evening after a tough day and my beautiful friend, Stacey (see picture below), pops up a chat on gmail to say hi. Amazing and magical thing, that Internet. During our chat Stacey reminded me that I need to appreciate whatever comes to me this year, and not expect it to be a Perfectly Charming Year in Europe with no problems or rough patches. She also reminded me that when I was pregnant, my attitude was basically: I have no idea what this is going to be like, so I’ll just take it as it comes and appreciate all facets of motherhood, good and bad. Good advice for this year as well. I guess I’ve talked myself into the myth of, “How can a year (or two) in Europe not be amazing?” Well, I think it can be amazing, just not Pollyanna-perfect every second. And there are incredible things to be learned from the tough times, as we all know.

Here is a picture from the summer of Stacey and Annie feeding the ducks in Government House in Victoria.

Overall, I feel like I’m on the upswing again. I have done an excellent job of getting out of shape in the last decade (hard to believe I used to be an elite athlete), and have vowed to try to recapture a little of my lung capacity while in the Alps. I made the first start with a 2-hour walk on Wednesday along the river and then up to Hungerburg, a residential area in Innsbruck. It was fairly steep and it certainly got me breathing.

Then today Markus and I biked to Shloß Ambras for lunch. Those royals sure knew how to live (no camera with me, so I swiped this from a tourist page.) You can actually see the table we sat at for lunch at the bottom of the picture.

Hopefully after a relaxing weekend, I’ll be feeling even more like myself. Thanks for all the support, my friends.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Thursday, September 18th, 2008
The first snowfall on the Alps

The first snowfall on the Alps

I forgot how land-locked regions, like Austria (and the Canadian Prairies), can experience extreme temperature changes within days. Last week we were in our bathing suits at an outdoor pool soaking up the heat and sunshine, and this week people have pulled out their down parkas. Seriously.

As you can see, the first dusting of snow has fallen on the Alps. Markus, of course, thinks skiing! so is totally stoked. I’m getting reports of 25+ weather in Victoria, so am a bit less enthused. I knew that going back to winter was going to be one of my challenges with Austria; hopefully it will warm up again before real winter sets in so I don’t have to test my resolve just yet.

We have been under a bit of a black cloud the last few days. The apartment we had thought was ours was given away by the property manager to someone else. Markus is pretty sure that it is because we have children (apparently she was put out when she learned it wasn’t just for the 2 of us), but of course they can’t mention that as it is illegal here to exclude kids in a building. So back to the search. We are looking at another place today that has some potential. We are also getting worried about our house not selling, so have dropped the price again. And I’m starting to feel the stress of Markus leaving next Wednesday to spend 2 weeks in Victoria. I’m sure everything will work out, but it is taking some energy to stay positive.

On the plus side, all of our boxes arrived safely. Now we just need to haul the 500 lbs of stuff up 3 flights of stairs and we are good to go. And then back down again when we move to the new apartment. My kingdom for an elevator.

Another plus is I had a successful haircut and highlight session. I really liked my hair stylist in Victoria, so am thankful that this worked out.

Here is the post-cut pic.

I’ll do another, cheerier post about Annie’s and my trip to the Alpenzoo.