Thursday, May 27, 2010

Innsbruck

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We woke up, stretched out and got ready to visit Innsbruck.   This small city is the site of 2 past winter Olympics and is known for amazing skiing!  We parked the car and wandered around visiting, first, the famResized_HPIM6279ous Golden Roof located in the Old City.  This thing was built in 1500 for Maximilian 1 the Holy Roman Emperor.  It was used as his royal box where he would sit and view tournaments that happened on the square.  It may have been pretty awesome 500 years ago, I mean, check out the expressions on the statue pictured at left, but I was not particularly impressed, and the kids said: “That’s it?”

We went on in search of more exciting discoveries and soon came to Hofkirche – the imperial church.  It is the royal church for the Hapsburgs and the cenotaph for the aforementioned Maximilian 1 – Holy Roman Emperor.  A cenotaph: “is a tomResized_HPIM6301b or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been interred elsewhere.”    Never stop learning….

The gothic masterpiece, built in only 10 years between 1553 and 1563, also holds the tomb of Andreas Hofer.  This: “Tirolean innkeeper and patriot.. was the leader of a rebellion against Napoleon's forces.  He was an innkeeper turned politician who fought for Austria against the French during the War of the Third  Coalition. In 1809, he became the leader of a rebellion against Franco-Bavarian forces that sparked the War of the Fifth Coalition. He was subsequently captured and executed.”  They still have a festival each year to celebrate his contribution to the freedom of this area of Austria.  Unfortunately, since it was Ascension Thursday, they weren’t letting anyone in to see the church (unless you were coming in to worship)  They even had a guard outside to ward off the sneaky (he looked very forbidding). 

We wandered a bit further, never giving up hope, and found a church we could actually enter!  It was called the Jesuitinkirche.

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As you can see, it was magnificent, with stunning plaster work and gorgeous inlaid marble floors.  We were particularly lucky because it was deserted but for the people practicing organ music – heavenly.  It is the burial place of famous royals, including Claudia de Medici.  Also it celebrates the life of several famous Jesuit missionaries.  They had two dedicated chapels,  and the one on the right was for none other than St. Francis Xavier. There were two Catholic churches in my area growing up, St. Catherine’s and St. Francis, so my ears perked up right away.  Anyway, St. Francis (1506-1552) is famous for being one of the greatest Jesuit missionaries ever.  “Like Ignatius he was born in the Basque country; they met at the university of Paris where Francis Xavier, after some initial resistance, joined the first companions. He died on the shore of an island facing China. The stucco ceiling shows a star between India, China, Japan and the Moluccas. St Francis Xavier is glorified as Lightbringer of the far East.”   I wonder what China would be like today if those Jesuits hadn’t shown up in the 1500’s….

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We wandered back towards the car and saw the usual fun quirky foibles that draw my camera like a magnet:

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Taken left to right we have: 1. The road sign - I think you are not allowed to go down this particular avenue if you are not a well dressed professional. 2. Perhaps the worlds ugliest necklace – (priced at well over a thousand Euros).  What type of gown, exactly, dResized_HPIM6308oes one wear with a diamond inlaid strawberry? 3 and 4. The Flying Florence Nightingale fountain which was sheltered by a coffered ceiling featuring a little gargoyle with his butt hanging out and 5. The recipe that I want to try someday (OK, I know it is lame to take a photo rather than buying the hand towel,  but do I really want a hand towel?)

Before we got back in the car, we stopped by a chocolate market.  It was some of the most amazing art I have ever seen – check it out – even cheese chocolate!

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We couldn’t resist getting something to sample!  Turned out to be a 5 Euro bag of 12 chocolate spoons (4 each white, milk and dark).  We ate our yogurt with them later – divine.Resized_DSC04522

Well, we were off again, passing that ubiquitous German sign as we departed “Gute Fahrt”.  Despite the fact t

hat I know that Fahrt means something like a trip or journey – in German, I just can’t disconnect this word from its US association. Yes, that would be the sound of flatulence.   I feel like they are hoping that I release a little built up pressure!  I mean, in a strange way, it really kind of makes sense.  The city planners are thinking: “We hope you came, ate some our our yummy traditional gassy food and, as you leave, have a good fart – It can be a relief to let one rip sometimes, right?”  I don’t believe I have ever reached this level of crassness in past blogs. I believe I am channeling my father, who never outgrew potty humor and absolutely loves the scene left from Blazing Saddles.  This one’s for you Dad!

Unless they remove this particular word from common usage, I don’t think I will ever be able to live in Germany… I am far too immature.

Gute Fahrt!

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