We left Bartenheim and France and headed into Switzerland. It was nice to drive back into the Alps and the scenery I had grown to love. Very German/Austria like…and even German street signs once again. Some how none of us were able to pick up any French, but we all know some basic German now. We stopped in a lovely small Swiss town called Appenzell. Incredible scenic town in the foothills of the Alps. The houses were bright and painted as they had been in Germany. We roamed the cobblestone streets for a couple hours, went into another breathtaking little church, and stopped in a café for a couple coffees and assorted chocolates. A very good stop.
We crossed back into Austria, drove through perhaps 20 miles of various tunnels, and arrived in Innsbruck Our hotel was outside of town in the Alps, and we found it easily. (Love GPS!!) However, they had overbooked and directed us to another Alp town hotel where we would be upgraded with no additional cost. Ten minutes away. Famous last words. It was on the other side of a river gorge. The bridge/tunnel that we needed to take was shut down. It took us 1 1/2 hours to get around it, at one point driving on a very narrow road with no barrier and a 1000 foot drop off to the side. Somehow we made it, the hotel was very nice and scenic, and we had a 5 star free breakfast in the morning.
The next morning we weren’t sure if the car had to be back at 0900 or 1130. So we got up early and headed into Innsbruck. After a stressful drive in, hurrying, filling up the tank, dropping the kids and luggage off at the train station, and finding the car rental place at the airport…we pulled in at 0905. Not only did they not charge us for being 5 minutes late, but they didn’t charge us for turning it in a day late (which was a mistake on my part when making the reservation). Well…we told them it was late. Bonus.
We took a shuttle to the train station. Now we had four hours to kill before our train left. Everyone was tired and content to hang out at the station. It had a youth room with lots of board games. The kids played there most of the time, and we ate lunch eventually. But being in Innsbruck I decided to walk around. I spent an hour or so walking the quaint streets and spending money alone. Quite nice actually. (:
Our first train ride was uneventful. We had a compartment of six seats behind a sliding glass door. The door was open most of the time and I enjoyed listening to the backpackers swap stories. They hop on these trains with their europasses and end up with bad fold up seats in the walk way. I let a Swedish girl store her violin in our compartment so it wouldn’t get stepped on. We were all tired and slept on and off over the nearly 5 hour ride to Venice. The scenery as we made our way over and through the Alps into Italy was amazing.