Going back to my trip a few years ago in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany…
We had two days scheduled in Innsbruck, Austria, which is one the prettiest places I’ve ever been. It’s buried at the foot of the Swiss Alps, and the scenery is something spectacular.
We took the train there, about a four hour ride, with WiFi! On our way, we rode through Liechtenstein — another country to add to the list! But it wasn’t the country or the train ride itself that was so neat. It was the Swiss Alps. The entire way we were surrounded by mountains with snow covered tops and peaks that we couldn’t even see through the surrounding clouds. The grass was green at the foothills with rivers flowing freely around each bend. It was exactly like you see on postcards.
We arrived and had a short trek to our hotel. We were right in the heart of Innsbruck, which isn’t a very big city. Just steps outside was the cutest, most quaint town I’ve ever seen. There were cobblestones roads, winding through buildings that were so close together a car couldn’t drive the streets. Restaurants were overflowing with tables into the streets. Retail stores were bustling. It is exactly what anyone pictures Europe to be like.
There wasn’t a ton to do in Innsbruck, but I do have a very vivid memory of the Golden Roof. This is the ‘symbol’ of the city. We spent over an hour walking around, trying to find this tourist site. Finally, I stopped, pulled out the book, and showed everyone else what I was looking for. Katie, my cousin, instantly said, “Oh! That thing?! We’ve walked by that like a dozen times!” And so we went back, once more, to get some pictures. I guess I just wasn’t looking high enough into the sky?!
We had dinner that night in the streets in Innsbruck, on a cobblestone road, surrounded by the Swiss Alps. The next day, we were up early for a tour of one of the castles on the outskirts of Austria.
We took a taxi to the castle, and had our bags in tote as we were heading straight for the train afterwards. Once we arrived, we were able to store our bags in the gift shop while we toured the castle. It was covered in marble. Everywhere. Everything. And it was large! There were 15 stories in this castle. Each floor lathered in a sparkling white marble. As we approached the first flight of stairs, I simply commented that it wasn’t really necessary for me to go up. I wasn’t about to climb 15 flights of marble stairs on my bum! But Matt bent down and had me hop on this back. After the first flight (which I thought was the final destination), I pointed to a ledge and told him I could sit there (we had left the wheelchair on the ground floor). He simply responded, “Nah, it’s easier if I keep you on my back. Picking you up is the hardest part.”
Forty-five minutes later we arrived at the top of the castle. He did take a break here (thankfully!) and on the way down told me he had pre-medicated himself with some Advil and glucosamine since he knew his knees would be getting a workout that day. He also told me that I was easier to carry than his backpack. I at least wrapped around him and held on…his backpack was all dead weight. I still think he was just being nice. There’s no way a backpack could be as much work as me. Anyway, thank you Matt for the experience!
And just like that, our time in Austria was over. I would have never thought of going to Innsbruck if it wasn’t on our way to Munich, which is where we were headed next. But if you ever get the chance, take a few days and visit Innsbruck. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Originally published at wheelstravelstheworld.com on April 30, 2016.