June 15: Exploring Innsbruck, Austria

It poured rain all night and we were thankful that we had a good tent - we slept snug and dry. We slept rather late - the sound of rain on the tent roof makes it hard to get up.

We set out for Innsbruck about 9AM - it was still pouring rain, indeed it hardly let up all day. It is only 35 miles from Imst to Innsbruck but it took a good hour and a half. The roads in Austria are pathetic and so are the springs on the old Morris Oxford.

We parked and started looking around in some of the shops. We had coffee and cake at one of the restaurants in the Old Quarter. They have newspapers on bamboo frames for the customers to read. I managed to glean from a local daily (in German) that all our rain was due to a cold air mass from Germanyu striking the Alps and that no letup was in sight. We shopped around Innsbruck until about 1 PM and then ate lunch.

We were parked close to some of the tourist attractions of Innsbruck. We went through the Hofburg (Imperial Castle) and the Hofkirche (court church) which includes the Silver Chapel. The palace had paintinges of Maria Theresia and other rulers and their families. The most impressive part was the Riesensaal (giant hall) with rococco stucco work and a ceiling painting. The Silver Chapel contains the tomb of Archduke Ferdinand II. It has a silver image of the Blessed Virgin (1570) which is near life size. Its cedar-piped organ (1600) is very interesting.

The court church was built by the Emperor Ferdinand strictly as a memorial to his grandfather Maximilian. Beside the sarcophagus are 28 greater-than-life-size bronze statues of the ancestors of the emperor, weighing between 2 and 3 tons each. There are also 100 bronze statuetes of saints and 34 bronze busts of Roman emperors. What appeared most remarkable to me was t he set of 24 marble relief sculptures set in the side of the sarcophagus which depict events in the emperor's life.

We then went through the Volkskunstmuseum (Museum of Popular Art). It contained mudels ofthe typical types of Austrian houses and full rooms reconstructed to represent the typical living quarters in various periods. There were collections of folk costumes and handmade furniture, collections of tools and woodcarvings, handmade toys, and many other things.

One of the larger exhibits was a collection of nativity scenes with small carved-wood figurines. They were reminiscent of the Diorama in Einsieldeln, Switzerland.

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