Innsbruck, Austria

The breakfast area at the Hotel Interalpen, with beautiful views of the mountains.

Me and Lori – hiking in Tefs, Austria

The pool at the Hotel Interalpen – half of it was outside and half inside.
These cows greeted us when we stopped for lunch in Innsbruck, Austria. I immediately burst into song. (The Hills Are Alive…)

Beautiful view at the hotel – overlooking Austria

This is the Hotel Interalpen, where we stayed in Austria.

The drive-in lobby of the Hotel Interalpen

Thursday September 6
We drove to Austria, where we had reservations at the Interalpen Hotel and Spa.  We drove to Innsbruck for lunch first.  We stopped at a bank to get some cash and asked the teller for a good lunch recommendation.  First he just pointed next door.  We were in a business area where everything just looked like home so Rick asked him for something a bit more traditionally Austrian. He told us about one and printed out their web page for us.  We put the address into our navigation system and followed the directions.  The route took us off the highway and up the side of the mountain.  Then it took us up some more. As we climbed the road got narrower and narrower, until there was basically only room for one car, but there was two way traffic! There were points along the way where other cars had to pull over to let us pass and vice versa. We kept going up, up, up and started to wonder where the heck we could possibly be going.  Finally we were at the top of the mountain and in every direction we could see the beautiful city of Innsbruck.  We ended up at an idyllic farm and were greeted by a bunch of grazing brown cows in a meadow.  We parked the car and followed the signs to the Inn.  There we found a pretty outdoor area with tables set up for lunch.  We spent our lunch time looking at gorgeous views of Austria and eating knoedel and wiener schnitzel.
After lunch it was time to go to our hotel – The Interalpen.  We drove up another mountain and around in circles then came to the hotel.  You drive right into the hotel with your car!  There is a reception area with chandeliers and tile floors. You just drive your car right in and an attendant takes it to park it.  You just take an elevator to the hotel’s check-in desk.
The Interalpen is a beautiful hotel.  It is very luxurious, but feels very comfortable and rustic at the same time.  The lobby has gorgeous carved wood and big windows.  The view is fantastic – mountains all around.  Every person you talk to on the staff is friendly and helpful.  When we arrived our rooms weren’t ready, so we went outside to the huge patio and relaxed.  They had a buffet of sandwiches and pastries set out for an afternoon snack. We enjoyed the fresh mountain air and the gorgeous views.
Our rooms were really impressive!  They were huge!  They had a kitchen, a large bathroom with tub and shower, and even a dressing room with a twin bed in it (I called it “the spouse of a snorer’s room” and ended up sleeping in there.
The rooms at The Interalpen all include breakfast and dinner – both of which are huge, sumptuous feasts.  The salad area is massive.  They had about ten different types of salad greens and all the toppings you can imagine.  There were all kinds of cheeses, breads, antipasti, and appetizers.  Besides all that was the meal!

Friday September 7
After a humongous breakfast buffet (hey, it’s free, you have to eat it!) we decided to go for a hike.  They ad a map of hiking trails at the front desk and gave us a description of the hikes and we chose one and were on our way.  We hiked through a pretty woodsy area and only got lost a few times!
In the afternoon the guys went golfing and me and Lori went to the spa for massages.  We went to the spa early so we could try out the sauna and the salt water grotto. (a cave with a hot water pool – like a jacuzzi without jets). We found the grotto and noticed a sign outside the door that had a picture of a person wearing a bathing suit with a red line going through it (no bathing suits). There was no way I was going into that grotto naked.  Lori felt the same way.  She said “They can’t stop us from wearing our bathing suits!”. So we went in and got in the water and the whole time we were waiting for someone to arrest us!  Nobody came into the grotto while we were there.  We were walking toward a sauna and I saw a lady with no clothes on walking toward me.  It’s not that unusual to see people naked in spas in the US, but then I remembered we hadn’t checked in to the spa yet, we were still in the public area of the hotel.  Then I saw a couple in just robes. We went into the sauna for a few minutes and as Lori stepped out she turned around and said “there’s a naked man out there!”. I looked out the door and saw him as he was putting on his robe.  Apparantly, spas in Austria are no clothing areas!  We got out of there and checked in to the spa.  We had both requested female’s for our massages when we booked the appointments but they only had males available.  When they came out, though, there was a male and a female.  Lori had really been stressing about having a male masseuse so I offered to let her have the female and I went with the male, whose name was Sonny.  We got into the little massage room and he handed me something very small.  He said “here is a slip for you to wear”. Then he gave me a towel and told me to lie face down and under it.  Then Sonny left the room.  I unwrapped the miniature package and inside was a teeny, tiny paper thong.  Yes, a thong.  I was starting to be very stressed out about the whole spa day, which was supposed to be relaxing.  Sonny came back into the room and I was lying on the massage table in my teeny, tiny paper thong, covered by my not very big towel.

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