Today was incredibly neat. To start off, we boarded a bus to go down to Innsbruck. Along the way, we experienced the iconic German Autobahn.
The German Autobahn system resembles the American Interstate System, as they are both networks of high speed roads connecting major cities and locations around the country. However, there are several differences I noted. For one, rural sections of the Autobahn have no speed limit, whereas every interstate highway in the USA has a speed limit. Additionally, Autobahns do not cut through the centers of cities, unlike interstate highways in the US. Autobahns in cities usually end at perimeter beltways, whereas interstates often bisect city centers.
This Autobahn, A-95 was a particularly scenic road. As we headed further south, we saw the beautiful Alps in the distance. However, the highway would come to a sudden end, with extensions such as more tunnels under construction.
We then crossed the border into Austria. Surprisingly, there was no control station and the only signs of the border (outside of German and Austrian police cars) was a road sign indicating that we crossed into Austria. No stops for passport checks, just go forward.
After some driving, we then arrived in Innsbruck. It was a beautiful city with medieval buildings and the gorgeous Alps within sight. We then met another tour guide where we learned about the city. We first learned of the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl), and how it was built in orders of the Habsburg emperor to draw attention to the emperor. Additionally, we learned about the medieval old town as well as the namesake bridge, Innbruecke, that the city was named after. Innsbruck was (and still is) a major junction between the north and south, as well as the east and west.
We then visited the beautiful Dom St. Jakob and saw one of the most iconic paintings of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. This image is replicated in many Catholic Christmas setups and recognized around the Catholic world.
After our guided tour, we were given a chance to visit the city itself to experience it on our own. I opted to climb the Stadtturm and take in incredible views of Innsbruck. From high above, I saw the entire city, as well as the Alps.
Overall, I really enjoyed today’s side trip.