IM Austria Prague 2014 Tour ; Innsbruck

Innsbruck has what I would think to be all of the charming aspects of Austria. There are the

storybook buildings, the cafes in the middle of town markets, and a rich history of art and music. One of

the first places we went to was the Goldenes Dachl, or Golden Roof. It’s the city’s most famous

landmark and is visually stunning even though the roof tiles aren’t actually gold, but copper. Completed

in 1500, it was created for Emperor Maximilian I for his wedding to Bianca Maria Sforza. It was used to

observe festivals, tournaments and celebration in the town’s square. It was extremely fitting of a

location, because we actually happened to walk in on a procession. Men, women, girls, and boys were

dressed in traditional garb for the Corpus Christi procession celebrating the tradition and belief of Jesus


Now I hate to walk away from the tradition, history, and art of it all, but in my defense I was

distracted by the shiny things and dragged by my mom into the one of the largest Swarovski stores in

the world. Not only was it multiple floors, but it even had an art installation and a bar. Yes, after you’ve

purchased your Swarovski-studded USB you can enjoy artisanal wines in Swarovski crystal glass. But

aside from the studded fedoras, there was something that I genuinely found entertaining. Swarovski

body lotion. Yes, now you can literally cover yourself in micronized Swarovski Crystal. I think the clerk

thought I was insane as after she told me there were crystals in there, I couldn’t stop laughing and

quickly left the store. It wasn’t even a matter of whether there were crystals in it or if it was a marketing

ploy, but just the idea of having them in there made no sense to me of how that would improve the

body lotion’s function. But even this instance was not the largest surprise of the day. No, that honor

goes to the realization that Austria has the best coffee ever. And coming from a person who rarely

drinks coffee and on the rare instance does, ends up drowning it in syrup and whipped cream, you know

that it’s a fair statement.

America is known for many things, but I think one of the biggest things that Europeans (especially

Italians) take offense at is our coffee. I’m not talking about the expensive artisanal coffee that basically

comes with its own backstory of how it was brought over by a goat, fermented through a holy squirrel,

and then watched over for seven days and seven nights. Of course I’m talking about the prolific chain

known as Starbucks. They’re everywhere, yet they have the “cozy, neighborhood coffee shop” look

down to the sofas and chalkboard drawings. In my hometown, there’s a Starbucks 100 feet away from

another Starbucks. Surprisingly they’re both marginally successful so I guess the theories of supply and

demand don’t apply to Starbucks. And I’m not saying that Austria’s Starbucks are monumentally better,

because it’s pretty much the same, but what I’m getting at is that Austria has consistently had the best

coffee at a price significantly cheaper than the squirrel-fermented drinks I’ve consumed at home.

Drinking coffee with a large slice of Sachertorte in the middle of the town square was easily the highlight

of my day. Because sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best.

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