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Where I stayed
Hotel Jagerwirt

Flag of Austria  , Tyrol,
Saturday, August 24, 1996

August 24, Saturday
We arrived in Kitzbuhel, at 1:30 pm. We were advised not to take a nap because it would delay our adjustment to the time difference. We are staying at the Hotel Jagerwirt, a very quaint hotel.  There is a small balcony off our room and the view is spectacular!  We are sitting in a valley surrounded by the Alps…awesome!  To help stay awake, we took a walk, the first of many, into town.  It all seemed like a dream.  I couldn't believe that I was really here, walking the streets in Kitzbuhel, Austria…one of the most famous skiing venues in the world.  We stopped at a market to pick up something to eat…look at us! Here only a couple of hours and already we're in the grocery store! 

There was a get together dinner tonight at 7:00.  Dinner consisted of turkey cordon bleu, fries and strudel. At 8:00 pm, we decided to call it a day. We went to bed.

August 25-Sunday
KitzbuhelWe woke up at 7:00 am, feeling refreshed and ready to go.  There was a buffet breakfast consisting of cold meats, cheeses, fruit, fresh yogurt, bread, cereal, jams and sweet bread… a very filling meal for our first full day in Kitzbuhel.  Off we went, browsing our way along through town.  All the buildings and homes were beautifully decorated and neat.  Flower boxes hung everywhere…from every house.  Every yard, no matter how small, had some sort of garden. The beauty of this town is everywhere…the murals on the buildings, the home gardens…everything is so colorful.  We walked into the old part of town, with its curved wall entranceway, cobblestone streets and little shops and it’s just as you would picture it. We went to the Church of Our Lady, built in 1373. From the outside, it looks like it’s every bit that old, but on the inside, it is exquisite.  The statues, the paintings, the artwork are incredible!  On our approach to the church, along one side, was a small cemetery with decorated graves (just like the one in the Sound of Music).  When we turned the corner and saw more graves winding around the church and up the hills, it was absolutely awesome. Graveyards here in Europe (at least judging by this one) are very different from those in the USA. Since there is much less space to devote to the dead, each family has a 'plot’, if you will, for all its members…who are buried atop each other. Memorials, such as crosses and upright stands with names and dates, are surrounded almost completely by flowers. It is all so cheerful, not sad looking at all.

As we were walking around town, we saw several wagons decorated with flowers. We decided to follow them, just to see what was happening.  Were we in for a surprise!  Apparently there was a festival in town and we saw the most delightful parade!  All the vehicles were decorated with flowers, from horse drawn wagons to cars, trucks, even the fire engines.  The parade stepped off with the town band, playing that wonderful Bavarian music.  We just stood on the side of the street with the rest of the people to watch the parade. It was a great experience, and one that we just happened upon!  The festival with music, food…the works…was going on in town afterward.  When the parade ended, we went to an outdoor cafe to have lunch. As we had lunch, we noticed that the parade kept coming around and around and around and we watched it again (and again) while we ate.  It just did not want to end…and we didn’t want it to end, either…it was just so delightful.  We could not have asked for a better way to start our vacation.

That evening, we went to St. Johann in Tyrol (a nearby village) for dinner and the Sounds of Tyrol…a wonderful way to end a wonderful day.  We could tell that the people who were singing and dancing really enjoyed it as much as the people in the audience did.

August 27-Tuesday
KitzbuhelWe woke up this morning to rain and fog. We have decided to stay in Kitzbuhel for the next couple of days. At the moment, it does not look very promising. We took another walk over to the Church of Our Lady to take some pictures so that we can share some of its beauty with you. The weather was starting to break, and we decided to head up to Kitzbuheler Horn. To get to the top of the mountain, we had to take two separate cable cars. The first car was a gondola-type car that took us to what they call the 'middle station’.  There we had to change cars to reach the top.  We had about 45 minutes to wait for the next car, so we had some time to view the valley from this point…and oh, what a view it was!  Kitzbuhel looked just as beautiful from there as it did while we were walking through it.  We could see the way the narrow streets wound all through the town.  When it was time for our ride to the top, off we went.  The ride to the top of the mountain was slightly different than that to the middle station.  This time, we stood in a box-type car, apparently used for skiers and their equipment in season.  It was quite the ride up, looking down at the valley below as it got smaller and smaller.  Even the giant (and I DO mean ‘giant’) pines got smaller and smaller.  Whoa! We just disappeared into the clouds! We practically could not see our hands in front of our faces, the clouds were so thick.  We could hear cowbells, but we could not see any cows.  As nice and clear and sunny as it was at the middle station, it was just as cloud-covered at the top.  I will say this, it sure was peaceful up there.  The only sound we heard was that of the cowbells.  It was a bit eerie.  Since the view was not the greatest at that moment, I decided to do a bit of mountain climbing (or mountain walking, if you will).  I headed over to the Alpine Flower Garden.  This mountain climbing is not as easy as you would think. (Or I could be that out of shape.)  The garden wound its way along the side of the mountain.  I got to see many different varieties of mountain flowers. One big surprise…there was a good, old fashioned peony, right up there in the Alps. There was a small visitor’s cabin in the garden where you could sign your name and where you lived.  It was interesting to see the different places people had come from, all over the world, and Paul & Bev Malak from Lemont, Illinois, USA, added their names to the list.  At about 3:15, the clouds started to break and we got our first glimpse of the valley.  I am sorry if I repeat myself…I was at a loss for the right words to describe the scene.  This has to prove there is a God…no mortal could have created anything as spectacular as this.  I hurried back up to the top so I could share this with Bev.  She was just as taken with this view as I was.  It was as if we were sitting in a theater as the curtain rose and the show began.  Unfortunately, the last car going down was scheduled to leave at 5:30, so we had to go.  I felt thrilled and disappointed at the same time…thrilled because of what I had just seen and felt, disappointed because I had to leave.  Thank goodness for my memories… I’ll carry this with me for as long as I live.

(BevNote: While Paul was walking around the Flower Garden, I was simply enjoying the scenery, as the clouds came and went. There was a very small chapel, not too far from where I was sitting, but I did not go in. It looked only big enough to hold four or five people…really! But it was at the very edge of the mountain, and I didn’t think my faith was strong enough to get that close to the edge! There were a couple of young kids (goats, that is) who had taken a liking to Paul’s camera case, which he had left with me. I had to keep shooing them away, but they were so friendly…and inquisitive.)

In the evening, the town band was scheduled to give a concert in the old part of town, so we decided to take a walk over to listen.  What a treat!  The band came marching into the square to the applause of the town folk.  These people here really enjoy themselves.  It is a pleasure just to watch them.  We sat by one of the many cafes in town (they are called konditorei) that features nothing but desserts, so we had some (had to…you know, when in Rome…).  The people here do know how to live.  The band played a lot of old Austrian folk songs, some Strauss waltzes, some light classical music and, to top it off, the Stars and Stripes Forever.  I had chills running down my spine. Another perfect end to another perfect day.

August 28-Wednesday
KitzbuhelWe woke up to rain again this morning and took a walk around town to do a little shopping (we discovered that rain in the morning is fairly common and doesn’t stop the locals from going about their business).  We saw some really nice things that we would have liked to buy, but were concerned about getting them home safely and conveniently, so we only bought one souvenir for ourselves.  The rain stopped about 2:00 pm, so we decided to head up to the mountaintop again.  It was much clearer today (also much colder!), and we were able to see more than yesterday.  We were able to view three sides of the valley and all of the views were just breathtaking.  We saw several other little towns in the valley, with rivers winding their way through the mountains, and many other mountains across the way.  I was left speechless. On our way up here, we stopped at the market to pick up a few items for lunch. We had some peaches, grapes, ham, cheese and rolls. You can have your fancy restaurants…this was the most beautiful place ever to have a meal.

We’ll turn in early tonight because tomorrow, we head to Vienna.
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