The Austrian region closest to Switzerland is called Tyrol (Tirol in Austria). It spans about 200 km across and encompasses the Eastern Alps, Austria’s highest mountain – Grossglockner, and numerous cities including Innsbruck.
Compared to the German part of Switzerland, there doesn’t appear to be any significant differences. Chalets in the valley are wooden boxes with white bases, red flowers adorning the window sills and balconies. High priced public transport services all corners of the land. Tourist Information staff speak English and are helpful in all matters. The mountains are marked with numerous hiking trails and huts provide food and shelter for multi-day trekkers. All these resembled Switzerland. Yet, there was a hint of difference in the general social conduct. People smiled more. They were more relaxed and less focused on exactness. They took time to wave and say hello. Austria is a good place with an honest heart.
Innsbruck is the largest city in Tyrol, possibly more known for hosting the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976 than any trait. It is in fact a quiet city with a small historic section that’s worth a walk. The Swarovski crystal factory is near the city, but we don’t recommend a visit to their Crystal Worlds display. On a clear day, the Alps can be seen to the south.
People traveling Europe who miss good Thai food should try a restaurant called Noi on Kaiserjägerstrasse next to the sheltered car parking in the SOWI-Universität building. Cooking ingredients are carried directly from Bangkok, and the food is absolutely authentic.
Lienz and Nationalpark Hohe Tauern
Lienz is the largest town near the Austrian National Park, Hohe Tauern. Within the park is the 3797 M / 12,457 ft Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain. Buses from Lienz to the park are infrequent, and the ride is an hour. By the time we reached the park, it was 11:00. The last bus returned at 16:30. We selected a tough 12 km hike. It didn’t happen. 3.5 km into the hike, we got behind schedule and started to jog.