As I may have already identified, I tore off to Austria because I couldn’t find a place to stay in Chur. It was a three hour train ride but, with the sun going down and I no shelter, I followed along with some people I talked to. They were having the same sort of issue with finding a place for any reasonable price.
Fast forward to when I arrived at the main station. It was dark, my map was garbage, and the area that I emerged out into was target seedy. No one around looked friendly, and I was questioning the safety of my being there. I had no reason to worry though, a lot of tourists come here, just not HERE…
I was really struggling with this map. Almost no labels
After walking and turning here and there, I was at last able to discerned where I was in relationship to anything else. Everyone I asked was worthless in showing me where I was at that time. Surely, if you see a map of where you live, you can point to where someone stands on a map… Well, I set to running towards the hostel where I had hoped to meet the others. I ran along a long path that had me passing down dark, unwelcoming streets for about an hour before I finally arrived.
This not being a place with cheap labor, the reception desk closed at about 10, an hour before my arrival. Just as I was rocking up top the place, one of those guys I had meet before was there to let me in. I was able to slip in their room for a gratis floor and breakfast. The really helped with the budgeting. The people I stayed with were all pretty interesting – included in their ranks was a lumberjack for example. The hostel itself looked like a hospital and was devoid of personality.
After waking up, I had about five hours to explore before I needed to return to Chur to meet a host. After taking a much more logical path to the old town I started it off.
First were lackluster imperial gardens. I just walked through those and fortunately they were free. On the other side I found the real sites of importance, a baroque church and a palace belonging of the Hapsburg empire.
This church was large but mostly average from the outside, but as soon as I opened there doors, I was amazed. Being baroque, the onsite was lavish and filled with paintings and colors. While Gothic n architecture has its place too, I find this the most interesting. I couldn’t nearly fit the grandeur into one photo.
After that I walked all around the palace before I was able to find the entrance. The ticketing lady talked me into paying an extra two euros to include the exhibit about the alps. I figured they factored largely into the culture of this part of the world so why not. The whole exhibit was filled with the history of climbing and making them. It was pretty interesting I suppose.
Finally though, on the floor above was what I had really paid to see. This was one of the palaces of the Hapsburg dynasty. The most famous is located in Vienna, but this one is certainly beautiful. I had an audio tour that took me through each of the rooms and explained at length about the decorations and history. No pictures were permitted, but if discreet one can manage… Below was the largest of the rooms. The design was overhauled when Maria Theresa ascended the throne, as the only woman to rule in this Sunday. In the decorations, she saying to assert her power buy having her fertility shown through paintings of her family, rather than those of past rulers. It was in this room that King Leopold was wed. My photo does not do this justice.
The other rooms were the living quarters, each more opulent than the next. I was able to snag a couple shots, but these were on my other camera, and again, not so good. Google images should be at your service.
Back on the streets, I marveled at the old town buildings. Not so different from those in Switzerland, but I could see some architectural differences.
After that I made my return to Chur to meet with my host. This was a nice jaunt into Austria, more of a teaser really since I will absolutely be coming back. I’m glad that I was able to see a part of the country that I was not planning on at all.