Sunday, July 16, 2006

Innsbruck Diary (3) ...

On Sunday we took a bus ride to Berchtesgaden, Germany, just over the Austrian border. This was the location of Hitler’s getaway home, “Berghof,” sort of his equivalent of Camp David. The home was heavily damaged in the war, plowed under, and is currently part of the site of an Intercontinental Hotel.

2000 meters above was the famous “Eagle’s Nest,” an engineering marvel of its time and now a restaurant. There are no reminders of its history anywhere on the site. There is a museum where vivid displays document the horrors of the Hitler regime.

Others visited the concentration camp at Dachau. During the week there was a presentation by a Holocaust survivor. We are trying to take advantage of our location to make history come to life.

This weekend we are in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, and about a six-hour train ride from Innsbruck. We toured a castle high above the city and wandered around the old city. There is a sort of Western veneer to the city, but the vestiges of the Soviet era still show themselves in the poor meal service and diffident employees.

On last night’s menu, in a restaurant that felt like a hunting club, we were surprised to see various dishes with horse meat. We were not the least bit interested, of course, but were steered away from mixed grill dishes.

The food here is very greasy and it is hard to find de-caf coffee or artificial sweetener. I guess we use these things to measure a comfortable commitment to Westernization.

As we write this, Saturday morning, we are about to go on a walk through the old city and do some shopping. Ljub may win us over today, but as of now I don’t think we can recommend that you visit.

Others traveled to Venice this weekend. Next weekend we will join the tour to Vienna.

My classes will visit the Grassmyr bell factory this week. I think I remember that it is a FOURTEENTH generation family business.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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