Innsbruck 2

Welcome to the World Of Crystals….that’s where we are headed to today. Swarovski is synonymous with crystals and we visit Swarovski Kristallwelten at Wattens.

The opening picture features the Giant Crystal Dome at this facility

Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal World) is an attraction created by Andre Heller for the famous crystal glass manufacturer Swarovski. It consists of a park, an art museum, retail area and restaurant. It is located at Wattens, a town close to Innsbruck where the company is headquartered. The company was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski. In 1995, to commemorate the 100th anniversary, this attraction was created with a museum with 14 chambers of wonder in the form of a giant. Inside the giant are exhibition spaces based on various themes.

As we enter the attraction, we first enter The Garden which is a well landscaped area of 7.5 hectares with art installations surrounding the iconic Giant symbolic of the Swarovski brand. The Giant has sparking eyes and spews water on to a pool below.

The iconic Giant

One of the main attractions in the garden is The Carousel in black and white made of 15 million Swarovski crystals and illuminated with warm lighting.

The Carousel made of Crystals

Another attraction is The Crystal Cloud made of 8 lakh Swarovski crystals over The Mirror Pool.

The Crystal Cloud

As you leave the garden and enter the giant, you find yourself in a giant Crystal Dome with around 595 mirrors creating an effect of depth and giving one the feel of being inside a crystal. This is so mesmerising that it is a popular wedding venue.

The Crystal Dome

As one moves through the chambers, one encounters an amazing collection of artistic exhibits made of crystal, some of them by renowned artists.

Some pictures of exhibits at the Crystal World…

Inside the chamber complex with an exhibit

The biggest Crystal

The crystal Chandelier

The birds in crystal

The Taj Mahal

And a Christmas tree!!

The retail area was open for anyone interested in making one or more of the crystal ware their own….which entailed heavy jingling pockets of course!!!

Our next visit was to see the Tyrolean folklore show.

This programme included traditional and authentic folk music played on a variety of musical instruments. It is organised by the Gundolf family considered the ambassadors of Tyrolean culture and tradition and introduces the spectators to Austrian culture through song and dance. The traditional attire worn by the performers adds to the authentic feeling.

The performers presented a variety of dances and the beats were very catchy indeed. One dance had the dancers slap the soles of there shoes synchronously and in perfect tune . The singers enthralled us with their incredible songs and yodelling. They played traditional instruments like the alphorn and the accordion. In fact some of the farm implements were improvised and used as musical instruments.

We were also treated to dinner with the waiters wearing traditional Austrian attire adding to the feel.

The highlight of course was at the end when the singers sang the national anthems of all the spectators. And they sang the Jana Gana Mana with such clarity; left us pleasantly surprised. We joined in during this performance!

After the show we were allowed to pose for pictures with the performers.

Some pictures…

The welcome song

Some real enthusiastic and energetic dancers

A variety of musical instruments

Playing the alphorn

Improvised musical instruments

Some more of the dances

And the dinner

After the dinner, we were pleasantly surprised to find one of the performers hop on to the vehicle to drop us off at our hotel.

From Innsbruck we were headed to Italy…..and where else but to the romantic city of Venice.

As we took to the road from Austria to Italy, there were a couple of things that struck me.

Austria is a country with multiple tunnels. Unlike in India where we have winding roads with hairpin bends, in hilly areas; in Austria the road cuts through the mountains. So the ride to Italy saw us passing through multiple tunnels of varying lengths.

A typical Austrian mountain road

The road side had plenty of vineyards and orchards making the ride quite scenic.

Apple orchards along the highway

Vineyards

As we were enjoying the views, our guide pointed out a bridge called Europabruck also known as the Bridge of Europe. This bridge spans the Sill River and forms one of the main routes from Austria to Italy. It was Europe’s highest bridge till it was overtaken by the Italian Viaduct.

Europabruck

After a highway ride of about 5 hours we reached Venice by noon. See you next week at Venice with great sights, history and art.

Till then , keep your comments and feedback coming…