I am currently in Hall in Tirol, Austria; A cute, little down just down the train line from Innsbruck. We, my husband Kyle and I, had planned on staying a few nights in Innsbruck and maybe take a day trip to Hall but we threw caution to the wind this afternoon and took a chance. It paid off. While the hotel we are staying in is a bit over our regular budget (Gasthof Badl for €74), its a nice place just outside of town and breakfast is included. We got here in the afternoon with no reservations and made a beeline for the information center. There we found a nice man who gave us a few options of hotels and called to see if rooms where available. We made it to our hotel, then headed back to town to wonder the narrow streets of Hall. We found a small restaurant called Geisterburg that had great pizza and a salad bar and drinks. Dinner, dessert, and multiple drinks for €30 doesn’t seem too bad for Austria, so far. We then stopped in Bar Centrale near the main square for another round of drinks. Tomorrow, we plan on biking around the area for a few hours and then heading to the next stop.
A note about the beginning of this trip: We started this trip a few days ago flying out of the States heading to Zurich but connecting in Madrid. For the first time ever, we missed a connecting flight and spent a few hours in Madrid. Now, I have been there before (and will be there again in a few weeks) but my husband had never been. So we spend our few precious hours walking around the Royal Palace grounds, Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, and having lunch at a wonderfully located cafe near the “suicide bridge.” While there are many other places, I would love to take him, I wanted him to see the highlights of the city and what is is known for (and we did not have time for a tapas crawl). There will be time to return there, I’m sure. After we made it to Zurich (a city which is lovely, yet too expensive for this trip), we took a train to the town of Bregenz. Now, we had read some not so nice things about Bregenz but we found it to be a wonderful city and much more affordable than Lindau, Germany across the lake. We stayed at the Ibis hotel which, while it is a chain hotel, it was one of the most affordable and well located hotels we found. If you just need a bed and a shower and don’t plan on spending a lot of time in the room, it’s a great deal (at about €107). We wondered around Bregenz and enjoyed it. There are a lot of outdoor activities to do and a lot of bike paths. While there, we took the train over to Lindau which is a picturesque German town. With hindsight, we probably could have walked or biked the bikepath from Bregenz to Lindau (the train took about 10 minutes and the bike path seemed to go all the way from one town to the other).
Random things I have learn about Austria/Austrians so far: While our guidebooks told us to hand our tip to the waiter and not to leave it on the table, the waiters don’t seem to wait for the tip and then are not always easy to find in the restaurant. So, we have been leaving the 10% tip on the table. Also, no one seems to bless you when you sneeze.