I got an email from my mom after we had arrived in Innsbruck, and I had gotten onto the hotel’s Wi-Fi. The email said we needed a “pickel” to drive through Austria, which our German police-friend Eberhard warned us about. The next day, I found out it’s also referred to as a Vignette, or a sticker which you buy at a gas station and post in your windshield. Eberhard said you can get in a lot of trouble without it.
We made our way out of Florence around noon, and it took a solid five hours to get to Innsbruck. Our directions didn’t specify which Innsbruck exit to take, so we were unsure if it was the Sud, Ost, or Zentrum exit. We rambled around a bit before giving up, and buying a map in a local gas station. As it turned out, we were very close to the hotel, and made it there by 7.
This hotel was again small, but clean and very sleek. We later discovered a constellation of stars in the ceiling that scintillate when the lights are off – nice touch.
The woman at the front desk suggested the Weinhaus Happ for dinner, and we crossed the bridge and river to enter the old town, in search of the restaurant. Again, another romantic, old European town with tables and candles out everywhere, and wonderful views of the Tyrolean Alps as the sun set.
I ordered Rehgeschnetzeltes, described on the menu as venison stew with croquets, red cabbage, and cranberry sauce. I had a Müller Thurgau wine with it, and if it weren’t for Charlotte becoming unglued, it might have been the best meal of my life. It came on a plate (I expected a stew to mean a bowl of soup), and I ate it with great relish. Dawn and I took turns walking Charlotte around the village as the other ate; she would not eat her meal and would not sit in her chair without kicking and screaming. We had reached the end of the rope with them, and realized we had put them through too much travel. Lily got in trouble with Dawn for not following directions, and so she missed out on ice cream after dinner. I got a half liter of Austrian wine in the hotel bar, took it to the room, and checked email as Dawn put the girls to sleep. This is when I learned about the vignette we needed to drive through Austria.