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  • HI, I'M RICK STEVES.

  • THANKS FOR JOINING US AS WE SHARE

  • SOME OF MY FAVORITE EUROPEAN DISCOVERIES.

  • WE'RE STARTING ATOP THE ZUGSPITZE,

  • THE MIGHTIEST OF GERMAN PEAKS AT 10,000 FEET.

  • THE ZUGSPITZE STRADDLES TWO GREAT NATIONS.

  • I'M IN GERMANY.

  • I'M IN AUSTRIA.

  • DESCENDING THE AUSTRIAN SIDE OF THE ZUGSPITZE,

  • WE'LL SEE BUSY INNSBRUCK BUT STAY IN SMALL TOWN TIROL.

  • AFTER CROSSING THE ALPS OVER BRENNER PASS,

  • WE'LL TOUR MY FAVORITE MEDIEVAL CASTLE INTERIOR

  • AND MAKE OF KASTELRUTH OUR HOME BASE

  • FOR SAMPLING ITALY'S RUGGED DOLOMITES.

  • IN WESTERN EUROPE,

  • AUSTRIA AND ITALY SHARE A BORDER ALONG THE ALPS.

  • STARTING IN AUSTRIA,

  • WE'LL TRAVEL THROUGH INNSBRUCK AND THE TIROL

  • BEFORE CROSSING THE BRENNER PASS INTO ITALY.

  • THERE, WE'LL MAKE STOPS AT BOLZANO AND KASTELRUTH.

  • THIS CROSS MARKS THE SPOT

  • WHERE CLIMBERS FIRST REACHED THE SUMMIT HERE IN 1851.

  • WHILE THIS MARKS THE HIGHEST POINT IN GERMANY,

  • WE'RE HEADING INTO AUSTRIA,

  • WHERE THERE ARE PLENTY OF HIGHER PEAKS.

  • FROM HERE, THE ALPS ARC BEFORE US

  • LIKE A GRAND ALPINE SYMPHONY.

  • AT THE ZUGSPITZE SUMMIT,

  • AS ON SO MANY EUROPEAN MOUNTAINTOPS,

  • YOU'LL FIND RESTAURANTS, SHOPS, AND WELL-ENTERTAINED TOURISTS.

  • THE GERMAN SIDE IS SCALED BY A COGWHEEL TRAIN

  • AND CABLE CAR FROM GARMISCH,

  • ABOUT AN HOUR'S RIDE TO THE NORTH.

  • THIS SPEEDY TRAM IS TAKING US DOWN THE AUSTRIAN SIDE

  • TO THE VILLAGE OF EHRWALD, WHERE WE PARKED OUR CAR.

  • THE FAMOUS ZUGSPITZE ATTRACTS TRAVELERS

  • FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

  • ESCAPING THE TOURIST CROWD TAKES A LITTLE INITIATIVE

  • AND, TO REACH SOME PLACES, A CAR.

  • WE'RE DRIVING TO FALLERSHEIN,

  • A TINY TUMBLE OF LOG CABINS AT THE END OF A NARROW ROAD.

  • OUR GOAL?

  • TO CATCH A GLIMPSE OF AUSTRIA

  • AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A CENTURY AGO.

  • FALLERSHEIN, AT 4,000 FEET,

  • REPLACES THE MODERN SCRAMBLE WITH A FLOWER-SPECKLED WORLD

  • OF SERENE SLOPES AND ANDANTE COWBELLS.

  • THUNDERSTORMS ROLL DOWN THIS VALLEY

  • LIKE IT'S GOD'S BOWLING ALLEY, AND BRACED AGAINST THE WEATHER,

  • THE TINY HAMLET CONTINUES TO SURVIVE.

  • DAILY LIFE AND THE VILLAGE ECONOMY

  • HAS REVOLVED MOSTLY AROUND THE COWS.

  • ORIGINALLY THIS WAS A SUMMERTIME-ONLY COMMUNITY

  • OF DAIRY FARMERS.

  • BUT TODAY, THE VILLAGE IS ALSO POPULAR AS A ROMANTIC RETREAT

  • FOR AUSTRIAN VACATIONERS WHO'VE RENTED CABINS HERE.

  • FALLERSHEIN IS FAMOUS AMONG THOSE IN THE KNOW

  • AS A RUSTIC GETAWAY.

  • HIKERS AND BUDGET TRAVELERS BED DOWN HERE

  • IN THE ALMWIRTSCHAFT FALLERSHEIN.

  • ABOVE THE MOUNTAIN RESTAURANT,

  • THERE'S A LOFT FILLED WITH MATTRESSES.

  • THIS IS A MATTRESS LOFT ORmatratzenlager.

  • THROUGHOUT THE ALPS,

  • "lager"IS A KEY WORD FOR "CHEAP BED."

  • THElagerAND RESTAURANT ARE OPEN MAY THROUGH OCTOBER,

  • WEATHER-PERMITTING.

  • AFTER FALLERSHEIN, INNSBRUCK,

  • A COUPLE HOURS' AWAY BY CAR, FEELS LIKE A METROPOLIS.

  • SIX HUNDRED YEARS AGO, THIS POPULAR TOURIST STOP

  • ) WAS THE HAPSBURG CAPITAL OF THE TIROL.

  • BY THE TIME THEY GOT HERE,

  • THE HAPSBURGS WERE WELL ON THEIR WAY

  • TO BEING EUROPE'S MOST POWERFUL FAMILY.

  • THEY EXPANDED AND CONSOLIDATED THEIR VAST EMPIRE

  • THROUGH CLEVER ALLIANCES

  • AND POLITICALLY HELPFUL MARRIAGES.

  • THIS MUCH-OGLED GOLDEN ROOF

  • WAS BUILT BY HAPSBURG EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN IN 1496.

  • THE ROOF, WITH OVER 2,500 GILDED COPPER TILES,

  • REMAINS THE TOWN'S CENTERPIECE.

  • THE HAPSBURGS RULED HERE UNTIL THE END OF WORLD WAR I.

  • INNSBRUCK'S MEDIEVAL CENTER IS NOW A PEDESTRIAN ZONE.

  • LOOKING PAST THE CROWDS,

  • IT STILL FEELS LIKE AN OLD PROVINCIAL CAPITAL.

  • THE CITY'S FOLK MUSEUM IS A MEDIEVAL TIROLEAN HOME SHOW.

  • CRIBS WERE DECORATED WITH CHRISTIAN THEMES

  • TO BE SURE GOD WATCHED OVER THE LITTLE BABY,

  • BUT JUST TO COVER ALL THEIR SPIRITUAL BASES,

  • A PRE-CHRISTIAN DRUID PENTAGRAM WAS CARVED ON THE HEADBOARD.

  • AND OFFERING ANOTHER KIND OF PROTECTION WAS THIS MAN,

  • A SALTNER OR HUMAN SCARECROW

  • WHO GUARDED THE VINEYARDS FROM BOARS, FOXES, AND BIRDS.

  • THIS EXHIBIT SHOWS OFF THE REGION'S TRADITION

  • OF FINE WOOD CARVING.

  • WHILE THIS COULD BE ANY TIROLEAN VILLAGE,

  • IT'S BETHLEHEM IN THE ALPS.

  • BIBLE STORIES LIKE THIS NATIVITY SCENE

  • MADE MOST SENSE TO LOCALS

  • WHEN PRESENTED IN A FAMILIAR HOMETOWN SETTING.

  • ONE OF INNSBRUCK'S MOST FAMOUS SITES

  • IS ABOVE THE CITY, THE SKI JUMP.

  • THE SPOTLIGHT OF THE WORLD WAS ON INNSBRUCK

  • AS IT HOSTED THE WINTER OLYMPICS TWICE IN 1964 AND '76.

  • SPORTS FANS MAY RECALL MANY INFAMOUS CRASHES OFF THIS JUMP.

  • FOR SAFER SPORT,

  • HIKERS TAKE TO THE SURROUNDING MOUNTAINS ON FOOT.

  • INNSBRUCK'S WORTH A QUICK LOOK,

  • BUT I PREFER A SMALL TOWN, ONE WITH FEWER TOURISTS.

  • TONIGHT WE'RE SLEEPING FIVE MILES DOWNSTREAM

  • IN THE TOWN OF HALL.

  • BEFORE THE TIME OF THE HAPSBURGS,

  • HALL IN TIROL WAS A RICH, SALT-MINING CENTER

  • AND INNSBRUCK WAS, AS ITS NAME IMPLIES,

  • JUST A HUMBLE BRIDGE TOWN ON THE INN RIVER.

  • SO HALL'S MEDIEVAL CENTER

  • IS ACTUALLY LARGER THAN INNSBRUCK'S.

  • LAID-BACK HALL CRADLES ITS MARKET SQUARE.

  • HALL'S PASTEL BUILDINGS AND COBBLED STREETS

  • FEEL REFRESHINGLY REAL...

  • TOO REAL IF YOU'RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING MORE

  • THAN A LEISURELY LUNCH FROM NOON TO 2:00,

  • WHEN EVERYTHING CLOSES.

  • AND IN SMALL-TOWN EUROPE,

  • MANY RESTAURANTS TAKE AN ENTIRE WEEKDAY OFF.

  • THIS SIGN SAYS"Heute Ruhetag."

  • THAT'S GERMAN FOR "TODAY IS OUR QUIET DAY."

  • DURING THE RULE OF THE HAPSBURGS,

  • HALL'S CASTLE SERVED AS THE LOCAL MINT.

  • FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, THIS HOW YOU MADE MONEY.

  • TRADITIONAL METHODS ARE STILL USED HERE

  • TO STRIKE SHINY SOUVENIR COINS.

  • BACK WHEN SALT WAS MONEY, HALL WAS LOADED.

  • THE TOWN'S ELEGANT ARCHITECTURE AND RICH CHURCH

  • MAKE IT CLEAR THAT IN ITS DAY, HALL WAS A LOCAL POWERHOUSE.

  • THIS MUCH-APPENDED GOTHIC CHURCH IS DECORATED BAROQUE

  • WITH FINE ALTARS, GILDED STARBURSTS,

  • AND THE SKULLS AND SKELETONS OF SAINTS,

  • EERIE RELICS THAT LOOK BACK AT YOU.

  • [ bell tolling ]

  • THE OLD PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE LEADS OVER THE INN RIVER

  • AND TO OUR HOTEL.

  • IN EUROPE, I RELY ON A GOOD GUIDEBOOK FOR HOTEL LISTINGS,

  • MAKE RESERVATIONS BY TELEPHONE A DAY OR TWO IN ADVANCE,

  • AND RECONFIRM WITH ANOTHER PHONE CALL BEFORE SHOWING UP.

  • GASTHOF BADL IS A FRIENDLY PLACE RUN BY FRAU STEINER.

  • IT'S CONVENIENT AND OFFERS A WARM WELCOME.

  • AS IN MANY HOTELS,

  • TOURIST-INFORMATION BROCHURES IN ENGLISH

  • ARE READILY AVAILABLE IN THE LOBBY.

  • FRAU STEINER IS CHECKING TO SEE

  • IF THERE'S A TIROLEAN FOLK EVENING NEARBY.

  • [ speaking German ]

  • YES, EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE FOR THIS EVENING.

  • GREAT, THANKS.

  • OKAY, SO TONIGHT IN THE VILLAGE OF MAURACH

  • WE'VE GOT A FOLK EVENING.

  • IT STARTS AT 21:00. EUROPE USES THE 24-HOUR CLOCK.

  • SO, ANYTHING OVER 12, SUBTRACT 12 AND ADD P.M.

  • 2100 MINUS 12: 9:00 P.M.

  • ALL RIGHT, WE HAVE TIME FOR DINNER,

  • AND FRAU STEINER IS JOINING US.

  • THE CUISINE OF THE TIROL IS NOT TO BE MISSED.

  • GUEST HOUSES TAKE PRIDE IN SERVING LOCAL SPECIALTIES,

  • SUCH AS SPAETZLE, ROAST PORK AND SAUERKRAUT

  • YOU MUST LIKE DUMPLINGS.

  • YOU ORDERED THE DUMPLING EXTRAVAGANZA HERE.

  • I LOVE DUMPLINGS.

  • THEY ARE SPECIAL TIROLEAN...

  • IT'S A QUICK COURSE IN FINE EATING,

  • DUMPLINGS 101.

  • YOU DON'T WANT TO TELL US THE SECRET OF THE DUMPLING?

  • I THINK I HAVE TO KEEP THE SECRET OF TIROL

  • WITH THE DUMPLINGS.

  • OH, WELL.

  • WE'LL HAVE TO TAKE COMFORT IN THE APPLE STRUDEL.

  • OKAY, ON TO SOME MUSIC.

  • [ man whooping, accordion music playing ]

  • TIROLEAN FOLK EVENINGS, LIKE MOST FOLK EVENINGS,

  • MIGHT BE TOURISTY,

  • BUT A ROWDY DOSE OF SLAP-DANCING

  • OFFERS A LIVELY GLIMPSE OF TRADITION.

  • HOW DID THE CUSTOM START?

  • STRUTTING YOUR LEDERHOSEN AND SCHNAPPS

  • MUST BE IN THERE SOMEWHERE.

  • RATHER THAN A BIG-CITY STAGE SHOW,

  • WE'VE OPTED FOR A SMALL-TOWN HOTEL EVENING.

  • IT'S INTIMATE, LIVELY, AND RIGHT IN YOUR LAP.

  • [ whooping and music continues ]

  • [ music ends ]

  • SLAP DANCING IS A SNAPPY CAP

  • TO OUR FOLK EVENING IN THE TIROL.

  • WE'LL BE YODELING IN OUR DREAMS.

  • FOR A CAR-HIKERS' LOOK AT LIFE IN THE HIGH ALPS,

  • WE'RE TAKING THE TOLL ROAD

  • UP TO 5,000-FOOT-HIGH HINTERHORNALM.

  • Guten Tag.

  • Bitte. Weidersehen.

  • DETAILED MAPS SHOW THE TINIEST OF ROADS

  • LEADING TO THE GRANDEST OF ALPINE PERCHES.

  • THE MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING HALL AND INNSBRUCK

  • ARE A NATURE LOVER'S WONDERLAND,

  • OFFERING COUNTLESS MOUNTAIN LIFTS, HUTS,

  • AND A LIFETIME OF TRAILS.

  • WHETHER YOU'RE CAR HIKING, BIKING,

  • ROCK CLIMBING, OR PARASAILING,

  • THESE ALPS DEMAND ONLY AS MUCH EXERCISE

  • AS YOU FEEL LIKE GIVING.

  • FROM THE PARKING LOT AT THE END OF THE ROAD,

  • IT'S A LEVEL, 20-MINUTE STROLL TO THE WALDERALM FARM.

  • THIS IS ACTUALLY A CLUSTER OF THREE FAMILY-RUN DAIRY FARMS

  • SHARING THEIR MEADOW WITH THE CLOUDS.

  • [ cowbell clanging ]

  • SEVENTY COWS ENJOY RIDGE-TOP RAMBLES

  • SURROUNDED BY CUT-GLASS PEAKS.

  • TODAY, HAPPY HIKERS CAN SAMPLE WILD MUSHROOM SOUP FOR LUNCH,

  • AND MILK DOESN'T GET ANY FRESHER.

  • SO...FRESH!

  • THE BRENNER PASS HAS BEEN THE EASIEST WAY OVER THE ALPS

  • SINCE ROMAN TIMES.

  • NEARLY 2,000 YEARS AGO,

  • ROMAN LEGIONS FOLLOWED THIS ROUTE, THE VIA CLAUDIA,

  • ON THEIR WAY NORTH TO CONQUER MUCH OF EUROPE.

  • WELL-GROOVED SECTIONS OF THE ORIGINAL ROAD

  • ARE STILL PRESERVED.

  • TODAY, THE BRENNER PASS IS EASIER THAN EVER TO CROSS

  • AS DRIVERS ARC GRACEFULLY

  • ALONG ONE OF THE ENGINEERING WONDERS OF EUROPE.

  • FROM THE TOP, THE EUROPABRUCKE,

  • OR EUROPE'S BRIDGE, FEELS LIKE A FREEWAY,

  • BUT FROM THE WINDY OLD ROAD AT THE VALLEY FLOOR,

  • IT LOOKS LIKE A MIGHTY SCULPTURE.

  • THE FREEWAY ZIPS DRIVERS FROM INNSBRUCK

  • TO THE ITALIAN BORDER IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES.

  • HOW ABOUT PASTA FOR LUNCH?

  • THESE DAYS, CROSSING BORDERS IN EUROPE IS A WAVE-THROUGH.

  • [ man shouts indistinctly ]

  • [ laughs ] IT'S SO EASY!

  • THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB AT THE BORDER IS WORTH A STOP.

  • OKAY, WE'D LIKE TO GO TO SELLA PASS.

  • WHAT IS THE BEST WAY?

  • AND YOU GO TO THE EXIT ON THE AUTOBAHN.

  • FROM HERE TO THE VAL GARDENA IN SANTA CHRISTINA

  • SELVA, AND THEN FROM HERE TO THE SELLA PASS.

  • SELLA PASS, IT'S HERE.

  • OKAY, GOOD. [ speaks Italian ]

  • WHILE THE AUTOBAHN IN AUSTRIA AND GERMANY IS TOLL-FREE,

  • THE ITALIAN AUTOSTRADA HAS PLENTY OF TOLLBOOTHS,

  • BUT THAT'S NOTHING NEW HERE.

  • FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS,

  • TRAVELERS HAVE HAD TO PAY TO CROSS BRENNER PASS.

  • SINCE ROMAN TIMES,