Europe Day 8 – Innsbruk
Up early again, but a few short naps on the bus will help keep me from getting overly tired and not enjoying the trip. After driving for most of the morning we made it to our activity of the day, white water rafting. Even though I have done this before on the New River in West Virginia many years ago, I thought it would be fun to do it in Austria. And I was right on the money.
Right off the bus, the rafting company handed us the parts to our wetsuit. Hot stuff I thought, I’ve never been in a wet suit before; I’m going to look real cool. It was the first time for most of the guys to be in a wetsuit before because several guys put the suit on inside out. One guy, our Dallas TX Clint, decided to free ball it as well as wear the suit on inside out. After a fair amount of trial and error we manager to get our wet suits and helmets on. Only two of the girls decided to do this excursion, I managed to get into the raft with no girls. It was pretty simple to do that, I said I wanted to be in the raft that flipped and did stupid things, so that left the girls and pansy guys to the other boat.
After a short orientation about the raft, we carried our raft a short distance to the water. Then our guide told us to go ahead and jump into the water before putting the raft in. Of course I didn’t think this would be a big deal at first. I don’t know why I thought the water wouldn’t be that cold, it was probably around 16 C outside. So I moved slowly into the water until it was up to my chest and then thought that it would be wise to get out of the water and into the raft. Turns out that the water was probably around 6 C; I’m really glad we were wearing wetsuits. After a little more explanation, I learned that the river would not get warmer than 8 C because the river is simply melting water from the glaciers. Our guide was a lot of fun; the first thing he had was do was a training dive. Of course, all of us were gung ho about this because it seemed cool. Pretty much, we have everybody move to sit on one side of the raft, then we all lean back a little and the raft flips over leaving all us in the water with the raft coming down onto our heads. Wow the water is cold – now that I have been fully submerged. The cold water leaks in from all areas of my wetsuit and steals away any body heat that might have existed. It took a couple minutes for everyone to get oriented and flip the raft back upright. During this myself and the others were yelling about how cold the water is. Eventually, we all made it back into the raft to complain about how cold the water is and how cold we are. Luckily we have about an hour left on the raft.
The rapids were not that exiting (class three), because there was almost never a chance were anybody fell out when paddling properly. The guide had a few others games for us during the ride to keep it interesting. I had managed to land a seat at the rear of the raft during the entire trip, so at the end he told myself and the other person at the back to go to the front and sit with our heads facing over the front. We went over one last set of rapids where I was able to get wet by the cold water since I didn’t get much of it during the ride. Finally, before we got off, it was time to attempt a wheelie. I didn’t know this was something you do in a raft, but apparently it us. Everybody moved to the rear of the boat, leaned back, and the guild pulled on a rope attached to the front of the raft. Several us were laying back in the water while the raft was completely vertical. After several minutes of this, the guide release the rope, allowing the raft to lay back on the water as normal. The other raft attempted the same feat, but resulted in complete rollover. This was good because only one person on the other raft had fallen out of the raft into the water. So now the entire other crew was able to experience the pleasantries of the water. One member of their crew didn’t quite get the idea of how the flip the raft back over. So when the guide was attempting to flip the raft, one member held onto it as it was being flipped, until he realized he was greatly hindering the effort and released the raft.
After getting off the raft, and showering, my body temperate began to come back to normal, although I would remain cold throughout the rest of the day. Back on the bus again until we reached our stop in Innsbruk. Innsbruk Austria is apparently known for it’s Schnapps and Swarjosviky crystal. Here the main attraction was a palace that had a golden roof to show the people of the city how rich the owner was. I tried some various flavors of schnapps. Wow, I always thought schnapps was a very sweet liquor without a high percentage of alcohol, but here there was more alcohol in the liquor than a hard liquor in the states. Quite surprising. After spending only a few hours here, we got onto the bus to check into the hotel.
Tonight many were going to hang out at the bar in the hotel, but myself along with five other people wanted to go back to town to spend some more time in the city. After walking around for a while looking into closed shops we decided to go to a pub in a mall. I’m glad we did this, simply because it was nice to get to sit around and be in an environment not construed because everybody there was tourists. I tried a coffee, beer, and a glass of wine while there. There was quite an outspoken guy sitting at the next table which provided some additional entertainment. He at first asked Linda he she would be his girlfriend. A little while later his persistent flattery and begging for a kiss from Holly paid off. Holly and Linda agreed to both give him a kiss at the same time. He was real exited. Then the girls thought it would be funny to instigate the guy to hit on me. He excitement level was so high throughout the evening, he quickly made a few comments about me, and put his arm around me sitting next to me. I graced him with my presence and Jeremy took a quick picture of the moment. Right after this, it was time to head back to the hotel to see what the others were doing and get some sleep. Myself along with Vivian and Gabriel thought it would be more fun and cheaper to walk back. It was pleasant out for the twenty some minute walk back to the hotel where I promply headed to bed to attempt to get a good night sleep.
Europe Day 8 – Innsbruk