There was still no sign of any sunshine so we decided to take a trip along the Inn Valley to Rattenberg. It lies on the banks of the River Inn and it is the smallest town in the country.
The streets are lined with carefully restored medieval town houses many of which are painted in pastel colours.
On the western edge of the town are the nailmakers houses with their rustic appeal and some date back to the 12th century. Inside there is a museum and visitors can see old parlours and bedrooms with original furnishings.
Rattenberg is now known as a glass town with its numerous glass refining businesses. We went into the Kisslinger Kristall Glass shop where we watched a demonstration of glass blowing.
A slow wander along the street revealed lots of other interesting features and shops.
At the far end of town we discovered the Augustiner Museum. It is the former Augustiner Serviten Monastery which was active from 1384 – 1817. The museum was opened in 1993 and shows Tyrolean art treasures covering nine centuries. There are also examples of religious art.
The church was entirely reconstructed in the later part of the 17th century.
An important feature is the dome fresco, called the Augustinerhimmel, (Augustinian Heavens) and is similar to the one in the Trinity Church in Salzburg. The lower ring shows 77 representatives of the religious order who lived in the monastery according to the rules of St Augustine. The middle ring is occupied by angels whilst the upper ring is occupied by the holy trinity.
The Cloister was not only a meeting point and a place for meditation, it was also a connection to the communal rooms such as the church and refectory.
I saw a staircase leading up to the belfry and decided to go for it. The first couple of sets of stairs were easy but then it started to get harder. The stairs were steeper and narrow. I reached an observation area from where there were good views over the town and along the river.
Continuing upwards I reached the bells. The large bell was cast by Ulrich von Rosen in 1437 in Munich. I glanced at my watch, it was 14.58. Two minutes to 3 o’clock. I hoped it was not going to ring. I was only inches away from it.
“I praise the true God, summon the people, gather the clergy, mourn the dead,banish calamity, and embellish the feasts”
This old saying expresses the entire meaning of the bell. Bells not only had the function of calling the believers to prayer and to a church service, but they also served as a defence against threatening forces of nature. e,g as a storm alert, as a warning about catastrophic fires or impending war, or simply to augment a secular event festively.
Another couple of very steep stairs and a landing which was more like a plank of wood and I was alongside the clock mechanism.
The tower clock served the local population as the time standard to which all other clocks were set – when the bell tolled – as a time check. For that reason, tower clocks were usually connected to the bells.
Back outside we wandered along the banks of the River Inn. It was a milky green colour probably due to sediment washed down after several days of constant rain.
The River Inn of one of several colourful rivers in Austria. It is known as the Green Inn but changed colour when it runs into the Blue Danube. This itself changes colour when it runs into the Black Sea.
We wandered round some of the back streets and stopped to watch some artists receiving feedback from their tutor.
It is far easier to take a photo.
We walked back up the main street and made a detour into one of the glassware shops. Time to get my credit card out.
Soon it was time to leave.
On our way back we stopped off at the Kramsach cemetery. It is a humorous cemetery containing original 100 year old grave inscriptions, but no actual graves. The inscriptions depict how the unfortunate person met their death.
It is amusing, quirky and totally irreverent.