One of the joys of my work as a seminar speaker relates to speaking in foreign countries and being hosted by very gracious people who introduce their country to me and give me this beautiful experience. In Innsbruck, I gave a seminar for Cine Tirol – the Austrian film commission for the Tyrolean part of Austria which includes Innsbruck.
The class was limited to screenwriters from Tyrol and I had about 14 of them. They arrived on Friday and the director of the city Tyrol, Johannes Koeck, had planned an afternoon and evening Friday which introduced us to Tyrolean locations and culture. We began our tour going up on the funicular and the cable car to the top of this mountain which overlooked the city. We did a tour of old town which is one of the most beautiful old towns I have been to in Europe. We went to a Tyrolean folk Museum and had a very full tour. The leader of the tour spoke in German, so Peter and I had a choice of hearing a translation, but we chose to really focus on just looking at the beauty of the church and the interesting objects that were part of a wonderful museum. We had a drink at the oldest guesthouse in Innsbruck which dates from around 1300. And I discovered that I really like Austrian champagne. We then had a Tyrolean dinner at another restaurant.
After I did the seminar for the group, for the next three nights Cine Tyrol has hosted us at this beautiful resort in the country where Arnold Schwarzenegger stays whenever he comes to Austria. Hillary Clinton and Jimmy Carter and prime ministers and presidents have also stayed there when they come to Austria. We have a room with an amazing view of these beautiful craggy mountains of the Austrian Alps. By this time, anybody reading my Facebook blogs knows that Peter and I love views. We love to sit in front of a window and watch the clouds move across the mountaineers and how the light changes on the mountains. We arrived at the hotel restaurant and had this beautiful table reserved for us in front of the window. My mother used to say – invest in experiences rather than stocks and bonds and my mother taught me to value these beautiful experiences and the graciousness of hosts such as Johannes.
For the next two days Peter and I were hosted by two screenwriters from the Innsbruck area who will showed us around. One of them took me around in 1999 when I did the seminar there. I also saw him in Vienna when I was there several years ago. The other is a client of mine who lives in this area who attended the seminar.
There is this experience of knowing people from the country where I teach who began as colleagues and maybe clients or participants in the seminar and who end up as friends. And there is something incredibly special about seeing the country with somebody from that country. On Friday morning, one of the people from Cine Tirol took Peter and I on the Swarovski Crystal tour. I have loved Swarovski crystals for 25 or 30 years. The tour is set up around a number of rooms that have been designed with Swarovski crystals by artists from around the world. There is the Eden room which has trees. There is an infinity room with many, many mirrors. I’m including a photo of the giant with eyes of crystals. Outside there is a garden where the top of the poles look like bushy trees but they are all these gorgeous crystals that just throw rainbows out as the sun shines on them and reflects in the water around these crystal trees. The whole place is very magical. I came on this tour in 1999 but many of the exhibitions have changed since then.
We’ve had so many incredible experiences so far – many of them revolving around people that we have known before the people we have met and many of them revolving around the beauty of the country where we are. It is amazing to us that we are only a few weeks into this two-month trip and everything has been so rich on so many levels.