Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Sunday 22 July 2012

Feeling that you've arrived in a stage set may be a common feeling for the tourist, in the midst of images familiar from films and books; Austria manages to achieve the effect in less expected surroundings.

Village houses in the Tirol often have painted decorations as a presumably cheaper way of adding some more upmarket period detailing. Even the new community centre in one village (school, meeting hall and fire station all in one) has a mediaeval look with its complete painted window:

The churches were no less theatrical. The Wilten Basilica in Innsbruck has additional balcony fronts that seem to serve no other purpose than to display yet more gilded plaster moulding alongside what is already on the pulpit and organ gallery, matched for lightness, brightness, size, and decoration by some of the ordinary village churches in the Stubaital, where the galleries could as well be in a big city theatre - and even the confessional might be a private box at the opera:

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