Stuck in Innsbruck 

I got into Innsbruck late afternoon after stopping in Mittenwald on my way from Fussen, where I mostly just walked up to see the castles, did an unexpected nature walk back to the city (and discovered that while trails aren’t marked in distances but in time here, it’s done by seniors and therefore estimates about double the amount of time it really does end up taking), and then had lots of Bavarian food and beer. Not worth a full post, so some pics below before on to Innsbruck.

  The Alpensee Lake near the bottom of the castles. I’m not a huge castle person, but this lake was totally worth it. Definitely straight out of a fairytale.
European trains have their system down.

  Had to. Too bad the bees liked it about as much as I did.
Innsbruck is the first place I’d actually booked a hotel since I needed a place to have my Austrian Alpine Club membership card sent to. Luckily, it wasn’t too far from the train station, and right downtown. As in, this Golden Roof is one of the top things to see in Innsbruck and I could see it from my bedroom. The hotel itself reminded me of the old hotels or chalet, home-y type places we used to stay in as a family in the south of France when I was younger. The front desk woman showed me to my room, a small little one on the top floor. Maybe not as glamorous as I’d imagined, but location couldn’t be beat, and it was nice to have my own bathroom and a TV (even if I couldn’t exactly understand the Austrian reality TV and dubbed American movies).
With a big plan to explore Innsbruck that night and then go set right out in the morning, my plans were quickly slashed when I stopped by the tourist office and she told me she couldn’t actually really help. The Alpine Club would only open again on Monday morning (it was Saturday afternoon). Well, looks like I’d be staying in Innsbruck another day. Guess it paid to be flexible- another reminder.

  Just outside my hotel

Breakfast the next morning

Caught up in trying to plan out my route and the next few weeks, I actually ended up just staying in, calling my parents for the first time, and watching Austrian TV. Felt kind of guilty, but probably much needed. Washed some clothes (in the sink, with shower gel, yes).
The next day, I had a good, buffet Austrian breakfast with plenty of meats and cheeses and breads and muesli and yogurt and left my bags at the front desk. I had written down a couple key places to see, but mostly I set out with no expectations. I stopped by the Golden Roof, paid a few euro to get up to the tower and stopped by some of the churches, and being a Sunday, it was pretty quiet.

The best parts of that day by far were wandering around into the Hofgarten, the biggest park in the city, and ambling up to a small church on the hill overlooking the city. It was nice to just walk around and not feel like I had to see anything or get through a whole day of stuff. Old guys played human-size chess, old women and moms with strollers watched ducks play in the lakes and ate pastries, and young kids read books or hung out talking in the grass. There are even signs encouraging people to sit on the grass. Made me think again about just how relaxed people are on Sunday’s- how much people take “relaxation” and a break from stress or work seriously. Maybe something we can afford to do more often as well.

The Golden Roof- completed in 1500 and Emperor Maximilian I and his wife used it to watch tournaments and festivities below

 You can see where the priorities are.

 Up over Innsbruck in the Stadtturm- cool view but super windy

Love that Innsbruck really uses its walkways by the rivers, and everyone is so active.

Entry into the Hofgarten  
 There are apparently still plants in this garden that were planted by Austrian empress Maria Theresa.


          So this was happening when I got back down into the city from wandering…

   In case one should ever want squeezable mayonnaise or curry ketchup or…Winter Jack? I need to move to Austria. One of my favorite parts of traveling is always the grocery story. Perfect example.

Once I checked into my hostel (a 2 story place overlooking a huge pasture on the outskirts of the city), I headed out to dinner with a girl who’d offered to meet me from Couch surfing. She took me to her favorite little spot in the city that no one notices, a light installment that changes all the time. We stopped by the 360 cafe which has 360 views of the entire city, but it was closed. Sunday’s in Europe. So we settled on a restaurant nearby and ordered some drinks and wraps. Her friend from Romania, who lived in Innsbruck for a while but now lives in Rome, and sometimes Innsbruck for a few months (complicated I know) came to join us and they had a wine and Sprite (super popular here). I tried a beer and Sprite and it actually wasn’t too bad. We laughed a lot and I’m definitely glad I met both of them.
Walked home, and spent the night with an Australian guy and a German girl who was starting university in Innsbruck 2 weeks later so was back to look for flats. With impending rain the next day, I just about ended up looking at flats with her the next day. Wouldn’t that have been an adventure. But instead, I was determined to start my Alps adventure.


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