Austria, where the hills are alive!
Saying goodbye to the Swiss Alps would not have been easy, if it was not for the poor weather and knowledge that Austria was waiting for us. I had a very anxious and excited feeling about heading to Innsbruck, Austria because I had no idea what to expect, except what I had googled online. Innsbruck was a recommendation from my sister who knew it was a charming city in Austria and it did not disappoint.
We hopped on our train around noon on Tuesday afternoon and got ready for the five hour ride. It had a couple transfers as well, but was less exciting than our previous trips. The scenery however was entrancing, keeping me awake because I was scared to miss the snow-covered mountains and perfect towns. The train rides were undoubtedly one of my favorite little pieces of these trips because you can see so much of the back country.
After arriving to the train station in Innsbruck, we hopped on the bus which took us straight to our hostel. Luckily, I had researched the bus system before arriving so it was extremely easy. Our hostel was very big, almost a hotel with a charming staff. We expected to be in a room with two other people, but they kept the beds empty so we had a room to ourselves. The woman at the front desk recommended a local restaurant for great pizza, pasta and local Austrian food with a great atmosphere. Thankfully we listened to her advice and enjoyed a delicious meal of pizza, and beer along with friendly service.
The next morning we arose early to begin our full day in Innsbruck. Map in hand we set out towards the city center and roamed the streets. The buildings were beautiful, all painted pastel with beautiful white trim. They had a fairy tale feel, especially with the white mountains as a backdrop. After walking around for less than an hour, I wanted a pastry so I decided to try Austria’s Berliners and it was delectable. A Berliner is similar to a donut covered in powdered sugar with some sort of jelly inside. Each Berliner I had in Austria was filled with a rich apricot jelly. After enjoying our pastries we stumbled upon a market where we tried some macaroons and found the beautiful river that runs through Innsbruck. The river is picturesque because on the other side is a row of colored shops with the Alps in the background. On Wednesday a cloud was covering the middle of the mountains with the tops visible, but the following day the whole mountain was in full view.
|Me and my Berliner!|
|The little market where I got my first macaroon|
After exploring some churches on the other side of the river, we ventured back to browse some shops and found Innsbrucks famous Golden Roof. The building was built in the 1500s for Archduke Friedrich IV and was decorated with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles for Emperor Maximilian I. We also visited some other sites such as the Hofburg Imperial Palace. I really enjoyed this area of town because at one end there were quaint shops and street vendors selling painted eggs and chocolate and at another end was a yard-sale type market.
That evening we again took the advice of the hostel worker and ventured back to the city center for some Authentic Austrian food. It was right by the Golden Roof and provided a nice atmosphere for our last evening in Innsbruck. I ordered goulash and dumplings (basically bread meatballs). The food in Austria and Germany is extremely similar, which is why I enjoyed every meal I had.
The following morning we took the bus into town and hung out for a little while before we caught our train to Munich. Krista and I ventured back to the river to take more pictures since the clouds were gone and all of the mountains were visisble. I bought one last souvenir and then it was time to say goodbye to Austria.
I would recommend Innsbruck to anyone traveling in that general area. No more than a day and a half is needed, but it could provide a relaxing, yet beautiful stop to an otherwise hectic trip. There is also a lot of hiking and skiing to do based out of Innsbruck as well which we did not explore, so there is even more activities to do than I have stated.
After this short trip to Austria, I already want to return and visit other cities such as Salzburg and Vienna. The people were extremely friendly and willing to help however they could, the city was extremely charming, and not to mention the food and beer were scrumptious.
1. Two days would be the most I would spend in Innsbruck if you do not venture up to the mountains. We only needed a day, but we also did not visit the Olympic Site or the Swarovski diamond museum.
2. We got a 24 hour bus pass for 4 people which cost about 2.50 euros per person. This was great because we could get on and off the bus as much as we wanted.
3. I definitely recommend the Youth Hostel which you can find here. It had a great breakfast and an extremely friendly staff.