A Travellerspoint blog

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Arriving in Innsbruck


View Innsbruck: Capitol City of the Alps on bejjan's travel map.

Due to the early flight this morning, I had already checked in at Radisson Blu Sky City Hotel yesterday at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. The alarm was set to 3.30am and tired as h*ll I got out of bed, took a shower to wake up and packed my bags. Breakfast was served at 4.30am and I was first in line when they opened up. Checked out from the hotel and dragged my luggage to the check-in desk. I must say it is very convenient staying at Radisson which is completely integrated with Sky City at Arlanda. Had already checked myself in at Austrian Airline’s website and chosen my seat, but now I also had to check in my bag via Vienna to Innsbruck.

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Boarding started at 6.10am and the airplane got pushed back out from the gate with a 10 minutes delay. And if that wasn’t enough, the airplanes wings had to be deiced and taxed away to the deicing station further away. That made the airplane 5 more minutes delayed. Originally, I had a 45-minute stop-over in Vienna to change flight, but with these delays I now only had only 30 minutes which made me a little stressed. But the flight attendant assured me that we would land in time and that I would have enough time to change. They served us passenger an Apfelkamm each with optional drink during the almost 2 hour-flight.

I landed just after 9am at Vienna International Airport. I really had to get off the airplane fast and get to the next gate that I almost had to elbow my way out. But fortunately, my next gate was just across the corridor from the arrival gate. Finally, I could relax knowing I would arrive in Innsbruck as planned. But instead of boarding the airplane standing right next to this gate, we had to walk downstairs and embark a bus. Sigh! The bus then drove away to a Bombardier Turbo-propeller aircraft. I’ve managed to avoid flying in propeller-driven aircrafts, but now… now I had no choice anymore. I had to suck it up and just deal with it. And sure enough, I managed to get the seat next to the propeller as well! The propellers started with an awfully loud noise and with an almost deafening sound took off at 9.45am towards Innsbruck. Took barely an hour to get from Vienna to Innsbruck and the cabin crew almost didn’t have time to serve the Apfelkamm’s and drinks before preparing for landing again. Outside the window, the snow-covered alp peaks were reaching high up towards the clear-blue sky, an amazing view.

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The airplane descended for landing and almost touched the roof-tiles on houses in Innsbruck before landing at Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport. The sun shined and it was nice to feel the warm of spring as I stepped out of the airplane. But soon after I felt the distinct smell of cow muck, which was less nice. Was I really going to walk around smelling this sh*t for five days? I walked into the terminal and picked up my luggage and found the bus that would take me to my hotel. Bus line F drove from the airport to the central part of Innsbruck and I disembarked at the bus-stop Triumphpforte, right next to Hilton Innsbruck Hotel where I would stay. The check-in started at 3pm and the time was just 11.15am when I entered the hotel lobby. But I took a chance and asked if my room was ready for check-in – and it actually was! Awesome! Took the elevator to the 9th floor and entered my room. Big room (28m2) with fantastic view over Innsbruck, right in middle of Inn Valley embedded in between Karwendel Mountains in north (Nordkette) and Brenner (Südkette) in south.

It was about +18 °C, sunshine and clear-blue sky, so I had to change into somewhat more comfortable outfit. Went downtown, walked along Maria Theresien Strasse which today is most famous for its shopping. The first assignment was to find the tourist Information Center where you can buy the Innsbruck Card, which gives you a lot of advantages like free riding with the local buses, entering many museums for free and one free uphill and downhill ride on any of Innsbruck’s lifts. You can purchase a card that’s valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours. I bought a card for 72 hours and using that card frequently you will easily recover the card expense, which I also did.

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Right away I went to the Museum of Tyrolean Folk Art where they displayed beautiful handicraft and work of art from the Tyrol and of course Trachten wearing. I really like the Trachten clothes and the beauty of it, and they are unique and can be combined in so many ways. Unfortunately, parts of the museum were damaged by damp and it was not just a little but nasty molding smell hitting your nose. I don’t understand why they had not started sanitizing the museum long time ago since that molding smell could not have occurred just over one night.

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After that I participated in a free City Tour with guiding in the old parts of Innsbruck. Except for me, three other tourists joined the tour and it was hard not to engage in the fascinating stories about the old times in Innsbruck. The tour lasted for an hour and we finished up at the Imperial Palace. I took the opportunity to visit the City Tower, a 51-meter-high tower in the middle of old town, where I had to walk up all 148 steps to the view point. From up there I got a 360° view over Innsbruck and it is well worth a visit. Of course, free entrance with the Innsbruck Card. After some food I walked around looking for stores selling Trachten clothing. I found a small shop, with a limited choice of Trachten and the prices were shameless and definitely tourists trap. I then walked back to my hotel resting before the evening dinner and entertainment – Tyrolean Evening with the Gundolf Family.

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A cab picked me up at 7pm that drove me to Sandwirt Restaurant, where the show later on would be. But first the dinner: soup, Wiener schnitzel and finishing up with Apfelstrudel. Yummy! When the show started at 8.30pm two busloads of people had arrived and were probably already a little tipsy upon arrival. The show lasted for about 1 ½ hour and contained Yodeling, Shoe-slapping, Tyrolean folk dances and traditional instruments like harp, cowbells and a saw. And of course, a lot of Trachten and Lederhosen (leather pants). Really entertaining and fascinating and when the show was over, I ended up getting a car ride back to my hotel by one of the performers. It was with one of the female dancers and yodelers and she wore a beautiful dress – Trachten of course. So, I just had to ask her if she knew any stores in Innsbruck selling Trachten. And yes, she drove by and showed me not one but two stores, just a block away from my hotel. Perfect, a mission for tomorrow!

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Austria Tagged cities Comments (0)

Nordkettenbahn and Trachten


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Woke up all rested after a good night’s sleep. Breakfast was served at 7.30am. The Breakfast buffet was what you would expect at a 4-star hotel. The staff served you coffee or tea at the table and asked if you missed something or was unhappy with anything. Back up in my room I heard the cleaning lady knocked on the door next to me asking: “Room Service?” Isn’t that just too early in the morning? Time was just after 8am and the guests could actually be asleep and having a late breakfast. Breakfast was served between 6.30am to 9.30am on weekdays. I hanged the “Please, don’t disturb”-sign outside my door, so she wouldn’t knock on my door too.

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I went down to the older parts of Innsbruck taking pictures, now when the sun shined from another angle. Once again, a beautiful day and the sun shined at the clear-blue sky. Temperature about +16 °C and was expected to get even higher during the day. Among others I went to the Four Beasts Corner or Vier-Viecher-Eck, a square surrounded with guesthouses Hirschen, Adler, Löwe and Rössl. The guesthouses were ornamented with beautiful signs and the houses names, which all are names of animals, meaning Deer, Eagle, Lion and Horse. They are also called by the house's colors; Golden Deer, Red Eagle, Golden Lion and White Horse. The sign with the Golden Deer is missing today though.

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Then I went to the Congress where I got on the Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen Cable Railways, which would take me all the way up to the top station Hafelekar at elevation 2334 meters. The first section called Hungerburgbahn runs between Congress – Hungerburg, partially underground, over the river Inn and then steeply uphill to Hungerburg. In the middle it made stop at Alpine Zoo, Europe’s highest themed zoo. I placed the Alpenzoo a visit. With the Innsbruck Card the entrance was free. It took just over an hour to walk through the entire park with all animals. Moose, utter, wolf, mountain goat, bear, grouse, cow, sheep, snake etcetera was displayed and in other words no exotic animals. But as with most locked-up animals they are unhappy behind fences. And you could tell pretty easily just by studying them.
Went back to the Nordkettenbahnen and rode up to Hungerburg. Here you had to change to the next lift: Seegrubenbahn, which runs between Hungerburg and Seegrube. This was a cabin lift that ran very fast uphill to Seegrube at 1905 meters above sea level. Up there was a restaurant and a snow-igloo named Cloud 9 situated. Cloud 9 is the gathering point for skiers where after-ski, pub visit or other events are held. The igloo also contains a museum. It was an amazing view from up here at Seegrube at clear day like this.

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Next cabin lift was Hafelekarbahn, running uphill to Hafelekar at elevation 2334 meters, was without a doubt the steepest part of Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen. The view from up here was amazingly dizzy and here you really got a 360° view all around you of the Alp massive. It was quiet and peaceful up here. I could have stayed much longer if the sun had not been too intense. The downhill ride took about 20 minutes. When I got back to central parts of Innsbruck time was 1pm and time for lunch. Sat down at an open-air restaurant in the Old Town and felt the city pulse. At this time of the day people was out on town, not just tourists.

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Now it was really time to visit the two stores selling Trachten clothes. The first one was the smaller one which a limited collection of Trachten to choose from. I just looked around without buying anything. The other store was about 50 meters away and was way bigger. I think anyone could find something they like here.

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I spent a lot of time trying out a Trachtenmieder, which you could describe as a corset vest that you wear on top of a blouse. I ended up buying it despite the expensive price. But how good looking wasn’t it? ;)
On the way back to the hotel I walked by Audioversum – a sound museum. I entered since it was free of charge with the Innsbruck Card. I guess the thought was to listen to different sounds and stuff but two school classes with young children also visited the museum at the same time and they couldn’t shut up. So, it was doomed to fail.

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Since the weather forecast had predicted rain for tomorrow, I went to the tourist Information Center and asked for schedules for Tram 1 and Tram 6. You can ride with these trams to Igls and Mutter, two smaller villages up in the mountains just outside of Innsbruck. It turned into evening and time to head back to the hotel again.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Austria Tagged cities Comments (0)

Igls and Mutters


View Innsbruck: Capitol City of the Alps on bejjan's travel map.

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Woke up to a cloudy grey Innsbruck. It was told to be heavy rain today, so the umbrella was packed down in the backpack for today’s adventures. Went down for breakfast at 7am and hung up the “Please, don’t disturb” sign, in case the cleaning lady was in mood for early cleaning today as well. But when I got up to my room again there was no sign of any cleaning lady at all. Packed my backpack ready and walked towards the tram to Igls.

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Along the way I passed a local farmer market selling their products. Here was only German spoken. I practiced my poor German and learned pretty quickly that I couldn’t use any English words when my German language skills lacked. But I managed to negotiate a bottle of Chardonnay for €6,-.

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Scenic Tram Route 6, or Mittelgebirgsbahn Tram 6, is the tram transporting you up to the village Igls at elevation 870 meters. I got to Bergisel in the outskirts of Innsbruck and got on the tram. It took about 25 minutes for the tram to wind uphill to Igls Bahnhof. Even though the weather was grey and cloudy the view – as the name Scenic Route indicates – was amazing. It was Saturday and the village had not woken up yet or simply just because it was in between the ski season and hiking season – in other words completely empty. It was chilly outside and the manuring of the fields was in full speed so my visit in Igls became short.

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When I arrived back in Bergisel I wasn’t too far away from the tram stop Westbahnhof, wherefrom the STB tram (no. 1) departure from uphill to Mutters. The village Mutters is situated by the foot of Nockspitze Mountain at the elevation of 830 meters. It’s a popular ski resort during winter and hiking during summer months. The tram took about 30 minutes to get up to Mutters and there wasn’t much more going on here than in Igls. But once again, it was in the end of ski season and the hiking season had not yet started. But I was hungry I could eat a horse so I found a restaurant and ordered food. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend that place, since the lady working there was stressed and not at all guest friendly. So, I would give it a really bad review. So, whatever you do, avoid eating at Gasthof Lärchenwald! Took the STB tram back to Innsbruck and disembarked in downtown this time. Went straight back to the hotel and unpacked the wine bottle since I didn’t want to have that extra weight in my backpack out on town. Saturday afternoon, and what better to do than shopping? Along Maria Theresien Strasse are many shopping malls with more or less well-known brands like H&M, Peek and Cloppenburg, Lindt, Levi’s and so on. So, a lot of shopping was done. Not that it was cheaper than back home in Sweden, but just because ;)

Back at the hotel room for some rest before I went out for some dinner in the evening. I found a cozy restaurant in the Old Town of Innsbruck and was seated at the same table as an American couple. They were from Texas and the couple was in Innsbruck thanks to the husband’s business trip. The wife was traveling with him for vacation. It was easy talking to them or at least with the wife anyway. The husband was looking down at his cell phone most of the time, or “worked” as he said, more than participated in the conversation at the table. It felt like we were talking for hours about all kinds of things. Not until I was walking back to my hotel, I felt a few raindrops in my face. So, the forecasted rain became a few raindrops during the evening, totally okay. Turned on the TV for a while in my room and ended up looking at an episode with Family Guy – dubbed into German. Wow, it felt so wrong; you are so used to the original voices. Even The Simpsons or “Die Simpsons” in German, was dubbed.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Austria Tagged cities Comments (0)

Golden Roof and the Emperor


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Went down for breakfast at 7.30am. No cleaning lady in sight. But I hung my “Please don’t disturb”-sign anyway just in case. It was Sunday and as in many other cities around in Austria most stores are closed. Grocery stores and souvenir shops are usually open, but otherwise it’s pretty closed everywhere. Sundays are kind of a national day when stores and shops are closed in Austria, just as Tuesdays also seems to be in some stores.

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I walked to the river Inn and took a stroll along it when I heard loud noise way ahead. When I got closer, I could figure out that it was a Mountain Bike Competition with its start down here in Innsbruck and went uphill all the way up to Hafelekar (at elevation 2334 meters). Hafelekar was the top station I rode up to with Innsbrucker Nordkettenbahnen just the other day. That’s a lot of altitude going up there and doing that voluntarily on bike??? No, thank you. Not for me.

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Today was the last day to use my Innsbruck Card so I paid a visit to Golden Roof Museum, or Museum Goldenes Dachl. The golden roof is probably the most famous landmark in Innsbruck and recollects of Emperor Maximilian I and his life, domination and wives. I got one of those audio tour devices to listen to (in English of course). Even though history is not my strongest side, it is very interesting and instructive to visit and learn on location. If you only had the chance to do that in school – history would have been so much more interesting!

Maximilian was born in 1459 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, and son of Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg. In 1477, Maximilian married Mary of Burgundy and through this marriage he took possession of Netherlands, which expanded his influence within House of Habsburg. They managed to get two children before Mary was killed in a horseback riding accident five years later. Maximilian became King of Romans in 1486 by his own father, since that was the title the heir to the throne got before being crowned as Roman Emperor by the Pope in Rome. Maximilian constantly wanted to expand his territory and eventually defeated Austria, Hungry and parts of Italy by persisting wars during 1490-ies. In the year 1490 he was supposed to marry then 14-year-old Anne of Bretagne, just to expand his empire. But the marriage was annulled before it even happened. In 1493, Maximilian married Bianca Maria Sforza. That marriage was only for territorial and economic gains for Maximilian who at the time had no money, probably due to all the wars around Europe. Bianca was never happy in that marriage and they never got any children together. It is told that Maximilian built the Golden Roof for her out of guilt. From the Golden Roof Bianca could overlook the people down at the square and she was very fond of that special dance people performed on the square below just to serve their living. Maximilian was crowned Roman Emperor in 1508, but according to rumors he crowned himself without even visiting the Pope in Rome. When Bianca passed away, Maximilian didn’t even attend to her funeral, which was yet another proof that their marriage was only for his own economic and territorial gains. The later part of his life he spent enjoying art and science. Maximilian died in Oberösterreich, 59 years old and was buried in his birth city of Wiener Neustadt. There was one thing in life Maximilian wanted most of all; not to be forgotten. He therefore had a tomb created on the Court Church, Innsbruck, where statues of his family are watching over his “tomb”.

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It took almost an hour to get around in the museum and after that it was time for lunch. I had passed this McDonald's restaurant several times and felt it was time to pay a visit. On the ground level it was as you could expect, like it used to look in a McDonald's restaurant. I ordered my Big Mac Menu, and went upstairs where it was more seats available. Surprisingly I sat down and looked around. Not exactly how you expect a McDonald’s restaurant to be – the interior was typical Tyrolean with wooden tables and chairs and hunting trophies hanging on the wall. So that was a positive surprise.

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The sun was high up in the sky and probably close to +20 °C today. Without any stress and must-do, I could sit down on a park bench and just be. I bought an ice cream at the kiosk nearby, but it didn’t taste that good – mostly artificial, unfortunately. In front of my hotel was Eduard-Fallnöfer Square, a public area and its design made perfect conditions for skateboard/wakeboard. I sat down for a while studying their skills. It was children in all ages from 5 years old and up. And they were great, they jumped and rolled and I would never be able to repeat what they did. Fascinating! Then it was time for dinner. I had made reservation at the restaurant Konrad’s, in Hilton Innsbruck Hotel where I stayed. And after a delicious dinner with chicken breast and rice and a glass of wine I fell asleep well fed and happy.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Austria Tagged cities Comments (0)

For the third time…


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I packed most of my stuff in my bags before I ate breakfast. Last day here in Innsbruck, third time in Austria. When I got back up in my room, sun shined in a clear-blue sky. It would be a nice day yet again and about +16 °C warm. But I wasn’t having much time to see Innsbruck today since I had to be at the airport by noon. Discovered yesterday when I checked-in online and chose my seat that it was not going to be Lufthansa operating the flight but Austrian Airlines and SAS. Weird. Anyhow, I was happy as long as the Lufthansa pilot strike wouldn’t put a spoke in my wheel so I could fly back home to Sweden.

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Checked out from Hilton Innsbruck Hotel, but could store my luggage a few hours at the hotel until my bus left. This was the first time I stayed at a Hilton Hotel. It was a great hotel with great standard, big room and bathroom, service minded and helpful staff. So, a great review from me. Sure, you have to pay a little extra to stay here, but once in a while you can spoil yourself. I sat down on a park bench along the river Inn in the sunshine and enjoyed the fantastic weather. Through Facebook I had received information that it had been snowing back home, so I had to take every second I could to stay out in the sun and warm spring weather here in Innsbruck.

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Just before noon I picked up my luggage and embarked bus F to Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport. Checked in my bag and got through security check. All I had to do now was to wait. When it was time for boarding, two of the same airplane models stood side by side with Austrian Airlines logo. We passengers walk on the ground by foot and boarded one of the airplanes. A little nervous that you would board the wrong flight, but I asked one extra time to be sure this was the flight bound for Frankfurt. The flight got delayed by a few minutes but took off just after 2.40pm.
I landed just about an hour later at Frankfurt Airport. It is one of Europe’s largest airports and I had plenty of time to change terminal and find the next gate. Had time to eat and stretch my legs before boarding on the SAS flight to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. The flight took off only minutes after 5.30pm and it was nice to hear people talking Swedish around me. It got darker outside and when it was time for landing it was completely dark. It wasn’t just dark but also windy, so the minutes before landing were the worst I’ve ever experienced. The airplane went up and down, sideways and all around due to the strong winds. It got so bad that I started to think that if this was my time to die; at least it would happen quickly. But the landing was one of the best I’ve ever experienced. You could barely tell the airplane touched the ground until it started to break. So, with relief I disembarked the aircraft and picked up my baggage. But it was almost creepy how few people it was at Arlanda. Barely anyone at all and time was only 8pm on a Monday evening. Shouldn’t it be more action at an airport as Arlanda at that time? Apparently not.

Posted by bejjan 16:00 Archived in Austria Tagged cities Comments (0)

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