Thursday, November 05, 2015

Innsbruck



I never thought I would be so excited to board a train, I’m on one every day for 40 minutes to get to work and it’s really not very interesting. A train through the mountains to a new city however, that’s definitely something to be excited about.

I have to begin by stating that the Austrian transport system is as efficient as me on a Monday morning after two coffees and a cookie... so extremely efficient. We booked our tickets online a week before we left, here, and managed to find our train and platform number, with no problems. Maybe it’s because we’re Londoners, but every time I go abroad, transport systems are always so much easier! Trains are on time, despite atrocious weather and there never seems to be an issue.

We stayed in the Austria Classic Innsbruck Hotel Binders Garni, despite the terrible marketing decision to award it such a long name, the hotel was beautiful. The staff were incredibly friendly; the location was perfect if you don’t mind a walk to the city centre, and the sunshine blazing through the window in the morning was a welcome change to the previous hotel (though they did give us free food!).

We spent day one wandering through the old town, seeing the Gothic Hofkirche and the Hofburg, a former Habsburg palace, before walking up the river and crossing over all the quaint little bridges you meet along the way. The fog meant little could be seen of the landscape and as much as it was clearly pretty, I have to admit I longed for Salzburg again.

Day two however, gave me a real taste of Innsbruck. As the fog cleared, and the snowy mountains came out to play, we jumped on a cable cart halfway up the mountain to a little ski resort. The view was breathtaking, though sadly one that my camera couldn’t do justice of. Due to it being off-season, the ski resort was lovely and quiet, meaning you had the opportunity to take in the view without a huge crowd. A small tip: buy your ticket from Congress, as it works out cheaper to buy one from the start and go straight to the top – unfortunately this was something we only found out when we were halfway up. 

When we came down to ground level, we walked across the entire city, an expedition undertaken with two missions in sight – Ambras Castle, and the Olympic Ski Jump. The ski jump we found with relative ease, only to be slightly disappointed by how small it looked when we got up close. We didn’t venture up, coming to the decision that it wouldn’t be worth the climb – I did however find a postcard of the jump at Innsbruck train station and immediately regretted the decision, it looked incredible and I feel we missed out on something special.

Ambras castle was extremely difficult to locate, but worth every ounce of the effort. The castle stands on the edge of the city and overlooks everything from behind the trees. A viewing shelter, which we had to ourselves for the most part, meant we could sit and enjoy the view for a while – and of course, take tons of photos.

Overall Innsbruck turned out to be a decent destination, I think if I was to visit again I’d come during peak season and bring my skis. Next stop... Zurich.
 








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