InnsbruckJanuary 22 in Austria ⋅ 🌙 0 °C
Train station with a view
Train station with a view
We began our day in Melk with a walkabout - taking in views of the Abbey at every turn. Then, on to the train station (Bahnhof) for a 15 minute flip to St. Pölten on a regional train and 3hr and 44min (and not one minute more or less!) to Innsbruck on a RailJet train. As the train sped along, the view gradually changed from flat agricultural land to hills to mountains. Most of the final 30 minutes of the trip was in a tunnel with speeds over 200km/hr. The ride was smooth as silk.
Our hotel in Innsbruck is a five minute walk from the Bahnhof and right on the edge of the old city of Innsbruck. After dumping our bags, we headed out to explore. Yesterday, our background was the impressive Melk Abbey - today, we have the towering Alps. We finally have hit a change in the weather; rain has begun and is scheduled to continue through tomorrow. Ah well - we’ve had it good so far! We will find rainy-day activities in the Tyrol (eating and drinking come to mind).
Owen here - my comment to Judith about our peaceful start to the day in Melk “You know, I can see a person coming here for an extended stay in order to write that great novel we all have in us”. The place just calms you down in spite of yourself.Read more
We woke up to serious rain. Being in the mountains in the rain is an experience; while the clouds enshroud the peaks most of the time, every few minutes a corner lifts to show a rock face or mountain top. Plan A (hiking to an alpine hut) was changed to Plan B - some Innsbruck city sights and a quick train ride (9 minutes) to the medieval town of Hall in Tyrol.
We began with the Hofkirche, which is more of a shrine to Emperor Maximillian I (1459-1519) than a church. The church was built in 1553 by Emperor Ferdinand I (1503–1564) as a memorial to his grandfather. The main nave of the church is filled with an ornate black marble cenotaph surrounded by 28 larger-than-life bronze statues of Grandpa Max’s family and friends. Very impressive! And a little weird given that old Max is buried somewhere else (except for his heart which was sent to Bruges).
Our second stop was the Folkmuseum. Now, those of you who know us know that we do NOT spend much time in museums. Two reasons for going to this one: (a) it was included in the ticket for the Hofkirche; and (b) it is attached to the Hofkirche, meaning that we did not have to go out in the pouring rain. As museums go, it was ok - lots of examples of how Tyrolian (don’t call them Austrian) folks lived in the old days.
After lunch, we headed for the Hauptbahnhof for the short ride to Hall in Tyrol, one of those amazingly cute medieval towns. From the 13th century, the salt mine at Absam in the Hall Valley north of the town formed the main industry of the town and its surroundings and made the town very wealthy. Salt has now been replaced with tourism. The town is still wealthy! The buildings of the old town have been beautifully restored.
Tomorrow, we head into Switzerland, catching a train, three buses and a train to reach Samedan. The weather is supposed to improve for at least the next two days.Read more
The overnight SNAV ferry Aurelia from Split to Ancona was clean and comfortable and I was lucky to have a good sized 2 berth cabin all to myself. After dinner on board, I had an early night as the ferry docked in Italy at 06.30. With typical Italian inefficiency we then all stood in a Passport Control line for over an hour - and that was in the speedy European Union line - heaven help us after Brexit! After all the hanging about I was desperate for the bathroom, but I have to say the facilities at Ancona Ferry Terminal would not have won Loo of the Year Award. I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that some fellow passengers must have overindulged in curry and lager last night!
I took the train from Ancona to Bologna and changed for Venice on the impressive new Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) service with leather seats and complimentary coffee. Most of the passengers were smartly dressed business men except for 4 loud Americans sitting opposite with their bare feet up on the seats. The two women were painting each other’s toenails and massaging their partners’ feet while shouting at every stop ‘are we at Venice yet?‘ The conductor tried to clarify ‘are you looking for Venezia Mestre or Venezia Santa Lucia?’ ‘Who cares’ yelled the older woman ‘all I want is a ride on a goddam gondola!’ Such finesse in Business Class.
We dramatically travelled on the causeway over the lagoon before finally reaching Venice Santa Lucia. A few more metres and the train would have ended up in the Grand Canal. Regrettably I had no time to spend here, but had fond memories of a holiday Campbell and I had enjoyed in Venice some years ago.
With 2 minutes to spare, I caught the once daily smart Austrian EuroCity train which leaves Venice Santa Lucia every day at 13:50 and arrives at Munich at 20:25. It uses comfortable Austrian coaches with a proper waiter-service restaurant car, and travels via the beautifully scenic Brenner Pass. What a spectacular journey on a clean and well organised train. The scenery was outstanding. I was travelling in a 4 seat 1st Class compartment. One of my travelling companions was a heavy middle aged woman dressed in Austrian National costume, like a chorus member from St Wolfang Amateur Operatic Society’s production of White Horse Inn. She busied herself with sheafs of paper and an elaborate Kardex system - a sort of Susie B doppelgänger, taking bookings perhaps for the Society’s next production. The other person in the carriage was an IT manager from Padua who was very funny and sociable, telling jokes which were generally lost in translation, and insisting we shared his apple pie and wine. Susie B however was having none of it ‘can ye no see I’m oan a diet, and anyway you’re putting me aff ma tickets’ I think she was saying.
The sun was splitting the trees as we headed over the spectacular Brenner Pass and through the Tyrol to Innsbruck on our way to Germany. A real highlight of my train trip so far.Read more
Innsbruck Olympic Ski Jump Arena. The cemetery is what Olympic jumpers saw as they made their jumps. A bit morbid. The statue is of Andreas Hoffer who successfully repelled Napoleon's forces with troops of farmers and peasants - 2-3 times. We didn't get to go into the Wilton Basilica, which is sad, but it's Sunday so we couldn't interrupt church services. The Emperor Maximilian had the Golden Roof built in the square so he'd have a private box to view events and executions. Also, to commemorate his wedding.Read more
Just a couple of extra little glimpses- we visited the Swarovski factory just outside Innsbruck ( of course you can buy jewellery not just impressive statues!). Also broke my watch band but found a Swatch shop in Salzburg so now have a nice new band.
Up into the clouds today! Mountains are covered in cloud. From Innsbruck we took the funicular, then 2 cable cars up the Alps and then hiked the last bit to the top. Looking down to Innsbruck was just a mass of cloud. Beautiful and a little eerie.
Na onze ochtendwandeling bezoeken we toch nog even Innsbruck, deze keer bij een zonnige 26 graden. Het bevalt ons iets meer dan Salzburg wegens een kleinere compactere kern maar daarbinnen toch wel ruimte voor mooie gebouwen en monumenten. En als je de straten doorkijkt, valt je blik op de bergen die overal boven tornen. Dan nog een uurtje door de Otztaler vallei tot in Vent waar de herinneringen naar boven kplen aan de eerste skivakanties.Read more
Auf dem Rückweg wurden die Beine allmählich schwerer. Auf dem Weg sind wir einmal extrem erschrocken. Wir haben einen Flieger gehört, was natürlich auf den nahegelegenen Flughafen zurückzuführen ist. Als wir nach oben gesehen haben, war der Flieger doch einiges niedriger (und größer) als erwartet und daher unsere Überraschung auch recht groß. Kurz vorm Hotel sind wir noch kurz in einen Supermarkt gesprungen und haben uns was kleines süßes geholt, um im Hotel ein bisschen naschen zu können. Das Wetter war zum Glück noch beständig trocken, wenn die Wolken auch immer dunkler wurden. Zum Glück sind wir trocken zurück gekommen.Read more
Im Hotel angekommen hieß es direkt umziehen und ins Bett springen. Hier haben wir die Beine hoch gelegt und fern geschaut. Mit 22.867 gegangen Schritten (16,69 Kilometer) und 153 nach oben gegangene Höhenmeter hatten wir uns das entspannen auch definitiv verdient. Morgen steht dann die Hauptbesichtigung von Innsbruck an, worauf wir uns schon ordentlich freuen! Jetzt heißt es zeitnah schlafen, um Kraft zu tanken. Guad nocht!Read more
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