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Published: September 16th 2018
Yesterday we met a young South Korean girl named Chi yesterday evening when she checked into our room. She was very nice and able to speak and understand English pretty well. Her and Manoli got to talking a lot, so this morning when we were packing up to leave for Innsbruck and found out she was going there too, we offered to give her a ride. We found out along the way that she already had reservations at the same hostel as we did, the Youth Hostel Fritz Prior-Schwedenhaus. The trip to Innsbruck was pretty short, at around 100 kilometers. We quickly passed into Austria, and realized we hadn't stopped to get our U.S. passports stamped. We'll ask at the Rathaus or Police Station to make sure we don't need the stamp. We might get it anyways, just to have it in our passports. The road was pretty narrow two lanes most of the way, with a lot of ups and downs and tight turns, along with several tunnels, one of the quite long... the longest I've ever been through.
We arrived in Innsbruck around 10am, and tried to follow our car's GPS as usual, but it wanted to send
us down streets that were blocked off for some festival or other. We gave up, found a parking garage and went out on foot looking for the hostel. After wandering around a bit, and trying to use Chi's cellphone GPS, we finally asked a young guy where the hostel was, and discovered it was a long ways, in a different direction than our GPS was trying to send us. To be safe, we walked to the hostel, over half an hour on foot from where we started, found the place, and discovered they had parking places there. I'd already known that they didn't do check-in until 5pm, so I walked back to the parking garage, paid my 2.60 Euros fee, and drove back to the hostel, parking right next to it. A lady that was at the hostel was nice enough to give Manoli a map (in German/Austrian), so we were able to figure out where the Tourist Information Center was.
We finally found the Tourist Info building, in the old part of town, back close to where I'd originally parked. They were open, even though it was Sunday, and had lots of pamphlets and a map in English.
We picked up a pamphlet on the Sightseeing Bus, since it had the main sights easily identified, and another on the Nordkette cable car we were thinking of doing. Before setting out sightseeing, since it was after noon by now, we found an interesting looking bakery and sat down for pastries and coffee while we perused the sights and map. The first sight we headed to was the famous Goldenes Dachl, or Golden Roof. This building had a portion of the roof on a balcony, with roof tiles made of solid gold! Each tile is about 4 inches in size, and worth over 1,500 Euros, and there were quite a few tiles. This particular sight is one of great pride for the people of Innsbruck, and even though tiles have been stolen twice recently, both times they were recovered. We also checked out the Hofburg, once a palace and now the city's museum, and several churches, before deciding we were going to take the Hungerburgbahn elevated railway up the mountain to Hungerburg. From there, you can take the Nordette Cable Car two more stages up, ending at something like 8,000 feet in altitude. Manoli wasn't too excited about that climb,
and really didn't want to pay an extra 20 Euros just to see the sights, by myself. We bought 3 roundtrip tickets (I can imagine very many people buy one way, but maybe some of walk back down for exercise) for Manoli, Chi, and myself, for about 8 Euros each. You have to use a credit or debit card, and Chi didn't have either, so I bought hers and she paid me back in cash.
The ride up was fairly long, passing through one tunnel and making one earlier stop at the Alpine Zoo. We decided not to see the zoo, since it was supposedly just animals like goats and such. Along the way, when the series of cars climbed at a steeper angle, you could see the car in front of us rise up. I think we were climbing at a 45 degree inclination or more a lot of the time. I thought it was pretty cool, but Manoli wasn't enjoying it. That sort of thing makes her feel claustrophobic. We got out of the funicular, walked around a bit, then decided we wanted to walk further up the mountain. Chi told us after a while that we
should go on and she'd do her own pace. After about 45 minutes or so, of pretty much constant climbing at a pretty steep incline, we reached a point where we saw a sign for a place called Atzel Alm, where you could get food and drink to go with a beautiful view. Well, it sounded nice, but it was another 30 minutes of steep climbing, and we'd already done 30 minutes, supposedly. We were a little concerned about losing Chi, but we decided to go for it anyways. Well, it turned out to be about 30 more minutes, and we found out we needn't have worried about Chi, as she was there waiting for us when we got there! Apparently, she had taken one of the turnoffs/shortcuts I'd noticed earlier before the 30-minute stage, but I hadn't realized that was where the turnoffs went. Oh well, it was kind of funny to be beaten up there. The Aztel Alm is a good sized restaurant, whit an awesome view, and a good selection of food and drink, so we decided to eat lunch there. Chi had a large dish of ice cream, Manoli had a good sized salad, and I
had to try there cheese dumpling soup with my usual cappuccino. Everything was quite delicious, and not that expensive at all. The only problem was when I ordered a Coke to drink on the way back down, only to find out their 1/3 of a liter Coke, came in a glass! Oh well, I ended up sort of chugging it down, and off we went.
We took the same path back down that Chi had taken on the way up, but although it was shorter, it was also rather steep with lots of rocks and roots to trip you up...We finally made it back to the Hungerburg funicular station and decided since it was well after 4pm, that we'd head back to the hostel. We got there just before 5pm when they opened and had no problem checking in. Unfortunately, Chi got a different room than we did, and ours was a 6-bed dorm. So far, there is only one other person in our room, a young guy from Boulder Colorado. This hostel quite nice and a lot more modern than the one in Fussen. Each room has its own bathroom with shower, and each bunk has its own
lockable locker. The hostel serves a buffet breakfast in the morning, has a coin-operated washing machine room, a TV lounge (I have no idea how they decide what to watch), and a game room with a pool table, two fusbol tables, and a ping pong table.
After resting a while, we headed out to dinner, around 7pm or so, just looking for something light. We ended up in the old part of town, and on a whim sat down at a table where they served mostly ice cream, the Cafe & Konditorei Katzung. I didn't know what to order and the English menu didn't cover the ice cream dishes, so I asked if I could get an apple strudel with ice cream. When the waitress sort of shrugged, I decided to just point at an interesting looking ice cream dish at the next table and said I'd have that. Well, Manoli hadn't planned on eating anything, but when my ice cream dish AND an apple strudel with ice cream showed up, she changed her mind. We did finish both dishes and waddled back to the hostel.
Tomorrow we plan on seeing whatever else we can in Innsbruck, since
we leave for Liechtenstein the next day.
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