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Published: November 11th 2008
A peek at the Alps
We left Budapest and took the train to Vienna, spent one quiet night there before heading straight to Innsbruck to meet our Oktoberfest buddy Andy. Even though our train was an hour late, Andy was there to meet us at the station and walk us to his flat. He had a business meeting so our first night in Innsbruck was pretty uneventful.
The next day (friday), Andy got off work early and took us on a walking tour of downtown Innsbruck. It's a beautiful city, much like Whistler village but without the touristy tackiness. Andy was already excited for the christmas season because all through the town people set up booths that sell hot wine, egg nog, roasted chestnuts and other christmasy stuff. The whole downtown turns into a giant, slightly tipsy christmas market halfway through November.
Alex and I didn't know it, but Andy is a couch surfer (well more of a couch surfee) and had to turn down a request from a Kiwi mother/daughter duo to stay with him because we were there. We did, however, meet up with them to go for a hike the next day and to prepare some authentic Austrian Spreckennodle (dumplings) that
Alex doing his best circus act
night. To work up an appetite for dinner, Andy took us slacklining (tight rope walking on 2-3cm wide rope strung a couple feet off the ground). Innsbruck had a whole slacklining park that was very popular. I didn't think I'd be able to do it, and at first we were all very shaky, but over the next couple of days Alex and I were both able to get on the line ourselves and take a few steps.
Innsbruck's known for it's beautiful scenery and outdoor scene so Andy took us, plus the kiwis and a friend of his, for a day hike to a mountain hut about 1400m up in the Alps. It took about 2.5 hours to get to the top but it was worth every step. All the way up the trails were covered in half a foot of dry leaves of all colours. It was like walking in snow but without the cold! Sometimes the crackling of the leaves was so loud you couldn't even talk to the person next to you, which was fine with me because I was sucking wind! We got to the hut, had a well deserved beer and patted the resident
Jay gives the line a shot
lunch-thieving donkey before heading back down via the ski hill. I wasn't too keen on the grade so Alex kindly fashioned me a warlock-esque walking stick which really did the trick.
Upon returning from our walk, followed by some more slacklining, we flopped on Andy's living room floor to watch some Flight of the Conchords (we had to show the Austrians some New Zealand culture) until it was time to head to the pub. Andy had a private party to go to for a friend who was graduating from Uni. Suffice to say, Alex and I were in a lot of photos and videos either creeping in the background or giving our well wishes in English on video. Once the party was properly crashed (ie. we ate all the snacks) we headed back to Andy's house and tired from our walk, we went to bed.
It was nice to stay with a friend for once, but now we move onto Switzerland.
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