Bells, yodelling and the gorgeous mountains of Innsbruck


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January 6th 2016
Published: January 6th 2016
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A view of the mountains behind Hofburg Palace
There's so much that we already love about Innsbruck. From its small town feel to the mountainous backdrop that is visible no matter where you go. It's so stunning here, and absolutely nothing like anywhere in Australia.

The first thing we noticed upon opening the windows this morning were the mountains. They quite literally surround Innsbruck in every direction. The cloud and mist this morning just added to the feeling that we had entered a place that we would truly love.

When we checked in yesterday, we had organised with the hotel staff that breakfast today would be added on to our hotel charge. After the mishap with rooms it seemed that she had forgotten to transfer that information over. It didn't matter too much, I don't think. They still let us eat, anyway!

The breakfast buffet at the Hilton is a lot greater than the one at our last hotel, and not that much more expensive. From yoghurt and fruit, through to even Nutella muffins, there is something here for everyone. I was still full from dinner last night, but I still managed some bacon and hashbrowns, and of course I couldn't resist one of the Nutella muffins. And it seemed that a little boy sitting near us couldn't either.

I'm not sure, but I am guessing he had been hounding his parents for one prior to us sitting down, for when I did he kept pointing at me and telling his parents something. A few moments later they came back with the exact same muffin. So, I apologise to the parents if they were trying to keep him from eating one.

It was another public holiday in Austria today, with them celebrating the epiphany - twelve days of Christmas. Unlike Australia, on days like this most things really do shut down, so as we entered the quiet city, we weren't expecting to find much.

We didn't really have a plan today. Our main goal was simply to walk and look around and learn what was there for us. Despite everything being closed today, we very quickly learnt that Innsbruck is a shopping town with what appears to be a decent nightlife. Nightlife is not really our thing, but for those who do enjoy it, it looks pretty good.

I am yet to find out whether the bells that rung every so often
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This is what you can see just from the street!
from the churches around were due to the epiphany, or if that is the regular, but I will let you know a few days. They were beautiful to listen to, for they sounded truly like the old fashioned ones you see being rung in the movies.

As we wandered the main straight with no idea of where exactly we were heading, we came across one of the churches. A few people were walking in there so we thought we would have a look, too. Our mistake was that these people were actually church goers and we had kind o just walked in on a church service. Nobody noticed, but I still felt rather guilty for walking in then walking out again.

Won't be doing that again!

I had done a little bit of research on what there was to do see and do in Innsbruck, and two of those was seeing the Goldenes Dachl (golden roof) and finding Innsbruck Old Town. After a little more wandering we spotted the golden roof, and then realised we were also in the old town.

On another day you could do a tour of the golden roof, so we will look into that later in our stay here. Really, what it is, is a building and out the front is a section which is made from gold. It's really nice too look at, and certainly stands out amongst all of the other buildings surrounding it. I can imagine back when the old town was occupied and the centre of the Innsbruck lifestyle, it would have made a big point. I look forward to finding out more about it.

The old town in general is absolutely beautiful. They are buildings of multiple colours all closely stuck together. The streets below them are narrow and cobble-stoned. The feeling when walking through is peaceful.

What surprised us was that a lot of the shops in old town were actually opened. The majority were gift shops, but out of the ordinary gift shops. Of course, you had your standard souvenir products in there such as postcards, "I *heart* Austria" things, etc, but what I found really intriguing were all the traditional outfits they were selling. To my disappointment, most were for children and hardly any adult clothing, but I still enjoyed looking at them. I liked to call them yodelling outfits, because
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You can see them from everywhere
that's what I associate them with. A lot of shops also had yodelling dolls - little figures in the traditional clothing. I didn't buy one, but I still have another week here. I'll probably end up leaving Innsbruck with one of them.

We happened to stumble upon the Hofburg Palace here, and as it appeared to be open we decided to do the tour. This palace was the imperial residence of the Habsburgs family. On one level, there was an exhibition all about death.

Sounds charming, doesn't it? It went through traditional ceremonies and rituals used in Austria when somebody died. It was a bit bleak and depressing, but also rather interesting. What I found interesting was that the Austrians didn't use coffins until the 19th century, when it became mandatory. They had everything in this exhibition written in German, English and French, so it made it enjoyable to go through.

The second level was a tour of the imperial apartments, which is the stuff I find interesting. We had audio guides to give us information about every room, but there was also a lot of written information as well. Many of the rooms were very similar
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The view from the lookout
to Schonbrunn Palace (which was intentional, for those palace was inspired by the one in Vienna), but I found the actual tour of this one a lot more enjoyable.

I think the main reason for this was the fact that you didn't feel as closed off here. They didn't have ropes which kept you from the furniture, they just had a walking path which you stayed on throughout the rooms. There weren't many people here, so it was easy to move through and you were pushed into the next room before you were ready.

After the tour we found a restaurant to have some lunch. It was an interesting place, but as I was still full from the previous dinner and breakfast that morning, all I had was bruschetta which was really yummy, and Albert had a steak.

I'm thinking that Australia is one of the few places in the world where after you've finished your meal you actually get up and pay at the counter. In Austria, the waiters and waitresses walk around with little money belts and you pay them, generally in cash. It's different, but we are quickly becoming used to the system.
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I believe this is dedicated to Maria Theresia - a ruler in the 18th century

We then decided to explore a little more. We exited the old town and headed out into Innsbruck. We had no idea where we were going, but it is a fairly simple city to navigate, plus or hotel is rather central.

As we will be using the train over the next few days we decided to familiarise ourselves with the trains. It was fairly simple - we found the ones we would be needing to catch very quickly. We continued walking and it was actually warm enough today that I had to take off my coat. Vienna I felt like I needed a few extra layers, but here I was quite happy to walk around with only three.

We came across what we think was a ministry, which was gorgeous, and then headed towards the giant ski jump, which is famous from when Innsbruck hosted the winter Olympics. That seemed to be shut, but slightly to its right we noticed a lookout. It was a clear day today and we could only imagine the view of the mountains and city would be stunning so we went up.

It's a fairly steep walk up, and as somebody who isn't exactly fit, it was hard work. But we made it and it was worth it. The view really was stunning, making Innsbruck the most beautiful place either of us had ever visited.

We were going to go onto the actual lookout, but when we approached we found to young guys there who were setting up rose petals in the shape of a love heart and they had a bear and everything there. We can only assume that it is a place where people like to propose - but it was super cute to watch them do it!

After that we went back to our hotel to rest up for a bit. There was nothing else open really, but we had heard that in Innsbruck the Christmas markets were open until the 6th (today) so we planned to go tonight.

Unfortunately when we returned to the old town there wasn't much around, but we still found a nice place to eat.

Our very first actual Austrian/German beer cellar (bierkellar)! It had that very strong pub-like/German feel, and the food was really yummy. I had some fish in a really nice creamy sauce with potatoes, and Albert ordered a 1/4 duck. It must have been a very large duck, though, because a quarter covered the whole plate.

So, not an overly exciting day, but we still managed to see a lot of this beautiful city. Austria is truly a spectacular place. I'm glad we came here!

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