The deliberations and discussions went on for weeks back home last holiday season. With our National Geographic Adventure map and Eurail map sprawled out on the kitchen table for nights on end we got to decide where this trip was going to take us. With the tickets purchased to Zurich, that began to narrow things down a bit. Do we go north to Bavaria? South to the Italian Alps? I believe France was mentioned. Maybe east to Austria? We ultimately decided on Innsbruck, Austria for the next 3 days of our trip.
Olde Towne, Innsbruck
Our trip from Konstanz to Innsbruck would take us back thru Zurich. We arrived in Innsbruck on a cool, damp winter evening. Any stereotypes of of getting off the train in a quaint little town with the Alps hovering above were erased immediately. Upon exiting the station we only had the map in our heads to lead us to the Olde Towne where we would be staying. I was a bit surprised by all the rush hour traffic. Commuters, students, buses, and taxis all lined up outside the station. We quickly had to get out bearings, so we wouldn’t look like tourists.
Like the experienced travelers we were we found the Brixner Strabe took it to Marie Theresa Strabe right into the Olde Towne. The idea of getting off a train in the middle of the night (it was like 7:00pm) in a new place and having pretty much no idea where to go was exhilarating. Yes it was Austria. Not Mongolia or Moroccan. But still, it was new. It was foreign. It was exotic. We were on our own in Europe. Only the maps and tour books in our bags, that we dare not expose on the streets. Those were reserved for the privacy of the room or maybe on the train when no one was looking.
We had booked a room for four nights at the Hotel Weisses Kreuss in the heart of Olde Towne in Innsbruck. Opened in 1465, yes 1465, it once lodged a young Mozart. This rustic, quaint, quiet, affordable, well-located hotel was a highlight of our time in Austria. The atmosphere and ambience of the place was enough to almost want you to stay there. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. The room was basic, as expected, but clean and very comfortable. A hardy breakfast buffet greeted us every morning. Breakfast was an event all to itself. Guests had the option to eat in different themed rooms. We stuck with the Mozart dining hall, because it offered the best views of the Nord Kette, which overlooks the Olde Towne.
View of the Nord Kette and the Golden Roof, Innsbruck
The Olde Towne as we would eventually figure out is very compact. But with its labyrinth-like maze of streets, it seemed much larger. It didn’t take long for us to get turned around (not lost) in the back cobblestone alley ways. The streets we very charming and entrancing. One could wander for hours, getting lost. Taking in the feel of the town. It’s an intangible thing that can’t be put into words. It cannot be described. Perhaps not even seen.
Wandering the back street of Olde Towne, Innsbruck
Once we had checked into the hotel, we immediately left to begin exploring and find some dinner. We immediately found ourselves down this back alley, lined with lanterns to lead our way. This was going to be an amazing city! Over the next few days we would aimlessly wander the city. Touring museums and church’s. We would take the gondola to the top of the Nord Kette. Traverse the city to the Olympic ski jump. And take the short train ride to southern Bavaria in Germany. We would treat ourselves to some local delicacies and decadent treats. Drink way too much coffee, discover the Caffe Latte, and drink beer with almost every meal. Welcome to Innsbruck!