Saturday, 8 February 2020

Schmiedgasse 12A (Innsbruck, Austria)

Another beautiful clear and sunny day as I woke up. Both the first and second time. I found myself wide awake at 4:30 and decided that it was time for breakfast and fixed hash browns and eggs, with a cup of coffee. Having eaten breakfast I went back to sleep, then woke again at 8:30 and was ready to head up to the mountains, after another cup of coffee.

Just before I was planning to shower there was a knock at the door then someone using a key to enter. I went over to the door, opened it, and found an older woman, who I guess was the woman from next door Hans told me about her the day before. We share this floor of the building and our halves of the building meet in a shared hallway. She didn’t speak a word of English but pointed to my boots that were inside the door. I assumed that she thought my boots should be outside the door (outdoor shoes are forbidden inside). I’ll send Hans a note later about this.

As I left the flat I was still confused when reading about the funicular and mountain trams. Even the directions on how to get to the funicular, that starts from the old town and goes up the mountain, which is where I started. It wasn’t until I arrived at the nearby funicular station, and someone showed me a map with the funicular and cable cars, I finally understood that the funicular takes the rider up to a station above the city, and if you purchased a ticket to go up further, you got on the cable car at the upper station of the funicular. Then, if you wanted to go further up you bought a ticket and went up on the next cable car. This was all shown on one diagram. A-ha! I understand now. I purchased the ticket called “Top of Innsbruck” that would take me up to the 7,400 foot level using the funicular and the two cable cars.

Many skiers were on their way to the slopes as well as us tourists. The funicular wasn’t crowded but the two cable cars going further up the hill were. In any case, the views from each of the three stops were amazing! So clear and sunny in all directions. Of course the snow that had fallen a couple of days before made the view more dramatic. I could see why Innsbruck was chosen to host the Winter Olympics twice (1964 and 1976).

The lower stop, Hungerburg, had a nice restaurant/bar and seemed like the place where most of the skiers hung out. It being a beautiful day, most everyone was outside enjoying the sun. As I came down the hill I visited this stop again and stayed longer this time, just to enjoy the view and watch the people.

The outdoor bar was lively and I’m sure it got more lively towards the evening. I can’t understand how some people can drink and then ski – I never could when I went skiing. Also was interesting watching the little kids using a moving sidewalk to take them a short distance up a hill for their first lessons. When I was first learning I took off my skies and walked up the hill, or when younger our dad carried the skies. Later we used rope tows.

Also at this stop was a place to take pictures, but different from the upper stops. You actually walked out to the snow-packed ledge to take your picture. If you stepped too far you’d fall hundreds of feet down the hill. No warnings or barriers. And here I saw young children, with their parents. If it was me, as a child, I’d probably would have run to the edge to look over. This is why our mom tied rope to me when we went boating or hiking near a cliff. I would wander off if she wasn’t looking or not on a leash.

Eventually I started down the hill into the city. I enjoyed watching the videos I took from up on the mountains. Though my stops were a few thousand feet lower than Mont Blanc, the view was better and could see further. Of course my favorite views were in and above Zermatt.

Thus ends my nearly month-long Alps adventure. From Switzerland, though France and Italy and ending in Austria. I could have added Lucerne to close the Alp circle, but I’ve been there and didn’t feel a need for a return visit just to complete a circle tour of the Alps. I would like to return some day, but not this trip.

I stopped in at McDonald’s since I didn’t eat up on the mountain then made a quick stop in the InterSPAR store next door to buy a few more food items since no store will be open on Sunday. I took the shortcut back to the flat rather than Google’s recommended route. Still, I walked about 8,000 steps but was very tired when I walked in the door to my flat.

After I woke from my nap and wrote the travel blog post, I again because I was tired, made more ravioli bought today at the store and had leftover sauce in the refrigerator.

I’m enjoying watching the Twilight Zone episodes, each about a half hour long. I’m sure I watched each of them at least once, but that was 50 some years ago. Nice way to end the day.

I’ll explore more of the old town of Innsbruck tomorrow and get more walking in. The weather looks questionable but I’m ready for a good walk rain or shine.

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