Thursday, July 12, 2007

AT - Innsbruck, Hall in Tirol

I visited Hall In Tirol because my Lonely Planet guide stated it to be “breathtakingly pretty”. Well, I kept my breath, though it was nonetheless a quaint town core. The problem is that sprawl is starting to take its toll and rear its ugly head. One plus, however, was the mint museum. The museum’s exhibits are few, but the information from the audio guides was fascinating. A tower provides an elevated view over the area. The real gem of the tower, however, was its ongoing renovations. Why? Because I have a policy of going through any door or down any path which is open; and the renovation workers – in true low-bid style – left all their areas open and were also nowhere to be seen. So off I went.

It was surreal: no one else around, pristine rooms freshly finished, dark attics stripped to its studs and stone, twin adjacent sets of spiral stairs – one the original, narrow and aged set; the other the original, modern, and beautifully lit. Through it all, a different new age muzak style emanated through each area. Once again, I felt like I was in my own world of Myst.

Branching off the original stair were several small hallways. Tower the top was a hall leading to the top of another spiral stair – at that point making three all right next to each other. This stair was roped off so I did not pursue it, but looking down I could see other stairs branching off of this set – like M.C. Escher had designed it. The top of this stair had soft glowing lights mixing with natural light from the hall, and also signs regarding eagles and falconry. The new age muzak likewise had faint sounds of birds chirping.

The next hall down the original stair led to a black door. I tried it and it opened into what appeared to be a large cafeteria, again with a distinct new age sound. My view was from a door to the rear/side of the small kitchen and I could see a single rectangular table with about six chairs, 3 to a side. The kitchen looked brand new and unused: stainless steel and items in perfect order. The table and chairs were a light wood with black trim. Similarly, the room was partly wood-paneled and generally had a dark blue with a hint of violate as a paint scheme above the wood panels, all lit by soft incandescents.

At the bottom of the original stair, I traveled to the next room and found another spiral stair clearly intended to be closed, but alas the way was clear for my exploration. I soon recognized where I was: the bottom of the M.C. Escher stair. I recognized it by looking up, spotting the stairs branching off of stairs, random walkways crossing over the open center of the stair, and the faint bird-themed new age muzak echoing from the top. I also spotted something new within this modern stair: the remains of the original spiral stair based at the bottom, within the spiral of the newer stair. After leaving this area, the museum was over and I caught the train back to Innsbruck.

Next up was a tram ride out to Schloss Ambras. Alas, by the time I arrived, it was closed. I took some photos of the outside as well as its surrounding gardens and fauna, then I decided to hop back on the tram and ride it up the mountain slope to Igls. My goal was to see if the town’s cable car to the top of the mountain was still open. I never did find the lift in the thirty minutes I had before the last tram out, but the tram ride itself was very scenic and Igls is a cute little town with a clear focus on winter sports.

On the bus ride back from the tram terminus, my ego got a boost when, at two different stops, a girl got on at the back and walked up to the front of the bus where I was. One sat right next to me and the other stood right beside me, despite there being numerous other empty seats available. I add this onto my Hall In Tirol rail trip where a cute girl sat right next to me despite it being an otherwise empty car. I attribute this to my running out of yoinked Ramada Inn body wash and thus switching to European-style Axe body wash. It smells spectacular, whereas the Axe products in America have the same names but not-as-lovely scents. European men should really try this stuff… or at least try something – they all wreak of body odor pretty much anywhere in Europe. Now European women, on the other hand, consistently smell amazing. First off, they don’t’ bathe in perfume like American girls; and secondly, the pheromones in these perfumes WORK. I don’t know how, but these girl’s scents set off some crazy chemical/hormonal processes within me every time, no matter how unflattering or impersonal the woman may be.

On the other hand, it is a good thing I haven’t gotten too close to any fräuleins: German food has been working wonders on my digestive system. …Just thought you’d like to know.

For my last dinner in Innsbruck, I opted to give in to the recommendation of a charming Philly-area high school lad I met the day before, whilst traveling to Innsbruck. I had been avoiding the many Turkish cuisine cafes mostly because I wanted to eat Germanic food, seeing as I am in Germanic countries. These counties have spent hundreds of years fighting to keep the Turks out and now they’re everywhere; I felt like it’d be rude to give in and dabble in the cuisine of the historic foes. Well, I gave in and ordered a döner kebap from a place along Mariahilfstrasse, en route to my pension. …Then I ordered another. If there’s anything to be said about Mediterranean cultures, it’s that we sure know how to eat. Rock on, Turkiye.

All in all, I wish I had more time here: Innsbruck’s surroundings are beautiful and within walking distance (or have great transit for the unmotivated). It is very easy to navigate: the nearby huge mountains are north, the further large mountains are south, and the planes zoom right over your head from the east and west.: where there are no mountains (I bet it’d be near to take off or land at Innsbruck’s airport).

The city core can easily be covered in one day. Heck, half a day is fine if you are not into museums. Hall In Tirol took half a day. I would estimate that Schloss Ambras likewise demands half a day. I also missed out on the Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens (Crystal World), which I hear demands about half a day; and I also missed exploring the three nearest mountains (1/2 to a full day each for hikers). The city looks to have extensive winter sports opportunities, including very cheap glacier skiing & snowboarding in the summer, which I likewise missed out on.

No comments:

Post a Comment