Wednesday, July 11, 2007

AT - Innsbruck

The train ride was smooth and I was soon walking about the streets of Innsbruck. This is a rather large city in that many of the attractions are outside it entirely, though the city is small enough to walk from one side to the other. The downtown of the city itself really does not have much attraction, though I did enjoy just sauntering about town. Innsbruck, like many of the towns and cities I’d encounter throughout Austria and Switzerland, is a rather dark city at night – great if you’re a fan of looking up at the stars.

The first day was spent touring the city core, which didn’t take long. I am increasingly glad that I packed a light jacket, a winter coat, and two pairs of pants which can be converted into shorts. For the past week, weather could vary significantly in each city or at each altitude, and within each city I often found myself facing two or three weather phases per day. Innsbruck has taken this to a new level: it is cold and rainy for 10 minutes; cold, windy, but sunny for 5 minutes; then hot and sunny for 45 minutes. Then the clouds roll over the mountains to the north and it’d start all over again, like clockwork. This meant that every hour I could watch as the forgetful tourists scampered under roofs as the rain droplets fell. It was really quite enjoyable.

My lodging for the two-night visit was at the Pension Paula, located up a hill along the north/west side of the Inn River. I walked there from the train station whilst carrying my pack and was quite relieved when I arrived about 20 minutes later. Going back was a breeze: downhill and a 15 minute walk. The view from the area around the pension is lovely and the room was quaint. The man that was running the place seemed a little disorganized and stressed, but was pleasant to deal with.

Lunch consisted of a panini and bruschetta from an Italian place (run by a man from Milano), which tasted heavenly – largely due to the use of heavily-spiced olive oil.

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