Innsbruck : Where Igls Dare.
Innsbruck Travel Blog› entry 20 of 268 › view all entries
Today is my first foray into the mountains. The weather is good again although the morning sun seems to struggle a little today to burn away a fine but perceptible veil of mist in the valley within which Innsbruck sits, and amidst the mountains all around. At the time of writing (12.00ish) despite blue skies and heat upon my skin this has remained the case.
I catch the ‘J’ line or ‘Olympia Express’ bus up out of the Innsbruck basin to the two times Winter Olympics village of Igls (pronounced “eagles” and the games were in 1964 and 1976). I stroll up through Igls slowly to give the sun a chance to lift the misty pall.
A Tale : In season, particularly skiing season there is a chair lift that will take you the remainder of the way up but it is not operating at this time. Despite our several holidays in the Tyrol (Tirol) region of Austria as a young family my mother lived in mortal fear of these precarious means of mountain transportation. Famously once, ascending on a chair lift into anxiety she asked my (then very young) sister “Please Katie talk to me.
As I stroll up the easy route to the summit the views of the Austrian Alps are just staggering (even behind the hazy mist) and once at the summit you have a 360 degree panoramic view if you wonder about a bit.
Sadly despite it’s continuing efforts the sun cannot shift the misty haze that impedes one’s gaze today. This is a shame as I’d bet my bottom dollar that on a clear blue day this walk (factoring in its relative ease and accessibility to all) must afford some of the most spectacular views in the Alps, if not in the whole of Europe. Peaks, crags, valleys and rivers thrust, plateau and wend their way into and across your field of vision in every direction. Today though the mist acts as if very fine sheets of tracing paper were being held in front of your view removing the clarity, colour and definition that the camera, if not the soul craves from such vistas. As it is there’s something quite calming about the opaque, almost paper-cutout shapes created and getting ever fainter the further back you attempt to stretch your gaze.
I descend. A butterfly seems to follow me for a while and the grasshoppers that I used to catch within my palms and terrorise my sister with chirrup away invisibly now as once they did when we were young. The seilbahn deposits me back in Igls, 900 metres above Innsbruck. The bus completes the return down and we have a sweeping, momentary glance of Zaha Hadid’s architecturally graceful 2006 reworking of the Innsbruck ski-jump.
I stroll around town for a while vaguely following the red line route on the map delineating the path of the sight-seeing bus. Blue skies battle forth over the northern mountain faces as I zig-zag back and forth over the very fast flowing river Inn. As I write this now (17.30ish) I have ‘eine grosse hell bierre’ and await the arrival of my ‘Wienerschnitzel mit pommes und salat’… “YUM!” I am also looking for the second time today at the Goldens Dachl, the name of a building originally constructed in 1420 by Friedrich IV as a home for the Tyrolean royalty and was later embellished and gilded by a later patron with its now famous oriel window covered with 2,738 fire-gilt copper tiles. These lend a certain majesty to the otherwise slightly drab façade and reflect as much of the remaining early evening sunlight as they can muster from the skies above.
(19:40ish). It has rained. A little,. Ever so briefly, but nevertheless the Sunshine Kid’s weather talisman is tarnished if not quite broken. Oddly the sunset tonight though makes the mountains look as if they had been set alight.