Innsbruck : Where Igls Dare.

Innsbruck Travel Blog

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The cable car (seilbahn) up to the various points of Patscherköfel.

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.

The Alpine range from Patscherköfel.
  It’s then 17,40 Euros for the Patscherköfelbahn or seilbahn (cable car) the majority of the way up the mountain.  Quite a lot but what ya gonna do?  This gets you about 1,952 metres up Patscherköfel leaving me to stroll the remaining 300 or so metres to the 2,250 metre summit upon which sits a weather station and a pleasantly situated restaurant.

 

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.

(Misty Mount) Muju [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
  Go on, talk to me please.  About anything!  Anything at all, just keep talking to me to take my mind off things!! PLEASE!”  After much careful consideration  (probably a little too much for mum’s comfort) my philosophic sister pitched in with the following diversionary enquiry : “Mummy.  How many cows do you think there are in the whole entire world?”.  A question posed (I think?) with utter sincerity, this produced enough hilarity and surreal distraction that my sis’d actually succeeded in her task!  Mum arrived safely at the top.

 

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.

A break at the summit cafe.
  On my way up whilst sat scribbling these notes an American couple advise me that I’m looking down at Europe’s highest bridge in the distance and humorously dictate that I should write the following ‘I’m sat here looking at Europe’s highest bridge the Europabrücke’.   So there you have it.  Their words are immortalised here through my ‘pen’.  I have slight amusement in confirming my suspicion at the time that they are actually wrong anyway as the accolade of highest bridge in Europe has since been nabbed by Norman Foster’s gravity defying ‘Millau Viaduct’ in the Tarn River Valley in the south of France this standing at 891 feet above ground level, the Europabrücke only managing 630 feet. Oh well.  An English couple at the summit today also advise me that with great heights come great tragedies as Europabrücke was also formerly Austria’s, if not Europe’s most frequent sight for suicides.

 

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.

Mountain chair lifts (formerly much feared by my mother).
  The Alps fade and recede into the whitening hinterland until they become one with the token cloud line that is present in the distance today.  The effect is somewhat reminiscent of the gentle near-monochromatic silk-screen prints of mountain scapes that tourists often return clutching from holidays to China or Japan.

 

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.

The Goldenes Dachl oriel window/ balcony, Innsbruck.

 

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.

  I still see blue but the mists have been gathering, and I sense my first bought of genuine travel rain is imminent!  For now though, schnitzel and beer!

 

(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.

 

Ladywes says:
Yeah! I needed a good laugh today & the "how many cows are there in the world?" tale delivered. What a young genius I must have been to pose such a difficult & philosophical question to mum whilst dangling 100ft up in the air! ; )
Posted on: Oct 14, 2008
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The cable car (seilbahn) up to the…
The cable car (seilbahn) up to th…
The Alpine range from Patscherköf…
The Alpine range from Patscherkö…
(Misty Mount) Muju [www.mujuworld.…
(Misty Mount) Muju [www.mujuworld…
A break at the summit cafe.
A break at the summit cafe.
Mountain chair lifts (formerly muc…
Mountain chair lifts (formerly mu…
The Goldenes Dachl oriel window/ b…
The Goldenes Dachl oriel window/ …
View of the River Inn.
View of the River Inn.
Church in Igls the former two time…
Church in Igls the former two tim…
The Patscherköfelbahn station.
The Patscherköfelbahn station.
Public Information Campaign : Bill…
Public Information Campaign : Bil…
Part of the Olympic bob-bahn run.
Part of the Olympic bob-bahn run.
Anyone for golf?
Anyone for golf?
Misty mountain view from atop Pats…
Misty mountain view from atop Pat…
(Patscherköfel) Muju [www.mujuwor…
(Patscherköfel) Muju [www.mujuwo…
Space-age thingamy on top of Patsc…
Space-age thingamy on top of Pats…
The summit of Patscherköfel.
The summit of Patscherköfel.
Europabrucke (formerly) the highes…
Europabrucke (formerly) the highe…
Tissue paper silhouettes of mounta…
Tissue paper silhouettes of mount…
(Austro) Muju [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
(Austro) Muju [www.mujuworld.co.uk]
Pwetty wittle bwutterfwy! :)
"Pwetty wittle bwutterfwy!" :)
Awaiting the Patscherköfelbahn ba…
Awaiting the Patscherköfelbahn b…
Mountains and the River Inn.
Mountains and the River Inn.
Some moderny bridge entrance thing…
Some moderny bridge entrance thin…
Building in Innsbruck town centre.
Building in Innsbruck town centre.
The Goldenes Dachl.
The Goldenes Dachl.
Beer and dinner in view of the Gol…
Beer and dinner in view of the Go…
The sunset sets the mountain line …
The sunset sets the mountain line…
Innsbruck
photo by: Hummingbird