The Heart of Tyrol - the land, architecture, history and entertainment

Innsbruck Travel Blog

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I’m not a morning person; anyone who knows me at all can tell you that. I do what I have to do to travel, that’s the one thing that gets me up when I really don’t want to. I really didn’t want to have to get up at 05:00 even though it’ s far from the earliest or craziest time that I’ve awakened for a flight. I’ve just been really tired, lately, and the thought of it…..kept me from sleeping, which of course, makes everything worse.

I got up at 05:00 when the alarm went off!!! I was out the door by 05:35, even with a bit of breakfast.

At Centraal Station, the train to the airport…….just sat there. For 15 minutes, I and others tried to get the doors to open. There was even a conductor within but, he didn’t seem bothered with us.

Anyway, at 5:59, the time that the train was to leave, the lock disengaged and we were able to enter. Four minutes later we left and with no stops, we were at Schipol at 06:15. This had to be the fastest I’ve ever made it to the airport.

I went through my plane, train, and bus info last night and I was quite prepared with the knowledge of the weight of my checked bag and carryon. As I have two different carriers (Amsterdam ��" Innsbruck) & (Turino ��" Brussels) and they have different requirements for both checked bag (Transavia 20 kilos) (Ryan Air 15 kilos) and carry on (Transavia 5 kilos) (Ryan Air 10 kilos). The Transavia bag was no extra charge and the Ryan Air was 15 euro.

Back to my story, I breezed through my baggage drop and made my gate with time to spare. Soon we were boarding. I had chosen a window seat with the hopes of seeing some great Alpine scenery as we landed in Innsbruck.

I tried to rest my eyes a bit as I was really, really tired but, no sleep. Soon the pilot was announcing that we would be landing shortly and 20 minutes early.

I took out the camera and as the clouds brushed by the window, the horizon was filled with mountains reaching for the sky. The mountains were black and the snow created a “Jackson Pollock” look.

We landed safely and I had my luggage in just a few minutes. I went out front to catch the F bus (1.70 euro) into town. It runs from the airport to the main train station, with stops in between. It was about a 15 minute wait and many, many people were now in line. The bus was packed. Beyond just suitcases, many people had skis and snow boards as Innsbruck is a popular winter sports destination.

The bus ride to Hauptbahnhof was 15 minutes or so but, the airport isn’t far and the city is small.

After getting out, I really didn’t know where to go. The little map, that I had, to the gasthof, had minimal detail. The train / bus station was not on there. The directions seemed easy……just walk out front of the station and walk to the bridge across the Inns River. Well,……..where is that??? Oh…..also, where’s the front??? So, I walked and walked and walked and walked!!! This happens to me way too often!

I don’t think I can actually tell you how I found my way……I just accidentally found the river, thank God! Looking at my watch, I had spent an hour walking around, dragging my luggage and my 5 kilos of backpack. Either one would be tolerable but, with both, I had become quite frustrated and sweaty!

I crossed the river and saw a sign that said Gasthof Innsbrucke.

It was in the right location but, my paperwork said hotel so……I walked down a block but then decided that it had to be the right one.

I walked into the Gasthof and nice older gentlemen checked me in. He told me that the room might not be clean yet but, I could leave my bags inside if I wanted. That was quite nice as I was several hours from their normal check in time.

So, up to the 4th floor and to a room with only a dormer window. It was small but, I’ve stayed in smaller. The value for the euro is quite low as the room is nothing more than a hostel single / shared bath. Breakfast was included but, I hadn’t had that yet. My opinion is that for what they are offering, the rate should be reduced by a third. The price was comparable to what I paid in Reykjavik! I lessened the weight in the backpack to just the afternoon’s essentials and put the luggage in the closet. Time to see a bit of the city.

Upon leaving the gasthof, I took a right and headed up the hill. I had seen a sign for a cable car up Hungerburg. As I walk, I am constantly stopped by the frescoes on buildings. Many of them are just design embellishments around doors or windows, some are of a religious nature, and some cover much of a façade with colorful scenery.

I made it to Pfarrkirche, a nicely detailed church part of the way up the hillside, was built in 1880.

As I made it higher and higher, many interesting bell towers and domes revealed themselves.

As I climbed higher, through a little park between all of the houses, I could finally see the great panorama of Alps across the valley, amazing.

It’s always more dramatic when you have some mountains with more snow and some with less. The contrast is striking….and Innsbruck has many areas like that surrounding it.,,,so picturesque.

I stopped at a very colorful religious monument to someone. It looked like a little chapel with 7 fantastic metal grave markers….really art! Behind them, frescoes, that looked to be a touch more modern than most other frescoes in Innsbruck. It’s possible that the person pictured was responsible for the restoration.?

I kept up my ascent for quite a while. At a stream, the marker showed another 3.8 kilometers. I had been looking for the cable car to get to the top but, I decided that this was not turning out to be what I had wanted.

I did find a wonderful parking lot that turned into a panoramic terrace just for me.

The city had a slight fog but, all was beautiful……and peaceful.

I headed back down. I made it to the river and as the clouds were clearing a bit, I took some great shots of the towers of St. Jakobs. The river was a mesmerizing glacial blue.

The row of buildings at the park on the north side were covered with differing special touches and delicate details. I had to take more pictures. On the Old City side, one of the buildings had many shutters; all painted to look like the Austrian flag.

As I was walking across the river the sun broke through a section of clouds, almost highlighting a swath of the mountain side.

Now, at the center of the Altstadt, the frescoes take over.

They take any and every flat surface and turn it into a three dimensional work of art.

I took a quick break here at Magic Pizza ….delicious and large, pizza and a drink for 6 euro.

At Fredrich IV’s former residence, extreme was the fashion and continues to be the rage. The Goldenes Dachl is a gold roofed oriel window with frescoes extending down to the ground that make it look like a tower. Maximillian I had it built in 150 and is covered with 2657 gilded copper tiles.

Across the square and to the left is Helblinghaus. It is a masterpiece and the crown jewel of the Old Town. It was originally a Medieval Gothic house but, in 1725 it was adorned with Rococo decorations.

Adjacent and towering above is the Stadturm, the city tower.

It was built in the 14th century but was modified to Renaissance in 1560, It’s 184 feet tall and has the best views within the Innerstadt.

The view was the best in town. High above the city’s center, you are able to see all of the color and texture of Innsbruck. This spot in the Alps is so picturesque and dramatic, the city is very fortunate to have this panorama.

I started my stroll down Herzog ��" Friedrichstrasse to enjoy the history, design and magnificence that it radiates. The street is the heart and soul of the city and it’s history.

Maria Theresian Strasse is the area between the Triumphal Arch and H-F Strasse. There is a massive project currently underway that will completely restore the street and some of the façade’s along it.

The Hospital Church, Pink Church is a dominant feature near Anne’s Column. There are amazing views of the Alps from both sides, while walking this street.

In addition to the Vienna Hofburg and Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the Hofburg in Innsbruck is amongst the three most significant cultural buildings in Austria.

The construction history of the Hofburg is closely linked with the medieval city fortification and its towers. Under the reign of the Counts of Görz-Tyrol, the city wall ran where the east wing of the Hofburg (main façade, on Rennweg) stands today. Three prominent constructional elements of the city fortification were integrated in the construction of the Hofburg.

In the east was the “Rumer Gate”, also called “Saggen Gate” (later: Heraldic Tower; today: South Roundel with Hofgasse-Rennweg passage). In the northeast there was a round tower (today: North Roundel). In the northwest there was a rectangular defensive tower (today a constructional element of the Hofburg; “Corner Cabinet” museum room). The city wall with trench ran in a slight arch from Rumer/Saggen Gate towards the round tower and continued westward up to a defensive tower. It is still recognisable today in the northwest corner of the Hofburg as an irregularly projecting corner block or rectangular ashlar structure. This area was to later constitute the castle area.

Only 4 rooms and a chapel were available for viewing. The Hofbug has maagnificent baroque details. There is a large hall filled with family portraits and a small chapel,as well.

St. Jakob’s Kirche is one of the jewels of the Aldstadt (Old City) of Innsbruck.

It was built from 1717 to 1724, but only more recently was it designated as the cathedral church of Innsbruck.

      Like many of the older buildings in Innsbruck, the cathedral is built of a Quaternary breccia . The breccia comes from the slopes above Hötting, a town just across the Inn and on the flanks of the northern or calcareous (limestone) Alps. The breccia appears to be a landslide deposit that accumulated during Quaternary glaciation of the Alps. As glaciers temporarily retreated from the Inn Valley, collapses of the steep valley walls dumped masses of limestone chunks onto the sloping sides of the valley. Those masses of limestone debris solidified to make breccias like the one at Hötting. Because the breccia consists of limestone clasts and a muddy matrix, it is easy enough to cut that it can be readily used as building stone. The coarse limestone chunks make the stone visually interesting as well.

I continued my walk and approached a three arch monument.

Empress Maria Theresia of Austria was so unhappy about the death of her husband, she gave the order to build a monument on the main artery of Innsbruck's south end. The result was the Triumphal Arch is Roman style. The arch was built in 1765 to mourn the death of Francis I Stephen of Lothringen who died during the celebrations for the wedding of their son

Freezing cold! Cloudy again. I decided to stop at a grocery and get some fruit, water and snacks for the room.

I returned to the Gasthof for rest and a warm up. I worked on the blog a bit, reviewed the days pics, and watched the pilot of “True Blood”.

Now around 20:00, it was time to go back out and into the cold. I really didn’t want to but, I had commited to the evening of Tyrolean entertainment.

The evening of entertainment is a collection of music and dance performed by the Gundolf family of Innsbruck. The perform a number of folk dances, including shoe slapping, miller’s dance, wood chopper’s dance, jealousy dance, and cow bell dance. There were yodeling songs, a song using the Alpine horn, and music using several unique musical instruments from the region.

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it but, found it charming and quite entertaining. Everyone should enjoy this family friendly evening. It gives you an insight into the Tyrolean past.

I enjoyed a leisurely walk through the Altstadt and across the river, back to the gasthof.

Today was a very long day!!! I enjoyed some beautiful Tyrolean scenery and entertainment.

I gave Innsbruck the once over and decided that two days was not enough……not near enough.

A good night’s sleep and a new day………what treasures would it bring.

Africancrab says:
Incredible experience, I'm jealous. love you blogs dear.
Posted on: Feb 15, 2010
RobMeetsWorld says:
Beautiful....what a nice experience.
Posted on: Feb 02, 2010
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photo by: Hummingbird