I visited Innsbruck, Austria earlier this year and completely fell in love with the place.
The first and only other time I’d been to Austria, I was skiing in Mayhrofen for a week. I tore my ACL while I was there and, despite having a fairly strange time in the country – the majority of which was spent sulking in a knee brace and being pushed around the town in a wheelchair by my lovely friends – I felt a real connection to the place, and vowed to return once I’d recovered from my injury.
Having enjoyed quite a few hikes since then, I decided that a great personal goal to work towards would be to return to Austria to go hiking, just over a year after the ACL reconstruction surgery. We booked the trip for my birthday, and I picked a little log cabin in the mountains for our 3-night stay.
The flight into Innsbruck is incredibly beautiful. We went in April so there was still a lot of snow on the tops of the mountains and we were pressed up against the plane’s windows trying to take it all in.
The city and its airport are situated in the middle of a valley and surrounded on all sides by walls of vast, snow-capped mountains, making for an extremely impressive departure from the aircraft and onto the tarmac.We got a taxi straight to our cabin, beginning our stay with a birthday glass of champagne and some amazing macarons (a birthday present from a friend) I’d brought along, out on the veranda, where we looked out at the incredible view and peace and quiet that surrounded us.
Our cabin was nestled into the base of a mountain, which felt very private and secluded (although there were a few other houses close by), but in actual fact the city centre was only a 15-minute train ride away from Kranebitten train station. After polishing off our drinks, we ventured into the city on an extremely scenic train journey, which passed through the side of a mountain. We arrived at about 4pm while the sun was still out, on a remarkably warm and sunny mid-April day. We walked through the side streets of the city and settled into a sunny cafe garden, ordering a glass of Austrian wine each and sharing a sandwich, hungry enough to need some food but wary of not filling up too much before dinner.
We kept walking through the town and I was in absolute awe of the place. Not only was it the most spectacular scene to look at – pastel-coloured buildings, clock towers and houses lining the streets, built in the traditional Tyrolean style, with towering snowy mountains peering at us from all angles – but I also felt a wonderful stillness and I can’t remember feeling more at ease in a very long time.
After speaking with friends about the trip afterwards, there seemed to be an agreement that mountains have a sense of tranquility about them. I think it’s because of how small you feel in comparison to their vastness, how clean and fresh the air is and the fact you’re completely immersed in nature.
Or, perhaps I was just a little buzzed off my two glasses of wine and the fact that it was my birthday?! Regardless, it was a pretty amazing afternoon.
As the sun set and the warmth left the streets, we made ourselves comfortable in a traditional restaurant, where Ross satisfied his craving for a schnitzel. I order salmon with potatoes, which was quite tasty, but the dessert was awful and actually inedible. Luckily we didn’t go to Innsbruck for the food!
It had been a long day and we’d planned to go on our hike the next morning, so we returned to our cabin for an early night. I’m glad we did, because we got a lot more hike than we’d bargained for…