First Impressions of Innsbruck: Blogging in Retrospect

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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