17. The Winter Sports Capital of the World

Trip Start Apr 19, 2011
Trip End May 25, 2013

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Where I stayed
Pension Glockenhaus

Flag of Austria  , Austrian Alps,
Monday, June 6, 2011

Innsbruck! Literally 'the bridge over the Inn River' is the capital of the Tirol state. It has hosted the winter olympics twice and is the first place we've been so far where we felt the scenery is something to rival that of New Zealand. It was overcast to start but the air was clear and we could see the alps all around, the Nordkette looking a bit like The Remarkables in Queenstown.

We spent our first day exploring the area around the old town (Altstadt), looking in a few shops and checking out the main sights - e.g. Goldenes dach (The golden roof).

Checking the weather for the second day, it was supposed to be a fine morning followed by thunderstorms. So we got up early (for people on holiday) and made our way up the Nordkette. Some American guys in our room decided to walk up but we took the cheats way and caught the funicular followed by the cable car. Lucky for us as it took them 8 hours walking and they didn't even make the top. Anyway we made it before the weather packed in and had time to enjoy the beautiful views across the town and the alps. There was a very cool breeze up there and even Blair had to give up on the t-shirt and shorts idea. We saw wild flowers, lots of ice, rockclimbers, mountain bikers, there were even sheep grazing up there, oh and we met a Kiwi up the top who has been living in Innsbruck for the past 12 years.
We then had some traditional soup for lunch - Pancake strip soup (Frittatensuppe) and this other weird oily soup with a really long name that was basically fried cheese dumpling in a broth (Oesttalerkas-something-suppe) before making our way back down.

That evening our Austrian friends Florian and Mike came and picked us up from our hostel and took us out for a traditional Tirolean meal. It was great to be taken out by some locals and learn some of the customs and funny language quirks. The Austrian word for moustache literally translates as "Porn Beam" and it's apparently not a problem here to order a drink called a "nigger" (beer with coke) or a dessert named "African in a shirt."

We were very spoilt and they wouldn't let us pay for anything! They took us to a restaurant a bit out of town, somewhere that tourists don't go, and they our ordered food for us - a schnitzel filled with bacon and cheese whose name translates as "abcess." Nom nom. They were huge meals and I really struggled to finish mine even though it was amazing. For dessert we had this pancake dessert which came served in a huuuuge frying pan with puree apple sauce and lots of icing sugar. We then had schnapps of course, really clears the sinuses that stuff, popped downstairs to hear the band and see all the young people dressed in their traditional clothes (apparently lederhosen and dirndls are making a comeback), and then they took us to a bar with a 360 degree view over the town of Innsbruck. It was a great night and we enjoyed hearing their stories of New Zealand (which has replaced the USA as their favourite place to travel and is far better than Australia - yipee!). It really is the people and the weather that can make a huge difference as to what you think of a place! They say hi Mum & Dad & plan on coming back to NZ in 2012.

So now that brings us to Venice, with more stories to come soon.

Rating out of 10: 7.5
In a word: Alpine
Something Interesting: Funny language terms
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