Innsbruck ok time for a moan about ihyf the ...
Trip Start Apr 01, 2001
89Trip End Ongoing
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OK, time for a moan about IHYF... The hostel at Reichenauer Strasse was exactly what we have come to expect from IYHF. It has 178 beds most of which are in single-sex 6 bed dorms. You get a locker in your dorm, but no reading light; so whenever someone comes in late, or gets up in the night, they turn the main light on which wakes everyone up. The lockers are barely large enough to fit a pack in, so putting a pack in or out of a locker it is a huge noisey exercise. Sheets are included in the price, but making up a bed at 6 foot, with nothing to stand on, and 3 sides enclosed by walls is not easy - so no one bothers! Breakfast is also included, but is ony served from 7am-8am, a time that the staff are anxious to adhere to... At 7:00 every morning a tannoy sounds throughout the hostel "Breakfast is served, please come to breakfast"... Sod anyone who was hoping to sleep-in until the 10am lockout.
The most ridiculous arrangement is that, although dorms are strictly single-sex the bathrooms have a shower and a row of wash basins. There is no lock, and these are co-ed! So you get guys washing their faces, cleaning their teeth, brushing their hair...any excuse to be in there while a girl showering!
At 10pm all the lights in the common areas go out, but those in the dorms stay on; so all serious partying moves from the common room to the bedrooms which dirupts anyone who was wanting to sleep. Paulīs stay was made even more pleasurable by the fact that he had to move rooms every single day.
At Innsbruck Tourist Information we asked for a hiking map and the lady told us that there was "some special hiking" happening tomorrow, and if we wanted to join this "special hike" we should show up at the bottom of Igls Cable car at 10am tomorrow.
We arrived at Igls and found a queue for the cable car which was worse than skiing in France during half-term holidays. We got into the queue, then realized that everyonee around us was waving "Wandercup 2001" entry forms. Tonya held our place in the queue while Paul went to get us some forms. The forms were all in Germann, so we didn't understand them at all. Still, we wrote our names and addresses in the spaces anyway.
On closer inspection our entry form appeared to have space for three "kontroller" stamps to be made.
At the top of the cable car we were each handed a brown paper bag containing a packed lunch. We stared walking following the crowds and the "Wandercup 2001" signs.
We continued up the mountian and eventually hit our first control station where we got our forms stamped... onwards to the top of the mounting expecting to find the second control station... but is wasn't there... back down the mountain... around that mountian...across to another mountain... up that mountain... around another mountian and finally we got our second stamp. By the time we got the third stamp we were completely exhausted and had very little water left. On we went hoping to see the finish line ahead. Finally it came into view, or should we say earshot - there was all sorts of folk dancing, accordion playing, beer drinking and sausage eating, going on. We watched in stunned and exhausted silence as group of musicians fit only for the Eurovision song contest took to the stage! We collapsed at a trestle table and ordered some Bratwurst and beer. We deserved it. Reckon we just walked a Marathon... uphill!
Vienna is chock full of museums, gallieres and palaces but we didnīt visit many of these because Hostel Ruthensteiner doesnīt have a lock out, so we spent most of our time asleep!
We knew we were back in a big city because walking along Mariahiffenstrasse was a lot like walking down Oxford street; really busy and lined with shops such as Virgin Megastore and C&A. Life is obviously fast paced in this town - even the grannies wind their way through the crowds on kickboards (those little skateboards with handlebars - for those of you who arenīt hip and trendy and donīt know these things).
We did manage to see a few sights St. Stephans cathederal and the Schloss Schönbrunn gardens. But we will remember Vienna for two things:
1) Pearl Harbour - True Hollywood! It was really relaxing to watch a film in English. We havenīt seen English TV since Easter Sunday when our hotel had CNN but with no volume.
2) Paulīs first trip to the Opera - Vienna State Opera has standing room only tickets for ÖS 50 ($3) which all the backpackers queue up to buy. We were going to do this, but having walked around all day, we didn't fancy standing for 3 hours. So we bought restricted view seats for $7... still cheap!
We heard two operettas:
First, Schoenberg's Jakob's Ladder... and had no idea what it was about. After an hour of atonal wailing in German with German subtitles...very useful... Paul had decided opera wanīt for him. Tonya assured him that judgement could not be made based on Schoenberg's twentieth century wierdness. The second operetta was Pucciniīs Gianni Schicchi; and was much more "accessable" especially since it contained the theme tune to the film "A Room with a View".
Our most vivid memory of Salzburg will remain that of sitting for 3 hours with fifty Aussies and Kiwis watching "The Sound of Music" on video and tucking into a greasy fried breakfast. (Makes a change from rolls and jam).
We stayed at the YoHo which is used as a drop-off point by "Busabout Europe". Since Aussies and Kiwis can't get InterRail tickets and need to travel cheaply (given that their dollars are currently worthless) they use Busabout. Hence, the YoHo was full of people whose brains we could pick on what to do and see when we get to Australasia.
The YoHO has a bar which appeared to be open 24 hours. Although, Paul did most of his drinking during Happy Hour with the excuse that he could drink twice as much and still "stay within budget". The YoHo owners also have a farm nearby and use all their fresh vegetables, eggs and pork to feed us hungry hostellers. The food was wonderful. There are only three meals to chose from but each came with unlimited trips to the salad bar... the first vitamins we've had in ages!
Salzburg old town is small, and it only took us half a day to see. It has some pretty cobbled streets, full of shops selling Mozart chocolates and nothing else.
We walked up to the Hohensalzburg Castle and across the river to the Mirabel Gardens where Julie Andrews and those adorable brats sang Do-Re-Mi whilst prancing around on the steps! The place had a less innocent atmosphere today since it was crawling with cops in riot gear! The World Economic Forum is being held here and they are expecting a huge demonstration against Globalism.