November turned out to be pretty chaotic, but before starting on the next adventures, I wanted to look back to my trip to Innsbruck, Austria at the end of October. Innsbruck is the regional capital of Tirol in the Western part of Austria. Close to Germany and known for its location in the Alps, Tirol has a more down-to-earth and traditional feel than the region surrounding Vienna.
Innsbruck has been on my radar for a few years since it was a competitor for our family trip 3 years ago to Kitzbühel. I’m glad that a friend from New York happens to be living there so I had the opportunity to return to Tirol and discover Innsbruck. After a long, yet comfortable journey by train from Vienna, I arrived in Innsbruck late in the evening. While it might seem obvious due to its alpine location, getting around Innsbruck, especially where my friend lived, involved a lot of uphill hiking. My legs and arms were sore within hours from lugging my bag up.
Overall, the scenery and synthesis of mountain and city are gorgeous in Innsbruck. Plus, my friend lived in a perfect Tirolean house with goats next door and an amazing view of the nature beyond. Adding the autumn colors only made it more striking. Although my trip started out foggy and rainy, each day got progressively clearer. Finally, on the last day, the mountains were out in full view.
My most memorable day in Innsbruck involved going on a long hike through the mist with my friend in the mountains. In preparation for Halloween, it truly felt like there were ghosts everywhere. Maybe we should have felt scared or spooked, but walking through the forest was energizing. Plus the traditional Austrian break at one of the many hüttes along the mountain trails was a perfect break to get dry and each some hearty Tirolean soup. Between my friend and all of his friends, I loved the common camaraderie around hiking, exploring, and skiing/snowboarding that appeared to permeate Innsbruck life. Although I know there are places in the USA, which embrace a similar culture, it felt so foreign, refreshing, and motivating to be active.
However, the city center of Innsbruck is very charming in itself. The old city center is colorful and full of many tourist shops. Then the famous view along the Inn River with the city’s boulevard of charming buildings was just as gorgeous in person as in the postcards. It was also special to watch my friend and his new friends learn to navigate the city together during their first month living there. From finding their local hangout places to discussing the places they’ve discovered on their own, it was a good reminder of how exciting (and also a bit uncomfortable) living in any new place and building a community there can be.
Eating experiences in general were great in Austria, due to my friend’s organic housemates and chef-like friends. Everyone made crafty cooking look effortless from banana pancakes and breakfast burritos to an awesome Thai-style curry. In town, I also tried some typical regional dishes, such as Tiroler gröstl and a doughnut-style stand snack called kiachln. Also, I learned some Tirolean favorites also include all things pumpkin and a cool kind of schnapps made from a small pine cone that only grows in high altitudes called zirbenschnaps.
Although the end of my Innsbruck trip involved getting a pretty bad cold, I really enjoyed my visit to this new, smaller Austrian city. As a result of feeling hopeless with the language, I’ve decided to learn German (at least the basics) and experiment with DuoLingo as a language-learning tool too. Innsbruck in the autumn was enchanting, but hopefully my next trip will be for skiing!