Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck is the capital of Tyrol. Known for its winter sports, this picturesque city is surrounded by the mountains. The name, Innsbruck, means “bridge over the Inn”, which is the river that runs across the city. Stepping out of the train station, my jaw just dropped. Everywhere I looked, I saw the mountains, and as I’ve mentioned, I really fell in love with mountains when I was in Austria.

I was to meet Dj and his friend Shannon, who decided to cut their Prague trip short to come to Innsbruck. I hope they didn’t regret their decision, since they only got to stay in Prague for a day, while we had 2 days in Innsbruck.

I tried Couchsurfing for the second time, after such a wonderful experience in Salzburg. Our host, Max, didn’t have a big place but he, and his girlfriend, warmly welcomed us to their home.

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Triumphpforte

On the way to Max’s place, we passed by the Triumphpforte, which was built in 1765 to mark the marriage of archduke Leopold and the spanish princess Maria Ludovica.

After settling in, the first thing we did was go straight for the mountains for a hike. Max brought us to Nordkette. We enjoyed a quiet hike. Max very kindly joined us though he said he hadn’t hiked in ages.

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Hungerburg Funicular

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Somehow all my photos turned out like paintings. I guess the beauty of the place is simply surreal.

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Group photo

 We didn’t make it to the top due to time constraints. I was a little disappointed, but the hike had been an enjoyable one with the most amazing views and the freshest air.

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On the way down

 We decided to walk around Innsbruck Altstadt (Old Town).

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The colourful houses along the river

It was a short walk and decided to head back to Max’s place, as his girlfriend had made us a meal – delicious homemade Mexican fare.

That night, Max brought us out to have drinks at one of their favourite haunts to watch some football. Needless to say, the guys had their fun.

The next day, we decided to give Max a little break, and headed out on our own to the Old Town again.

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IMG_1312Annasäule (Anna Column) along Maria-Theresien-Straße

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 The weather was much better the second day compared to the first, which allowed the colours of the houses to pop even more against the blue sky.

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I have to say that Innsbruck was probably the most chill trip I had throughout exchange. We made no plans at all before going, relying on Max’s recommendations and our own feet to take us places.

After lots of walking, we stopped for coffee and dessert.

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Kirschtorte – cherry cake/tart

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Apfelstrudel – apple strudel with vanilla bean custard

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Bienenstich Kuchen – bee sting cake

Unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the café anymore, but I think it is a prominent one along Maria-Theresien-Straße with outdoor seating. The desserts were excellent. They had the best Apfelstrudel I had in Austria, and the Bienenstich Kuchen – a German specialty, was my favourite of the lot. The crunchy almond top perfectly complemented the soft sponge cake and smooth cream in the middle. They definitely aren’t stingy with the cream. There was a thick layer of it. But no complaints here.

That night, we spent some time with Max and his friends at a bar, having drinks and chit chatting about our countries. I guess Singapore is infamous as a “fine city”.

On our very last day in Innsbruck, we woke up bright and early, packed and said goodbye to Max before heading to our final stop – Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds). Before visiting Innsbruck, I hadn’t questioned the origins of the Swarovski brand. My friends highly recommended visiting the Crystal Worlds, and I would recommend it too!

Unfortunately, we had terrible weather that morning. It was wet and gloomy, and we had to rush for the bus at the Hauptbahnhof that would take us to Swarovski Kristallwelten.

When we arrived, it was raining even heavier, so I couldn’t take any photos of the beautiful outdoor of Kristallwelten. We were also carrying our big backpacks with us, and couldn’t afford to get our stuff wet, especially not my camera.

I was definitely not expecting what I saw inside. Crystals, everywhere, on the walls, on the floor, in all shapes and in all forms.

The most impressive was the Crystal Dome. It’s as though you are standing inside a giant crystal, watching the colourful lights refract off the mirrored surfaces.

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The Crystal Dome

The museum is huge, and it takes you through many rooms, each showcasing different crystal pieces and telling different stories. Some of the displays are plain quirky, but I guess that makes the tour much more enjoyable.

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At the end of the tour, you can purchase all sorts of crystals. Of course, most were beyond my price range.

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 I managed to buy a gift for my dear Cindy’s upcoming birthday, which I would be spending with her in Vienna. Nope, not the tiger, but a simple keychain with a letter “C”.

Once again, I said goodbye to Dj, not knowing when I’d see him again. But thank God traveling around Europe is so easy.

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Goodbye, Innsbruck. I’ll be back someday for some skiing!

Innsbruck, Austria

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