Against Rick Steves’ advice, we decided to make our Austria stop in Innsbruck. Steves is right, there really isn’t much to do in Innsbruck. It’s a very small city that focuses on tourism. This is why we loved it. There really wasn’t the pressure to see anything. It was just a city where we could walk around and just enjoy being in Europe.
When we arrived, which was about mid-June, the temperature was in the mid forties and it was misting. We packed some wind breakers but we had nothing for this. We walked arm in arm through the streets not because we were in love so much as we needed the body heat. It was a Sunday, so we tried to find a Catholic Church. We found one that looked like a Catholic Church (Christ was on the cross) so we decided to attend mass which was just about to begin. I remember taking German in college but that’s all I remember about it. We knew we were safe with all the genuflecting, but we finally were positive we were in a Catholic church when the priest said Benedict’s name.
After mass, we ate in the Best Western restaurant. This was a lot better than it sounded. I ordered a Mozart plate for an appetizer which was mainly made up of different terrines…most of which I had no clue what the ingredients were. Yet, they all had good flavors and made for a good start. For dinner I had a trio of fillets of pork, turkey and beef while Cristina opted for the steak. I keep teasing Cristina that she should write her own steak blog since that seems to be the only thing she ever orders.
After a good night sleep, we set out on foot for the Bergisel Ski Jump. Now before you start thinking we got really adventurous, let me stop you. There is no way in hell I would ever do a ski jump on anything that is not a Wii game. The ski jump does give you some really nice views of Innsbruck. Interestingly, the first thing you see when you look down off the ledge is a cemetery…which perfectly sums up how I feel about ski jumping. Bergisel’s press box, remember the Olympics have been here twice, has since been converted to a restaurant. Since we were still pretty much freezing, we really were looking forward to a warm meal. The restaurant didn’t disappoint. My beef goulash was the perfect food for such a cold blustery day (remember we lived most of our lives in south Louisiana). Also, the addition of a fried egg really made this a great meal with that warm runny yolk mixing in with the gravy. Neither one of us can remember what Cristina had…maybe chicken?
Before we left Bergisel, we went to the gift shop. That had fleece, heavy fleece, jackets on sale. We would have paid any price. The jacket had an embroidered symbol of Bergisel with the Olympic rings. Now, finally able to get warm, we ready to explore Innsbruck. We were informed by a friend who had spent time in Innsbruck that the ice man was an exhibit in the local university. We walked and walked till we found the university. We then discovered the exhibit had traveled to another city so our walk was basically a walking tour of the neighborhoods of Innsbruck. I haven’t done an official study, but I’m certain that Innsbruck has more lingerie shops per capita than any other city.
For dinner we ate at the German chain Wienervald which, surprisingly, was mainly a chicken restaurant. It was rotisserie chicken in different sauces. It wasn’t all that different than the chicken from Zea’s. Right after we ate the clouds broke for a few minutes, finally revealing the mountains surrounding us. I find mountains so wondrous that I just stood and stared while Cristina laughed at me sweetly. It was a nice little moment. We then did what Innsbruck does best. Of all the cities in Europe we visited, this was the most Epcot looking. And with anything that reminds you of Disney, there are plenty of gift shops to go along with it. We visited ornament shops, because it’s never too early to think about Christmas, cuckoo shops, snow globe shops. In other words, we acted like tourists.
The next day, and I mean the whole next day, we would be traveling to Prague.