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The little adventures of Jo! Travel with me on my overdue gap year around the world :)

Close to Nature in Innsbruck

AUSTRIA | Monday, 15 July 2013 | Views [448]

One of the initial reasons why I wanted to go to Switzerland was because of a panoramic train called Bernina Express. I remember first hearing about it when I researched Eurail passes and thinking I've got to go on that! The funniest thing was I believed the train either started or ended in Bern for the longest time because I never looked into it properly. Of course the train has nothing to do with Bern and I only found out when I started properly looking into the Swiss leg of my trip a month or two before. This wasn't a disaster though. In fact, I was ecstatic when I found out my friend, Elisa lived in Lugano because I could start the trip there.
 
A week or two before heading to Switzerland and being much smarter about using my Eurail pass without incurring any extra costs, I decided not to go on the Bernina express. Instead, I decided to make a detour going from Zürich to Munich, just so I could do some of the free scenic legs with my Eurail pass. The detour was an overnight stop in Innsbruck.
 
Although the Bernina Express would have been nice, I feel like I wouldn't have needed a panoramic train to appreciate the magnificent scenery the Alps offered. It's amazing as it is and train travel through Switzerland and Austria around the Alps seems to always guarantee some Alpian scenery.
 
To get closer to the Alps, Innsbruck is one of the many perfect places to be. It is a pleasant city of the mountains, carefully nestled among the Austrian Alps. You never lose sight of the mountains wherever you go.
 
The hostel I selected was ideally located right by the Inn river meaning that you wake up with the mountains in full view. It was also a pleasant 15 min walk along the river to Altstadt (Old Town) where all of Innsbruck's city attractions lie. Innsbruck's Altstadt is not very big making it easily navigatable on foot. Walking down Maria Theresien Street towards the beautiful Golden Roof pretty much sums up the city. You first pass through the two-faced Triumph arch and the city's shopping area to slowly come into view of all of Innsbruck's famous attractions: the Golden Roof, the clock tower, Renaissance-inspired Helblinghaus and the mountains of the Nordkette range. It makes a great photo!
 
It's wasn't right to visit Innsbruck and not spend some time outdoors in the mountains, so I made it a point to take the funicular or Nordkettenbahn to Hungerburg. From Hungerburg, I did a little walk up to Arzler Alms taking some less trodden routes as I normally do. At one point I thought I might've found myself on the path for the three hour hike. Then I heard the chaotic clanging of bells. Cows. Walking towards the noise, I found myself where I wanted to be. It seemed like my long-winded route might have been a shortcut as I arrived earlier than some hikers who had taken off before me.
 
It's really wonderful be back in the presence of so much nature again. When I was without it in the big Italian cities, I felt as though something was missing. I now realise how nourishing having some nature around is for the soul and understand why it is part of the eight yogic petals of wellbeing.

Tags: cities, european adventure, sightseeing, trains, trekking

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