Innsbruck and the Tyrol Basin


Dates: September 18-October 5, 2015

Our Odyssey: 

Innsbruck was one of my favorite stops on our road trip
through Austria, despite having heard that the town is lackluster. I actually
found the city and the surrounds to be fantastic – I think we could have spent
more time there happily.

Located in the Tyrol Basin, Innsbruck is surrounded by beautiful
mountains. It’s known for being a haven for outdoor adventurers and skiers.

After checking into our Airbnb, we oriented ourselves to the
city via Rick Steves’ self-guided audio tour (as we typically do). Most of the
main “sites” of Innsbruck are all located in one main square. The most notable
and famous of these is the Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl) and the pedestrian
street adjacent to it – Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse. Emperor Maximilian I built a
palace at this location in the 1400s because he loved the region so much. The
balcony to the palace is topped with 2,657 gilded copper tiles. This is what is
left of the palace today and known as the Golden Roof.

The Golden Roof

We then purchased an Innsbruck Card for 33 Euros at the
Tiroler Volkskunt Museum (Folk Art Museum), which gave us access to many
museums and a ride up to the Hafelekar mountain viewpoint (which on its own
would have been 28 Euros anyway).

The Folk Art Museum was really interesting and unique. It showed
Tirol culture throughout its history, with exhibits focusing on practices of
birth, death, marriage, what a typical living room would like, costumes from
carnival, nativity scenes, etc. from the middle ages through the 20th

We then visited the adjoining Hofkirche (church). This was
interesting, because the church is the home to a memorial to Maximilian I. He
wanted to be buried in Innsbruck and commissioned 28 large statues of
ancestors, family and legends (King Arthur, for one) to be erected around a
massive sarcophagus, in which he intended to be laid upon his death. He’s not
there though. When he died, he had too much debt and wasn’t allowed to be
placed there.

Statues of the Hofkirche in Innsbruck

After the two tours we took a funicular followed by two
cable cars up to Hafelekar for the best and most easily-accessible views of the
Austrian Alps. We had outstanding weather and visibility and were able to see
all the way to Italy. It was stunning, and truly brought meaning to the phrase “larger
than life” for me.

Tim and I at the Hafelekar viewpoint. 

That evening, we took another Rick Steves’ recommendation
for dinner and ate at the Weinhaus Happ. We had a delicious bottle of Austrian
red wine and split two meals – a venison stew with croquettes and red cabbage
(which is making my mouth water just reflecting on it) and a meat loaf with
bacon & potato and spinach & cheese balls. It was fantastic.

After dinner, a little tipsy on wine, we walked around the
city for an hour or so, taking pictures, goofing off, and imitating random
statues we found. All in all, we were both so happy with our day and evening in
Innsbruck, no skis required!

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