Into Innsbruck, Austria

We get back to Jaeger’s and find Jerry the Irishman in the lobby. “Heya boys, how ya feeling today then?”, “Not so great, man. What are you up to?”, “Just hungover waiting for a flight home”, “Oh shit, you’re leaving today?”, “Yep, the good times have to end somewhere”, “Well, safe flight homie, fun times last night”, we exchange a hug and hand clasp, “That they were… shithead”, “Hahah nice”, “Uhhn there’s my ride!”, “Alright dude, have a good flight!” Jerry grabs his bag and rushes for the door, “Safe travel, lads!” Gotta love the Irish. 

We grab our stuff from the lockers and start looking into train times to Innsbruck. There’s a family on the other sofa with a crying baby. C’mon Lobby Baby, we’re just chilling here. We walked all over Munich and are kicking our feet up for a sec. Nope. Lobby Baby is losing his goddamn mind. I feel bad for the parents trying to manage this meltdown in the middle of the lobby. But then I start to think, why? Why did you bring a baby to the hostel? I get it, hostels are cheap. But the inevitable breakdown and whine-fest is going to happen. And when it does you’ll be surrounded by travelers either tired, drunk, trying to plan something, or stressed cuz shit’s not going according to plan. So no. I don’t think I’m actually cool with families bringing babies to hostels. And Lobby Baby scream-cries for about twenty minutes. 

I think that’s our queue. We thank Jaeger’s front desk peeps and leave Lobby Baby behind to annoy the rest of the hostel. The train station is basically across the street. We truck in there and find the ticketing office to see what options there are. We’re welcomed to a desk with a pleasant older gent in a Mr Rogers cardigan, “Where would you fine fellas like to go today”, well that’s super nice, “Looking at Innsbruck, please”, “Alright let’s see. About a half hour from now, 40 euros each”, “Yep, sounds good”, ‘There we go, three tickets for three nice people. Platform 13″, “Awesome man, thanks a lot”, “Hold on now, I’ll give you a receipt. Make it legal, you know”, total old-school printer paper with the holes in the sides that he has to tear off, “Haha cheers!”

The train arrives a bit early so we scout for the dining car. Oh it’s nice. We grab a seat and get some beers. Comfy stuff. I like traveling by train, this is sweet.

Oogie forms an invisible screen with his hands and watches an imaginary movie.

There’s food too. Maybe have another go at the German P90X Potato soup. Whoa, super nice napkin. I could make bed sheets from this. The soup is delicious again. Not as good as Ratskeller but still sensational.

The train careens through Southern Germany in and out of rainy patches. Out the window it’s mainly grass and woodlands beside the tracks, some farms and small towns here and there. For a while a beautiful rainbow appears in the East.

The train crosses right into Austria without stopping. Some nice lakes and rivers start dotting the countryside. Mountains rise up a bit higher on either side. I remember driving through Austria on the Mongol Rally, the scenery is fantastic. And the occasional Dracula-looking castle off in the distance.

We just sit and chill with beers in the dining car the whole way. It’s a great way to pass the time.

I order an Edelweiss. Reminds me of the time I helped send a message to the Gods singing a song of the same name in Taiwan.

We roll into Innsbruck right along an icy blue river. Tall snow-capped mountains in the background and colorful townhouses lining the streets. This place looks like a fairy tale.

We hail a taxi outside the station and hop in with a Steven Segal looking dude with a mini pony-tail. Oogie takes the front and the guy leans over to roll the seat back, “Usually only for the ladies. But ok. I make joke. You like?”, “Haha yeah it’s pretty good”, “Where are you from?”, “We’re Canadian and he’s American”, “Oh Canada, very nice. I have Dutch friend that goes to Canada to get weed pens. Crazy guy. It’s legal though, yes?”, “Yep. Buy it from the government”, “Wow. This is nice.”

“Where are you coming from?”, “Just came from Munich, but picked this guy up in Latvia”, “Latvia? Ahhh paradise”, “Oh yeah? This place looks like paradise to me”, “C’mon, I talk about the ladies. The ‘Culture’, you know hadaha”, “Oh for sure. That whole area is amazing for ‘culture’. Poland especially.”

Mini Segal is a good driver, he’s giving us a tiny tour as we go. “What’s a good place to eat here?”, “Ahhh I think you are good customers for the Elferhaus. Eleven House. It is Austrian kitchen”, “Sounds perfect, we’ll check it out”, “Yes, yes. And it is nice day tomorrow. You take the gondola up onto the mountain. Have a beer and a view. Fantastic”, “Perfect. Yeah, we’ll do that. What kind of car is this?”, it’s a slick station wagon whip with black leather interior, death star lighting and a baller sunroof that runs the length of the vehicle, “The new Renault”, “I like the roof”, “I know haha. I will put a hot tub back here, yes?”

Mi-Se drops us outside the address acquired from our contact here, Christina. “Good-bye my friends. Have a fun time in Innsbruck!”

Christina gets in touch with us and says she’s incognito just down the block. She’s coming over to open the safe house now. She meets us with a smile and a round of handshakes outside of a new-ish looking apartment complex. She’s very talkative and personable. Maybe it’s natural, maybe it’s drinks-balene. Either way, she’s great. She’s fumbling through a set of keys on a ring, “I always use the wrong key. Every time, wrong key. There are two keys and they are the same. Always the wrong one. Ahhh there we go!”

She guides us inside and to a nearby elevator. She’s covering her mouth giggling at McBurgers stupidly large bag, “Elevator is too small I think. Maybe two trips.” She’s pointing at the bag and chuckling into her fist, “Is his backpack going to fit in there? I do not think so, no”, “Oh yeah, we can do it”, “Yes, yes come in”, McBurger is on Christina’s side, “I’ll take the next one”, Oogie and I grab him and pull him into the elevator, “No, no, you will come now. Give me the bag!” Now we’re all crammed in here laughing at it. Can’t even fit MacKay in the pic.

“One time in elevator there was a man. Very smelly. Too much perfume and 5 floors, you know”, “We stuffed that guy in this backpack”, “Haha oh yes, yes. I’m sure!”

Still laughing, Christina walks us to the door of the apartment. “Ok, sometimes babies are here crying off the balcony. So no crying off the balcony please”, “I dunno, James is very emotional”, “I’ll just cry in the shower, it’s cool”, she laughs at us and keeps rambling, “…and one time I said it was ok and they are there listening to Elvis Presley and invite more people. And ok. And then more people. And then big party and neighbors complain. I said, it’s fine, we’ll just invite babies and change diapers and cry on the balcony instead. It’s no problem” haha sassy, I think she’s on my Lobby Baby wavelength. “Ok, any questions? No no no. Ok have a good night!”, “Thanks Christina!”

Well she’s a riot. Alright this place looks decent. Everyone gets a place to sleep, that’s all we really need. Seems relatively close to the main square. Should do nicely.

Oogie and I crack a beer but McKay says he’s out. Damn, he must not be feeling well at all. We go out on the balcony to check the view and get out of his hair. There’s a group of people on the very next balcony chanting and singing next door. A couple of guys and four or so girls. Maybe college aged. The girls start talking German to us across the divide. “Sorry. Do you speak English?”, ” Ahh yes, it is my birthday and we are very loud. We are sorry”, “Oh no no, it’s cool. Happy birthday!”, raise the beers up for a laser cheers, “Thank you! You should come over. Drink with us!”, medium pause, “Ok, we will”, “Oh good! Yes!”

We go back in with our beers to tell MacKay about the events. He’s already doing Boxer Time in the bedroom. Shit. “Hey dude, a bunch of hot chicks next door are having a birthday party. They want us to go over”, “You boys go ahead. I’ll sit this one out”, “Ahhh did you hear what I just said?”, “Yeah man, it sounds dreamy. But I seriously feel like shit and need another night to recover at least”, “Alright man, rest up.” We close the door a little worried.

“Should we maybe get some food before hitting that party?”, “Yeah that’d be a good idea. Ratskeller was a while ago. Let’s find that place Steven Segal was talking about.”

We go back to the balcony to get some more info, “We are running to get food. Will you be here for long?”, “Yes yes. Come back after. Drink and then we all go to 90s party”, “Oh nice. We’re going to… Elferhaus, I think. Any good?”, “Oh yes yes, you will like this. Austrian food in a pub. Good beer. Try currywurst”, “Perfect! Ok, we’ll be right back”, “See you soon!”, “Byyyye!”

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