Top of Innsbruck

Wake up surprisingly early and get things rolling. Unfortunately, I’m now also suffering from quiver-butt and hitting the porcelain every 10 minutes. I hope I didn’t get whatever MacKay has. Or maybe it’s just lack of sleep, dehydration and zero nutrients for the past 2 weeks catching up to me. “Has it only been two weeks?”, “Yeah, I guess so. Feels like months.” 

Since I’m wearing the band shirt, I put on Infest the Rats Nest by kgatlw to start things off with an uptempo swing today. Oogie is out on the balcony having a beer. Not a bad idea, I grab one too. Nice day, slightly brisk. 

The bad thing about getting an Airbnb instead of a hostel is that we can’t just leave our bags in a lobby while we go explore the place. We have to check out and take everything with us. Maybe we can find some lockers in a train station or something so we’re not lugging our shit up a mountain.

“Time to find some breakfast?”, “Time to visit the Land of a Thousand Shits first”, “Oh no. Bad?”, “Yep. Fifth time this morning”, “You been drinking the tap water?”, “Dude, it’s Austria”, “Are you from Austria?”, “Nooooo I am not from Auuuustriiiiaaaa.”

We pile into the tiny-vator with our gear and get down to the Innsbruck streets. Beautiful, colorful town set up along a surging river of glacial-tinted water. What a great day.

We take the path through the park to the boardwalk to the bridge to the cobblestones into the main square area. There are a lot of people out enjoying the day and sitting on patios having some breakfast. This historic area is gorgeous.

McBurger vs Mime Creeper

As we get to the edge of the square we’re approached by a weird mime-like dude in old-timey war duds and all white face paint. MacKay isn’t having it, “Nope. Don’t like this guy one bit.” Of course the guy waddles straight over with his arms outstretched like a zombie. “Oh nooo you don’t. Don’t you come near me you creepy fucker.” The Mime Creeper is making weird high-pitched sounds and reaching for MacKay’s cheeks or hair or something. “Fuck that. No way, fuck that!” and MacKay has to limbo duck the guys arms and he hustles down the street a bit to get away.

Oogie and I are just laughing at the whole exchange. With MacKay out of reach he’s on to us now. “Haha oh no you don’t, you weirdo. Nooooope”, “You’re not getting a dime from me pal. What even is this?” Too slow, old timer. We dodge passed to safety. But… then soon realize that we’re quickly out of the main area and concentration of breakfast joints so have to double back right by that same guy again to get back to it. Damnit

We eye him up from a distance and when his back is to us we all go rushing passed giggling in tandem. He makes this “Errrrrrnnnnnooooooeeeeeeuuuu!” sound when he catches on to it. Too slow again. “What is that?”, “Haha I dunno dude, let’s get down the street aways, screw that guy.”

Cafe Katzung

MacKay and I both aren’t feeling too great and are being a little more picky about breakfast options this morning. Maybe get something nutritious this time round. We find a place called Cafe Katzung that seems to fit the bill and has a nice patio right outside the Golden Roof building in the main square. Should do nicely.

Good looking options. They put a fresh basket of bread on the table to start, have their own homemade jam, fancy mini-coffees and… a balanced breakfast!

It’s a nice day and we’re feeling relaxed so we double down on coffees and bask in the sun just people watching for a bit. Really pleasant town, this Innsbruck.

After enough silent time Oogie pipes up, “Top of Innsbruck?”, “Yup, let’s figure it out.” We look up directions to the tram and start following them west.

This takes us passed the Cathedral of St James, a fabulous Baroque building built in the early 1700s.

Big Stupid Bag vs Funicular

We get to the funicular building and go down the steps to investigate. Looks like they leave at regular half hour intervals. Actually there’s one coming soon. “What should we do with our backpacks?”, MacKay says, “I’m cool just bringing it”, “Sure, mine’s manageable. Yours is… dumb. Maybe we should ask.”

We go to the ticketing counter and ask for three tickets to the Top of Innsbruck. There are two uniformed ladies behind the glass. “Is this going to be a problem?” James thumbs back towards his big stupid bag. One of the girls faces is simply priceless. She just lights up and can’t stop laughing at James’ giant backpack. She’s doubled over laughing at it unabashedly. Now we can’t help but laugh too. She’s covering her mouth trying to reign it in and be polite, “No… no.. It’s no problem”, “Ok, thanks”, then she throws out “It may be problem for you!” and doubles over again with her work friend in high-pitched Austrian giggles. “Man, she is ribbin you”, “Seriously.”

The tram car comes and it’s a multi-sectional train from the near future. The thick glass cabin cubes only fit about six people each and stack like a pixelated centipede as the thing climbs up the hillside at a steep angle while keeping you perfectly level the whole time. It runs along the city then through some tunnels. It’s an impressive ride. One of the stops is the Alpenzoo.

The Top of Innsbruck

The funicular takes us to Hungerburg which sounds like a great place to eat. The station is curvy and space-aged.

Good view from here already, but we’ve still got another gondola or two to get to the very top.

We don’t dilly dally in Hungerburg and go straight to the next station so we can get up while the weather is perfect. Maybe we’ll beat some people getting up there since it’s still decent o’clock.

The next section is a gondola ride to the Seegrube station which has an elevation of 6,250 ft. There’s a restaurant and visitor center here. Lots of people kicking back with a beer and enjoying the view.

And the view is well worth it. Wow

We get some panoramas and take in the view for a few then decide to get all the way up.

Waiting for the next gondola and there are quotes from famous folks on the glass looking out across the valley

This is also here

This next gondola stint takes us up to 7,401 ft, to the Hafelekar station at the Top of Innsbruck.

Same spectacular view, up a thousand more feet.

There are some old shacks up here, weather monitoring gear, another smaller restaurant, and a great view on the backside too overlooking the Nordkette mountain and Karwendel nature park. Looks like there are a number of hiking and biking trails up here and lifts for skiing/snowboarding.

Let’s take a gander

Nice spot. Slippery in the ice and snow. We toss a few freezeballs at each other and decide it’s time for a beer.

The Real Soup Nazi

We go into a quaint, all wood restaurant area and just beat the line to get some hot soup and beer to chill with.

I am now officially doing a potato soup tasting contest across Germany and Austria.

This one is excellent. The bowl we accidentally got at Ratskeller is still the champ.

MacKay’s soup is taking a bit longer to get ready. I spy a dude go up and grab a bowl as it comes out and the lady in the kitchen absolutely tears him a new one in German and then in English. “No! No! That is not your soup! Do NOT take that soup! Put that soup back!” the person is caught totally off guard and is looking down at the soup. “NO! Put back the soup! Not your soup!”, she starts cussing him out in German, banging a ladle against a pot and yelling. Everyone turns to see what all the fuss is about. Wow is she pissed. Mean sounding.

“Holy fuck dude, you better go get your soup before she explodes”, “Is this the real Soup Nazi?”, “Uhh in Austria. I’m not sure if that joke’s appropriate, too appropriate, or what to think about that really.”

We finish our soup and beer and make room for someone else to sit. The place is filling up fast now that it’s around mid-day.

Perfectly paced morning just riding funiculars and gondolas and taking in the view.

Great sign

It’s a tad on the chilly side up here and aside from the view there isn’t much else to do. Not gonna tackle any of these hikes with our backpacks, that’s for sure. Might as well start heading back down and warm up a bit.

Hungerburg

We return to Hungerburg and walk into the town to investigate a bit. “There’s got to be a patio we can grab a beer on and just see the view.” We walk a few blocks but it is entirely residential. No bars or restaurants to be found. “Huh. Well there’s definitely a business opportunity to be had here.”

This town is awesome though. Getting a Lauterbrunnen vibe. A little village in Switzerland I’ve been to a couple of times in the most picturesque valley you can imagine with similar architecture to this.

We walk back to the area by the Seegrube space station and there is a small row of businesses and some outdoor seating. We grab the last open seat-table combo and MacKay goes in to investigate a coffee shop. He comes back with three beers. Good detective work!

MacKay spotted this awesome sign at the cash

Ahhh this is nice. Beautiful day, patio overlooking that splendorous valley, and a cold beer to balance the suns warmth. We don’t have anything real pressing to do either so we just tell some stories over a few pints for a while. Only gauge of time is the people going between the funicular and gondola stations in front of us every half hour.

There’s a little Asian kid over by the look off yelling “meow meow meow meow meeeeeeeow meeeooooooow!” for five hilarious minutes.

“Keep calm and eat some cream?”, “Sounds…”, “Don’t! Don’t say it. Public. Public setting. People. Babies”, “Haha ok ok”

We’re so relaxed here that the beers just keep flowing for a solid four funiculars worth of passerbys. This loosens up the ol silly filter and we’re riding a fine line between entertainment and spectacle for the neighboring tables. There’s a wasp buzzing round our table and threatening to land in our beers. It keeps kamikaze diving into our faces making us jump up and inducing mini freak outs. Oogie’s had enough. He gets his hat out. He’s ready to take care of business.

Oogie vs The Wasp

MacKay and I start narrating in our best David Attenborough voices.

“Behold the wasp”, “Wasps are nature’s assholes…” (people start snickering behind us).

Oogie smacks the table with his hat. “A near miss!”, “Notice how much more pissed the wasp has become. The fear in the human’s eyes…”

The Wasp beelines for Oogies dome and he’s waving the hat all around his head frantically trying to keep it from stinging his face.

He’s half out of his seat now, yelping in a high pitched voice, purple hat flapping wildly, “Fuck! Little.. shit!”

“How can such a small creature cause such panic in a full grown man that’s one million times his size?”, “Nature’s Assholes…”

Oogie goes for the kill swing and knocks his beer over in the process, “Oh shit oh shit oh shit!” He’s scrambling to right the ship and minimize the spillage.

“Wasp – one”, “Eugene – zero”

Two neighboring tables have watched this whole debacle and can’t help but laugh out loud at us. We’re all laughing and now each of us is also half out of our seats as the pissed off wasp’s orbit has expanded into our head space as well. A daring back hand slap sends it into the background dazed and thankfully it buzzes off. Ahhhhhhh

One last round and back down the funicular to the city proper. We walk across town to the train station to check our options. “Salzburg?”, “Yeah sure. I hope they let us on the train ‘on alcohol’ haha”, “Ohh I miss Bitchface!”

Oogie is going to be splitting ranks tomorrow, catching a bus or train to Prague, spending a day, and then flying back to California from there to report his findings and debrief. It’s been a fun week breaking him in to our organic cocktail of travel shitshows in random locales. Thought we should end in a cool city and Salzburg was pretty bitchin last time we came round these parts. We find the train station and look into our options.

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