Our German adventure had come to an end, leaving me with one thing: I must go back and explore more of this amazing country!
It was the morning of February 25 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY TWIN COUSINS! ) and Alison, Allie and I headed for the main train station to board a train that would take us to the great country of Österreich (in English, Austria). Would of never really considered or known about Innsbruck if it wasn´t for my friend Carter sending me “The Euro Bible” that his friends from UGA made while studying in Innsbruck.
The train ride was phenomenal as we made our way from flat land to high elevations as each wheel on the train turned we worked our way up in altitude surrounded by 1000´s of feet of white mountains. 2 hours later we had arrived in Innsbruck; one of the most majestic places I have ever seen. While the sun was beating on my face as I looked at snow-covered mountains on each side of me, I knew the next 2 days would be pure bliss. Innsbruck is located in the Tyrol region of Austria in the heart of the Tyrolean alps. Austria has nothing to do with the land down under and they speak German.. not Austrian.
We were staying with our friend Erwin in a town a few kilometers outside of Innsbruck, Hall in Tyrol. Within our first minutes of arriving Erwin asked if we wanted to go sledging, or sledding. I have never been sledding in my 20 years of existence so my answer was an immediate yes! His friend Jules came over with 3 plastic, circular “sleds” and we walked around to find the perfect hill… and we did! We joined two little kids and made our way up and down the hill for close to an hour. I felt like a child again, the snow really makes one forgot about everything else and truly enjoy what is happening at the present moment, a therapy of some sorts.
After we wore our selves out sledding we were shown the “beach” of Hall in Tyrol. Although it did not fit my classifications as a beach, it was breathtaking! Millions of unique rocks by side a rambling river with a snowy Alp back drop is definitely something I can get used to.
Instead of eating out at some pricey restaurant we prepared a traditional Austrian meal that is very typical to this region, KäseSpätzle. The most similar thing I can relate spätzle to is Gnocchi, and käse means cheese in German. So a German/Austrian mac n´cheese would be an appropriate description.
ingredients for KäseSpätzle:
- 1 small onion
- 250g of flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/8 liter of water
- pinch of salt
- 200g of cheese (we used a mix of white, swiss and gouda)
- 1 more onion to prepare onion rings as a topping for the spätzle.
From this point you have to make the dough balls which is spätzle, prepare your onions, cut the cheese and make your onion rings. It is safe to assume you are reading this on the computer so you probably have access to Google. If you wish to make this, which I highly recommend you do, search “recipe for KäseSpätzle” and voilà your recipe awaits. I´d love to write it out here but I am approaching my final days of school so have a bit of homework to catch up on. If you decide to make it, please comment here and let me know what you thought! I absolutely loved it, and its low ingredients cost. We finished our dinner off with “Austrian desert,” schnapps!
The day next our goal was to get on that mountain! Since it was winter and the mountain was completely covered in knee-high snow,hiking up there was impossible with our lack of gear. After visiting gummy bear world, eating some amazing Italian pizza (since it’s just the next country over) and loading up on some beer for the mountain we took flight on the Nordkettenbahn (aka gondola) and made our way up to the highest point possible, over 7600 feet, which is called the Hafelekar. We took in the scenery of an endless sea of snowy mountains in every direction, never in my life have I seen this many mountains!
At this point Allie and I decided to trek a little farther than the Hafelekar since we had the shoes for it, why not? No joke, snow was up to our knees and it felt great! To see no human civilization. Just you and nature. It was a refreshing feeling, especially since we had been on such a schedule during the trip catching buses, trains and planes being away from it all on the mountain was amazing!
Later that night we went to a bar Moustache and had some white Russians, I must have been spoiled in Vail because these glasses seemed infant sized, but then I realized that´s how most white Russians should be… I guess just not at Garf´s where the glasses were what I now realize is abnormally big for W.R. Anyway, After Moustache closed we wandered downstairs and found ourselves at a club called Aftershave. I really enjoyed the clever naming of the pair. Since Innsbruck has an extremely large student population the club was pretty packed for reggae night on a Tuesday. We proceeded to make our rounds in Innsbruck with our amazing tour guide Erwin before catching our 5 am train to Vienna.
Properly known as Wien, the capital and largest city in Österreich (Austria) is where we made our way the morning of February 27th. Since our final destination was Prague, the most logical way to arrive in Prague from Innsbruck was by bus from Vienna, so we stopped here for a day. We walked around a lot and saw the famous St Stephen’s Cathedral, palace, and theatre. The city looks completely different during the day and night so it´s definitely worth it to see both! I wasn´t really there long enough but it was a great place to pass through, I´d love to come back with more time! We had amazing käse-bratwurst; bratwurst filled with cheese,while watching kids ice skate (and fall) in front of the winter exhibit near the theatre. At night we had amazing Greek food, a lot of people from all over the world make Vienna their home so there is certainly food for everyone’s pallet here. Use-it is an amazing map we found in Prague and after I looked on-line I found one for Vienna (after my trip) so I would highly recommend anyone heading to Vienna to go ahead and Use-it! HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
The next morning we would board a double decker bus and arrive in the magical land they call Prague…