Friday, February 13, 2015

Innsbruck: A City Fit for Kings

As I type this I'm barefoot, wearing shorts, and a t-shirt and it's the middle of February. Now, San Diego isn't exactly known for its cold winters but right now the Santa Ana winds are turning up the heat (and the waves). This hot,dry, super-windy weather has me thinking of places where it's still cold, places like Austria. It seems like more time has passed but it was only six weeks ago that Chris and I were buttoned up inside of big coats meandering through the streets of Innsbruck.
We spent Christmas Eve in Innsbruck at the Goldener Adler, a building from the 14th century with a rustic style (hence all of the creepy taxidermy) on touristic Kiebachgasse alley, which, for the holidays, had been converted to a Brothers Grimm Fairy-tale world. The view from the window in our third floor room was of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The Hotel Goldener Adler is located in the heart of Innsbruck's old town, which is where the city's history has been preserved and protected from most modern infrastructure. Every city in Austria seems to have an "old town".  Even McDonalds' gold arches were fairly concealed. Very near our hotel is the Inn River - from where Innsbruck got its name - which is a tributary of the Danube. Since the Inn is in relatively close proximity to its source, the water is an icy shade of blue, far different from the black of the Danube Canal near my parent's apartment in Vienna. 
Across the bridge over the Inn river is Walther Park, conveniently located for outings with our Hund (dog). Like everywhere in Innsbruck, the Alps are visible in every location that you look, towering above, reminding us how small we are, reminding us who's in charge. Because of this great mountain range, Innsbruck is a sports city which has hosted two Winter Olympics. Statues of athletes are sprinkled throughout, like the one of Franz Thurner in Walther Park, the "pioneer of gymnastics" in the Austrian state of Tyrol.
Innsbruck is a rich city with a rich past. Since at least the 4th century people have lived in Innsbruck. It was a sought-after location due to it's closeness to the Brenner Pass, which is, and has been for well over a thousand years, an important commercial route between the North and South of Europe. Century after century emperors and counts and archdukes and kings have claimed Innsbruck (and the state of Tyrol, of which Innsbruck is the capital) as their own, making it a city fit for kings. 
So there you go, a little bit of Innsbruck history on this Valentine's Day weekend. Did we go into the alps and ski or snowboard? Chris did so we lived vicariously through his experience, as I do when it comes to "extreme" sports. My only regret was not seeing or photographing Innsbruck's "most famous symbol", the Golden Roof, which was a "royal box" where Emperor Maximilian sat with his third wife and watched the festivities and tournaments below.  Missing out on major sight-seeing attractions is what happens when you don't plan ahead. But that's okay, just another reason to go back.
Happy Friday everyone!


Mami said...

Beautiful pictures! Nanita. This made me nostalgic of your visit, it was so much fun! I miss you both!
I took some pictures of the Golden Adler (Golden Roof) as we were leaving Innsbruck, it was on the same street as our hotel ( hence it's name), just a few meters away.
Of course they're not near as good as the pictures you take. I used my iphone and they're actually kind of bad... but I'll send them to you anyway.

Carol said...

I love gooooooooooooooollllllllllllllddddddddddddddd!
Very nice post and pictures. Chris' of the alps are incredible, too. GoPro? Did you know you got a pigeon flying awesomely in one of your pictures? It's got the mountains in the background, buildings on the side, like a plaza in the center. There is a pigeon really close, mid-flight!