Thursday, June 25, 2009

innsbruck, austria

first thing, it has not stopped raining pretty much since i landed in europe last week. from talking to volks, as they call folks here in german speaking lands, it has been an unusual summer thusfar. unusual or not, i have found myself wishing i had brought more heavy clothing.

tuesday, after the depeche mode concert, i travelled by train all day (which honestly is about my favorite part of vacationing) to get to innsbruck. i skipped walking around vienna because of the rain and arrived in innsbruck a day early. my hotel had a shower that was literally two by two, enclosed in glass, as if oompa loompas showered there alot. i changed hotels after the first night and even sweet talked the nice lady at the first hotel into refunding my prepaid money for the second night. now i am at a hotel that is a bit swanker, with a three by three shower that suited me fine.

traveling will be so much easier when i am thinner. this is the last trip, bythe way, that i will take until i lose some serious poundage. honestly, it is getting to be too much, and the way my knees and ankles are barking is taking a lot of the fun out of this. i am kind of grateful to have the near constant rain as an excuse for taking it easy.

related = i am trying to cancel my tickets for india. if possible, i will fly from england to thailand in early july, and then back to los angeles in the middle of the month. just the walking around, the stairs, the cobblestones, etc., etc., has been, as i said, taking the fun out of it somewhat for me, and i can honestly say, upon reflection, that this is not the time, physicallý, for me to go to india for three weeks.

if i cannot get those tickets, i will just come home from london on july 6th and use the credit from the cancelled tickets to go to bangkok or tokyo over christmas break, after six more months of working out hard at the gym back in scenic riverside.

not that i am hating it here...far from it...i walked around innsbruck some last night and ate dinner at an austrian weinerhaus that had great sausages. this morning there was this odd yellow ball in the sky and i could see shadows when i looked outside, so i took my sunglasses from their case for the first time on this trip and set out to see something in innsbruck.

the olympic ski jumping thing, that long tall thing people go down before launching themselves hundreds of yards through the air, is near my hotel, and the lonelz planet book said they often have practice at it yearround, so i took a taxi over there, but there was nothing going on.

i contemplated taking a few trains out of the city to an idyllic bavarian alpine town a few hours from here, but that seemed like too much potential walking (lame, eh?) so i nixed that idea and instead went to the aerial tramway.

nordpark has three stages to get up the tall mountains on the north side of the valley in which innsbruck lays. the first part was a furnicular on a track. what was cool was that the cars were swinging from supports on the vehicle, so as we made our way up the mountain, at various degrees, we always stayed upright. it was the sam principle employed at the st. louis arch if you have ever been there.

the second stage took us from 800 meters to 2000 meters, over craggy rocks and hiking trails filled with healthy, rosy cheeked alpine hikers. there appear to be lots of those. everyone seems to have strong calves and pointed hiking sticks. someday, a few hundred pounds down the road, perhaps i shall return and join them on the trails. for now, i cruised overhead en route to the second station.

at 2000 meters, the clouds obscured the view about half the time. i could look down upon the dizzying trek we had just taken up the mountain, sometimes. other times my view was obscured by clouds, some filled with rain, others cotton candy white.

the third stage, another 500 meters up, was almost completely obscured by clouds. i walked out to the observation deck, glad i had a sweater, wishing i had another, and heard the bleating of goats and the ringing of collar bells. when the clouds cleared a bit, i saw a herd of goats clinging to the side of the mountain, making their way, single file, along a narrow trail. i waited and waited for the chance for a good picture, but never got one before they disappeared out of range.

there was snow all over the ground and i was getting cold, so i did not stay long atop the mountain. i took the two cable cars down the third and second stages and then stopped for lunch at the second stage in a town called hungerbarger or something, where i ate the best meal i have had thusfar in europe. it was potatoes and vegetables and strips of stake all mashed together in a frying pan with two eggs sunny side up atop it. it was flavorful, filling, and best of all, warm. almost as warm was the smile and personality of the blonde waitress, who talked with me for quite awhile. she will be in my video, saying "welcome to innsbruck, austria," even though she took great pride in being from germany.

my meal done, my flirting going nowhere, and my legs ready to be stretched out on the bed, i took the furnicular back to innsbruck, caught a taxi back to the hotel, and spent the late afternoon and early evening reading john irvings "the fourth hand," which i started on the train over here from bratislava a few days ago and will probably finish tomorrow when i travel to davos, switzerland, from where i will catch the Glacier Express in a few days...

peace...thanks for reading...

1 comment:

  1. i love your descriptions of everything.

    and i vote tokyo at christmas!! =)