Innsbruck

10 Jun

A short drive of about an hour and a half from Munich is a place called Innsbruck, its the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol in western Austria. It is an internationally renowned winter sports centre, and hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics as well as the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics. Innsbruck hosted the first Winter Youth Olympics in 2012. The word bruck comes from the German word Brücke meaning “bridge” which leads to “the bridge over the Inn”. Due to its location between high mountains, Innsbruck serves as an ideal place for skiing in winter, and mountaineering in summer. There are several ski resorts around Innsbruck, with the Nordkette served by a cable car and additional chair lifts further up. Other ski resorts nearby include Axamer Lizum, Patscherkofel, Igls, Seefeld, Tulfes and Stubai Valley. The glaciated terrain in the latter makes skiing possible even in summer months.
Next to the old town area is a massive garden area. The Hofgarten in Innsbruck is a protected park in Innsbruck. The park lies on the edge of the Old Town or Altstadt, covering an area of 10 hectares (25 acres), and borders on the Hofburg, the Kongresshaus and the Tyrolean State Theatre. During its 600 year existence this icon of garden styles that was originally a river meadow has been turned into a Renaissance garden, a French formal garden and, for the last 150 years or so, an English landscape garden. Its last conversion was conceived by Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, but carried out four decades later by an unknown landscape designer who deviated significantly from Sckell’s original proposal.
It is notable that there are still plants in the park that were planted personally by the Austrian Empress, Maria Theresa. In the middle of the park is a pavilion dating to 1733, in which numerous events – mainly concerts – take place, whilst chess tournaments are fought on the outsize chess board there. It made for a great place to have a superb lunch which consisted of olives, cheese, sundried tomatoes & crackers. There is a lawn for sunbathing in the Hofgarten with a children’s playpark. Otherwise walking on the ornate lawns is not permitted because they are susceptible to excessive use. The tulips growing here as well as the other varieties of flowers are breathtaking, the smells are just as good.
The walk through the old town is stunning, the streets are very narrow littered with shops ranging from souvenirs to cafes, we sampled the famous apple strudel, well worth trying. The crystal shop everyone knows as Swarovski is situated in the middle of town, three levels with many displays of craftsmanship that has to be seen to be believed. My favorite would be the massive fly. The crystal is much cheaper here than at home, still no purchases were made, once you start there would be no stopping.

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