Oh, Innsbruck. Katie and I went on our second trip and had the pleasure of visiting Austria this time . We caught a train Friday night and managed to get there in the evening. That gave us all of Saturday and most of Sunday to explore. And there began a series of pizza and pitfalls (In this case, pizza = good and pitfall = bad).
Pitfall #1 – When I convinced Katie that the train left at 5:07… but that was, in reality, the date of our train ride. Don’t worry, I was only off by an hour and a half.
Pizza #1 – A benefit of bad timing, we stopped in Valentino at Zurich HB. Place sells some ballin pasta on the cheap. Twenty bucks for a lasagna and some cheesy pesto. In Zurich, that’s like finding gold.
Pitfall #2 – We booked on Monday, but never received an email confirmation. No big deal… Until we called about forty minutes before our train ride and realized we had no reservation. And if you’re unfamiliar with world travel, you need those.
Pizza #2 – As early as our train ride to Innsbruck, prices began to drop. It literally felt like someone blindfolded us and walked us into a new city where everything was on sale. We ate one of the best Italian meals I’ve ever had for 37 euros. We had two lunch strudels, a desert strudel, and two adult beverages for 20 euros. Everything in Austria was wonderfully cheap.
Pitfall #3- We did bite the bullet and snag a last minute hotel. Upon arrival, I bravely led us out into the wilds of Innsbruck with some saved pictures of the route. That wasn’t enough. I led us the wrong way for five minutes before my wife bravely ventured a guess in the opposite direction. After walking through three unlit and ominously closed street sections, we stumbled into slightly brighter lights and found our hotel.
Pizza #3 – The thing is… our hotel was kind of great. Super comfortable, a kind of weird shower, and a really good buffet. Honestly, any place that has semi-normal scrambled eggs and bacon gets the five-star from my stomach. So, we had a great start to every morning in Austria and always came home to a comfortable, AIR CONDITIONED room.
Pitfall/Pizza Combo #4 – The Innsbruck Card! I highly suggest this to anyone who visits the city. For just forty dollars, we had free access to everything. Gondolas, buses, trams, museums, etc. Katie and I immediately seized the day and made our way up another mountain. This time, we elected not to hike all the way down. At the time we felt lazy (then later we saw that we’d rolled together 28,000 steps and gave ourselves a pass).
So why is this a pitfall? Because if you lose your card in the zoo while taking a picture of a mountain lion… there’s really no mercy whatsoever. We tried the hotel and the information desk, only to find ourselves shunned by society. I didn’t shout at the information desk people, but I strapped on my Time Warner Cable voice… All to no avail. Lesson being: don’t lose your important stuff.
Pizza #5 – At the end of the day, Innsbruck was beautiful. The iconic housefronts, a breathtaking old town, mountains draped on either side. We stumbled through chateaus and into churches, and as many other places as we could with our Hop-On-Hop-Off bus passes. And really, the food/prices colored the whole experience for us. You can see some of the pictures below. But any city with history and good food will always have my vote.
Pitfall #6 – Sorry, Innsbruck, but you’re no Zermatt. If I was rating the two experiences, I would call Zermatt a 9 out of 10. I would probably have Innsbruck around a 6 or 7. One just was a little more beautiful and pleasant overall.