Sunday Music, Mountain Meandering and New Friends


Sunday Music, Mountain Meandering and New Friends

Igls

Sunday, 5 June 2011

It was time for a short “lie in” this morning. 7 days on the go and relatively early starts and a time zone change – we deserved it. How long? 30 minutes. Hey – were not here for sleeping!

The extra time in bed meant that we didn’t avail ourselves of the “in hotel” breakfast – probably not a bad thing given the amount of food we have been consuming over the past week.

I “shaved off” this morning (meaning that I removed the facial hair that was accumulating) so The Princess got her less than hirsute man back. Being in Austria meant that the Italian look had to go despite The Princess’ protests.

Without a time frame to meet (re breakfast) we took our time to get ready for today’s outing – a look around Igls and a trip up to the top of the local mountain – Patscherkofel (via cable car of course).

We left the hotel around 9.45am and walked the short distance to the centre of the small hamlet. The weather was perfect – blue skies, puffy clouds, and a cool breeze blowing down the mountain.

Although we were not particularly hungry we thought that it would be smart to put something in our stomachs before we headed up the mountain. We settled on a lovely little place call Heidi’s. The lovely elderly lady (maybe her name was Heidi) that was working on this beautiful Sunday morning took our order and we set ourselves up on the balcony over looking the town square. The sun was rather warm (despite being at almost 3000′ above sea level) so we set up the brightly colored umbrella and gave ourselves some shade.

We enjoyed a mid morning coffee and tea along with a very tasty home made ham and cheese sandwiches and enjoyed watching members of a band prepare themselves for a march through the streets. Maybe they knew we were coming!

Time Behind Bloom

After settling the bill for “brunch” we set off for a walk around town. However, just as we began our walk, the volunteer police band fired up and started their march up the main street. We stopped and watched them march by before following them to the small local park in which they were giving a free performance. A nice way to pass some time on this very beautiful Sunday morning here in Austria.

The band provided us with an excellent background in which to take some photos and video of the stunning gardens that the home owners had planted. The people here in Austria are so house proud and they make the most of the short European summers. The window boxes were over flowing with brightly colored flowers and the garden beds sprouted the most stunning roses. Again – picture postcard stuff!

We enjoyed a walk around the beautifully laid out backstreets of Igls before making our way to the Patscherkofel cable car – located just on the outskirts of town.

When we arrived at the cable car terminal we learned that the next cable car was not leaving for another 30 minutes. How did we know this? Well, as we walked up to the entrance the husband of a couple that were waiting at the terminal asked if I was Australian. This lovely Sri Lankan man (Udara) and his German wife (Renate) were waiting for the cable car too. This chance meeting with this lovely couple resulted in a wonderful day of sharing time with two beautiful people that were going through a challenging time (they were staying in Igls for 4 weeks while Renate was undergoing treatment for cancer).

The cable car trip to the top of the mountain took us over several ex winter Olympic sites and past beautiful mountain trees. The steep gradient meant that we ascended the mountain quickly and gained sweeping views of Innsbruck and the spectacular valleys below.

We arrived at the top cable car terminus around 1.15am and, after spending some more time talking to Udara and Renate, we went of in search of photographic opportunities.

It wasn’t long before our camera cards began to fill up with images – easy to do when you are looking at stunning view after stunning view – endless mountain views stretching as far as the eye could see.

We traversed the mountain and stopped along the way to talk to couples that were enjoying the beautiful alpine views. Being a Sunday meant that the trails were busy – bike riders, hikers and sightseers shared the high altitude trails above Innsbruck.

Austrian Beauty

After taking in the endless views for over 2 hours we went in search of a light meal at one of the two high altitude restaurants. Udara and Renate had invited us to share dinner with them in their apartment (they are staying at the same hotel we were are staying at) so we wanted to keep our food intake down before heading back down the mountain.

On entering the restaurant we reunited with Udara and Renate (they were having a bite to eat before they returned back to town).

We ordered a light meal of soup and bread and shared the news of our alpine adventures.

Unfortunately we were not able to settle in for lunch because the last cable car was leaving around 4.30pm and the weather on the mountain was starting to deteriorate. We were able to finish the last of our delicious soup before making our way back to the cable car and into the waiting line for the last car back down the mountain!

Whilst the weather still looked OK at the bottom of the mountain the top of it was stating to look rather gloomy. A good call by the guys at the top! Indeed, as the afternoon/early evening wore on the wind really picked up down in the village of Igls and we were wondering how strong it would have been up higher.

On the way back to the hotel we found a nice little cafe and stopped for a coffee and tea. Warming up the insides seemed like a good idea. It worked nicely.

The short walk back to Sonnenhof took us around 5 minutes and on return we sorted ourselves out for dinner with Udara and Renate. As mentioned earlier in the blog, this lovely couple had invited us to their apartment on the second floor of the hotel.

We shared a wonderful night with them on their balcony looking back up to the mountain that we had all spent the day on. Udara made plates of fresh food and we bought the Italian wine that we purchased in Lienz. The fresh tomatoes, cheese, cucumber and kiwi complimented the delightful wine and we enjoyed learning more about each other as the night wore on.

We we retired to our room around 1100pm and it was not long before the mountain air, the day of hiking and the wine combined to put us into a very deep sleep here in Igls.

Summary – a superb day of sightseeing combined with the opportunity to make some new friends. It’s what travel is all about.

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On Ascent
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