This morning started like yesterday by waking up early and getting a big breakfast. The weather today was supposed to be the best I’ve had since I arrived, so I decided to take a cable car and spend the day on the mountain.
I walked about 15 minutes from my hotel to the Congress train station, which was near the convention center, and bought a round trip ticket to the top station (this ticket includes one ascent and one decent – going in one direction only, no back tracking). There are four separate stations: the Congress
train station near downtown Innsbruck, the Hungerburg
at 860 m (2821 ft), the Seegrube
at 1905 m (6205 ft), and the station at the top of the mountain, the Hafelekar
at 2256 m (7401 ft). The train ride from Congress to Hungerburg took about 20 minutes, and gave a nice overview of the city, but there were still plenty of clouds at the top of the mountain.
To kill some time, I went ahead and got lunch at a restaurant there, consisting of a burger, fries, and coke with a lemon slice.
While eating, I watched a group of guys on a school trip play with a soccer ball, with a black lab in the middle. Everything went well until someone accidentally kicked the ball over the side of the mountain.
After a long lunch and taking some pictures near the station, the weather finally cleared up, so I took the cable car up to the Seegrube station, which was pretty incredible.
View going up to Seegrube:
Along the side of the mountain between Hungerburg and Seegrube, there is a mountain bike trail which looks pretty exciting, complete with wooden ramps and jumps in some places.
After reaching the top, I wandered around and took a ton of pictures, but most of them were to stitch into panoramas later. I did see a guy who went paragliding. He started running on the side of the mountain, and then just took off.
The weather still wasn’t that clear, so I got some hot chocolate, a cake, and a snickers bar and enjoyed the view.
The clouds finally cleared, so I got in the next cable car and headed up to the top station, Hafelekar.
Or at least, I thought I did. As soon as the cable car’s doors closed, the car started moving down instead of up. I accidentally got on the same cable car again, going down the mountain, instead of switching tracks and heading up the mountain. I get back to the 2nd station, Hungerburg, and go to the ticket desk. I do my best to explain that I accidentally went down the mountain instead of going back up, and was prepared to buy another ticket if I had to. Luckily, she understood me and let me go back up without any trouble.
I get back to Seegrube, and, correctly this time, switched trains to go up to Hafelekar, the top station. I quickly found out that wearing athletic shorts and a t-shirt was a bad idea. The temperature was probably in the lower 50s and with the wind whipping at the top of the mountain, the wind chill was in the lower 40s. The views were absolutely stunning though; the mountains of the alps looked like shards of broken glass jutting into the sky.
I spent the next couple hours setting up my tripod and taking pictures. Luckily, it didn’t fall over due to the wind, but it came pretty close. I caught the last cable car back at 5:15pm, and then went all the way back down the mountain back to my hotel.
I got dinner at the local pizza place again, and then went back to my hotel to watch the Germany-Spain match, which was pretty boring, to be honest. The game was a perfect example of why soccer isn’t popular in the United States, in my opinion. Germany didn’t play well at all, and Spain clearly deserved to win.
Tomorrow, I’m taking a train to Lucerne, Switzerland. I’ll be spending four nights there before heading to Interlaken. I have good memories of Lucerne from the first time I visited, so hopefully I won’t be disappointed.
I’m pretty happy I decided to spend three nights in Innsbruck. Had I only spent two nights, it would have been overcast and rainy the whole time I was here, which would have made for a pretty miserable time at the top of the mountain.