After a good night of sleep, I woke up at 06:20, showered, and went to breakfast in the hotel. Plain yogurt, crunchy granola, raspberry purée, lox, cream cheese, roll, Black Forest ham and Edamer cheese, chocolate brioche, and tiny little waffles.
I had time by myself this morning to sightsee before Allan arrived around noon. I went out to follow Rick Steve’s walking tour, but ended up visiting only the Frauenkirche, Peterskirche, Marienplatz, and the Viktualienmarkt.
I appreciate visiting the high-Gothic / Renaissance cathedrals of Europe – and experiencing the amazing scale, craftsmanship, and reverence of these places.
Dedicated to the Virgin – Our Lady, or “Frau”, The Frauenkirche serves as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Munich and seat of its Archbishop, one of whom went on to the Vatican and became Pope, Kardinal Ratzinger – Pope Benedict. Today’s Frauenkirche is not original, however; the Late-Gothic cathedral suffered severe damage during World War II. Per Wikipedia: “After Allied forces’ air raids, the church roof collapsed, one of the towers suffered severe damage, and the majority of the church’s irreplaceable historical artifacts held inside were lost—either destroyed by bomb raids themselves, or removed with the debris in the aftermath.”
Peterskirche, or St. Peter’s Church (“Alter Pete”, or Old Pete to locals) was originally built in the late 1100s in the Bavarian Romanesque style, and updated in the mid-1700s to the current Baroque style. This church was also heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, with reconstruction work continuing until 2000. The original Baroque ceiling fresco of The Martyrdom of St. Peter was destroyed in WWII and recreated.
As I was leaving Peterskirche I heard a commotion outside, which turned out to be a parade, part of a beer festival happening today in the Marienplatz. I skipped that and walked over through the Viktualienmarkt in search of a sausage on which to snack while hiking over the coming days, and to find an ATM with a reasonable exchange rate (the Euronet ATMs on every corner charge had terrible exchange rates – the EUR was only at $1.01). Got sausage at a small shop in the market, and cash at a Santander branch down the straße (street).
I went back to the hotel to repack, check out, and wait for Allan to arrive. I met him at the Marienplatz station and we had lunch nearby at the Andechser am Dom restaurant on the square next to the Frauenkirche, next door to the Augustiner am Dom where I had dinner last night (“am Dom” – at the Cathedral). I had Wienerschnitzel, potato’s, and weißbier (white beer).
After lunch we walked over to the Hauptbahnhof (central train station) and in a rush scrambled to buy tickets through the Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB, Austrian Federal Railways) app on my phone before the train departed – I was following Allan via peripheral vision through the crowded station while trying to select all of the correct options and complete the purchase. Got to the tracks just in time, but train was a few minutes late. We boarded not knowing where we should be and got stuck in a narrow passageway in a private compartment car. Eventually we got past the obstruction and made our way to the next car where we found a couple of unoccupied seats, but a few rows apart. We sat mostly in silence for a couple of hours until we neared Innsbruck. We got our packs and pushed our way up to the door where we would disembark at the Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof.
The train arrived a few minutes late and it took us a few more minutes to find the bus to take us to Neustift – but it had already departed. We figured out the schedule and the next bus came 20 minutes later.
We boarded early enough, (by forcing our way through the queue), to sit next to each other for the scenic drive through Innsbruck and up the Stubaital (Stubai valley), and eventually we signaled the driver to stop on the Stubaitalstraße (road) at the Neustift Elferbahn stop. We walked a couple of blocks over to the Hotel Viktoria hotel and checked in.
Unfortunately the maps I ordered from the Österreicher Alpenverein (ÖAV, Austrian Alpine Club) and had shipped to the hotel did not arrive as planned. But the hotel had a good map of the Stubai Höhenweg (our route for the next few days), so we studied that over dinner. I had the most delicious Beef Goulash with dumplings and a weißbier. For desert we split a delicious apfelkiachl (battered and baked apple rings with sugar, cinnamon, and cream), which seemed to be the same as what the Swiss call apfelküchlein.
Later in the evening we serenaded to sleep by a group of men drunkenly singing/shouting German songs in a restaurant room below.