Our fourth and last day of hiking in Austria.
Today we hiked down from the Westfalenhaus hut to the tiny village of Praxmar, had lunch, then took a bus to Innsbruck, and a train back to München (Munich).
Wednesday 3 August – Westfalenhaus to Munich.
We went down to sit in the dining room before breakfast, but it wasn’t open yet so we went outside for a few minutes to feel the warmth of the sun. There was not a single cloud anywhere in the sky. We returned to the dining room for breakfast and had The Usual: granola and yogurt, cheeses, coldcuts, bread, jam, juice, and coffee.
After breakfast we returned to our room to finish packing, then put on our shoes in the shuhraum, and headed out down the trail. Nearby was a tiny chapel, the Hauskapelle.
The trail leading down toward the valley far below was easy to walk, and we enjoyed the warmer weather and easy descent.
Below tree line however, we decided to take a side trail that stayed up on the hillside instead of descending to the road on the valley floor. This trail was overgrown, narrow, uneven, and occasionally had steep uphill and downhill sections. We eventually reached a junction with another trail after which the hiking became a little easier again.
After a while it reverted to a narrow steep trail. We made our way through the woods and popped out at Praxmar, a tiny hamlet perched on the mountainside. Our time on the trails of Austria have now come to an end.
We walked over to a restaurant where I had a delicious local deer “ham” on bread with an apfelsaft.
I purchased tickets online for the bus and train journey back to München. We walked over to the nearby bus stop to catch the 13:15 bus down to Gries im Sellrain, which finally arrived nearly 10 minutes late (I was worried I was looking at the wrong bus route online). We were the only 2 people on this bus. The bus wound it’s way down the mountainside through a series of hairpin turns before reaching the valley floor and cruising down to Gries Im Sellrain. Our connecting bus was waiting for us, but this one was very full. We stood in the rear exit area with our packs at our feet as the bus sped downhill. As people trickled out at various mountain resort areas we eventually were able to stow our packs and sit down to enjoy the ride back to Innsbruck. The bus made its way down to the large Inn valley and passed through several villages before reaching the outskirts of Innsbruck and then through the city to the Hauptbahnhof (central train station). We walked from the bus bay into the train station and over to platform 7 to wait for our train which was due in 20 minutes. I enjoyed the ride down, chatting with Allan, and neglecting to take any more photos.
The train arrived a few minutes late and we boarded our 1st klasse car. We discovered that our reserved seats were actually in separate compartments, but the car was not full so we sat together in my compartment with two other people. The train slowed to a stop in a long tunnel just east of Innsbruck where they announced they were having a problem with the air lines for the brakes. Eventually they sorted it out and we were rolling again. But at the Jennbach station (where we changed trains three years ago enroute to the Zillertal, and then abruptly parted ways a few days later) we sat for quite a while while the conductor and another guy were looking and pointing at a control panel outside below our window. Eventually we rolled out of the station, late, but rolling again through the beautiful Inn valley with peaks towering overhead, frequently within sight of the large Inn River. At another station they shut down power as we stopped for another delay, but thankfully it didn’t get too hot in our compartment and soon we were rolling again.
After leaving Austria the mountains began to fade into the distance as we crossed the plains of southern Germany. Before long we neared München and the countryside gave way to urban sprawl and commercial property. We slowed into the large train yard and stopped in the München Hauptbahnhof. Interestingly, no one checked our tickets or identification on this trip, or on our earlier trip into Austria. We exited the station and walked toward our hotel in the Altstadt. It was warm, in the upper 80s, but not too hot and there was an occasional breeze. We walked about 15 minutes over to our hotel, the Mercure again, where the front desk clerk recognized me from a week and a half ago. We checked in and Allan took a shower and did laundry while I walked over to the Birkenstock store to buy a pair of sandals. When I got back to the room Allan was still feverishly working on his laundry.
Once the Great Laundering of 2022 eventually completed, we walked over to the Frauenplatz and ate dinner at the Andechser am Dom where we had lunch a week and a half ago. I had a delicious Wienerschnitzel (surprise!) with Kartoffel salat (potato salad) and a weißbier (white beer). Man, do I love German food!
After dinner we strolled back to the hotel and went to bed, and I slept through most of the night.