For our final day in Munich, we decided to make use of our Eurail pass and take a trip to Innsbruck. We had passed through Innsbruck on our journey from Venice to Munich, but it was a rainy day so were unable to enjoy the scenery as much as we would have liked to.
Since it was a Saturday, the train was quite full of people heading out to enjoy their weekend. We were able to find unreserved seats in the first class compartment; we usually reserve seats ahead of time but decided to wing it for this short trip (1:45 long). Looks like people here don’t follow directions any better than those at home…glad there was no one in a wheelchair that needed the space.
The trip was very beautiful. It looked very much like the drive to cross the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. My guess is that the Alps were more majestic, but there was enough of a cloud cover that we couldn’t see the tops of the mountains.
We hadn’t really researched what to do in Innsbruck, so just wandered around the town. I noticed a ski jump that was obviously left over from the 1976 Olympics. When we were in Oslo last summer, we visited an Olympic ski jump. Watching the sport on tv does not really give you a sense of just how steep and long those jumps are.
After being spoiled by visiting Rothenberg, Innsbruck wasn’t nearly as charming. The most noticeable landmark was the Triumphpforte (Triumphal Arch) which was built in 1765. I enjoyed the fact that the ski jump was visible through the arch (though I am sure it wasn’t planned that way).
We spotted a few people in traditional garb. We had been told by one of our tour guides that typically, you only see people dressed in drindls and lederhosen for special occasions, such as weddings. Given that these three matched, we assumed they might be on their way to work, where they had to dress in traditional clothing to impress the tourists. We were wrong, however.
We headed back to the train station and spotted a large group of people in drindls and lederhosen, including the three that we had spotted on the street. We still assumed they were on their way to a wedding, but we were wrong again.
I love the sentiment:
All of the first class seats on the train were filled. As a matter of fact, there were not nearly enough seats for the number of people that were in the compartment. So, we headed to second class. We ended up in a compartment with a young man in lederhosen. He was drinking a beer (you can drink almost anywhere at any time in Germany) and was able to speak a little English. Soon, he was joined by a friend (also in lederhosen). It turns out that there is an Oktoberfest in Rosenheim (about 40 minutes by train outside of Munich) and all of the people that were dressed up were heading there.
We are leaving Munich just a couple of weeks before Oktoberfest begins (in September). These guys probably have the right idea by going to a small town rather than joining the 6 -7 million that converge on the big city’s celebration. The 6 breweries in Munich have been brewing their special 6% alcohol beer for months in preparation. If you do visit, consider going to the Augustine Biergarten; they serve their beer in wooden casks, the traditional way.