To the Alps, pts. 5 and 6: Pearl of the Alps

The previous installment of Arvils' and Elvijs' trek across Europe saw them in rainy Vienna. The next two days have seen them arrive in Innsbruck and taking in the sights.

Day 5 - nach Innsbruck!

Our evenings when we stay via Couchsurfing are very slow. We wake up only at ten.

The day in numbers

300 km in two cars
170 km via train
€1.90 spent on water

Our hosts serve us pasta with feta, spinach and tomato sauce. We've mostly subsisted on noodles and canned goods so we're happy for any chance to eat real food.

We simply talk, drink coffee and show each other Latvian and Austrian videos. It's still raining, so we skip the idea of a tour through Vienna.

As the train for Salzburg departs soon, we pack up before leaving. It's 2 p.m. and we say our goodbyes -- they receive Elvijs' Toyota "Supra" poster he picked up earlier (he's tearful upon separation) and as they're fans of the singer Vitas, we receive cutouts of his face in return, signed by both of them.


We make it in time for the train, and a surprise - a two-story train - awaits us on the platform. Ticket inspectors are placed at the end of each car, so we stay between the cars and the train starts moving. It means we'll at least make it out of the city if the inspector doesn't grant us a free ride. We try talking the inspector into it, but she remains unfazed - step off at the next stop, and that's the end of it!

We're out of Vienna, beside a highway leading right to Salzburg. We hitchhike for 15 minutes till I use the map to find a gas station 2 km away from us. The navigation leads us to jump across a fence and into a sort of a canal.

After a little while we start hitchhiking. We have a big sign saying 'Salzburg', and 'Linz' with smaller letters. A man about 50 years of age stops, saying he'll take us almost to Linz. He speaks very good English and asks us the same questions as everyone else.

We drive about 160 km together and are dropped off at a large stop where truck drivers rest.

Cars pass us by slowly and everyone's interested in where we're headed, but no one stops except the cops.

They say we can't hitchhike here and we have to go someplace else. Strangely enough, they're satisfied when we walk ten meters away - that's a good place and we can stay there.

Soon enough a car stops and will take us to Salzburg. The driver is a young guy and his father is sitting beside him. They'll take us to Salzburg where the driver plans on buying a new car. Both of them are from Bosnia but have been living in Austria for 24 years. The father doesn't speak English, but he's interested in what we have to say so the driver has to be an interpreter as well.

We're approaching Salzburg, it's very dark outside and we realize we can get to Innsbruck only by train.

At 7.30 p.m. we step out of the car and beeline to the station.

Salzburg seems like a small city even though it isn't. The streets are narrow and there's little traffic. Sports bars are packed with people and a football game is broadcast on every screen.

We take the second train as it says it doesn't stop anywhere else except Innsbruck. Our friend Tania in Innsbruck is messaged that we'll be arriving this evening. Together with Monia she visited my place via Courchsurfing so now we can stay at Tania's.

We step on the train and hope that if we're forced out the train won't be stopped at an undesignated place and we'll get to our goal peacefully. We take our places and wait for what will happen when someone asks to see our tickets.

The ticket inspector passes us by twice, looking at us closely but not asking for a ticket. It seems he thinks we have already shown it.

We're in Innsbruck! This is our first big destination. Tania meets us at the station to take us to her apartment. We can't wait to see the Alps tomorrow!

Day 6 - The pearl of the Alps

Today Tania will give us a tour of the city. It turns out we don't have to wait that much to see the snowy mountaintops of the Alps. Elvijs enters from the balcony and says, "I had a look and thought, the clouds sure are strange today. I looked again and realized that those are MOUNTAINS!"

The view is great, but the building before the mountains dampens the view and we plan on leveling it to the ground.

The first stop is the circular bar on the roof (see picture), which can be sidestepped to look at all the mountaintops surrounding Innsbruck. Tania and her flatmates live in the center of the city, so everything that we must see is a few minutes' walk away.

I'm moved. You seem so tiny at the foot of the mountains. Everything around seems minuscule, nothing seems wholly real. The view is great!

We'll climb the mountains tomorrow but look at the city today.

Sestās dienas statistika

Km mēroti nav, joprojām esam Insbrukā

Iztērēti 3€ par karstvīnu

Stopēšanas kausa izcīņa.


Arvils 10+1:5 Elvijs

At first we move through the old town to the river, which is a sort of a milky blue-green. All around us are stores selling skiing equipment and typical skiers and snowboarders. The city is full with sudents. As we walk by the riverbank, Tania shows us the theater, the park and the oldest building in Innsbruck.

We take a little walk to the Golden Roof, which is a typical meeting place like the Laima clock in Rīga. Here we wait for a girlfriend of Tania's and go to the cafe where the mulled wine season is about to start.

Above the entrance there's a huge sign saying that from 2 p.m. today everyone must come to drink mulled wine.

I can't wait for Christmas, which is the time of drinking mulled wine in Latvia. In comparison to everything else, it's very cheap here - €1.50 for a cup. And it tastes wonderful.

We can't stay here long, as we have to go to the weekly fun affair - on Fridays there are live wrestling matches. As we return to the apartment, Tania hands us workout pants. We're flabbergasted. Turns out the activity is in fact a wrestling exercise where everyone can take part and spar with different partners. We're not sure we're up to it, so we decline the offer but accompany Tania to the university sport complex.

Everything here seems very close together, very concentrated. We have supposedly made it to the edge of the city but are still close to the center.

We wait for when she's done training and go back to the city. Even the traffic lights look different here.

Slowly taking in the city we return to our apartment. On the way Tania sees a sign saying "Ein Gratis" in a show-window of an ice cream shop meaning ice-cream is free today. We're bold enough to ask for two scoops instead of one.

We arrive home where we dine and start preparing for the evening. A famous DJ is in town so everyone's going to the Clubique. Electronic music is not our cup of tea though. However before that we're lead to different people's places and a small crowd goes to Janina's to warm up before the party. As everyone's ready to go clubbing, we take a walk around the city. However everything's so expensive here that we quickly head home.

Innsbruck is a veritable pearl at the foot of the Alps. It's so beautiful here! From everywhere there's a view towards the massive mountains. I'm in love.

I can't wait for tomorrow when we'll climb the mountains - it'll be an adventure of a day.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles