When we arrived in Innsbruck we were told we could take the bus to Fulpmes or the "scenic route". Lest you think we hopped right on the "scenic route" train, I hasten to add that we ended up on it in spite of our best efforts to make every possible other choice. The train pulled out and began a very sharp ascent. Before long I looked at Paco and Paco looked at me and we mouthed, "OH MY GOODNESS!" It was absolutely incredible! I'm betting when my spirit leaves my body and I begin my trip to the next sphere, it will look something like the one hour ride from Innsbruck to Fulpmes, Austria. Worth our trip over.
As we climbed and climbed our jaws dropped and dropped.
We stopped for a conductor break or change, and I found this gal taking us in just around the front of the tram. Austrian cows are regal. They know they've got a good good thing going for them.
The glory did end (as well as the track) in Fulpmes. Our digs here were in a hostel--Doug's Mountain Getaway. This place was funky. Travel books, ski stuff to wear sitting around for anyone to use, walls of hiking trail maps, board games etc. We had a kitchen, a joint bathroom, access to a sauna, and all the quirky young adult guests from around the world that we could ever hope to befriend! One young Aussie nurse was hacking and coughing and up all night doing it!! I fully expected we'd take that cough away as a souvenir, but we didn't. Doug said he'd had some octagenarians there, so we tried to blend in and forget we were soooooooo not of this variety.
Here's Doug--a Brit, German major in college, ski bum extraordinaire, maybe 28. He caught a serious virus traveling in Africa and had to spend a few months in a hospital. One of the nurses taught him to crochet, so he fills his nights with crocheting these hats and selling them.
Where you leave your shoes and coats (mine is that purple anorak) and help yourself to scarves, hats, hiking poles whatever.
His mom in England owns the place. Doug guts and builds and changes things. He was putting in an all glass shower when we were there. Pretty gutsy move for a hostel, don't you think, glass being transparent and all?
The next morning Doug told us to walk two blocks over this river and then just head up the mountain for a good hike.
I asked Paco to strike an erudite pose. This one I got has more of a "Duh?" look about it.
Our hike culminated (after MUCH vertical hiking and strain!) at this gnome garden outside an inn.
Upon closer inspection we realized it was a card game in session, so we refrained from asking any questions.
Chocolate cake, apple strudel, and strawberry something or other!!!!! Oh, and fresh Stub something too ...
We concluded that our present hike to the monastery Doug raved about looked like it just continued up into the clouds. It was raining by then, so we went back and then walked across town,up the mountain the other way (are you impressed with us yet??? Just you wait!!!), past this awesome working farm/inn,
(which looked like this on the front), boarded a ski tram, and
ended up here about twenty minutes later!!!!!
The descent was steep and long--several hours worth!
I'm sure it's shorter on skiis.
We stopped here enroute down and had some German pancakes that were yummy. We ran into a group of students there from a university in Minnesota--fortunately Paco speaks Minnesotan! This place was blowing their minds as well. Even with cutting our teeth on the Tetons, we were not prepared for the grandeur of Austria. Go, getcha gone!!! Sell something and go to Austria!!!!
These cows and the church look straight out of central casting, don't they???
On the way down.
Paco made a friend. Later that day I found a coarse grey hair on his shoulder--not mine!!!
This may be my favorite picture of the entire month. It perfectly evokes Austria to me.
If you haven't hiked straight down a mountain for 2 hours lately, try it and we'll talk. Rubber legs at that point. And we still had the trek back to Doug's!!!!!!! Let's hear some applause here! And that was just Day 1!!!!!!!!!!