SIGHTS in Innsbruck:
The Trolyeans love jumping. They jump at the 'Four Ski-Jump Tournament', they jump at the Air & Style event and they even jump at the Golden Roof Challenge. But at this event they don't have any board under their feet, but a pole in the hand: the best athletes in this pole vaulting competition are pitched against the golden roof. Those who make it up to the roof shingles is seen as a master. An American acheived the highest jump at 5.62m. An African by the name of Ignisious made 8.18m in the long jump and set the bar high for coming generations. And what is the prize? Winners in this event receive a golden shindle - not from the roof, but from the director Armin Margreiter. And as the theme is set by high ambitions, this year the slack lining expert Christian Waldner is coming into the programme. He will swagger on a rope between the city tower and the 'Katzung-Haus' at a height of 25m. Is it all a bit too high for you? Then sit down and have a listen to the musical offerings that are sure to increase the pulse and tone for the evening.
The Alpenzoo is the highest situated Zoo in Europe. But don't worry - you won't need an oxygen mask here. Besides, you will find the snow grouse really cute. There's also a lynx, which you would rarely see anywhere else, that has made its home here. This zoo places special focus on animal species that are near extinction, like the fish-otter or the steinbock, which was once used by pharmacists as its blood and horns help against a number of illnesses. Thanks to modern medicine, you can see over 35,000 Steinbocks in the mountains, but those who aren't so lucky to spot them in the wild can simply sit in front of compound at the Alpenzoo. By the way, a walking tour through the park takes two hours. Those who are put off by the partly steep pathways will miss out: the wolves are a must see and the brown bear is worth the way up alone. There are over 2,000 animals to admire in the park, along with a terrarium, an aviary and a walk-through farmstead hosting endangered farm animals. This is a zoo with a difference that is well worth a visit.
You won't just find spoken word in the Tyrolean Landestheater (regional theater), but also dance and singing. The theatre offers audio plays alongside stage plays. A few snippets from the programme: the director has prescribed a lot of shakespeare and it's immediately noticeable. Hamlet has already held a skull on stage and Romeo and Juliet exercised suicide and Othello was murdered in a very lively manner. Willie is also well-loved here, but there are also other highlights aside from Shakespeare's masterpieces. For musical lovers there's 'Les Miserables', Frida Kahlo's life depicted as a dance-piece and the Magical Flute is here as a children's theatre piece. Beyond that, there are the classics like 'Mother Courage', 'A night in Venice'. In summary - there's a lot of great theatrical works here on offer!
EAT in Innsbruck:
The wall is still standing in the Stiftskeller. But in contrast to our friends in Berlin, the Innsbrucker carefully maintain their wall, the old town wall. And guests dining in the Fischerstüberl (fisher's parlour) can admire it in all its glory. But the other rooms in the Stiftskeller also have great stories behind them; theres a fresco by Kölderer in the Rittersaal (knight's hall), the Maria-Theresia-Stube is named after the empress who built this establishment in the honour of her deceased husband and the wooden lamps in the Bürgerstube (commoner's parlour) are very old. Now that we've mentioned the empress, the Kaisersaal (emperor's parlour) has enough space for Sissi and all her servants and is often used for weddings. So what is there to eat? Schweinsbraten, Käsespätzle und Schnitzel have filled the royal guests with enthusiam throughout the ages. These long runners are sure to please today, and likely into the future. As the motto says, 'never change a winning plate'.
The sitzwohl didn't earn its name because its guests are so well seated, as the name would imply, but because one of the owners is called Irmgard Sitzwohl. Nonetheless, guests at this noble restaurant feel anything but unwell. Olive tones, dark wood features and tall windows create the right setting for a sophisticated culinary offering, which could only be described as mediterranean with an Austrian influence. The constantly evolving menu features such delights as mozzarella and rocket lettuce along with grilled chicken and beef broth. There is a bar which serves diverse dishes at lunch time for the hurried business people and comforting cocktails at the end of the day. And for those who can't wait around at all, the fine delicacies are also available for take-away at the Geislerei, so they can be enjoyed at the workdesk. And apropos Geislerei, it is named after the second boss, Elisabeth Geisler. All the dishes here are prepared with love, which often has a noticeable effect on the stressed work crowd who frequent this restaurant for a brief slice of heaven.
It's a situation we are all too familiar with: You've been out for the entire night, you've danced your feet off and you're mega hungry. Most doors close at midnight on the dot in a town like Innsbruck - meaning you've got little chance of finding a late-night snack or an early breakfast. But we are here to save the day. When you come out of the club with a hole in your stomach at 5am, then drop on by at Café-Bistro Tyrolis. From 5.30am onwards, they serve a killer farmer's breakfast, after which you will no doubt have to lie down anyway. If that's too much for you then you can always enjoy a champagne breakfast with salmon. The Tyrolis is there for those times where 'so late already?' and 'way too early' start to blend and feeds partied-out night owls and senile bed escapees. There's also an excellent midday menu and fantastic desserts to die for.
STAY in Innsbruck:
The motto in Penz Hotel reads 'It's all here in all its beauty'. And with good reason. This designer hotel has ditched the alpine kitsch and instead offers pure, clean lines. Where the floorboards would normally creek under the weight of the ages, wireless internet and satellite TV channels shown on LCD screens pave the way to the future. There are a couple of other nice modern touches that really impress, such as the safe with an integrated power outlet for laptops and the Nespresso machine in the Junior suite. But those who never make it out of the hotel room are also missing out on something. For instance theres breakfast on the roof terrace with that amazing view of Innsbruck. Or you can enjoy the sunset from the American Bar whilst sipping on a cocktail. You can also indulge in the culinary delights on the fifth floor and take in the supreme view of the mountains. We really recommend a glass of whisky and a cigar to celebrate the evening appropriately. Double rooms are available from ?180 per night.
Many of the traditional hotels have some sort of colour in their name. Attentive ones may have noticed the Schwarzen Adler (Black Eagle), the Grauen Bär (Grey Bear) and the Weisse Kreuz (White Cross). But now theres the undisputed queen of all colours - the Goldenen Krone (Golden Crown). But it's not just the name that distinguishes this hotel, but also its location - right in the middle of Innsbruck's shopping strip. Don't want to carry your shopping bags halfway through the city? Just drop them off at the hotel! And the rooms are big enough for it. We recommend the family room, even if you don't have any children. The bay window alone has enough room a few pairs of traditional Tracht outfits and loden hats. If that's not enough, you can always spread your findings across the couch and the table. If you have blown your credit limit, then you can still go and blow a notch on your belt at the hotel restaurant. Double rooms are available from ?118 a night.
The Hotel Sailer is one of those typical Innsbruck hotels. It combines skillful tradition with comfort and enchants its guests with an extra dose of Tyrolean style. Those who haven't yet bought themselves a traditional Tyrolean hat will at least put one on here, simply to soak up the ambience even more. Or even a pipe, which fits like a glove in the farmer's parlour. Wooden stools, wooden tables and embroidered cushions are the perfect ingredients for a proper feast in the hotel restaurant. Austria's best wines are also on offer and as Italy isn't that far away, the hotel has expanded its wine list across the border. But they didn't stop there - you will also find wines from Chile, California and Australia. The rooms all strictly hold to the traditional Tyrolean style and when you want to completely switch off there's always the wellness area with its sauna, steam bath and magnificent view of the Tyrolean mountainscape. Double rooms can be yours from ?110 per person.
SHOPPING in Innsbruck:
A new book smells good, it feels good and it accompanies you throughout your entire holiday. If you read through it too quickly, you should drop by the Wagner!sche bookstore. It has been around for over 300 years and is now a part of the Thalia bookstore chain. As a rule, Thalia bookstores offers bookworms throughout the country pretty much everything available in the printed world; crime thrillers, non-fiction, historical novels, classics and the latest hits as well as the well-received audio books. Thalia also boasts an extensive stationery section, with office and school supplies in great numbers. Devoted bookworms can burn through their new purchases in the store's café or sit in on one of the many readings that take place. You, see books aren't just sold in Wagner!sche, but they are also talked about, in the form of a literary quartet where the latest books and authors are skilfully opened and inspected.
It's time to hit the slopes - the most fun you will find in Tyrol in the colder months. But what if you don't have the necessary gear to make your way down the mountain? Before you head up the mountain, pay a visit to the Börse (stock market). They've got the stuff that powder dreams are made of. Völkl, Head, Salomon und Nitro all mean something to you? You will find all these great brands in the Börse. And for those that already have their slick boards will find Alpinestars, Billabong and Capp3L suits and jackets to cruise down the mountain in style. But the stocks are also high in summer, as downhill and BMX bikers will find the Börse as the perfect one-stop shop for all their two-wheeled desires. Another highlight is the mountain-bike rental service. If you don't want to bring it with you, then you can simply hire it out, that way you can make your way up the mountain for a sensible sum.
House of Tea
The Pearl of the Nile. The Star of Africa. Desert Flowers. Sound like kitschy novel titles? Precious stones? Or types of tea? In case you are asked on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the last answer is correct. These types, and many others, such as Elbfeuer, Schlectwetterhexe, White Monkey and the entire palette of creative names for blends are available in the House of Tea & Coffee. It doesn't matter if it's herbs or fruits, black, green or white, Indian or Tyrolean, the House of Tea & Coffee has the right blend, the right kettle and even the right fasting teas for Ayurveda fans. The store also has heaps to offer on the caffeine side of things. Next to Attibassi and Mesta you will find Helmut Sacher along with Mocca and Wiener blends. Don't forget the Jamaica Blue Mountain. This place is so rich in coffee you will get lost in the roasted aromas. Those who don't quite understand the lure of the bean just yet are sure to be converted after visiting this store.