At the beginning of December Mike and I took a little trip to the beautiful city of Innsbruck, Austria. After a stressful few months starting a new job and Mike moving into the flat we had earned a weekend off getting some mountain air and consuming our body weight in Glühwein.
We arrived early afternoon and went straight to our hotel to dump our cases and get out and about. I hadn't quite anticipated how cold it was going to be and quite soon after arriving we realised we both forgot to pack gloves, a mad dash to Tiger ensued to stop us getting frost bite. The nice thing about Innsbruck is lack of English tourists, we hardly heard it being spoken so it was like being in our own little bubble. The Christmas markets although lovely are incredibly busy during the day, they're open until about 9pm so I would recommend going a bit later. Once it's dark the lights are also much prettier.
On our first night we decided only traditional Austrian fare would do and promptly headed to the Goldenes Dachl. We arrived around 6pm and it was already heaving, we had to queue for about 20 minutes and then share a table but the atmosphere more than made up for it. It was warm and the waiters were very friendly. I decided to go traditional and have wiener schnitzel while Mike went for a steak. Service is very slow but we had such a nice time chatting and enjoying a few glasses of wine we didn't notice the time. The food was delicious and I am fully converted to parsley potatoes, who knew something so simple could be so delicious! After a wander around the markets and a nightcap in the hotel bar we hit the hay ready to explore the next day.
We had always planned Saturday would be our day to go up the mountain as the weather was perfect. The beauty of Innsbruck is it's location nestled in a valley bottom. everywhere you look are mountains and the most incredible views. As we went so early in December there wasn't much snow but we knew going up the mountain was worth it for the views alone. The Hungerburg Funicular gets very busy so I would advise getting on at the first stop when going up. This takes you to a tiny mountainside village and from here you can take the Nordkette cable car up to the top.
It seems a little pricey at €35 return each to the very top but I can promise you it is 100% worth it. The views are simply stunning and the lack of snow actually worked in our favour as we definitely didn't pack the right footwear for climbing mountains! After taking a million photos and filling our lungs with as much Alpine air as possible we headed back down the mountain to Seegrub. This is the base of the mini ski park (Nordpark) and we were greeted by a DJ dressed as Santa spinning all your favourite Christmas tunes. We grabbed a couple of deck chairs and a beer and parked ourselves in the sunshine for a couple of hours, absolute bliss!
That evening we decided to try a very popular Thai restaurant in the shopping centre very close to our hotel. It was quick and tasty and Mike's spicy duck red curry was to die for, I had serious food envy. Just next to the shopping centre is a lovely hotel called - The Penz, 5th Floor which has a lovely little rooftop bar, perfect for a G&T or cold glass of white wine. The rest of our Saturday night was spent in an Irish pub watching boxing and getting quite drunk.
We stayed at Hotel Maximillian Stadhaus Penz, it was very close to the centre and the room was cosy and clean. Just be aware the bathroom is very 'open' with only glass dividers and a little frosting to protect your modesty!