Innsbruck, Austria 8 November, 2011
It was nearly dawn when I finally fell asleep and was up again before 10 this morning. In spite of it I felt rested and opened the curtains to a most spectacular view of a quaint train station with rugged mountains behind it. I had some coffee sent up, got dressed, out of the hotel and began walking. Bright clear blue skies and 70 degrees, this cannot be November in Europe.
Innsbruck, the capital city of Tyrol in western Austria is located in a broad valley surrounded by large, snow capped mountains and renown for skiing in the winter, mountaineering in the summer and having played host to the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics. It's also a tourist mecca with a picture perfect 'altstadt'... old town, located just around the corner from where we were staying. It was like stepping in to a postcard with colourfully painted stucco buildings, endless streets of cafes, bakeries and shoppes selling everything from designer fashions to fresh fruit to traditional Tyrolean apparel. I walked for a couple of hours and scarcely saw it all. On such a beautiful day with the outdoor cafes beckoning, it was difficult not to have a couple of beers and a wiener schnitzel, which would have probably done me in. I opted instead for a small bakery down a quiet and quaint street, took a table outside and had a slice of freshly baked, hot apple strudel and coffee. The old town is busily dressing the streets and buildings for Christmas with decorations and lights, but today feels more like springtime than the approaching holiday season. If you've read these notes before you'll know that I always have a great time on these tours (the occasional rant about electronic hotels notwithstanding) but once or twice on every tour I find myself gobsmacked by my good fortune and thankful to be exactly where I am at this moment. This perfect afternoon in Innsbruck was it.
Too soon it was time to get back to the hotel, pack and leave for the gig. We played Olympia Hall to a sold-out crowd of 7,000+ great folks, the first time Mark has played Innsbruck and tonight's audience couldn't have been better.
The show was followed by a three hour bus ride to Padova, Italy and more warm weather as we head south.