The Alps and I were separated at birth.
That certainly didn’t take long to discover. I stepped off the train in Innsbruck, and the cool mountain air made the trappings of Vienna seem like a distant memory. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Vienna! The opera, the schnitzel, the palaces and pastries. But Innsbruck was where I needed to be.
In Innsbruck I did what one comes to Innsbruck to do. I strapped on my big boy boots and went for a hike high up into the mountains that surround this energetic provincial city. My goal was to reach a little tavern perched at 1,487 meters, high above the Inn River. It was a picture perfect spring day. After a 10-kilometer ascent, sweat pouring down my face, I reached my destination and settled into one of the outdoor tables with a view of the Alps and the valley below. (Everyone sat on just one side of each table — the side with the view.)
I glanced at the menu and couldn’t make heads of tails of half of it. Fortunately, a kind local sitting beside me instructed me on what to order. The result was my favorite meal of the entire trip!
It was called kaspressknodelsuppe — a Tyrolian alpine cheese dumpling served in a rich broth. And it was marvelous! The perfect meal for the midway point of a long, arduous hike. Hearty and filling enough to give me the energy to complete the lengthy descent, yet light enough to not weigh me down. And the perfect accompaniment? A radler (beer mixed lemonade). A little alcohol… but not so much that I’d be rolling down the hill.