SHOPPING in Innsbruck:
Gleis 4 is the right store for everyone who likes to wear their pants low and wide. The sloppy streetwear look simply won't go out of fashion, and new brands are still coming out, offereing comfort in oversize trainers that wearers never really train in, but simply wear to look cool in. One of the latest brands is the house brand, Gleis 4, with so many casual shirts, wide jackets and caps that it is setting itself up as the big daddy of the scene. Their range spreads so wide, that there are even a few cool top for chicks, too. The first Gleis 4 shop opened in Bregenz, but the Innsbruck branch can hold its head high - with it's tunneled walls, it boasts the biggest 59fifty wall in Austria and features heaps of gear imported from the US. So come here and wear it wide with pride, baby.
When the boys are off to the Börse, the girls flock together at Cheeky Monkey. All the hot snow and surf brands are here, just with more curvaceous cuts. Brands like Alprausch, Zimtstern and Billabong are guaranteed to make the girls look great, whether they're surfing, snowboarding or skating. You will even find the right shoewear in Cheeky Monkey. DC and Nike will lend you the sporty look, although expect to have a heavy wallet or credit card at hand! Late again, missed the household curfew? Before your parents get really angry, a Nixon watch will ensure that little miss is always home on time. And get there ahead of time with the Paul Frank Cruiser. The city bike with it's 'I love my bike' bell is an absolute must for all Paul Frank fans. Sound like monkey business? Nope, just cool fashion for sporty trendsetters!
Those who have already worn a Dirndl know that you can't just simply slip yourself in. If you've got enough time, you should definitely drop by the Tiroler Heimatwerk for a test fitting. Firstly there's a part that comes underneath, then a part over the top, which has to be fixed at the back, buttoned-up at the front and then all bound together. It seems that back in the day, people simply had a whole lot more time on their hands. What is more, the cleavage has to fit right, otherwise you can forget it. Those who still want to give it a try should drop by at the Tiroler Heimatwerk, where the selection is so great and the cuts are so varied that you are guaranteed to find something that fits just right. The Heimatwerk stays true to tradition, without ignoring the modern. Designer tracht has recently become quite fashionable amongst celebrities; in politics, sport and the media. And justifiably so, the suits and lederhosen may look a bit out of place in everyday life, but the knitted hats and jackets look quite smart at almost any party, without being too inconspicuous. The handmade glasses, tee-mixes and wooden bowls on offer also contribute to today's sense of fashionable living.
SIGHTS in Innsbruck:
Is it a safe harbour or a stormy lake? This harbour can be anythin, but most of all a true work of art, in which many like to drop by. What was once the stomping grounds of Tyrol's autonomists is now the biggest convention centre in Innsbruck for all kinds of commerical purposes. There are exhibitions by the local advertisement school, country festivals and school parties along with death-metal events, classical rock concerts and goa dance events. It's all here at the Hafen: every creature is sure to find their little pleasure at one point in time, whether it's snowboarding films, presentations about buddhism or gangster rap. In need of a party guide? We can recommend the 'Forever Young' event, which offers people 30 years of age and over a boisterous event with others of the same age. Those who go home early are really missing out on something, as the Hafen is located directly on the Inn river and is treasured for it's idyllic early morning views.
You will find cable cars in Tyrol like sand at the beach, the the 'Hungerburgbahn' is unique: it will take you from the Innsbruck city centre directly to the city's most beautiful lookout-point. The star architect Zaha Hadid has cast her spell yet again and shown us who's the boss. The Hungerbergbahn stations are as cool as ice and are so futuristic that they look like they're going to take off. The cable car will comfortably carry you up to the top of the Hungerburg and at 850m the air is clear, the view is captivating and the architecture shows no restraints. And were not just talking about Zaha Hadid's work - the 3000m high mountains behind Innsbruck remind us that nature commands the most beautiful design. By the way, it's called Hungerburg because there used to be a snack-bar up here that was meagerly stocked. Today you will be sated by the panorama views alone.
Those who want to try out their luck should drop by the Casino Innsbruck. You can watch the ball at the roulette table, slip out a few aces out of your sleeves at the Poker table and shake hands with the one-armed bandits. See if the bank really always wins and go for broke in a game of Black Jack. There are also heaps of events which assist with the big wins; You can earn your 13th month's wage on the 13th of every month, ladies are spoilt with a free drink every wednesday on ladies' day and you can get a four-course meal together with a glass of champagne and complimentary playing chips for only ?57 when the 'Dinner & Casino' promotion is in effect. So you're scared of losing? Those who don't want to blow their holiday budget can simply relax in the dining lounge and watch they others win and lose. By the way, the men's dresscode asks for sports coats.
STAY in Innsbruck:
Markus Sorg combines the knowledge of Modern Mayr Medicine which emphasises the regeneration of the digestive system with the technique of Haute Cuisine. Of course detoxication through acrid salts are on the menu for the first two days, afterwards Sorg incorporates the knowledge of the great chefs into an eight-step nutritional protocol which is determined by the house's doctors individually for every guest. His credo: living healthily means eating healthily. Fasting with relish, so to speak. Precaution, nutrition and health are the pillars of the all-inclusive health concept of the house. The Modern Mayr Medicine which is applied at Parkhotel Igls especially gives priority to the regeneration of the digestive system - but without any radical diets. Early diagnoses through academic medicine aims at the causes of complaints which oftentimes loose their elicitors through a stabilisation of the digestive system and a dietary change. Speaking of healthy nutrition: organic and regionally grown ingredients, selected herbs and spices, pure spring water, herbal tea, vegetable stock, mineral water and the nature in the mountains support the lavation from inside at Parkhotel Igls.
So what is romantic? A walk along the beach for many. For others it's the tale of Romeo and Juliet. For the Japanese it is Sissi and Franzl. But for the couples staying at the romantic hotel Schwarzer Adler, the Swarovski crystals really get the sparks flying. It's not just the bride that is radiating here, but also the bathroom. It is a world of crystals. The precious stones laid into the black tiles twinkle in the light, and the crystals next to the basin glitter and the double-headed eagle laid into the flooring shines in brilliance. Whatever you didn't see in the Swarovski World of Crystals is sure to be seen here in this crystal dream. There's also a whirlpool grotto and massage shower too. Those who can't really warm up to Swarovski could however get in the right mood with Versace. The Versace Deluxe Suite attracts it's guests with piano black and gold, with a fitting bathroom decked out in red lava rock. And the Empress Maria Theresia Suite has it all: Sissi plus versace and Swarovski. Those who are a bit overwhelmed by so much romance didn't understand the film. Double rooms can be yours from ?150 per night.
So we've finally got proof: size does count! The Austria Trend Hotel ignores the usual lack of space experienced in most hotels and grants it guests a lot of elbow room to unfurl themselves. This hotel hasn't let itself be intimidated by the surrounding mountains - big business takes place here, which calls for a lot of room. There are no less than three conference and two meeting rooms, along with the 104 double rooms, two suites and a luxurious wellness area spread over 260sqm. And guests find themselves right in the middle of town. That means you are only five minutes away from the city centre, the conference centre, the Hofburg and Landestheater. Those who don't have any time for the culutral pleasures Innsbruck has to offer, should at least let themselves indulge in the culinary delights in the hotel restaurant. The menu sports both nouvelle cuisine and the tried and true Tyrolean cuisine. There's free space for work, free space for the palate and also free space for the soul. The Austria Hotel doesn't constrict anybody, but rather creates a great sense of space in the valley and turns its back to claustrophobia. Double rooms are available from ?114 per night.
EAT in Innsbruck:
Once upon a time the Seegruben gondola brought skiers to the snowy slopes of the Tyroler mountain world. Nowadays she has found rest on a terrace. So what happened? Simple really. The disposed gondola was purchased by the Schwarzer Adler and promptly turned into a Tyrolean séparée. Now guests can cruise in style on the restaurant's rooftop-terrace and hold a summit meeting in a dignified space. As creative and comfortable as it is, the eyrie costs ?50 per half-day, which can be dropped once racked up a large enough bill. This is no large feat, considering the menu on offer: exclusively fresh local produce and Tyroler specialties quickly turn into a feast and will push your belt to the limits. For those who find the gondola a bit too draughty can always find respite in one of the parlours. The wood used for the ceiling panelling in the Arquin parlour come from a cottage high up in Navistal and the pictures on the walls are painted by local artists. The Adler (eagle) parlour has been preserved in its orignal condition whilst the Jäger (hunter) parlour is fitted out with modern leather. And military soldiers from the nearby barracks used to drink in the Pfiff bar, which now plays host to Innsbrucks only vodka bar.
Those who experience a watery mouth as soon as they hear the words 'Amuse Bouche' und 'Petits Fours' are either French or simply like to eat good food. You wouldn't expect to see this sort of food served in Innsbruck: instead of the customary bacon dumplings, Nicolas Curtil serves light and fine Nouvelle cuisine riddled with light provencial herbs and melted brie cheese. Fans of earthy cuisine may be a bit puzzled by the rosewater mousse. You might also be surprised by the karfoil and saffran on the menu. The celery fudge with dandeloins, artichokes, herb pesto and parsnip puree may also cause you to run for the exit. But every guest here has been entralled by the offerings here, even though exotic food has its price: the dinner deluxe costs no less than ?45. By the way, Nicolas decided to change his nutrition in 2010 and changed the menu to suit: instead of scallops and duck burgers all dishes are strictly vegetarian.
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'.