ImageOkay, I admit it: I needed to rest my legs yesterday. The twinging back really did interfere with my ski training. My quads weren’t screaming “take a rest” but they suggested it might be a good idea. So that’s what we did yesterday.

One of my calf muscles was also pretty sore. I think I overstretched it at the bottom of the last run. I didn’t want to seize up completely so we decided to take a walk up the Rodelbahn to the Rodelhutte part way up the Nasserein Hill.

Just after the start of the trail, we saw multiple fresh ski tracks going down the hill to the village. Hanni had told us that the toboggan run was the best way to get back to her place so our walk was also going to check the conditions. But after we got to the sharp turn near the bottom, we noticed that the ski tracks veered to the right.

It seemed that the skiers were going through the woods to get to the bottom. On the clearly marked out of bounds section. We continued up the toboggan run, following tracks left by the truck that brings food and clients to the restaurant. It would be a challenge to ski around those ruts. You’d get some good speed going while in one, but not be able to turn at all.

We stopped to take some beautifully framed photos of the village below, with the gondola cars in the foreground. Okay, I admit that I was overheating a bit as well. By the time we got to the turn off for the restaurant, my mitts were off and my jacket undone. I would have taken it off completely if I wouldn’t have had to have carried it.

Unlike past visits, nobody was sitting outside. So we decided to go inside to check it out. It was quite busy inside, and beautifully decorated with ornate solid wood chairs. A group of people sat around a wood burning fire, where chicken was cooking on the flames.

We debated sitting down for a drink, but decided to head back to the apartment. The walk down was a lot easier and gave different views that we only would have seen had we turned around.

I made lunch at the apartment, and then we set off for Innsbruck. We were both happy that the car rental came with GPS, with an option for English. We’ve been to Innsbruck several times, but it was nice to know we had something in case we got lost.

We found parking downtown, and figured out the parking meters, then headed off to the Christkindlmarkt along the Inn River. It was much smaller than Nuremberg’s, but made for some nice photo ops with the mountains just peaking out from the clouds in the background. At least the rain that had followed us most of the way had stopped.

From the market, we walked through the old town’s narrow alleys until we reached the large Christmas tree. It must have been six storeys tall. It was installed on top of a circular group of booths, about ten in all, that sold a mix of handmade and mass-produced Christmas crafts.

We meandered in and out of the plentiful souvenir shops, looking for an Austrian bell that would be small enough for our little cat back home. Eventually we found one attached to a key ring, which would make it easier for us to attach it to his harness.

Purchases complete, we headed back to the parking spot, leaving the Altstadt and crossing over to a newer pedestrian area that was alit with artifical decidious trees mounted on platforms.

Once back at the car, we entered in the address for the Innsbruck Ikea into the GPS and pressed start. The first instruction told us to turn right, then it told us to turn left, but the sign indicated that was a no-no. So we turned right and eventually got going in the right direction.

Unlike most Ikeas we’ve been to around the world, this one was part of a huge shopping complex. After we’d exited the roundabout, I lost site of the Ikea and we had to drive through a maze of parking lots full of one way lanes before we finally caught sight of the big yellow sign again.

As far as Ikeas go, it’s not the biggest one. It’s a two-storey store, but it didn’t take long to walk through the showroom. We were both a bit disappointed that the kitchen section didn’t have our Adel medium brown cabinets. They only carried beech and white.

At the end of the showrooms, the restaurant appeared at the top of the stairs leading to the marketplace. A large side said, “Wilkommen” beside a large picture of the featured special. And because we were in Austria, you guessed it … it was schnitzel. For 2.99 euro, you could get schnitzel and chips or rice with peas. I grabbed a Radler (half beer, half lemonade), and NosyNeighbour grabbed a juice. We each had dessert and the meal came to less than $20.

The drive home was long as we approached the mountains. Big snowflakes were swirling around in the wind. The easiest parts of the drive were through the 15k or so of tunnels. While I was happy with the snow, NosyNeighbour pointed out that we didn’t have chains and still had to get up the hill to the apartment.

We managed to make it, and I was thankful we didn’t encounter anybody coming down the hill. Overall, a pretty good day off the slopes.

This morning’s plan was to go to Sonnenkopf, but I could hear the booms of avalanche control when I woke up. A drive there would cost us 17 euros through the tunnel or nailbiting to go over the Arlberg Pass. We’ve decided to start skiing this afternoon and stay local and hopefully get over to Lech and Zurs tomorrow to ski the Weiss Ring.

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