In Innsbruck; The Alpine Zoo and more

We were headed to Innsbruck, the first time we had been in Austria so the first thing to do was buy a vignette for The Van so we could drive on the motorways. There is a Service Station on the border at the famous Brenner Pass where we stopped. It was the strangest service station yet. It is an art installation/museum housed in the former border customs buildings with a very high end shop and cafe, which was rammed. Most people like us were buying a 10 day vignette.

The Art.

Once we had added the vignette to the others on our increasingly cluttered windscreen we drove towards Innsbruck. We stayed at a campsite about 15km outside Innsbruck for the night before driving in to a carpark close to the city centre.

We had chosen the carpark as it was on the river so we could cycle into the old town. First we stopped for coffee and apple strudel. The waiter asked us where we were from and when we said Birmingham he did a cracking Peaky Blinders impression complete with swear words!

As it was Sunday most shops were closed so we had a wander then explored the tourist tat in the shops near the river.

We headed back to The Van for lunch and had the bread that Dave had got yesterday. It was a very unusual flavour with a strong hint of what tasted like aniseed. We liked it.

Next we cycled back along the river and then up the very steep hill to the Alpine Zoo. I had my bike on maximum assistance and I made it to the top but was very hot and sweaty. Dave made it only with a bit of walking and was absolutely exhausted!

Once we had recovered our composure slightly we went into the zoo. The concept is simple to showcase the animals that live naturally in the Alpine region. However it is done very well. They have the showstoppers such as bears, wolves, moose, ibex, beavers and otters, and wildcats but they also have a nice variety of fish that are found in the rivers and streams, amphibians, birds, and when you start to look at all the rocks and planting around the somewhat steep in places site you see that they are all alpine. They are discretely labelled including examples of rocks which I thought was a nice touch.

They also made good use of the steep site with many enclosures having viewing areas above and below. Overall we spent much more time here than we had planned and were mostly impressed with the quality of the zoo, we did think the bears could have done with more room but that was our only criticism.

As it was getting late we decided to stay overnight in the carpark, we had paid for 24 hours parking and other people were also staying so we felt confident that we would be undisturbed.

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