January 23, 2011

Ischgl - alpine lover's paradise

Austria, in mid January - at the top of the world - crossing the Swiss border on skis.

Trains, planes and automobiles...
This trip started out as a never ending journey. Plane from Oslo to Innsbruck with a lay-over in Vienna. Taxi from Innsbruck airport to Innsbruck train station. Train to Landeck, and than a bus from Landeck to Ischgl.

Most Austrians don't speak much English! I might as well have been talking to them in Norwegian - their faces just go blank. Luckily, Terje remembers some of his high school German, otherwise we would be stranded in Innsbruck airport.

Bella Ischgl
Ariving in Ischgl in the evening was like coming to a fairytale village. Beautiful traditional Tyrolian buildings line the narrow main street, and the snow covered mountains peak up behind them. The town is filled up with bars, hotels, restaurants and sport shops. Drunk people with ski boots rave the streets from around seven in the evening. After-ski parties is a big thing here, and anyone can join.

Great hotel
We stayed in a hotel in main street - the Goldener Adler - probably the best location in town. Getting a room was a hassle. Most hotels only offer rooms from Saturday to Saturday, while we were staying the odd days;  Wednesday to Sunday. We managed to get a last-minute room from the Ischgl web site from Wednesday to Saturday, and luckily someone called in a last minute cancellation on Friday night, and saved us from sleeping on the street on our last night in Ischgl.

Great reviews on trip advisor: http://no.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g608670-d500467-Reviews-Hotel_Goldener_Adler-Ischgl_Tirol_Austrian_Alps.html
The Ischgl web page has a great last-minute-page: http://www.ischgl.com/last-minute-tyrol.en.htm

As others on Trip Advisor, we loved this very friendly hotel. We did the half-board deal, which included dinner and breakfast. Both were great. A five course dinner was served every night which includer starter, soup, main course, salad from a buffet, dessert and cheese from the buffet. It was a treat to get to know the traditional Tyrolean kitchen. All the food was really nicely prepared and tasted great.

There is a wellness center in the basement. It consists of a hot bath, a cold bath, steam shower, steam room and sauna. Very nice, fresh and delicate. On the door going into the area there were signs saying this is a naked area (as well as a unisex area). I must admit, although I'm not usually shy, I was too intimidated to enjoy the wellness area as much as I would have liked to (I kept holding on tight to my towel...). Luckily there was also a hot tub (nice, clean and very hot) in a separate location, where you could keep you bathing suit on. The hotel room was stocked with bathrobes, slippers and a bag filled with plenty of towels for the wellness area.
Gasthof Goldener Adler

Main street of Ischgl

Tyrolian village - Ischgl

Skiing in Ischgl
The Ischgl-Samnaun ski area (Samnaun is in Switzerland) is one of the best ski areas in Europe. 41 lifts and 238 kilometres of slopes.
Taking the cable car, which was a few meters from our hotel, we stepped out at 2300 m, and endless posibilities of lifts to take us all over the massive mountains.

At the top of the cable car from Ischgl - a dream world unfolds for an alpine lover

The area has something for everyone from beginners to experts, including fun parks with rails and jumps for the "kids".

The pistes are mostly wide, since almost all of them are above the tree level, and the area where the pistes are is not so steep.

It seemed like the pistes on the Ischgl side of the ski area (the Austrian side) were better prepared than the Swiss side.

In Samnaun there are lots of duty-free shops, and there is a duty-free run, going from Austria at 2864 m to the shops in Samnaun (1840 m).

The cable car from Samnaun (Switzerland) to Alp Trida Sattel at 2488 m.

At the cable car station (cable car from Samnaun) there's a sun terrace with an amazing wiew.

Food and drinks in the mountain
There are lots of restaurants, table service and self service places, where you can enjoy your meal or drinks inside or outside.

We liked the self service at Paznauner Thaya (2000m), which was a cosy log cabin. In one part of the restaurant (downstairs) they make Italian pizza. We didn't try it, but it looked and smelled excellent.  

We also had lunch at Skihaus Alp Trida (2500m) on the swiss side of the boarder - which was a great table service place. The sun reached the terrace at 1.30 pm.

A lot of locals seemed to choose Alp Bella as well (also in Switzerland).

At Skihaus Alp Trida: Hash brown potatoes with lots of melted swiss cheese.

Outside Pardorama restaurant at Pardatschrat at 2624m

Enjoying a beer in the Tyrol sun

After ski in Ischgl

Innsbruck - beautiful olympic town surrounded by mountains
We were lucky to also have a few hours in Innsbruck on our way home. Innsbruck is very beautiful. Pretty old buildings, steep alpine mountains in the back, and a wide river runs through town. I would have liked to stay longer...