In January 2008 in the middle of my whirlwind Euro backpacking trip, I crossed over the Italian Alps into Austria for the first time. For not being a skier, I am utterly obsessed with big mountains, which means every time I am remotely close to the Alps, I head up them, whether by walking, driving, climbing or by train. In fact, I just sat down at stared at my euro map for a good 5 minutes, and I’ve realized I have been up and around the Alps about 10 times. Holy crap! And I’ve gone up them from basically every country that touches the mountains too: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy (I’m just missing France, but I’ll save that for when I climb the Mont Blanc one day!) See what I mean? Obsessed.
To say that the Alps are impressive is a massive understatement. Until you stand in their jaw-dropping shadows, or better still, go up them, it’s hard to imagine, even from pictures just how big, blue and beautiful they really are. If you are looking for a guaranteed breath-taking and stunning vacation, I recommend going to the Alps, even if you don’t ski like me. Hiking, climbing, camping, renting a chalet, there are tons of options.
The first time I went up the Alps was in western Austria, in Innsbruck, and it was the first time I fell in love with these famous mountains. I arrived with no expectations, especially since it was foggy, cloudy and raining for my first 3 days there-I couldn’t even see the mountains. I was also coming from Venice, where I managed to catch some weird flu-virus. I was super weak, living off of diet of applestrudels and potatoes. On my last day I decided I was going up the mountains, rain or shine, and since I had no one to haul me up the mountains nor did I even have proper hiking boots with me, I decided to cop out and take the funicular and cable cars up to the ski station. About five minutes into the trip, we broke through the low cloud cover and blinking like a mole in the sunshine, I was momentarily blinded by the bright blue sunny skies. I spent the day slipping and sliding my way around the snow, taking a million pictures of the same view in the distance, and eating more applestrudel with hot chocolate, watching fearless baby skiers zipping down the mountains and the clouds drifting over the valley and Innsbruck below. What a day!