Day Seven – Cologne to Innsbruck
One of the longest travel days were done today, but without changing trains. So that’s good and risk free.
I boarded the train in Cologne and found out very quickly that OEBB has changed the carriages – my reserved seat was among the deleted ones. OK, let’s find a seat quickly and I found one next to a charming young woman who has been about to do bicycle vacation. We had a good talk up to Lindau, not boring at all.
The first 200 kilometers, we went through the Middle Rhine Valley – an UNESCO world heritage area. As the valley is narrow and the hills are quite steep, it is very beautiful to pass through. Also all the small villages and cities in the valley, not forgetting about all the castles and monuments, are absolutely worth seeing and visiting – next time by car perhaps.
After Mannheim, we went over the fast track connection to Stuttgart – reaching a velocity of 200 km/h in peak.
Between Stuttgart and Lindau, our train was pulled by double traction diesel power as the tracks between Ulm and Friedrichshafen are not electrified yet. So we went up “Geislinger Steige”, one of the most impressive train track gradients in Germany, with two turbo-screaming 218s in front.
The surroundings of Lindau, a city that is on an island in Lake Constance, are very beautiful. The combination of the lake – that is actually a part of the river Rhine – and the mountains close by are a magnificent view and invite for staying. Unfortunately, our train accumulated close to 40 minutes of delay here.
Entering Austria after Lindau, the weather got worse unfortunately – thunderstorms occured. We went slowly up Arlberg Pass – peak at 1300 meters of altitude and did the decent also very slowly thereafter – just not to overuse the train braking power. The surrounding was absolutely great, however, due to the bad lighting conditions, I wasn’t able to take many pictures. After Bludenz, I have been the only person in the first class wagon.
Down in the main Inn valley, we were doing 160 km/h for quite a while and got rid of several tens of minutes of delay when arriving in Innsbruck – only 14 minutes late at the end.
Little Bretzel arrived some minutes later as well, so we had a splendid Father and Son dinner in Austria just under one of the main touristic sites in Innsbruck – the “Goldenes Dachl” – in the Altstadtbeisl.
Both of us had a room in Grand Hotel Europa – a very nice hotel close to the train station with great clean rooms and a splendid break fast buffet.