Friday, 17 January 2014

A Solo Adventure: Innsbruck

*Read how it all started here and the adventure in Salzburg here.

Waking up to catch the train to Innsbruck, I felt as weak as a kitten. Nevertheless, I am just grateful that the vomiting and diarrhoea had ceased. Living on a diet of banana, biscuits and Gatorade, at the very least I am still capable of exploring Innsbruck, my final stop. Innsbruck is just extremely breathtaking with the view of the Alps surrounding the entire city! Since it’s the final night of the trip, I splurged a little more by getting a single room in Hotel Weisses Kreuz which really right smack in the centre of the Old Town of Innsbruck.

Panaroma from Nordkette
Using the Innsbruck card, I made a visit to Nordkette and Imperial Palace. At the very top of the Nordkettenbahn cable car, the view of the Austrian Alps is quite breathtaking. With the Christmas Market just right outside the hotel, I couldn’t resist but to visit the market although the smell of sausages and mulled wine reminded me vividly of a horrible episode of food poisoning. Ended the day with a bowl of miso ramen in a Japanese restaurant for dinner.

The only sit down dinner throughout the journey and it is in an ASIAN restaurant =.=

Innsbruck city from Nordkette

Berries on some barren branches by the river

Maria-Theresien Strasse - the Grand Boulevard of Innsbruck
Before catching the afternoon flight back to London, I headed for Schloss Ambrass, Stadtturm and the Golden Roof Museum and finally, mark an end to my solo adventure.

A tourist feeding a free roaming peacock in Schloss Ambrass

Golden Roof from the top of Stadttum (City Tower)
At the end of my trip, I could say that traveling alone is definitely an experience of a lifetime. Like everything in life, going on a solo adventure has two sides of a coin. Personally, I enjoyed the flexibility of time I had throughout the trip. I could stand in the cold taking photos of the same damn thing for minutes and hours without having to worry about keeping others waiting in the cold with me. Neither do I have to worry about visiting places that others are not interested in. Being alone also meant I could budget my food and accommodation expenditure on my own accord. The freedom and flexibility is literally endless.

Of course nothing is perfect, traveling alone can get pretty quiet and lonesome sometimes. There are times where I came across something funny, something pretty or something interesting but there isn’t anyone that I could share the moment with. Everything pretty much comes down to self reflection. Another thing I didn’t quite enjoy was that  there isn’t someone to share food with; thus meaning I couldn’t try that many different local delicacies. Traveling in a group could come in handy especially when someone fell sick during the trip. Being alone and sick kinda really suck.

I believe to many; traveling alone comes across as something daunting. With no one to turn to in a foreign place, it could be quite scary sometimes. BUT honestly, the world is not that scary after all.

Here are some of the tips I considered for staying safe during my solo adventure:

1. Choose a safe destination
Crime rates of each countries are widely available online. It all comes down to choosing the amount of risk to take. If a city is having a political unrest or an extremely high crime rate, it is best to avoid them unless you are ready to take the risk. Most travel guides would also have review on different areas of each city. If an area is known for thugs and their criminal acts, avoid them. Why put yourself at risk?

2. Language Barrier
Although English is an universal language, not everyone in the world learn English in school. It would be useful to learn some of the local languages before traveling to places with a low English literacy rate or be ready for 鸡同鸭讲 (literally: chicken and duck talk) which means two confused party that could not understand the language each other is speaking.

3. Travel Light
Travel only with items you could carry easily just in case you need to run after a train or a bus. Being alone means there are no friends to be your part-time porter.

4. Staying Alert and Taking Calculated Risks
Being in a foreign place, staying alert is definitely important to stay out of danger. Making sensible decisions and taking calculated risks ought to be sufficient to stay safe. Traveling alone is no different from going out alone in where you stay. One who aims to stay safe would not walk in dark alleyways alone, or be careless with their valuables. It helps to have the number of local authorities and a mobile with roaming services.

“One travels more usefully when alone,
because he reflects more” 
– Thomas Jefferson

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