My first night in Innsbruck, in the post-downpour hush, I picked up some princess pretzels (like a thinner “Bavarian” pretzel or a more Bavarian thin pretzel) and some local sliced ham and stood by the River Inn (as it was still too wet for a seat). I watched the river under the bridge, the wet cars and wet people and wet cyclists on the bridge, and the clouds–here and there eclipsing the mountains far above the bridge.
Even with the clouds I could see the nearby foothills (if that is the right word) and felt protected, cradled.
Innsbruck is of the mountains. It is not “in the mountains” or “near the mountains.” It is a mountain city as Denver can only wish it was. In Denver, the mountains are in the distance, never close enough to touch and certainly not on all sides (because east of Denver is western Kansas).
In Innsbruck, each time I turned the corner, it was as if the road ended directly into a mountain. And each time I turned a corner with a view like this I stopped, each time surprised because this is not the terrain with which I am familiar. When the clouds rolled in, the tops of the peaks were eclipsed, leaving us in a cloud dome–a petri dish with green mountains growing around up and a gray cotton lid.
I don’t know what it would be like to live here, but on this day I felt cradled, sheltered, not enclosed or trapped. And I wanted to curl up nestled between the peaks.