Ugh, another really stressful week at the office. Meetings with people who say one thing and mean another, phone calls that only reach voicemails, no responses to critical e-mails, more meetings with no decisions made. I need to get away. Now. To Innsbruck, where the cares of the world are somewhere else while good living surrounds me in all its Alpine splendour.
There is something special about small places with well-developed infrastructure that makes Life easy and enjoyable. Innsbruck allows visitors and residents alike to partake of the cultural and culinary pleasures of city living, as their more urban counterparts do, while not sacrificing any convenience or conviviality of a small-town atmosphere nor immediate access to the great outdoors. It’s civilisation with relaxation. I love that Innsbruck has an Imperial Palace, the only one in Austria outside Vienna. I love that the Landestheater provides a full calendar of opera, ballet, and concert performances of the highest level and you can walk back to the hotel after the performance. I love that young Innsbruckers have enough pocket money to enjoy the city’s fine restaurants rather than be obliged to take a date for a hamburger served in a styrofoam container or paper wrapper.
When longtime customers go into the Innsbruck shops they have frequented for years, they are greeted not by the latest embodiment of employee turnover but by an old friend who shares stories and takes time to ‘serve’ in the way that makes small-town life so agreeable, even more so here since Innsbruck is not exactly a small town; with its easy layout and friendly locals, it just feels that way. Innsbruck feels comfortable and gemütlich and makes me happy. The same courteous service in shops is extended to strangers who take a moment to say hello with a smile and engage in the art of conversation; you don’t need to speak German, just be fluent in Positive Energy. Stressed-out people from the big cities who are in a rush to get in and out in less than a minute are the ones who complain grimly that city life can be lonely; they should take a deep breath of fresh Innsbruck air, and another, and another, and realise Life is what we make it, starting with Guten Tag.
Innsbruck people know they have it good and do not take their exceptionally excellent lifestyle for granted. Just to remind themselves of their good luck, sometimes they take trips to other places; with easy road and train access to the Italian coast not far south and big cities like Munich, Zurich, and Vienna in other directions, Innsbruck is perfectly situated for taking a trip into a big city when the need arises, though I can’t imagine any need that can’t already be fully satisfied in this most perfect little city where mountains of stress are replaced by mountains of beauty.