Pagans In Tirol: This cave, when rediscovered in 1976, held pottery from the La Tene era, the pottery being more specifically from 500-300 BC. This cave is presumed to have been a holy spring (Quellheiligtum) for the local residents. Whether they also kept their local brew at a desirable temperature here, no one can say…
The Stephansbrücke was a very big deal when it was erected in 1843, and Archduke Stefan Franz Viktor himself came to the ceremony to lay the foundation stone, at the tender age of 26. The bridge was part of continuous improvements on the Brenner Road, which stretches from Innsbruck over the Brenner Pass into Italy. The history of this highway is long — the Romans made the Via Raetia, and that road (and its later incarnations) remained the most direct way to all points south for a long time. Occasionally one might see an old Austrian or Bavarian film from the 50s or early 60s, where a journey to Italy by car leads over these very roads, some not yet even paved. Then the Brenner Autobahn came and changed everything.
I did not cross the Stephansbrücke, but I did cross this. The woods and valleys looks just as they should in early spring — crocuses are blooming, and other wildflowers along the forest trails. The songbirds are back, and I saw plenty of butterflies and bumble bees — which brought relief, since one hears so much lately of these critters becoming scarce.
This long hike began in the Stubai Valley (via tram) and continued north, toward the Northern Range and the Patscherkofel, following the Ruetz and then the Sill River (mostly a creek, especially this far upstream) The Bergisel ski jump tower, like a beacon, signals that home is finally near.