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Almost 40 years ago, the Umbrüggler Alm was torn down. Now it stands again: in a contemporary guise with a bombastic view and a menu worthy of enjoyment. One should bring along a little patience. But that’s the way it should be on the mountain pasture anyway.
One thing was clear: after the opening, half of Innsbruck would tackle the short but steep path from Hungerburg to Umbrüggler Alm. After all, people had been waiting almost 40 years for this. At the end of November 2015, the time had come: the newly built Umbrüggler Alm opened its doors and everyone naturally wanted to see with their own eyes what architects Philipp Lutz and Elmar Ludescher mean by a contemporary alpine hut and how the building presents itself.
For about 400 years there had been alpine pasture farming up here. Already at the end of the 19th century, the Umbrüggler Alm was a popular destination for excursions, and from 1873 there was an officially approved tavern. The alp owes its name to the farmers from “Anbruggen”, i.e. from Mariahilf, St. Nikolaus and Hötting, who owned grazing rights here. Anbruggen quickly became “unbrugg’n” and finally Umbrüggler.
With the incorporation of Hötting, the alp became the property of the city of Innsbruck in 1938. in 1979 the city decided to demolish the desolate building. Several attempts to rebuild the Alm failed. in 2014, the city presented the results of the architectural competition that had been announced with the aim of opening the hut in 2015.
And suddenly the view of the Umbrüggler Alm is clear.
After 40 minutes of a tough hike, it stands abruptly directly above me, on a hill that is still waiting to be planted. The Umbrüggler Alm is far from a log cabin and far from retro alpine charm. It is contemporary, I like that, even if at first glance the building looks a bit squat and not very chic in its larch shingling and with a window front that looks like a slit from below.
A small fortress to drive away the Kasermandl, which according to legend is native here? – The thought makes me smile. At any rate, a Kasermandl carved in wood awaits you at the entrance. It looks less grim, more challenging, perky. According to legend, that’s what it is: only if you irritate the Kasermandl, it becomes furious, otherwise this alpine spirit is a shy fellow.
Kasermandl awaits you at the entrance.
If the building seems a bit too robust on the outside, it has a homely elegance on the inside. A warm, bright room awaits you, kept in sawed silver fir except for the area behind the bar, large wonderfully crafted wooden tables and chairs, along the walls are simple benches and a fire crackles in the corner.
The panoramic window opens a magnificent view.
The continuous panorama window on the south side opens up a breathtaking view. The view wanders far to the east, far to the west, over Innsbruck, the low mountain range to the south, deep into the Wipptal, into the Stubaital; Nockspitze, Serles, Patscherkofel and a whole series of other peaks can be made out. On the balcony in front you can sit comfortably and look into the distance.
“Alpine-urban” interpreted: the tables and chairs.
A sliding door leads to another guest room, the “Innsbrucker Stube” (Innsbruck parlor), behind which is an exhibition room that is also accessible from the east. There you can learn interesting facts about the Karwendel nature area. In the center there is a relief of the Nordkette, in the walls there are showcases in which information about various bird species can be read and their chirping can be heard – this area is to be completed by the end of January.
The rush in the first weeks was enormous, says tenant Sonja Schütz, not always easy to cope with, especially since the alp should first run on trial operation. Some guests reacted with great displeasure. So it’s good that I not only waited a few weeks, but also chose a Monday for the visit. It trundles neat people, but the Umbrüggler is not overcrowded on this day. I enjoy it.
The Innsbruck Stube is a bit smaller.
With a difference
The Umbrüggler Alm is conducive to bringing the “Leit z’samzubringen”, as it should be: chatting, eating, drinking. The menu is full of fine things: Liver, Kas and bacon dumplings, of course, but also Graukassuppe with bacon or Rotkrautsuppe with Grammelknödel, Ochsenwade with mustard vegetables and roasted potatoes, lamb shoulder with Parmesan polenta and Brussels sprouts. “We want to offer good cuisine with regional ingredients as much as possible, freshly cooked and with zing,” says the landlady.
The menu leaves me spoiled for choice. I finally decide on a potato soup. Because I have long since discovered the Kaiserschmarren, a curd cheese pancake to be exact – and I can only manage that if I haven’t already filled my belly beforehand. It is served with apple compote. Homemade apple compote – my mouth is watering.
The curd cheese pancake with apple compote – a poem.
And what can I say: The Schmarren is fluffy like a cloud, juicy, not too sweet and – thanks to curd cheese – with a fine sour note. The apple compote catapults me back to my childhood. After a few bites, it’s clear that my stomach has been conquered, and with it my heart for good. The atmosphere, the view, the food – the Umbrüggler Alm is now firmly on my radar. The wait was worth it.
Enjoying the view from the balcony.
Umbrüggler Alm www.umbrueggleralm.at
Contact at 0043-664-3244543
Opening hours: daily from 8:30 a.m.; larger groups please register or reserve
Innsbruck has captured her heart, and the view of the Nordkette mountains soothes her soul. A journalist, non-fiction author, bookworm, amateur photographer, dog owner and mountain walker #ghostsofinnsbruck