Innsbruck’s Tell

Looking south along the Universitätstraße, Innsbruck Mud brick has fallen out of fashion, so cities no longer rise ever higher on the jumbled bones of dead houses. When the Flood or the Umman-Manda next come, perhaps we will regret that, for there is nothing like a good tell for persuading nasty... Continue reading: Innsbruck’s Tell

A Tag from the Bard

One would think that someone coming this way on a cycle with headlights and reflectors would need to watch out to the right and bear a little bit left, since cyclists coming from the left can see you coming and slow down if they want to make the turn onto the... Continue reading: A Tag from the Bard

The Innsbrucker Labyrinth

The Innsbrucker Marktplatz in July 2017. Where do you turn, and turn again? How do delivery vans, bicyclists, and pedestrians share the space with the construction site, the underground garage [right next to a major river, natch], and the farmer’s market? Last summer I regaled my gentle readers with the story... Continue reading: The Innsbrucker Labyrinth

The Tiroler Scylla and Charybdis

A map showing a rectangular building in the bend of a street with another street running along its other two sides.
A map of the closed main route (red) and blue temporary route
around the Markthalle, Innsbruck. The official sign makes the changes look very orderly.

Odysseus overcame Scylla and Charybdis, Jason the clashing rocks. Cyclists heading towards the Innsbrucker Hauptuni while the streets are torn up to install storm drains face another fearsome challenge, the alley behind the Markthalle. I lost the words to tell stories some time ago, so below the fold I will reveal its horrors in pictures:

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Heraclitus Sighted in Innsbruck

I am more familiar with this one as πάντα ῥεί but “Alles Fließt” and “everything flows” are perfectly fine translations too. Looking north from the Innsbrucker Marktplatz not so far from Conrad Seusenhofer’s house and the mansions and warehouses turned hotels and souvenier shops, April 2016. Edit 2022-12-26: fixed formatting broken when WordPress introduced the... Continue reading: Heraclitus Sighted in Innsbruck

Low Water in the Sill

A crystal-clear river with broad stretches of gravel and some hibernating trees on either bank and a blocky glass building in the background.
Low water in the river Sill at the beginning of March 2015. Photo by Sean Manning.

Living in Innsbruck, its hard to ignore the changes in the local waterways over the course of the year. The local rivers are fed by runoff, and these days large areas of the Alps are bare by May. I took these photos on the tenth of March, in a week where snow fell for several days but melted as it hit the ground of the valley.

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Rus in Urbe


It is easy for ancient historians to forget about farming. Ancient literature does not say much about it, ancient art rarely depicts it, and farming is distant from our own lives. Yet most people in the ancient world made most of their living by farming or herding or fishing, and the basic realities of farming pervaded their mental world. I am therefore glad that some of the land near the Zentrum für alte Kulturen in Innsbruck is still working fields and orchards. Although the caked soil at the edge of the field is marked by the tyres of the farmer’s tractor and not the hooves of his oxen, and the plot is crammed between a modern glass monstrosity, the loading dock of a supermarket, and a concert hall built out of shipping containers, it is still worth watching as the seasons turn.

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