Sunday, August 21, 2011

Germany, Part Three

Where were we? Oh, yes, the Zugspitze.

At 2962 meters above sea level, the Zugspitze is the highest peak in the Bavarian Alps - the highest point in all of Germany. I'm told you can hike to the top in a day and a half (presumably NOT while carrying a three-year-old). It takes even longer than that to ride up in a cable car - or, at least, it feels like an eternity.

See that itty bitty mountain in the back of this photo, way up there? That's where we're headed.

It's really, really high up in the air, so I was nervous about the ride. But it's not that bad, actually. The last half of the trip is spent precariously close to the rock face as the gondola strains to make it up. As long as you don't look back, you'll be fine. If you do happen to glance back, you'll see this:

So I made it to the top just fine, thank you very much. From up there, you can look back and see where you came from. See that tiny village behind Ainsley, just to the right of the lake? That's where the cable car started.

Here you can see the same view, with a cable car grinding its way slowly up to the top.

The cable car doesn't take you quite all the way to the top. There's still a short jaunt up a ladder and across a small hill to get to the cross that marks the very tippity-top of the mountain. And since everyone else was going up there, Shay wanted to go, too. He convinced his dad to go while the rest of us watched from behind the fence.

Shay went first up the ladder.

And then he disappeared around the bend.

His dad had no choice but to follow.

At this point, I was taking the pictures from my perch near the gondola. So I don't know what Bart saw when he got to that corner. But he told me later that when he looked around that bend, he realized they had no business out there without proper gear. Apparently the other side was basically a narrow ledge and a steep drop. But what to do? Shay was already far ahead, so Bart kept going.

They made it there - and back - without incident,

after which the whole family posed for a picture - same view, safer location.

The views from up there were amazing.

After we finished oohing and ahhing, we hopped on a shorter cable car ride and went down a bit to the glacier. We ate lunch outside - it didn't feel all that cold, really. And then the boys went sledding. Kyra tried to go sledding, but she ended up stuck at the bottom of the glacier. Bart and Shay had to go rescue her when she couldn't figure out how to climb back up.

We didn't take the Cable Car of Death back down the mountain. Instead, we opted for the slow-but-steady cogwheel train.

And that was our day on the Zugspitze! We all survived, so it was a good day. Actually, I think it might have been my favorite day in Germany.


Sara said... [Reply]

John and I went up there with his family back in 2005. It was winter though so it was super cold and foggy - I think it might have made the ride up scarier because you couldn't see anything. We also took the train down, but it was hot and I don't know if it was better.

Jen said... [Reply]

Loved the Zugspitze except for the part where Kelsey dropped my brand new camera (bought at the base the day before). Was absolutely gorgeous and hope we can all go back some day !

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