Thursday, September 10, 2009

Photo of alpine lake Eibsee taken on a family holiday to Germany. Lake Eibsee is situated halfway to the top of Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain.

Reaching the top of the Zugspitze is an adventure in itself which starts off with a ride on a packed train that chugs past verdant pastures with grazing cows against a backdrop of stunning mountains. Then, at Eibsee station midway up the mountain, you change to a cable car which dangles and swings precariously over a steep - and very scary looking - gorge before you finally reach the summit, which is so cold, there were icicles hanging over the edge of the buildings up there.

An LED display sign told us it was -4 deg C. In summer somemore.

At the top, you can gawp at the scenery, chill out in the cold (hur hur hur) at the open air beer garden, or eat at the many restaurants there, all with a view. It is said that from here, you can see the alps of four countries - Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy (but they all look the same to me no matter which direction I'm looking at). By the way, since Austria and Germany share the same peak, you can enter Austria here by going through a door that says "Welcome to Tirol". Talk about being borderless.

Oh, and you could also climb the highest highest peak in Germany (below), which is a rocky protuberance jutting out from the top, with a huge golden cross planted on it.
When the Resident Bureaucrat saw people doing the climb up to the cross, he decided to dice with death too. It probably escaped his attention that the majority of people who were attempting the climb were dressed like professional mountaineers - walking stick, hiking boots and a lot of other intimidating mountain-climbing paraphernalia that I cannot name. He, in the meanwhile, was wearing a pair of Doc Marts, a G2000 denim jacket, and was without gloves, walking stick, or for that matter, any other equipment that would have at least ensured the slightest modicum of safety up there.

As he made his way to the bottom of the rocky outcrop waiting his turn to scale it, my mother (the only one with sense, me thinks) kept shouting at him to "Don't do it! Come back!"

I pooh-poohed her and yelled at him to carry on.

Foolish me. My yet-to-be-born baby nearly became fatherless.

It was a climb that appeared deceptively easy while being, in reality, a precarious, life-jeopardising adventure. If anything, this warning sign should have signalled the dangers lying ahead.

(What this sign really means if that if you fall to your death, your insurance won't pay for it.)

The climb.

When the Resident Bureaucrat finally made it back safely (by sheer luck or because someone up there was watching out for him, we'll never know), he revealed that the other side of the rocky protuberance was a steep cliff with a sheer drop.

He was not lying.

Finally, at the top! Okay, so touch the golden cross already. Now what?

It was very cold at the peak, of course. But no matter how cold his ungloved hands were, the Resident Bureaucrat clung on to the guiding rope for dear life.

I now refer to the incident as the "Resident Bureaucrat's close shave with death". Although he insisted that he didn't "nearly die" as I liked to put it. But he keeps saying he "死里逃生". If that does not translate to "nearly died", I don't know what it translates to.

To get down from Zupspitze, you can go down by another way, which is to take a cable car to a Zugspitzeplatt, a glacier platform, then take the train down from there.

Another open air beer garden at Zugspitzeplatt.

One last photo: We spotted this cute little boy at the top of Zugspitze gleefully preparing to kill people below the railings by throwing huge chunks of ice over.

"Die, people below, die!"

No comments: