Greetings from Dachstein Glacier

Our high elevation adventure today was the Panoramic Gondola ride to the Dachstein Glacier at 2900+m. Just like yesterday it was mighty cold on top. We dressed as warmly as we could. The sign showed 4C.

Our day at high elevation started here

Our day at high elevation started here

The weather has been conspiring against us the last couple of days. We’ve been lucky with no rain and it is clear at night and then clouds over about 10 in the morning until dinner time. The tourist bureau needs to look into that. For about 30 seconds while I was out on the suspension bridge up on the glacier, my head felt warm. I looked around at what might be causing it and realized it was the sun. Alas, too short.

We had lunch at the top. When we got through the line we were walking around with our trays looking for a place to sit. There were several large tables with only a couple of folks at one end so I set my tray down and started taking off my coat. A young girl, maybe 10 or 11 sitting at the other end started yelling at me. Really loud and she kept repeating the same thing over and over. You would have thought I had cut off her leg. She was really loud and folks were looking at her. Obviously, Mom or Dad had put her in charge of keeping the table clear. So I put my coat back on and picked up my tray and stuck my tongue out at her. She went nuts! I wandered off in search of a free spot, confident that I had further cemented relations between our two great countries.

When we checked in here there was a Summercard for each of us. It got us on the bus, up the mountain to the lift, and the gondola ride to the top. And all the way back and for free. That excursion would have been at least 50 Euros for both of us. There are several other cable cars and ski lifts we could take for free, as well. Pretty nice for the folks here to pay for that for us. Everyone on our bus and everyone at the gondola ticket window had one that I could see.

This is an interesting area. Imagine Winthrop combined with White Pass but without the stores in town. There are a few places that rent sports equipment, but only one or two places to get a coffee and absolutely nothing for breakfast. Most places don’t open until 10 or 11. We went to dinner at our normal 8PM and the first two places were closed and cleaning up. The last place had some daily specials they hadn’t sold so we had that. It was quite good so we went back this evening – this time at 6. This isn’t Italy. Or just about any other place we have been. At 9:30 PM as I type this, everything is closed.

Speaking with some snow boarders today, they told me the snow usually lasts through June and last year they boarded on July 20th. There is some late fall or early winter snow sports but the weather is usually too bad in the dead of winter. High winds and no visibility, so they close for several months. One interesting thing – it costs more to take the gondola with sports equipment than without. And our free trip was only without sports equipment.

I am uploading a video. On our ride down in the gondola, I had a front window spot so I propped my camera on the rail and filmed the trip. We are the only guests this evening so I have all the bandwidth to myself but the uplink speed is modest. I am 45% complete with 205 minutes remaining. I’ll edit it in the morning. If you take a look at when the upward car goes by you will just see two guys standing on the top of the car. Not.A.Chance.

Of course, when we got to the bottom the top of the mountain was in full sunshine. Life is hard here in Austria. 🙂

We are off to Italy tomorrow but first we have to go to Germany.

Nice piece of metal sculpture at our bus stop

Nice piece of metal sculpture at our bus stop

A snowboard course on the glacier at the top. Often usable through June.

A snowboard course on the glacier at the top. Often usable through June.

Cool hardware

Cool hardware

Looking down from the suspension bridge at 2900m. Lucky this shot is in focus.

Looking down from the suspension bridge at 2900m. Lucky this shot is in focus.

That mountain lit up in the sunshine while we were on top.

That mountain lit up in the sunshine while we were on top.

Not as bad as it looks but I didn't go out there

Not as bad as it looks but I didn’t go out there

What's not to like about black birds with yellow beaks and red feet? They were happy to eat whatever was donated.

What’s not to like about black birds with yellow beaks and red feet? They were happy to eat whatever was donated.

Quite an imposing wall of stone

Quite an imposing wall of stone