Sunday 23 October 2011

Bad Gastein

The Bad Gastein Railway Station at the city centre. As guided by the Jagger Haus Bavarian waitress we went up and up and up almost a 500 ft steep  early morning climb over 500 yards and reached the city center of  Bad Gastein. Being a Sunday the grocery store was closed so we decided to explore the town on foot.

The Stubnerkogel Cableway  Station came into view which takes hikers and skiers  to the Stubnerkogel at a height of   7400 feet. Bad Gastein  itself is at a height  of 3000 ft. feet. The sight of cable cars ascending into the mountains was irresistible and within 15 minutes the tickets(using the Gastein discount card) had been purchased  and we were waiting to get into the next car.

The cable cars seat 6 people ,are very comfortable while giving  a breathtaking view  of the Austrian Alps as they  climb to Stubnerkogel. An Austrian Engineer once travelled in one of the  Indian cable cars and declared upon coming out that one day the Cable car would fall. Six months later it failed and the Indian Air force had to pluck the passengers from the cable car suspended almost 5000 feet above the ground.
The view from inside the cable cars. There is a midway stop for hikers to get out and hike  up or down hill. The Alps are a beautiful sight and suspended from the cable car we had a 360 degree view as we slowly climbed into the mountains As we ascended the vegetation changed from tall pine trees to shrubs to grass and finally bare mountains and in the distance we could see the snow covered mountains.

The  Stubnerkogel  Chairlift which follows the ski slopes and operates only during the Ski Season. Along the way there are poles which spray artificial snow to maintain the  level of snow. When  snow fall takes place and the skiing season is at its peak, the chairlift runs 24 hours taking the avid skiers up into the mountains from where they ski down again and again unmindful of the cold temperature.  Skiing through clumps of trees requires a much higher level of skill as compared to just skiing down a plain slope. Smashing into a  pine tree trunk at 40 Kmph may not be too good for health and comfort.

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