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Kitzsteinhorn

Adorable Chick

HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE Diary : Day 12 - 26 April 2016

Kitzsteinhorn mountain is a part of the Glockner Alpine range in the Kaprun region of Austria. Known for its skiing opportunities, this glacier lies at a 10 minute driving distance from Kaprun Centre. The mountain was first climbed in the early 19th century by a local mountaineer. With a record of having the highest Pylon in the world, today its peak is easily accessible by aerial tramways. The cable ways run in three to four stages before getting to the peak. Its snowy slopes at the higher altitudes last throughout the year, attracting skiers from all over the globe.

Kitzsteinhorn was never a part of our itinerary. While discussing possibilities on how to spend the said day, one of the group members came up with an Idea of hiring a taxi for a tour instead of the normal train journey. The previous evening, we walked down the street, finding a few taxi services near the Zell am see railway station. A few options came up. An owner of one of the cab services handed over his business card. We reached home to find ourselves brain storming. There was consensus on using taxi services for a tour, which was finally booked via a telephonic conversation. The next morning saw us readily waiting on the ground of our pent house accommodation in Zell am see. A jet black coloured, shiny 8 seater, zoomed up the slope and screeched to a halt in front of us. We were so surprised to see a well dressed, friendly lady Taxi driver getting out of the vehicle to greet us. It was not something we expected. She introduced herself as KATA FENYVESI. After exchanging a few pleasantries, she chalked out an itinerary for the day providing us with options to choose from. It was finally done. First, she drove through Kaprun village to get to the Kitzsteinhorn glacier range.

The peak of the Kitzsteinhorn boasts of the GIPFELWELT 3000, a panoramic viewing platform. This can been reached in more than one ways today (refer map enclosed in Gallery ). The taxi raced through Zell am See and reached Kaprun within no time. Zipping through tunnels and getting past the absolute green meadows of Kaprun village , we halted at the foot of a mountain range, spotting snow peaks towering far far above us. We had reached the Gletscherjet (cable car) station, for a journey upward (see extreme left line on the map enclosed). Cable cars plied horizontally up the relatively steep mountain behind us. Kata explained that we buy our cable car tickets in the office, to get to the peak.

Tidy Desk

She promised to wait for us by the vehicle till our return from this experience & didn't impose any time limit. That put us at ease. All of us except one member, chose to get to the top. We blindly followed her instructions not knowing what we were up for. The ticket counter wasn't too crowded. We had a choice of riding upto any of the 4 levels. Obviously, we chose to get to the peak, by riding all the four. One is also free to book tickets online on the KITZSTEINHORN personal website to ride these cars. With tickets in our hands we joined a queue where plenty of skiers, clothed in their colourful outfits, boarded the continuously moving cable cars, in batches of 5-6. Each car was loaded with ski kits apart from passengers . Soon it was our turn. As the cable car sped upward, the perfectly green surroundings vanished quickly before our very eyes . On a single swing and turn up a mountain side, the landscape turned pure white. We cleared level one. Passengers are free to get off at any level and wander in the snow land, before continuing their way to the top, as per their ticket eligibility. A fairly flat, snowy land opened up in front of us at the first level. We walked out to find a ' SKISCHULE ' (ski school) there. A shop selling winter outfits, mostly suiting the game, along with a display of variety skiing equipment, occupied a certain corner. Little children honed their skills with instructors leading them. We were so tempted to learn the art ourselves.

We couldn't spot any rising peaks above us at this point. Shallow mountainous slopes, imprinted with ski trails, surrounded us like a valley. Where then lies the fourth level ? The naive group that we were, all we did here was to find suitable spots for a few photographs before heading back to the cable car.

We were in a hurry to climb up level 2. The second round was even more spellbinding. The glass covering the cable car on all four sides was old & abraded, resulting in poor quality of photographs. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the great moments of climbing through the white world. Mild jealousy encircled us on seeing the enthusiastic skiers swoop down at great speed. The returning red coloured cable cars, running parallel, zipped past ours in the opposite direction. This ride lasted a bit longer than the earlier one. An unexpected inclusion of this wonderful land in our itinerary, literally pushed our spirits to another level. We got off the capsule soon.

We had reached the 2450 Mts height - the Alpinecenter (refer map). Feeling the Alpine nature with all our senses, we muddled around in snow. The land was flat yet again and we still could not spot any towering peaks.