There are a few ways to obtain some respite from intense heat. You can dip yourself into water, go underground or move higher up. We did the first on many occasions, considered the second when there was an option to see an old mine (decided against this: have been in caves and mines in the UK) but twice opted for the third idea of finding lower temperatures by seeking higher ground.
The title is a misnomer: there was no way we could have climbed anywhere. We hadn’t the energy to ‘ford ev’ry stream’ either. We did however have cable cars at our disposal and some of them were free with our special Kärnten Card, saving us about 16 euros each a time. The only fly in the ointment was persuading Dougie to conquer his fear of cable cars. This innate fear of dangling from wires came about after a trip to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire where the Heights of Abraham scared him so much he refused to go back down after the trip up, preferring to make his way down the hill on foot (See my winning post about this: This way to the Devil’s Arse)
Although he was eventually cajoled into trying cable cars again, if only for the benefit of a drop in temperature, Rory and I couldn’t convince him to face his other fear, that of multi-storey car parks. I’m not sure whether this panic is brought on by concrete posts, tight spaces or awkward ramps, but my husband would rather avoid them.
He prefers his car parks to look like this:
|Here we are parked at the Heinrich Harrer museum, Huttenberg (Dougie very happy)|
This was a pity as it would seem from the information given that there was indeed a multi-storey car park at the bottom of Gerlitzen, the mountain we were planning to ascend. To avoid any further stress, we parked at the lakeside, another 600 metres or so away. When we eventually reached the cable car station, feeling very hot and sweaty, we realised the ‘multi-storey’ car park was little more than two large areas, one under a roof, one in the open air, with a very wide, accommodating ramp between the two. Dougie admitted he could have quite happily given this one a go.
To his credit, he did manage the two cable-cars which we needed to ride on to reach Gerlitzen, 2000m above sea level and he even agreed to go back down the same way, which was handy.
The view at the top was beautiful but even more welcome were the breeze and cooler temperatures. High on a mountain in Austria I was inspired to channel Julie Andrews once again and belt out The hills are alive with the sound of music to the bemusement of all the paragliders who had congregated at the summit.
|Note to self: Julie Andrews did not carry a camera case when she sang The Sound of Music
|Paraglider about to take off. Lake Worthersee in the distance.
Our second cable car experience came some days later when we drove to the base station at Arnoldstein to ride the very steep Dreilanderek Cable Car. We were very keen to try this as the mountain summit is a unique meeting point of three countries: Austria, Italy and Slovenia. When we jumped off the cable car at the top we weren’t greeted with a cooling breeze. There weren’t any paragliders either, which should have given us a clue that this mountain wasn’t going to provide us with any break from the hot sun. The heat was enveloping and our tempers were frayed. In order to reach the very top we would have to walk a good bit further. The photo below shows the distance we would have to hike:
Mother Abbess would have been extremely pleased.