Skigebiet Ski Juwel Alpbachtal Wildschonau
The Second half of the day was spent visiting the Snow :) Depending on the time of the year and the weather conditions the ski areas are open. I took the gondola to Ski Jewel Alpbachtal which was luckily open. They generally close by mid April which marks the end of winter for the region. The clouds were foolproof with the sun coming out once in a while. The restaurant at the top of the mountain is impressive. From beer to pizza everything is served here and at the same price as any other restaurant down in the valley. Sitting outside looking at the pine trees covered with a little snow reminded me of the Christmas movies. This being my first experience of snow ever, one can easily imagine my level of excitement.
What made my heart sing was the cable car ride we took to the peak of the Untersberg Mountain. This is one of the largest in the area and extends into Germany, creating a natural border. The cable car travels at 7 miles per hour from the base station at 456 meters above sea level to the top station at 1,776 meters, making an altitude difference of 1,320 meters. The ride on a two cable system lasts for 9 minutes, but the viewing is spectacular from the cable car and once you arrive at the peak. There was some religious ceremony going on at the next to highest peak, with the highest there was a huge cross. Neither attraction prompted me to venture beyond the hiking that I did do over loose rocks, steep inclines and no guard rails along the way. If Julie Andrews or Jesus were appearing at the top peak, it would not have motivated me further. Spending over an hour here, we were first in line for the cable car down, which was luck as we shared it with many of the people involved in the celebratory mass. This was clearly evident in their soldier costumes that spanned many centuries. We never did find out what it was. Normally, the cable car ride would be 21 Euros per person. You are stuck with a round trip, as you cannot get down without the cable car unless you are a mountain goat.