Tag Archive | Garmisch-Partenkirchen

A Change of Seasons Part Two

The second part of our journey was on the Glacier cable car which goes all the way to the summit terrace. The edges of the terrace were treacherous with thick ice and a mound of snow had been pushed up in the centre so that it was safe to walk around. The track to the summit of Zugspitze, adorned by its gilded cross, was closed to walkers and we weren’t going to be buying anything from the souvenir stand either.

Back inside the warmth of the cable car station we followed the walkway around to the Fascination Zugspitze Interactive Museum where the sign said that cable car tickets would give us free admission. We tried to swipe them time after time without success until the lady on the information desk spotted us and came to help. “Where have you come from today?” she asked and laughed when we told her we had started from Garmisch. “Your tickets won’t work here – you’re in Austria now!” Lucky there were no passport checks!

We paid our €2.50 entrance fee and made our way through the museum, from the Conquest of the Zugspitze display with old photos and artefacts telling the history of the railway, past the glass floor and internal viewing platform which looks down 200 m to the rock below, to the 3D model of the Zugspitze.

We left Austria and crossed back over into Germany, exactly where we weren’t sure, and made our way back to the summit terrace. The cloud had begun to clear and the 360° view over the mountains was amazing. On a clear day it’s possible to see into Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland – this day we were happy just to be able to see the mountain peaks, more than 400 in number, and green alpine valleys stretching away to the horizon.

      The last part of our journey was on the Eibsee cable car, which took us on a 10 minute 2,000 metre descent to the Eibsee Lake. We walked along the track through the alpine forest to the train station to wait for the cogwheel train back to Garmisch, shedding our warming Winter layers as we went. At the foot of the mountains we were back in Summer.

Dreams of Glory

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an Olympic athlete? To feel the adrenalin rush as the starter’s gun goes off and you take that leap of faith…  If you visit the Olympic ski jump at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps you can have a taste of the Olympic experience without all the hard work that goes before.

The original ski jump was built for the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. It was replaced in 2007 by an even larger one which dominates the area around Mt Gudiberg. The starting tower rises 100 metres above the ground and the start gate at the very top of the inrun can’t be seen from ground level.

Visitors are able to climb up to the take-off section of the jump and there are two ways to get there. A narrow track winds its way up the steep slope and ends under the structure at the entrance to the building. And an even narrower staircase – 332 steps, known as Jacob’s ladder, climbs up the side of the track. It’s precarious and quite hair-raising, especially as it reaches the top where there is no handrail.

From the take-off the view of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the Bavarian Alps behind is breathtaking.

The view down the track is also breathtaking – for a different reason. The landing zone isn’t even visible from where a jumper leaves the track and launches himself through the air.

If I didn’t know it before, that view was enough to make me realise that ski jumping would not be my sport of choice. I was happy to settle for a close up encounter with the Olympic Rings – enough glory for one day!