Thursday, July 31, 2014

Crossing the Alps

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Yesterday we left Munich, to cross the alps and go southwards. Our goal was Bled in Slovenia, and the way from Munich to Bled was originally the shortest etappe of our journey. So we packed our tents and hit the road again. We crossed the border to Austria, listening to our trusted audiobook "Holes" by Louis Sachar again, while driving through the rain and looking at the scenery in the rain...

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...when a sign popped up, saying "Eisriesen Werfen".

That means, roughly trnslated, something called "Throwing Ice Giants".
Sounds cool, right?
So we decided to take a little break, I mean, it can´t take longer than an hour to check out what that meant, right?

Turns out, Werfen is a small town in Austria, and "Eisriesen" is the name of the worlds largest ice cave. To reach it, you have to hike until you reach a height of 1600 metres in the alps.

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Which we then did, assisted by a super cool cable cart, but still.

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The air tastes different up there.

And it´s so, so stunning, seeing those gigantic mountains. I saw them and thought about the utter determination humans before me must have had crossing those. Carving paths and tunnels in them and through them, marking passages, hammering out stairs to climb.

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It´s an utter miracle for me that the land north of the alps and the land south of the alps has a connection at all. I mean, I see the reason behind building a boat and crossing an ocean. That feels... natural. But the idea that people ever looked at those mountains and thought... Yeah, I´m going to climb that? Wow. Just wow.

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The caves itselves were not less impressive. Unfortunately, it wasn´t allowed to take any pictures, so here´s one from their official website...

...which you can find here.

The tour took 80 minutes, during which one had to climb 1400 frozen stairs, carrying small lamps with open fire. It was dark and icy cold and Miro and I always felt like slipping, and we were hungry and tired and freezing, and it was beyond amazing and an incredible adventure that made us bond and feel alive. Our trip went only about 1 kilometre into the mountain, but the whole system of caves is more than 42 kilometres long.

When you go in and out, there´s an incredibly strong wind, due to the exchange of cold and warm air, and that alone is awesome. 

Of course, this whole endeavour didn´t just take an hour. We spent more than 6 hours in Werfen, Austria, 6 amazing hours, but it really delayed our arrival in Slovenia. We reached our campsite at almost midnight, where we pitched up our tents in complete darkness (with the help of the headlights of the car), on really muddy ground. Mehmet and Miro where asleep allready, but we had to tired, fighting little girls - and then it rained all through the night. We got lucky it didn´t rain when we arrived.

I´ll show you more of Slovenia tomorrow - it is nice here, picture-postcard-nice, though wet and muddy, but for now, I´m going to check whether I find a way to dry our wet sleeping bags and whether there´s a place where I can buy new shoes for Miro, who´s soles are no longer attached to the rest of his shoes. We do love adventures :)

1 comment:

Patricia Thomas said...

This vacation looks so good..your girls have ground so much....