Friday, October 12, 2007

Dachstein Glacier

Yesterday I was invited to go with a group of teachers to see the sunset from Dachstein glacier. I met my colleagues at 4:00 pm in Schladming (home of the night-time slalom races you may have seen on television). We took a bus to the gondola station (1700 m): Do you see that tiny little building at the top of the central peak? That's the mountain station (2700 m). If you do the math, that means we are taking a sort of ski lift 1000 meters -- without any supports! I confess, that when I saw what was going to happen next, I was pretty apprehensive! -- hence, no photos on the way up the mountain. But here's the view from the top, looking back at the gondola station (this picture was taken from the enclosed control center):At the top, we got a tour of the mechanics and physics of the thing. Then we entered the interior of the glacier, which is only about 90 meters thick (and receding every year). They have an "Ice Palace" carved into the glacier ice, and you can see all of the different layers of ice from hundreds of years. I didn't get any good pictures inside (I was too busy trying to stay upright on the icy passageways) but you can see some good pictures here:
When we exited the Ice Palace, we scurried up the hill to watch the sunset:

Oh, and that little "hill" in the middle of the frame below? That's the Grimming, the huge (?) mountain that dominates the skyline of Irdning (see right).
After the sunset, we had dinner in the restaurant, and glided down the mountain in the gondola after dark (not quite so scary!). It was incredible to see all the lights of Schladming below us. Then my colleagues and I went to a pub and drove back to Irdning, arriving about 11:00 pm.
Excuse me... is this MY LIFE?!

No comments: