Well, after complaining about the heat yesterday, I should have guessed that the weather gods would take umbrage and provide one of those days when the clouds are below the tops of the mountains and the temperature drops ten degrees. But, as I have a twinge in one ankle, we decided to take it a bit easier today and pop down the valley to the town of Oetz, where they have a cable-car that we don’t visit very often.
Now, I generally like cable-cars and chairlifts and all the other ways of getting up steep hills quickly, but the Ackerkogelbahn is unusual in several respects. Firstly, it’s an old lift, designed for the days when folk were shorter and nimbler, and so you have to duck your head very carefully when you get in to avoid a knock on the noggin. Secondly, this is one fast lift – you have about ten seconds to get in before the doors slam shut and off you go. So, you have to be both quick on your feet and physically flexible. Fortunately, we managed to get in without a hitch, and were just settling back and congratulating ourselves when, with a strange whirring sound, the whole thing came to a halt, above a vertiginous drop into a pine forest. This in itself is not a problem, except that the whole car bounced up and down in slow-motion like a yo-yo, which is most discomforting for the stomach. Up and down we went, like a boat wallowing in a heavy sea.
When you’re moving, it’s easy to forget that you’re suspended in a little pod on a piece of wire. When you stop, you become all too aware of the fact.
Did I mention that my husband suffers from travel sickness?
Well, fortunately we were soon underway again. And then we stopped again. And then we roared up the rest of the way and practically fell out at the top, a little green but otherwise intact.
Never was I so glad to see a miniature horse.
Like many farmers in the valley, the ones at the Ackerkogelbahn keep a few creatures for the children, who will then persuade their parents to visit again and again. These tiny horses have been here for years, and indeed one of them nearly ate my rucksack on my last visit. I think it was the one pictured below. Today, a very small boy toddled over to him, watched by his adoring parents. As the child reached out to pat the horse, the horse moved smartly away, leaving the poor infant sprawled in a cowpat. A horse that could do this could certainly maul a favourite walking accessory.
So, I took this as a hint that it was time for me to have some lunch, and to steel myself for the cable car back down to the bus stop. My ankle feels rested, and tomorrow we are hopefully tackling the Konigsjoch. This is one of those walks that will definitely get my heart rate into the high 150’s, as it is uphill all the blooming way, and some years we end up wading through snow and fording (small) rivers. My husband has assured me that this year it will be different. I await the morrow with a cynically-raised eyebrow.