Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On top of the world

After Austria, we visited Interlaken, Switzerland and were keen to venture high into the mountains. Because of my hip, I haven’t been quite ready for hiking at a strenuous level, so we opted for the number one cable car ride in Switzerland instead, to the top of Shilthorn at 10,000ft (3km above sea level). The revolving restaurant on the peak called Piz Gloria, was made famous by the filming of scenes from ‘007, Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. We however, were mainly interested in the food (as usual).

The half an hour ride to the top was an expensive 91.80 Swiss Francs, equivalent to about 100 Aussie bucks each. We haven’t spent that much money on anything since we started the trip, but we figured this experience was probably worth it. While we were looking at the website, we noticed something about a 007 buffet breakfast. It was a little bit strange to discover that for only 92 Swiss Francs, you could buy a combined ticket and have the brekky included as well!! Sweet!

The morning came and we, along with a couple of other people thought we were going to get our romantic ride all the way to the top. As we were contemplating the serenity of it all, along comes a tourist bus to ruin our idealistic image. We were now reduced to a sardine, jammed into a very confined space….there were at least 40 people wedged in and trying to find the best spot for photos on the way up. We figured that getting any decent pic from the cable car was pretty much out of the question. So, despite being a little bit peeved that we had paid so much, we accepted the fact and waited until we got to the top.

Any ounce of angst quickly disappeared with the 360 degree panoramic view at the peak, towering above every other mountain. We got stuck into our breakfast, accompanied by some bubbly like it was the first one we’d had in a while. The revolving restaurant with floor to ceiling glass windows enabled us to savour the view as well as the food.

After breakfast, we ventured outside to get a good look. I feel like I am constantly describing how beautiful things are, while not really doing the description justice. All I can say is the rugged edges of the peaks capped with ice made you want to stare at them for hours just to take in the wonder of it all. We decided to get away from the crowd and take a hike part way down the mountain, out onto another peak. The path was a little hairy at times, with long drop offs either side. I had a bit of a panic at one point and needed to stop to get my head together. Tim, being the more daring one, tried raising his voice in a very firm manner, to tell me to keep walking, that I was fine. All I needed was a few moments to mentally prepare….after all, I just thought we were taking the cable car up and back. So in the end, I faced my apprehension head on and walked out onto the peak. I stood there, feeling so free, like I could step off the edge and fly away, free as a bird. The hike up and back took us about 45 minutes and was extremely steep. I was so stoked that my hip coped with the difficulty of the slopes and I might just think about conquering some more.



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