Our “golden” October came to an abrupt end yesterday, when November made its first appearance with typically cool, foggy and drizzly weather.
The bit of rain we had fell in the alps as snow, and this afternoon when I was down by the river with Tobi, I could see that the top third of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain at almost 3.000 meters, was covered with it.
It will presumably remain so at least until April, if not later.
Seeing the snow on the Zugspitze reminded me of the one time I went alpine skiing on that very mountain in the merry month of May. I was about 20 at the time, and my then boyfriend suggested a day on the slopes. I hadn’t been on a pair of skis since I was a child (my mother bought me my first pair when I was four and I loved them) but had no second thoughts about skiing – it’s like riding a bike. You don’t forget.
We drove to Garmisch and rented some skiing equipment and headed up with the cable car. My ears closed up on the way up, building up such pressure and pain that I had tears in my eyes; luckily, at some point I managed to yawn and things got better.
The weather at the top of the slope was spectacular. Sunshine, blue skies and warm temperatures. I had a blast. The only problems I had was with the lift to go back up – it is this horizontal bar that hits the back top part of your thighs just under your butt and shoves you back up the slope. If, however, you failed to keep both skis straight, you fell and had to stand back in the way of the tow-bars and wait for the next one. T’was quite comical, actually, but I got better with each try.
Later in the day, I was at the top of the slope and it started snowing. Suddenly quite densely. I was on my way down the slope when I noticed that suddenly the mountain seemed to be sloping in the wrong direction. When I realized that the slope was also getting MUCH steeper, I stopped and sat down in the snow.
It was then I realized I could only hear the wind – nothing else.
I waited. And worried. After 45 minutes or so, the snow stopped and the clouds opened to reveal a clear blue sky. I could suddenly see everything around me – the extremely steep way down the mountain, full of boulders sticking up here and there through the snow – but not a single person – not a single lift – nothing. Pure mountain wilderness. It also worried me that I might have entered Austria, as I wasn’t carrying my passport by me.
At this point, I began bawling like a child, almost hysterical, wondering how long it would take before a St. Bernard with a small whiskey keg on his collar might find my perhaps by then dead and frozen body. I wondered if I should try to find someone or something on my own, but was afraid to do so for fear of getting even more lost.
After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably no more than half an hour, I suddenly spotted a skier coming down the slope in my direction at about the speed of greased lightning. I stood up, still bawling, snot running out of my nose, waved my ski poles frantically in his direction. He stopped near me and told me to follow him down – there was a lift at the bottom that would take me back up to the station where I presumably would be able to reorient myself.
Follow him I did. Though I purposely threw myself down now and then just to break the neckbreaking pace I was picking up – I was terrified of getting on too much speed and skiing straight into one of the boulders.
Eventually I got to the bottom, managed to catch the last run of the lift up, where my pale and worried boyfriend was waiting for me.
In hindsight, thinking of what might have or could have happened (imagining ledges or crevices) I guess I was quite lucky.
I haven’t been alpine skiing since. But only because of my knee 😉
Postscript: Since I was not yet a sensible person, I failed to wear sunglasses or use sunscreen.
I had pink albino eyes for a week and 10 days later patches of raw flesh showed through the sunburn on my face.
For comparison to “normal times”, some pictures of the river.
First the normal view, the other at 9.00 a.m. this morning.
Notice the bridge way in the background of this picture:
It looks like this now.
This is the view from the bridge:
And this is the sad dog who thinks his favorite river is “broken”.
(This is the road leading to the river).
I passed the written test with 0 mistakes.
The “voice” informed me that he’s taken the liberty of signing me up for the practical test on Friday, May 20.
Go away and read no further. Or continue at own risk but be warned, I am taking my phone off the hook. Lol.
I had another double driving hour today and got let loose on the southern half of the Autobahn Munich-Garmisch.
Holy cow is that some sort of wind at 170 kmh or what? (That’s about 100 mph).
See Mom, I told you not to read this!
I found it so much effort just to stay on the bike and not get blown off the back of the motorcycle by the wind. I drove most of it at about 150, but now and then I had to pass the slower people and (duh) in no time at all you’re up to 160 – 170. It was a very windy day also, so I had sidewinds and what not all to deal with. After half an hour I got tired of it, and was pleased to see the exit coming up on which we had entered.
My instructor was quiet as a mouse, there was nothing coming over the radio, not even a crackle. I figured the connection had broken down or the wind had ripped the receiver out of my ear (why not, since the wind pressure on the helmet was causing it to push my glasses into my forehead). So, not hearing anything from the VOICE, I exited the Autobahn.
“We’ll be turning left up there”, said the VOICE in my ear.
I nodded, downshifted, got ready to stop at the yield sign.
“Would you stop for a moment”, the VOICE in my ear said.
(This is what the VOICE always says when I am in trouble or have done something stupid.)
I looked over my shoulder and he pulled up next to me, rolled down the window.
“Why did you leave the autobahn?!!!”, asked the VOICE WITH THE FACE.
“Ummm, hmmm, well, …….hmmmm, I thought that’s where we got on the AB, so, I thought we should get off there too.”
He just stared at me. My action was incomprehensible to him.
I offered a meek “Female logic….?”.
I was secretly happy to be back on normal roads and no longer exposed to mega-winds.
“Ok. We will be turning left here and then will be entering the AB heading for Garmisch.”
I did as I was told.
Footnote: My mother would have a coronary or personally fly a plane here to come and hit me if she knew that I had not only (1) entered the AB with a motorcycle, but (2) accelerated to that speed.