On top of Zugspitze

Mum and I were transported to the summit of the peak by the Gletscherbahn cable car. We shared a journey with a elderly couple with their grand daughter and a cable car attendant. The cab was designed to carry 100 people in one go during the peak skiing season, therefore, we had a plenty of room to move around and admire the breathtaking view.

 


There were quite a few snow groomers scattered around the piste, waiting for another 6 months to be back in business.

 


Left over snow from the previous winter was rather dirty. We wondered how spectacular the place would be once everything was covered with snow.

The summit was even more windy than Zugspitze Glacier Plateau!

And the view, it was awesome but also vertigo-inducing too. Just standing by the fence and trying to take pictures, we couldn’t help feeling spine-tingling anxiety.

A brand new cable car route was being constructed from Lake Eibsee.

Men with a hard hat and a full set of harnesses were busy working around the windswept cliffs. They are fearless, aren’t they? Mum and I were really impressed.

This place must be the best location for an ultimate alfresco dining experience!

Hungry birds goggle-boxing the lucky diners with a hot dog.

Mum being funny.

Mum, you would have looked better if you took the sunglasses off though…

We walked around a chain of walkways which connected platforms and viewing terrace.

We spotted more than a few dogs visiting the summit.

You guys are brave, I thought. My Bella would probably very unhappy here as she hates have her furry face ruffled by the wind…

Das Bergschwein!

The mountain pig! What is the meaning of this illustration? Please let me know if you know anything about it.

It was wonderful to view the famous Alps peaks with my beloved mum. I hoped she felt the same way..

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Recent development

I apologise for my blog being updated rather sporadically recently. Nothing bad has happened to me or my family and we are all doing really great.

The reason behind why I’m spending much less time with my MacBook right now is because I’m concentrating on my girl Bella’s training. Over the summer, Hubbie and I were discussing how wonderful it would be if she could go off-lead completely in the park. If she will not be granted freedom because of the lack of effort on our part, it will be totally unfair on her, we agreed.

From the beginning of the August, Bella and I have been frequenting parks, mainly Regents Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, with a pouch stuffed with her favourite, cooked chicken. During the first two weeks of the training, I attached a 10m long lead on her and practiced recalling.

I was delighted to find that Bella really loved her new found freedom on the long lead but also a new routine of being rewarded with a tasty treat every time she returned to my side.

‘It’s an win-win situation for me!’

At the beginning, we stuck to a quiet part of the park, away from people and other dogs…

The area was so tranquil and peaceful, it could almost fool me into thinking that we were in the countryside if I chose to ignore the roofs of the slow moving traffic on Bayswater Road as they were almost obscured by the vegetation.

Then during the last bank holiday weekend,  I became confident enough to bite the bullet. While Hubbie looked on, I unhooked Bella from a lead…

She didn’t run away from us! Thank god.

We brought her favourite ball and played with her. For the first time, we chased after the ball without worrying about being tangled up with her lead and trampling on her…

She is a very skilled defender, I must say.

Her expression tells everything, doesn’t it?

I’m happy!’

Now, we head to the parks almost everyday as long as it is not raining. I am just addicted to see her being so happy, running and rolling on the grass and running back to me with a huge grin on her furry face. We have also updated our training using a small frisbee so she can practice fetching…

She impresses me with the way she anticipates where the disc will land. And 9 out of 10 times, she brings the frisbee back to me.

Another thing I have noticed is a change in her attitude towards me. I used to be very frustrated when she behaved like she was more into other people and objects. She got distracted easily and sometimes, she even ignored me. ‘Why does she behave like that? Doesn’t she know that I love her?’ I used to complain to Hubbie.

After a month of intense training in the park did change her (and me). She has become much more responsive, affectionate and less disruptive. And I definitely feel a bond of trust has been forged between us and it is strengthening every time we work together.

Isn’t freedom wonderful?

I am so proud of us, my furry buddy!

By the way, we saw a helicopter landing on a field nearby this morning when we were playing in Regents Park…​

 

The helicopter was in khaki green, therefore, it must have been a military one? I was hoping it would land near us but it didn’t happen. I guessed it was because there were too many football goal posts in the area…

P.S. I shall resume writing about my mum & daughter road trip soon as my memories of it are becoming less and less vivid! Oh no!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

We miss you…

Bella and I visited Kensington Gardens for a different reason today. We wanted to drop in at the park and lay flowers for Princess Diana because today was the day when the princess died in Paris 20 years ago.

We alighted a bus at the bottom of Kensington Church Street and bought a bouquet of flowers from an open-air florist by the church.

Gilded gate outside the palace was turned into a makeshift shrine for the princess and crowds were gathering around it…

On the same day 20 years ago, I was in Japan, spending my summer holiday with my parents. I still remember clearly what we were doing when the news of her death came in. It was an ordinary sunny Sunday morning and we were watching some news review show on TV. Out of the blue, a guy who was panelling the programme started to listen into his earpiece intently and then announced, ‘Princess Diana seems to be hurt in a traffic accident in Paris.’ My late dad, mum and I looked at each other and uttered ‘Oh my god!’ simultaneously. Then, we saw the same presenter’s expression turned very grave as he received more updates about the princess’s condition. ‘I am afraid to inform you but the princess has died.’ We all lost for words. ‘No, no, NO!’ Princess Diana was very popular in Japan. She was loved because of her beauty and her charity works. We were devastated by the news.

People were reading notes attached to the shrine and laying flowers…

I wanted to come here 20 years ago and mark my respect. Now, I can finally do it, I felt very emotional as I placed my bouquet along the fence.

I never saw her in person but I adored her beauty, especially her warm gaze…

It was difficult to believe that 20 years had passed since she was gone…

She was the best loved British royalty for sure and I miss her very much…

Britain did become a less interesting place since her death. Despite her sons has grown up to be two fine men, they can never match their mother’s star quality and charm. Diana really was one of a kind. She was a treasure.

Lots of media were there to cover how the public were marking their tribute…

BBC, Sky News, CNN, etc, all camping out between the statue of Queen Victoria and Round Pond…

I miss you, Princess Diana. Please rest in peace.

I will never forget you.

Zugspitze Glacier Plateau

Yes, we did speak too soon because it was so bl**dy cold up on the mountain! I lent mum my bomber jacket because the one she brought herself didn’t look warm enough.

Mum with a Bavarian totempole…

The landscape around us was rather grey and barren…

No one was sitting outside because the blustery winds were whipping everything and everyone up…

Mum, no point in hanging around here. Let’s climb to the summit with a cable car, I shepherded her toward a platform of Glatscherbahn cable car…

Can’t wait what we see from the summit! We were soooo excited…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Up the mountain

Another highlight of our road trip was to visit the top of Zugspitze – the highest peak of Bavarian Alps, Wetterstein Mountains. The summit was 2,962 m (9,718 ft) above sea level, and could be accessible by cogwheel train and Gletscherbahn cable car.

We left Garmisch Partenkirchen around eight o’clock after a brief showdown with that old woman at the reception. In the end, she offered to knock off €20 from our bill, and I decided to settle the matter without further haggling or making a scene. Life is too short to be unhappy, especially during our precious road trip, mum and I agreed.

Mum poised on a cogwheel train, waiting for the train to move…

There are a few ways to reach Zugspitze. One way is catching a cogwheel train at Garmisch Partenkirchen. The train stops at Hausberg, Kreuzeck-Alpspitzbahn, Hannerbach, Grainau and Eibsee before starting a serious climbing toward its terminal at Zugspitzplatt. Another way is driving to Eibsee like we did and catching a train from there.

Our train was starting from Eibsee and it was schedule to depart at 9:15…

We managed to find the seats by the driver. We could hardly wait until a driver arrived and started the engine.

At the beginning, the track was surrounding by thick woodland…

The climb was rather slow and laborious. We could feel the cogs underneath our carriages biting into the steel tread between the rails and pulling the load up like a powerful farm horse ploughing a field. I had never been on this type of train, therefore, I was fascinated by how it worked.

Then all of the sudden, the vegetation on our right opened and revealed a breathtaking view of Lake Eibsee on our right. The sight made us realised how high the train had climbed already…​

After Eibsee, there were two loops on otherwise a single track. At each loop, two trains, one ascending and the other descending, waited in order to pass one another.

Our train entered Kleiner Tunnel and stopped. The driver turned off the engine. Apart from the driver, none of us on the train knew what to expect in the tunnel, and we were rather excited when we spotted some bright light in the distance…

The light was of the headlamps of the oncoming train. The train approached towards us very slowly and steadily, like two cars passing each other on a very narrow street.

After the tunnel, the cogwheel train climbed another 1,100m and we arrived at the terminal, Zugspitzplatt…


Despite it was 2588m above sea level, the inside of the terminal station was not at all cold. Mum and I were well prepared for low temperature, therefore, we were a little disappointed…

We won’t need any jacket after all!

Our optimism would vanish into thin air as soon as we stepped out of the building…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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