Die Zugspitze

October 29, 2009

My guest father works with a large tea distributing company. He is responsible for presenting all the new teas to all his customers, which are usually hotels and hospitals.

He often says, “Meine Arbeit ist wie Urlaub!” followed by a contagious laugh… (my work is like a vacation)

Everyday, with the company car, he drives to a different city in Germany, no matter how far. Its the perfect job for him because in the army he drove large munitions and oil trucks. Then he got a job as a Munich taxi driver, so hes been working with autos his whole life.

This is also great for me and my roomates because:

We get to try all the finest varieties of teas from around the world and as much as we want too!

Lastly, we get to hitch a ride with him whenever we want and since the company pays for gas and he leaves from our house it makes things a lot easier.

And this is where my story begins… Thursday night, my guest fathers offers to take my roomate and me to Garmisch, a small Bavarian dorf in the Alps that is well known because it is home to Germany’s tallest peak, die Zugspitze. Naturally we agreed to skip school and go skiing. We left at 8:30 am the next day and drove a little over 100 km on the Autobahn at 200 kph. Its always a pleasure to speed in a car, especially when it is absolutely legal. When we arrived, me and my roomate took the Zahnradbahn, an old fashioned cog wheel train, to accend the mountain.

At just under 3000 meters, you can see far into Austria and Southern Germany. We also lucked out because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining bright. Once we got to the peak, we rented our skiing gear and suited up. The problem was already clear: the powerful sun was melting the top layer, creating a hard ice shield. We hit the beautiful slopes, but after 20 minutes, I was being towed on the anquor lift, marveling the perfect weather, when suddenly I placed my stick at an angle with my left ski and fell to the icy ground. I had to get up and put my ski back in position on a steep incline; never an easy task.

So I came down from the halfway mark and when I got to the line to reascend, I noticed that my thumb was numb and I wasn’t able to grasp anything with my hand. I ripped off my glove and immediatly saw that it was broken. So much for a relaxing day… It was alright because I was taken by the ski clinic to there base and given a temporary splint. In Germany, medications are fiercely controlled, so when I asked for a tylonel to dampen the pain, naturally they denied. Instead, they had beer… Typical Bavaria!

Though I suffered some pain, it was worth it because the view and surrounding city was so spectacular. I found out later that in the Alps they have large St. Brenard dogs who carry a bottle of schnapps around their necks and find injured snow tourists. When they do, the injured person can take a swig from the bottle to keep them warm and use it as a disinfectant if they have open wounds.

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