Inhaling the crisp morning air, I paused to take a moment and appreciate my surroundings. The snow that covered the ground in every direction. The mountain peaks that emerged from behind the clouds with each breath of wind to remind me of how huge things are in this world and how small we are. The trees, their roots stabilising them under the weight of the freshly fallen snow making the scene in front of me look like one I had only ever seen in photographs.
And then I ran. Because this feeling I had was one that comes along so infrequently in our daily lives. It was the pure joy, the kind that you experience as a child. The joy that comes with no responsibilities, or doubts. The joy that makes you just want to be. So I ran and I skipped through the fresh snow, making the first footprints of the day and knowing that there was no other place in the world right at that moment that I would rather be.
Did I expect this kind of clarity and childlike happiness to materialise on top of a snow covered mountain on the border of Germany and Austria? No. Not at all actually. But that is the beauty of travel, you never know what experience will evoke emotion and what feelings will stay with you long after the moment itself has passed.
I spoke last week about my time in the enchanting town of Füssen in Germany. One of the things that I mentioned in that post that I think is an absolute must do when visiting, is to take a ride on the cable car to the top of Tegelberg. I would expect your experience to be different to mine, but I think it is something that you should do, if nothing else for the incredible panoramic views.
The Tegelbergbahn (cable car) is located in Schwangau, 10 minutes drive from the town of Füssen. There are a couple of ways to get there without your own car, either by taking the bus from the train station or by taxi. We opted for the taxi option so that we could arrive at opening time rather than wait for the bus. The taxi left from right next to the bus stop and was a flat fare costing €14 one way. To get back to Füssen we took the bus allowing us to stop off again to visit the castles.
Being December, the winter weather was quite unpredictable. I had already learnt throughout our journey that the weather forecasts could not be relied upon as the weather was subject to change every hour. For that reason I found it was always best to be prepared for the worst. The original reason for riding the Tegelbergbahn was in search of another angle of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, plus I can never really say no to a cable car ride.
We paid our €20.50 each for a ticket, and crossed our fingers that the what we would see would be worth the time and money.
As we got in the first cable car up of the day, it became apparent that the rain overnight had left the cable car windows covered in drips which would make photography very difficult on the ride up. As the cable car ascended the 892 meters rapidly towards the top, the car rattled and made a cracking sound as it scraped past the icy lines.
You can’t actually see the castles from the top of the mountain, only during the journey. So while I struggled to capture the perfect scene that was laid out in front of me, the cable car operator was nice enough to open the window, letting in the fresh mountain air (and some of the falling ice from the line). Unfortunately (and it happens all the time) I was not tall enough to get my camera to the level of the open window, so I had to pass control over to Jarryd to click away while I hoped I had it on the right settings!
The above photo was through the window, and the below one was out the window.
Once at the top, I literally forgot everything else that I had come to do. Taking the first steps through fresh powder snow, looking around at the trees, I felt entirely transported to another world.
After about 10 minutes of me running around, in awe and disbelief at the scene in front of me, the clouds departed and the brightest blue sky appeared. And that was when I got my first glance of the enormous mountain peaks that surrounded us.
While we were still taking in the beauty of our surroundings, a German guy yelled out to us in broken English. He was planning on proposing to his girlfriend and needed a hand. So with our assistance to film the proposal so they could forever capture that moment, she said yes looking out on the incredible Bavarian landscape.
I told you, every person’s experience will be different, but with views like that you never know what will happen!
Time had completely left me, and while we originally expected to catch the next cable car back down, we ended up spending close to 2 hours running around in the snow, taking photos and making the most of the clean mountain air and the feeling it inspired.
I think what I love the most about travelling is the experiences that you just don’t expect. The moments that capture you entirely in that moment and make you forget about the worries of your everyday life. They open you up to a world so far from your own that you literally have nothing left to do but hold onto that feeling and know just how lucky you are to be right there in that moment.