While enjoying a peg of whisky at a pub in Salzburg, and striking up a random conversation with another fellow lonely guzzler, I chanced upon this beautiful place called Zell-am-See. He suggested that I definitely visit that place to get some great shots of the glacier with the lakes and the scenic beauty surrounding it. So I chucked off the small yet straight out of fairytale town of Durnstein and instead modified my itinerary to visit the Kitzsteinhorn glacier.
As usual, I took a train (RE 1504) from Salzburg Hbf for a 1.5 hour journey through the scenic Austrian countryside to Zell am See HBF and from there hopped on to a bus to reach the base of the glacier from where the tickets to the 4 stage funicular are sold. On reaching the base, my heart sank as it was completely cloudy at that location. The clouds were thick with layers of fog to obstruct the view. And to add to my woes, the tickets were pricey too, at 42 EUR for an adult. But hardly did I envisage that this was the only thing which could go wrong. Further miseries were awaiting me. On reaching the 1st level, my inadequacy in planning this day trip, ‘shivered’ through me as I was greeted by the chills of the wind. The only thought which played my mind in an endless loop were my prayers to god in helping me survive this day and in return I shall preach his existence for this lifetime! As I was ascending through the altitude changing cable cars at every level, the wind got more intense in its chill factor. Somewhere in between I was deeply regretting the decision of not carrying my jacket. There were even a few rentals at the 1st level, but I gave them a pass. Upon reaching the final level I was surprised to find that there wasn’t at all windy and that I was pretty comfortable in my t-shirt. My happiness and elation knew no bounds as I was relieved from the fact that I won’t die of frostbite while photographing a glacier. No wonder I drew a lot of stares from the other viewers who were surely mistaking me for a yogi with supernatural powers for surviving the cold. Honestly, even I started believing that indeed I had some!
Armed with a couple of beers to keep myself warm and a jumbo sandwich for breakfast, I started photographing the mountains with a day of the poorest visibility in my entire trip. Obscured by clouds is probably the perfect phrase to describe that day. Nonetheless, I still managed to get some shots to have a place in my personal collection. After the descent, I took the return bus and reached the town center to some magnificent bright and clear skies … sigh! As the sun started burning my skin, I started to explore the town on foot and came across a splendid performance by a local music school. Talented kids and an even more talented teacher showcased their music protégé to the delight of the viewers.
It was an energetic and soulful performance, the soothing notes of the violins, the tone modulations from the singer and of course a cameo by a very young pied piper. The lake surrounding the town was big although the water was not the cleanest. Lots of places to laze relax and enjoy a quiet lunch. Oh, and the ducks might want a share of your lunch too. Be friendly and share with them too!