Everyone grab your magnifying glass and let’s examine that last picture shall we. See that faint snow capped mounting in the background? Yeah?.. OK great. This is the scariest place on earth to travel to in a cable car.
When I booked my trip to the Alps I only clicked my way onto the Aguille Du Midi (the cable car) through my Hotel as it is literally next door and has a walk way straight through (Convenient… I think so!) On paper it looked alright; what’s a cable car ride up a mountain, it only goes for 20 minutes so it mustn’t be far, it will be something to do while I’m there I guess. The Aguille Du Midi is actually Europe’s highest cable car giving you views of the Italian, Swiss & French Alps from it’s peak.
Holy. Scared. At first I thought nothing of it, I would be fine. But when a cable car can go that quickly, up that steep, it gets a little scary. It actually stops half way (for the wimps) where you have to get out and continue on up the mountain. Not going to lie, it actually crossed my mind that I could just get off there and go back down. No one would know.. I had no company.. I didn’t make any statements to anyone that I was going to go up this thing. But after paying 55 euros I figured I may as well suck it up and so I did. There are a couple of sections where you cross the metal structures supporting the whole thing where the car swings from side to side. No warning, your belly just flips and you freak out in front of 50 other strangers packed into the plastic carriage. The end is the worst… you think it’s finally over after speeding up the hill and then you get about 50 meters from the top where you’re no longer cruising into the structure at the peak, but rather are getting pulled up ever so slowly vertically. It was so. slow. Nothing gets you nervous like being suspended 4000 meters in the air with nothing but a sheet of plastic between you and the Alps where you are likely to die and no one will know because no one knows you actually went up the stupid thing in the first place and you should have just stayed at the Wimp level but no, you had to keep going, and now you have instant regret and wish you had lunch before coming up so at least you could die and go to heaven with a full belly.
You get a brilliant welcome when you step out of the cable car, the altitude and the freezing cold slapping you right in the face. I instantly got wobbly legs and to make things worse there was sleet covering a lot of the walk ways making it a slip and slide for all. Despite the journey and the shock of being up there it got amazing. Real quick.
Photos don’t do it any justice and after taking a few I put my camera away (to avoid frostbite) and just looked. A guy standing beside me on the viewing deck perfectly phrased it to his girlfriend “just put the camera away, those photos suck anyway and just enjoy it.” So I did. I cured my nerves with a Heineken at the restaurant and stared out of the windows while I caught my breath and tried to calm down. I got myself together and then starting the journey to head back down.
Cathedrals and parks are wonderful but it’s seeing things like this in real life that really take your breathe away. Seriously. I couldn’t breathe properly up there.