“What song is this?”
“Be as you are by Mike Posner,” my sister tells me.
“Oh B S U R, like the letters?”
“No, BE AS YOU ARE, but wah… B S U R… that was clever of him.”
“No, I’m the clever one!”
“Why? He was the one who made the song title…”
“But I was the one who misunderstood You,” I said, grinning.
“Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It’s the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all.” ― Guy de Maupassant
Today was supposedly the last ‘good weather day’, so Dad suggested we immerse ourselves in as many outdoor activities as we can before we possibly have to stay cooped up indoors for the next few days. Solution: Kaprun for the thrill of a Maiskogel Maisiflitzer luge (Sommerrodelbahn) ride and Bad Gastein for the healing mist of a waterfall.
Strapped up in luge no. 8, I was — clackety clack clackety clack — brought up through a distance of 750m before I was left to survive a 1300m gravity ride winding around in dizzying circles down to the valley. It was fast, refreshing and awakening; it was said that it is possible to reach a maximum speed of 40km/h! I wasn’t allowed to take any footage while on the ride, but I
was am a rebel, hey. 😉
After disembarking from my little vehicle, I stationed myself safely below the metal construction, helping Mum, Dad and Sis capture shots of them riding down the luge. I was initially confused as to why they arrived at the same time, one after another, without any gaps between them at all despite the mandatory gap of at least 25m between each luge that we were told about! I later found out that Mum freaked out so much and braked so hard that she lost all momentum at one point and had to wait for my sister to come and push her (which isn’t allowed). That didn’t work out too well and Dad came into the picture, leaving my sister tightly sandwiched between the two of them!
Here is a video of the entire ride which I found on YouTube!
Lunch was at Gut Edelweiss, a little complex complete with a restaurant, hotel and stables, where I caught a horse yawning! Over lunch, Dad shared with us how to bring up herding dogs — the pup must be given birth to in the midst of sheep and subsequently, the pup will live amongst the sheep for a couple of weeks.
Known as ‘the Monte Carlo of the Alps’, Bad Gastein is picturesquely situated in a high valley of the Hohe Tauern mountain range and is known for the Gastein Waterfall, about 1,000 metres above sea level, and is characterised by numerous historic multi-story hotel buildings erected on the steep slopes.
The name “Bad” means “spa”, reflecting the town’s history as a health resort. The local Heilstollen (literally ‘healing tunnel’) thermal spring water earned the town its early fame. Theophrastus Paracelsus had studied the spring water to discover its secrets. Marie Curie and Heinrich Mache helped to discover that it contained radon and as a result radon therapy began in the town!
Radon inhalation therapy at the Gasteiner Heilstollen began as a result of further investigation into the anecdotal experiences of silver miners who noticed improvements in symptoms from various ailments including arthritis. Ankylosing spondylitis (also known as Bekhterev’s disease), in particular, has seen positive results from treatment at the Heilstollen.
Dad wanted to explore it all and, after a quick refuel, we ventured to the bottom of the valley where I saw the most beautiful yoga location which was unoccupied then, and where we took turns for pictures with the majestic waterfall at its base — the waterfall was spewing mist at us in great volumes and boy was it cooling and ever so energising. Meanwhile, Dad battled with a pea of a pebble… 🙈
I slept the whole ride back to Zell am See, waking up briefly when we bought some fruits from Maxi to give our mountain neighbour, the Schwaiger family, during our visit later that evening — a visit that was nothing short of warmth, acceptance and appreciation.
“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.” — Alice Waters