After a hike of some days up along the long lonely ridges you’d not expect to find three biergartens there at the summit of Zugspitze, let alone enough German tourists to invade the outer Hebrides, but so it is. Trudging under your pack, blissed out from the final ascent, you’d walk amongst the long tables, the contented tourists eating their bretzels and weissewurst and drinking the helles beer while taking in the stupidly magnificent vistas of the triumphant Austrian mountain desolation that seems to hang, somehow, over their heads. Apparently, and news to you, there is an easier way up the mountain. A heated cable car, depositing at cliff edge thirty happy pilgrims every fifteen minutes to enjoy with ease what you’ve gained by three days hard climb. Of course you would never take the easy way—for shouldn’t such a height be less accessible? But after drinking a bright beer in the sun and one more, the distinction between you and the tourists’ll fade away, while far down below the clouds efface all the green valleys of Bavaria.
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