Unwise Tourists Insult My Intelligence

Many years ago I traveled to Salzburg, Austria.  I highly recommend it unless you suffer from acrophobia.  This Alpine city’s tourist attractions often require transport to high places and the World of the Ice Giants was no different.

In case you’re wondering, the World of the Ice Giants is an ice cave and you can catch a tour bus to get there after you arrive in Salzburg.  And be prepared to meet some fascinating people on the bus.  For example, one terribly acrophobic fellow brought his family on the cave tour because he figured that a cave wouldn’t trigger his fears.  Don’t ask me why he was vacationing in the mountains…


The funicular. (Photo credit: barbaraluef)

If you have ever visited the Austrian Alps, you probably remember the narrow winding roads that overlook steep falls.  Most of us enjoyed those until the roads could take us no farther.  Then a truly unique funicular took us up to the next level.  It was the world’s steepest and the views were amazing if you weren’t afraid of them.

Unfortunately, the funicular doesn’t take you to the cave’s entrance. You have to walk up a long and winding dirt road that overlooks even more cliffs. Only a minimal wood fence separates you from your death as you ascend.

Ice cave entrance

The cave entrance. (Photo credit: Suniltg)

Werfen - Eisriesenwelt

The path to the cave entrance. (Photo credit: egonwegh)

And then we finally reached the cave. The acrophobe was relieved, just for a moment, that his agony had ended. But caves are funny things. When you picture a cave, you probably think of something you enter through the front and traverse by just walking forward. Not so with this one. Mother Nature has a sense of humor and gave us a magnificent vertical cave.

The interior of the caves

Inside the caves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think we spent at least 20 minutes walking upstairs on our cave tour then then 20 minutes walking back down.  In a cave full of ice.  And ice is not slippery.

Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves

Looking out from the cave. (Photo credit: Dale Harvey)

And then it was back down the path and to the funicular.  And that’s where the acrophobe finally proclaimed that he couldn’t go any farther.  Once his wife explained that he couldn’t stay there, she took a photo of him so his mother would believe that he had actually ventured so high.  (The man had his grown children with him, so the mention of his mother was precious.)

And on our way down I’m sure he cursed himself for not paying enough attention to details in the tourist brochures.


7 thoughts on “Unwise Tourists Insult My Intelligence

  1. My wife is a rather severe acrophobe – she even gets woozy looking up at tall things – an I’m of the persuasion mountains were made so they could be climbed. I also believe couples should do things together. Strangely enough, she handles going down much better than going up.

    Of course, she’s also severely claustrophobic, so on our honeymoon we went on a tour of the Cango caves in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. We took the adventure route and she only chickened out on the very last bit.

    I’m slowly curing her, but this mountain/cave-combo might be just a tad too much. I’d still love to go there. The view must be amazing.

      • Seeing as a European holiday for me and the missus will equal around four months’ salary you can be sure it will be thoroughly planned. Another place in the Alps I’d like to visit is Interlaken in Switzerland. My folks were there last year and it looks amazing.

        • I’ve been there twice and it was wonderful both times. Once in summer and once in winter.

          Just be careful to remember that insurance usually doesn’t cover a lot of the adventure sports.

          There’s also one “hostel” there that caters to the family-and-non-party crowd. If you’re looking to save money and don’t mind having really basic accommodations, its worth checking out. I think it was called Sonnenhof. (You and your wife could get a private room, but probably not a private bathroom.) I would stay there again.

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