>”St. Nicholas Dive” in Bavaria

My beau and I took part in a dive in Starnberger See last weekend, in which I got to try out a dry suit in the cold, cold lake. The water was 5° Celsius, the weather was crappy, my face and hands (in neoprene gloves) were numb from the cold, but you know what, I had a great time. I managed a 20 minute look-around (there is really nothing there but sand and grass, and a few stumps), before emerging and being treated to hot Glühwein, Grillwürstchen and good company.
One particular thing which I enjoy about diving; once I’m underwater, I forget about everything else that’s going on in my life. I begin to live completely in the moment, and as I’m still a novice diver, being underwater becomes a real test of second-by-second concentration: steady breathing, maintaining a stable buoyancy, pressure equalization, not kicking up sediment, responding to my buddy, steady breathing, maintaining a stable buoyancy, pressure equalization, not kicking up sediment….it’s still an endless cycle of “working at it” for me, of high concentration. My beau, a much more experienced diver, compares this living-in-the-moment to the “flow” in which one finds oneself during an exceptionally beautiful passage of music. It’s a bliss, a euphoria, a way of feeling at one with yourself and with the world. That’s him in the photo, on the right. He’s just been made Divemaster, and I am very proud of him!

>Part 2

>Now we’re climbing at a pretty good speed, up to the “Mittelstation”, near the Alpenzoo.

At the top, another animé sea monster…
The fog gives the impression of a descent into nothingness.
I know nothing about how cable cars work, but I found these hub-cap-like wheels interesting.

>A ride on the new Bahn, Part 1

>I took some time this week to try out the new Hungerburgbahn, and came away a satisfied customer! Above is the Kongresshaus Station, the “bottom end” of the thing. You begin underground, much like a normal subway…
then emerge at the “Lowenhaus” Station right before crossing the bridge (with its two tall concrete “needles” over the Inn.
Once across the river the tracks descend once more into the earth,
and go down aways before a steep uphill climb to the surface.
(Continued in next post)

>The New Hungerburgbahn is Open

>UPDATE: On December 6 2007 I posted photos of my first ride on the new Hungerburgbahn, so you can see the whole experience. It runs every day until around 7pm, a round-trip ticket costs 4,50€ for “locals” (but they did not ask me for any ID.) I’m guessing it costs under 6,00€ for the tourists. And speaking of tourists, this is an excellent thing to do if you want an Alpine view but don’t care to take the ski lift all the way up. (And it’s wheelchair accessible!) Get out at the Gasthaus Lowenhaus on your way back for a nice warm drink.

Innsbruck has replaced its old Hungerburgbahn incline railway with a shiny new cutting-edge rail line. There’s been plenty of controversy about the need for a new one at all, when the old one worked perfectly well, etc.
I like it. The stations are supposed to resemble ice forms; they also look a bit like Japanese anime sea monsters to me. In the daytime you can see that the translucent outer tiles are a pale green, similar to the chalky green of the river Inn. The architect, the renowned Zaha Hadid, also designed Innsbruck’s space-ship ski jump.
I went to the grand opening party yesterday evening, but it was pretty crowded and getting more so every minute, so I just took a few snapshots and left. Can’t wait to take a ride on the thing, though!