February 21, 2008:
You read right! We were primed all day long by our friends about Rodeln. This was certainly going to be a hair raising way to finish the day. If I'd been told at the start of the day that by the end of the day I'd be careering down a mountain on a few sticks stuck together - I probably would have laughed and said no way!!
Rodeln or tobogganing in the town of Neukirchen basically means launching yourself from the top of a mountain on a 14km long course, this one is dubbed as being one of the longest luge runs in the world. The altitude difference from the start to finish is 1,300 metres.
It began with a 15 minute walk up to the start of the Rodelbahn from the gondola station at Wildkogel, from where we enjoyed the spectacular glow on the horizon after sunset.
After a few quick pics at the top, it was launch time! We were doing a night run which means the course is intermittently lit up with artificial lighting. All the way down we had stupendous views over the valley and of the town of Neukirchen with the pretty town lights sparkling, that was in between screaming and loosing control of our toboggans on the bends - at least me anyway.
A little over half way down, there was a cafe/bar where we gathered with our friends and enjoyed a warming mug of jaegertee (or two, or was it three?). The rest of the trip down was a little blurry - I guess it was three jaegertee! (BTW: Jaegertee is a mixture of rum and black tea, and also contains sugar and spices).
After about an hour or so we were finally nearing the base of the run - and that was where it got really interesting!! The last little bend in the course spills everyone out onto the last stretch - an extra wide run which is literally straight down. After a little debating, coaching from Rolf, and cursing from me, we took the bull by the horns (so to speak), and launched ourselves over the edge. What a rush!!!! There was no stopping our ponies on this little stretch it's a matter of simply holding on until it stops!
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