Innsbruck: The Hafelekar

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Innsbruck: The Hafelekar

Situated 2,334 meters above sea level, the Hafelekar peak is magnificent on a clear day, with beautiful views of the Inn Valley. The rounded mountain opposite you, with the radio transmitter, is the Patscherkofel. You can look into the limestone wilderness of the Karwendel Mountains. Usually, there's enough snow for a snowball fight, and occasionally a mountain goat. (There's a small bar on top.)

(COURIER: warn your people that the ground is treacherous, and the air is thin, so take it easy if you plan to do much hiking. Remind the students not to lose their tickets; they'll need the tickets for the cablecar ride back down.)

The initial stage of the ascent is by funicular railway: the railway is nearly 100 years old. At the base of the mountain is a large circular building, the Riesenrundgemalde: a panorama of Andreas Hofer's famous victory over the Napoleonic French and Bavarian armies at Berg Isel. You get off the funicular at the Hungerburg, the first stage. Then a cablecar takes you up to Seegrube (the second stage), and another cablecar takes you to the Hafelelar, one of the highest points of the Nordkette Range (the southernmost ridge of the Karwendel Mountains).

It's Frau Hitt, a wicked giant queen who was turned to stone for refusing to give bread to beggars, and throwing it away instead.

Another creature to be found on the Hafelekar is the Kasermandl, a mountain-spirit who steals cheese from the Sennhutten (summer-pasture mountain huts) and cooks it in pots while singing; is generally benevolent as long as the cheese supply is not cut off.

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