A DAY ON TOP OF THE WORLD ✕ DACHSTEIN

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Ending the year on a high, in the truest sense of the word.

It's said that you should always try to end things on a high.

Your night out, that TV series that should realise that this season needs to be its last, the year that was. Well when it comes to that last one, we couldn't have ended 2017 on more of a high if we tried - high above the clouds atop Austria's highest mountain peak.

Of course I only saw this parallel when I was looking back through the photos of this day. At the time I was too busy concentrating on whether I was going to survive to see in 2018 and on not looking down. 

New Year's Eve saw us drive through the tree-lined, snow-covered countryside of the Austrian alps to the Dachstein Glacier. A UNESCO World Heritage site majestically perched on the highest mountain in Styria and boasts a mind-blowing view that stretches as far as the Czech Republic and Slovenia. The challenge? Putting my faith in a single wire and cable car to carry us safely up the 3,000m to reach it. And not even from inside the walls of the cable car, but standing on its roof, drop-top style, while it lifted us into the heavens.

It was then that I learnt the trick to getting over a fear of heights: Go somewhere with views so unbelievably spectacular that you can't peel your eyes away for long enough to look down or realise just how high you are. 

But the thrills at Dachstein didn't end when we clambered out of the cable car onto solid ground. Among Dachstein's snowy peaks hangs a suspension bridge that joins two sheer rock faces with nothing but an almighty drop below, as well as a viewing platform and a glass-bottomed stairway that lead you out into nothingness. There are also ski pistes for those that want to feel like they're gliding on the clouds while they're high up above them, and an all-important café - where you can either admire the view from a safe and warm distance, or gain a little liquid courage in the form of Glühweins or Irish coffees before venturing out. 

While a love and loathing of heights meant our group of four was often split up, there was one spot where we all agreed there was nowhere else we'd rather be - sitting on top of a snowy ledge, staring out over the pinch-yourself view and popping a bottle of Veuve and raise a glass to the year that was and to the year to come. 

2017 had already been a great 365 days, but bidding it adieu from the pinnacle of Der Dachstein - talk about a show-stopping finale.

Keep scrolling down. Trust me, you're going to want to see this. 

j x

 

 

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Where

Above the town of Ramsau au Dachstein in the Austrian state of Styria.

WHEN

If you can, try to head to Dachstein on a beautiful day so you can get a crystal clear view over the Alps.

Open daily but as the hours differ by season, be sure to check the opening times before you go.

HOW MUCH

A cable car ticket (to take you up and down) will cost an adult €38 but it will be the €38 you've possibly ever spent.

 

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