The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320


October 27, 2006

Regularity

As you climb the Lindkogel, an 847m (2780ft) hill near the town of Baden south of Vienna, you pass two wooden benches at the side of the footpath about 20 minutes before you reach the Eisernes Tor (Iron Gate) which marks the peak of the hill. Interestingly, inscriptions have been carved into the wood on both benches.

The inscription on the left bench says "Haserl-Bank" ("bunnyrabbit bench"), and I have no idea (nor do I really want to know) what this is supposed to signify.

The other bench has a longish text on it, a commemorative inscription in honour of somebody named Franz Nussbaumer, who in the year 2001, at the age of 85, apparently "defeated the Iron Gate" for the 8000th time. Which I take it means that Mr Nussbaumer climbed that hill (essentially a three-hour hike) 8000 times.

I calculated that this means that Mr Nussbaumer either first climbed the hill at age 20 and then returned every third day; or that he first climbed the hill at age 42 and then returned every other day; or that he started climbing the hill at age 63 and then climbed the hill every day. Either option has a somewhat spooky dimension about it.

Frighteningly, unless he was the postman delivering the mail to the inn at the top of the hill and decided to do it on foot, the last and spookiest option seems to be the most likely one since you can only climb hills on a daily basis once you're in retirement.

Of course Mr Nussbaumer's feat (and no doubt his physical condition) is rather impressive, commendable and certainly worthy of receiving a commemorative inscription on a bench. Still, trying to figure out the exact motivation behind climbing the same hill 8000 times over a 20-year period is a perfect enigma, at least as far as I am concerned.

The Iron Gate, by the way, is the most disappointing thing I've ever seen on top of a hill.

Posted by Horst on October 27, 2006 08:39 PM to creatures great & small | Tell-a-friend
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dieter said on October 30, 2006 09:54 AM:

My guess: He lives near the foot of that hill, and he had some kind of a serious health condition round the age of 63. He went up the hill to prove to himself and everybody around him that he can still make it. And since that day, walking up the hill gave him the feeling of still being alive. Well something like that, anyways...

Jann said on October 30, 2006 02:40 PM:

dieter, your explanation makes sense. In fact, it sounds like the kind of thing my father would do.

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