3 slow weeks in Bavaria

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Sep 20th, 2018, 11:54 PM
  #1
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3 slow weeks in Bavaria

We are part way through our trip, and I sleep poorly when travelling so have been updating my notes for a report as I go (often at 3am, so forgive my grammar)...


Disclaimer: this is possibly of little interest to many travellers (no fairytale castles or Oktoberfest), but I hope I can convince some of the delights of slow travel in Bavaria - not necessarily just the “top 3” kind of trip, especially non Europeans who don’t realise how efficient and cheap the public transport is and how charming many lesser known, small towns are.


Anyway, we are on a 3 week father / daughter trip from Australia - it is bit of a sentimental journey, likely last visit with his 84 year old sister, who lives in north Bavaria.


My parents are east German. He escaped as a teenager and met my mother in Australia in a migrant camp. They have returned several times since and done a lot of other travel.


I went to Europe with my mother when she was in her 70’s, partly for a Chemnitz based school reunion; then I had several years of trips with my husband and boys, somehow life got busy and Dad got old.


We started this years’ sentimental journey in the outback, revisiting our early years in outback opal mining towns where we lived underground, without running water or electricity, dirt floor, and a long drop toilet (my mother had a baby and a toddler).

It was an interesting trip down memory lane and a reminder of how quickly life passes by.



Anyway, onto this next chapter.


So, it’s his turn. He is 81 years old, but fit and active, fiercely independent, unfortunately fairly blind. (I wear a high visibility putrid yellow scarf when in train stations so he can identify me in a crowd)


This was slow travel by choice, I am not limited by him. In fact, he has plenty of stamina and is a great traveller, accepts the inevitable boring bits/ delays/ last minute changes better than I.


I am not a fast traveller anyway, and like walking, so based in smaller towns that I got to choose - charming architecture, pleasant walks in nature - plus the city bases which were dictated by where my cousins live.


So: flight Adelaide-Singapore-Munich and head directly to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

A bit of a long slog. About 34 hours, door to door. Neither of us sleep on planes.


The plan:

5 nights in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for some lovely walks in an alpine wonderland. Jetlag recovery time. A cousin joining us for a few days.

Then to Nuremberg and stay with another cousin. Aunt meeting us there. I will take them to Schwäbisch Hall for 3 nights. Bit more time in Nuremberg and surrounds, then to Munich to yet another cousin, and some daytrips, possibly Landsberg am Lech, then 2 nights in Hall (Tirol).


Previous visits to lovely Mittenwald (3 times, 10 nights) so have enjoyed a lot of the local walks, Leutaschklamm, Karwendelbahn, Krun to Mittenwald walk, day trips to Ga Pa for Zugspitze, Alpspitze, and Partnachklamm.

On other visits to the region and nearby have also stayed in Füssen, Salzburg, visited Berchtesgaden and Hallstatt.

Have had several visits to Munich (we stay in the eastern suburbs), and we once went to the Landshut hochzeit (re-enactment of a medieval wedding), might see the Residenz this time.


Nuremberg (we stay in cousin’s apartment, convenient, near Plärrer station, city centre, castle, cousin’s shared, rented ‘Grundstück’, have access to bikes)

Friends in nearby Lauf have taken us to nearby Forchheim, Gößweinstein, and beautiful Würzburg previously. Also visited Bamberg, Rothenburg.


(On my ‘mother-daughter’ trip 8 years ago we were based in Chemnitz -her childhood home- and we visited Kohren Sahlis, Dresden, Meissen, little towns, spa of Bad Schlema, Annaberg Buchholz)


Aunt lives in a tiny place near Hof, very north Bavaria. Have been to Coburg and Bayreuth while there previously.


I mention these other places as they are all delightful, and were easily combined with a more standard German itinerary, thanks to amazing public transport.


While we stayed with family a bit, there were a few booked accommodations, so will detail them in between.
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:00 AM
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Day1:

Destination: Garmisch-Partenkirchen


Arrived 6:40am, quick passport control and baggage claim, bought Werdenfels ticket for 2 from airport to GaPa, took S Bahn to Hauptbahnhof and were on the 8:32 regional train to GaPa, a 1:5 hour train ride. (Probably not so full as those using Bavaria tickets for Zugspitze day trips are limited to post 9am travel).


Lovely train ride, rich green meadows, forests, farms, lakes, mountains in the distance, the soft morning light so calming, great sense of anticipation. Happily arriving several hours earlier than expected, thanks to the slick service at Munich airport. Arrived at our lovely guesthouse by 10am as it is 5 min from station.


Where we stayed - Garmisch-Partenkirchen 5 nights in Alpenkranz Guesthouse Guest house Alpenkranz - Rooms

€40 per single room, per night, including breakfast (what a bargain)

Our guesthouse is located in a suburban street (a converted home), and thankfully let us in early. We each had comfortable single rooms, Dad even got a little balcony with geraniums. Lovely breakfast room and garden.



Guesthouse on this street
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:06 AM
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Ludwigstrasse


Ludwigstrasse
Perfect sunny morning, clear mountains. Walked around the Ludwigstrasse area, enjoyed the gardens, the intermittent mountain views, the historic buildings. Picked a nice looking restaurant (Gasthof zum Rassen) for an outdoor lunch of salad with pfifferlinge mushrooms, and a bread dumpling with a cream pfifferlinge sauce, washed down with a cold beer (€41 for a very substantial lunch for 2), really pleasant, a bit of people watching and Dad was chatted to (or chatted up?) by an 88 year old local lady on a walker, sharing her hip replacement problems. Her strong Bavarian dialect a bit challenging to follow.


We were flagging by then, but not wanting to nap, we headed to the other historic section of town in Garmisch end, searching for a Vodafone store (no SIM cards available until Wednesday apparently), then wandered through the lovely Kurpark, the church, the bustling streets, such a busy place for a Monday. Beautiful weather and lots of hard core grey haired hikers and bikers about, plus a tour group, this is like Mittenwald but on steroids.


Great mountain hiking trails, nice gorges (Partnachklamm and Höllentalklamm) and lakes, lots of eateries and shopping, easy travel to Linderhof, Ettal, Oberammergau, Mittenwald, an excellent base.


Bought some local chocolates from the Amelie store, an apfelschorle drink (soda and apple juice), and headed back.


Met my cousin who was joining us for 2 nights, they had driven 800 km, live near Berlin. Pleasant catch up in the guesthouse garden, then out for dinner (Zum Steiner Sepp restaurant) Dad had a Matjesfilet sandwich and I had a smoked salmon tartare with potato pancakes, really delicious. Cousin had a bread dumpling with pfifferlinge sauce and her husband a steak, pan fried potatoes and onions. Great meal in outdoor garden, except for nearby smokers.

About €12-20 for main courses, steaks more, of course.
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:14 AM
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Day 2:

A substantial breakfast in a lovely dining room, boiled egg, variety of breads and jams, cheeses, cold meats, fruit, yoghurt, muesli, juice, coffee. Lovely china. Really unexpected, given the price. Very enjoyable start to the day.


Another warm and sunny morning, so headed to the Eibsee for a walk around the lake. An easy 7.5 km stroll, lots of walkers with dogs, people swimming, or boating, sunbathing on the little beaches. So gorgeous. The forest, the turquoise water, the mountains (hard to photograph with an automatic camera due to the glare).


Stopped in Grainau nearby for a lunch in the Dorfplatz at the Wirsthaus zum Dorfbrunnen. I had a hearty fried potato, egg, pork dish, the others had wurst and sauerkraut, gulaschsuppe, with beers and espressos (€50 for 4). Wait staff kindly arranged smaller portions for us. Lovely food and setting. Charming little town, we enjoyed a wander to the church, had ice creams, poked about the tiny stores selling local products (bought honey and cheese from the cheese alm, and some items from a herbal/ medicinal producer).


Returned about 6 pm to freshen up for dinner. A perfect day.


We were a bit late getting into the restaurant district without a booking. We were eventually accommodated at a typical Bavarian restaurant, the Flößerstube, but portions were huge and the outdoor dining on this balmy night was spoiled by the smokers. I ordered a ‘Fitness Salad’ as I certainly didn’t need a heavy meal, the others had spaetzle, schnitzel, deer goulash and dumplings (4 beers, 2 glasses wine, 4 main courses €76). Enjoyed the shop windows on our way home.



Walk around Eibsee


Eibsee


Beautiful, easy walk about 7 km
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:21 AM
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Where we lunched in Grainau


Grainau


So lucky with weather


Shopping! Lovely cheeses.
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:27 AM
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Oops tagged Bosnia-Herzegovina, definitely not going there...
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:29 AM
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Hallo A!

Fantastic start for your report! Enjoyed getting a review of the personal history and backstory -- just fascinating!

s
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:30 AM
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Oh my! What great photos!

s
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:39 AM
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Hi swandav, we had an awesome first 2 days, you live in a great part of the world!
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Sep 21st, 2018, 12:51 AM
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Can't argue....
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Sep 21st, 2018, 01:01 AM
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Path from Riessersee to cablecar station
Day 3:

Farewelled cousin, before meeting up with Fodorite regular, swandav, who had given me fabulous advice over the years and kindly joined us for a walk to the Riessersee then on to the Alpspitzbahn. A gorgeous 2 hour walk, from suburban streets, along Zugspitzbahn line via the meadows, then uphill through forest to the small Riessersee, and on to the Alpspitzbahn station where we parted (meeting for lunch another day). Great to meet you, swandav!


The Alpspitzbahn ride option we chose was the Garmisch-Classic at €27 each (ascent on Alpspitzbahn and descent on Kreuzeckbahn). Stupendous views on this sunny day from Alpspix viewing platform, then we walked the Adventure trail. Probably a bit steep and slippery for a vision impaired elderly person, I was hanging on to his belt a few times! This took us less than 2 hours of slow walking.


Stopped at the Kreuzeckhaus for lunch, weisswurst for him, and a goats cheese and salad plate (really excellent, this had radish, carrot, potato salad, red and white cabbage salad, fabulous goats cheese) and a beer each €23.


Our guesthouse provided the GaPa card, so our bus ride back was free.


We were able to get SIM cards today €40 each, need to wait 24 hours to activate.



Riessersee


Beautiful walking path


Rural landscape near Alpspitzbahn station
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Sep 21st, 2018, 01:10 AM
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Heading up on the Alpspitzbahn


Another gorgeous day


Walking path


Lots of walkers


Kreuzeckhaus for wonderful lunch
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Sep 21st, 2018, 01:45 AM
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Enjoying the start to your report and looking forward to reading more about your travels. Based on a previous trip report you did we spent a few days in Mittenwald at the end of a month long holiday and loved it. Also enjoy seeing your photos on Flickr!
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Sep 21st, 2018, 02:53 AM
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Thanks, four maccas...we have a mutual love of Bavaria ...
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Sep 21st, 2018, 03:02 AM
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Day 4:

Long leisurely breakfast. Only heard German spoken at this guesthouse. Very quiet at breakfast, our host doing an amazing job with table service for about 14 guests.


Forecast is for rain, so packing our jackets. Taking the bus to Ettal abbey, 20 min ride away (free with GaPa card). Being 5 mins from train station and bus stop is very convenient.


Good signage at train station, no problems finding the stop and timetable easy to follow. I always checked options on the DB App beforehand, so knew what frequency and connections were available. (There is a Deutschebahn office in the train station if anyone needs help with timetabling or routing.)

It was a really pretty bus ride, through the valley to Oberau, before climbing up along a mountain road.


Ettal is another very cute village, surrounded by forests and mountains, and gets streams of visitors thanks to the stupendous Ettal Monastery, a Benedictine Abbey. There is a monastic brewery, distillery and cheese making facility on site. There is no cost to enter the basilica, so with our free bus ride, free entry and walk in the nearby forest, we had quite a cheap day! There are guided tours that include the library and apartments (need booking). 50 resident monks live and work on site. We have visited an Australian monastery where my husband’s cousin is a monk, but their numbers are dwindling and recruitment is difficult. Interesting to see the similar monastic business opportunities with brewing and school trip excursions in vastly different settings (the Australian outback monastery was founded by Spanish monks, and is in a terribly harsh environment).


We had a pleasant lunch of pasta with a beer (€12.50 each) at a beer garden in Ettal.


Could easily add Linderhof to this as a day out. A short bus ride further on and the landscape is truly stunning.


A quick rest on our return, then a mid afternoon broccoli soup, Aperol Spritz and raspberry cake in lieu of dinner for me, coffee and cake for Dad (€20)


By the way, forecast was for rain today. At 8 am we were sitting at breakfast looking out at sunshine while the forecast was for rain at 8-10am, at lunch the waitress said forecast was then for rain at 2 pm, when we returned saw that forecast was for rain at 5 pm - well, we had a glorious day with a clap of thunder in late afternoon and a few spots, just saying, don’t obsess about the weather.


Checked our new SIM carded phones to see if activated, we each bought a €40 package yesterday and turned mine on to get a message stating I have €2.21 left! This is what happens when I leave all this stuff to my tech support sons and I don’t pay any attention. Will head back to Vodafone tomorrow to see what I’m doing wrong. Lucky today was a cheap day otherwise!



Ettal abbey


Basilica


The nearby forest


Forest by the abbey


The path onwards to Oberammergau
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Sep 21st, 2018, 05:19 AM
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Loving the photos and the report! I keep looking at your photos thinking I want to go here!
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Sep 21st, 2018, 10:34 AM
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Day 5:

Drizzle overnight (awake at 3:30 am again), the mountains look beautiful with clouds swirling around them, wisps of mist drifting over the trees.

Slow breakfast, so nice, not rushing to work.

Headed back to Vodafone, apparently I misunderstood the text, not sure what that meant, but apparently I won’t have any problems ringing/ texting in Germany (so what WAS that text about?)


Wandered down to the weekly street food market in the pedestrian zone, one of my favourite things to do. Gorgeous produce, cheeses, breads, meats, pastas, we bought some cherries and peaches for our supper. And a pleasant wander in the light drizzle through these charming streets.


Met up with swandav and we headed to nearby Farchant, so pretty, for lunch at an Italian restaurant ‘Da Nico’, a stunning rural setting, so peaceful and green. Topped off with great food and company. I had a lovely linguini with seafood and zucchini, just beautifully cooked, Dad had a pasta with turkey and champignons with a salad, swandav had pumpkin soup and a pasta dish. I always love the tangy refreshing drinks, had a johannisbeere schorle this time. An added bonus was seeing the well kept homes and gardens, wood neatly stacked, such pride in their community.


Had our supper of market fresh fruit on Dad’s balcony, then I returned for a final wander through town. Some shops still open at 6 pm, nice buzz on this balmy evening.


I would happily return, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a really sweet town and there are plenty of things I would still like to see and do.



Local market


Local market


Market day


Lunch in Farchant


View from restaurant


View from restaurant in Farchant


Beautiful misty rain
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Sep 21st, 2018, 10:40 AM
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Last look at Garmisch-Partenkirchen before we leave



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Sep 21st, 2018, 11:36 AM
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This looks great! I love slow travel. Bookmarking for later.
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Sep 21st, 2018, 02:18 PM
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Gorgeous pictures, Adelaidean - and it sounds like a lovely trip at such a civilised pace.

So nice to meet up with Swandav too.

More please.
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