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Snow capped mountains from Garmisch


Jul 3rd, 2016, 11:40 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Snow capped mountains from Garmisch

Thanks, especially to Swandav, for the help planning my week in the mountains.
Weekend rail work was canceled, so I easily made my way to/from Garmisch via train and S-bahn. All the trains I used did not have stairs to board and the few stations I used had elevators (different story in Italy), which was important because of my back injury before the trip and the requirement that I could handle my two small roller bags on my own.

I booked an apartment for 6 nights in Garmisch. I prefer apartments to hotels to get a kitchenette (limited one this time) and more space to relax. I chose the unit based on price, convenience to station and laundry, and flat topography. It was as easy to walk the flat <4 blocks out the back of the station pulling my bags than ride the elevator up to the front of the station and take a taxi around. I was amazed at the amount of auto traffic in GP, mostly with GAP plates, so local? I would hate to have a hotel room on one of the main drags. Though it did seem to quiet down at night. Local bus service was handy if infrequent at times.

Partenkirchen is definitely the quainter town and I would stay there next time if I could.
I was there for the mountains and I wasn't disappointed except by my own physical limitations. I could hike, but not carry much, had to be careful about large steps up or down, and needed to rest often. So I took a leisurely, more sightseeing approach to my walks.

I was unsure if I would go up the Zugspitze. I checked the webcams each day, but didn't get my hopes up. I wish the train started earlier--sometimes it was clear at dawn, but cloudy at 8:30am.

So, I started with the Wank. Second person up the cable car (food supplies went first) to a private mountaintop except for the maintenance workers for a couple of hours. Wonderful views, easy walks. I could still hear the occasional auto and train traffic when on the GP side, but walking around to the other side of the mountain gave lovely valley/mountain view with no noise. Eventually I took a covered bench as my lunch and reading spot where I lazed for quite a while even letting a light rain shower pass over. I was truly on vacation and in my element. I could feel stress flowing out and pleasure flowing in.

I quickly learned the weather pattern and when a cool wind started blowing each day I knew the rain was coming, so I would work my way back from whatever trail for a break in my apartment, often sitting on the deck watching the rain and the Zugspitze.

I walked to the gorge and back. It was hot that afternoon and I was fatigued on the return, having to stop and rest my back at benches along the way. I enjoyed the gorge. Very dramatic.

A couple of times I walked along parts of the philosophers way. Found a bench in the woods by a stream for another lunch and reading break as people passed walking their dogs. I eventually realized that I was sitting directly across from the ruins and could see them through the tree limbs in front of me. The open part of the walk from Farchant toward GP provides great views of Zugspitze. Not as interesting when walking the open part in the opposite direction with the highway noise below.

I walked up to the Reissersee for free music and some nice cake and tea. Very short walk around lake. I didn't follow the toboggan path upward. I definitely was finding my walking limits.

One morning was crystal clear, so I purchased the expensive ticket for the Zugspitze (added on Alpspitze combo) and boarded the train. Talked with group of excited high school students from Nebraska who were on a 2-week trip to France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. They were worried about where to get off the train (they had a guide). One left her cellphone on the train. I left them following the leader to toboggan on the glacier. It was already crowded at the top of the mountain with folks shuffling around to get photos from the best spots. Rode the cable car down. Walked around the lake before lunch at the biergarten. The trail was too crowded for my liking. Lots of dogs. Train back to town.

The Zugspitze views were amazing. I don't have words to describe how beautiful snow capped mountains appear to me. I probably kept saying "wow" as I stood and slowly turned to enjoy the scenery both at the top of the train station and at the top of the mountain. I am sure I had a silly grin on my face the entire time. It was cold! I had layers and a light windbreaker on, but I had forgotten my gloves, so hands out to take photo/in to warm, out/in. I ordered a hot chocolate in the cafe and continued my gazing through the windows. Each group of tourists who came in behaved the same way--come in, look for the open table closest to the window, pick up an order, then sit down and just stare out. I make a couple of trips around the platforms, but the crowds and clouds kept increasing, so I finally left, but immediately wished I had toughed it out to wait for lulls in the people and clouds. Not like I had anything better to do--what could be better?

I also went up the Alpspitze, but was a little disappointed there. The ticket agent warned me that the trails were snow covered, so I should ride up, then down the shorter car, then the short walk to the lower car, but nothing more. I was unimpressed with X over the valley, though the gorge alongside is dramatic. The trail further up the mountain did have wet snow that staff were working on to shovel and keep walkable. I didn't think I should be climbing further up anyway, so started the walk down with the plan to turn around if I found snow. It was a slippery for me without poles and with my caution about my back, but because of gravel, not snow. The views were nice, but not as dramatic as on Zugspitze and not as expansive as on Wank. I walked to the top of the lower car where I had a nice lunch on the restaurant deck with view of the Zugspitze, the highlight of that day's trip.

I had planned to attend more of the free concerts, but I had no interest in being out in thunderstorms, especially ones with hail.

Laundry was interesting. Not exactly self service. The attendant grabbed my clothes and put them in the washer, putting in token and starting it before I had a chance to throw in my detergent sheet and decipher/communicate delicate, so I got normal. We agreed on temperature. She knew the moment my washer stopped and was transferring my clothes and turned on the dryer with no consultation about heat. Luckily nothing shrank at the blast furnace level she chose. But my wardrobe was replenished for the next leg of my trip.
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Jul 3rd, 2016, 09:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,268
Hi Kay2,

I'm so happy that you had a good trip and got to do all that you wanted!

YES all those cars are local, and I pretty much hate them. And traffic. In nice weather, you get to see scores of bicycles in front of the supermarkets and shops, but there are not so many when the weather is dicey. I just quietly continue my bizarre crusade against driving in Bavaria, both for residents and tourists.

Lol, the "attendant" at the laundry is very brusque, I know!

And thank you for your great and detailed descriptions!

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