hiking the German way, with a beer at the top
Fondest memory: After a great night's sleep and a tasty breakfast, we packed up our small overnight bag and asked to leave it while we ventured out for another hike. We got a much earlier start and though ever bit as busy as the previous day's trail, it was a bit cooler and certainly much greener. Rather than drag a snack up with us, we hiked the German way and just bought lunch at a restaurant with a great view. If you are not going to get the remoteness of the mountains you may as well take full advantage of how developed the Alps can be. We even had a beer from the same brewery as the previous night for good measure.
Back in town, after picking up our bag, we stopped by a small cafe for some cake and coffee before sadly heading to the train station. Despite the hiking not living up to our high hopes, this was surely another time we wished we were not taking the train back to Munich.
If you like Bavarian food and beer, please continue here.
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
he was just beaming
Fondest memory: My sister bought an insanely touristy talking donkey that repeated everything you or anyone nearby said and though a bit embarrassed at first, I had to admit it had an uncanny sense of timing it its delivery. It had us all hysterical on a number of occasions. All good things had to come to an end but there was still time for a lunch before boarding our next train so we made our way to the Mittenwalder Brewery, where Doreen and I had eaten dinner a few years earlier. We found out that my Dad was not cut out for Schweinebraten, which was a bit too fatty for his tastes, and my sister failed to tackle a plate of Käsespätzle that I’m not sure she could have finished over two meals, despite loving it. Bavarian dishes were proving a bit big for them but they thought the prices were great and were happy with the Bavarian atmosphere of the place. My Dad seemed particularly happy with our waitress who was decked out in a Dirndl, the traditional dress of Bavaria. So, after asking her to take a photo of us, we asked if we could take one of her with my Dad. It was the end of the beginning of a great rail trip and without a doubt he wouldn’t have that picture now if he’d gone to Switzerland instead. In it, he’s just beaming.
A nice memory from our first hiking oriented trip to Mittenwald is here.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Mittenwald? Why not?
Fondest memory: At this point, my Dad and sister had been in Germany for three days and though they had been enjoying our new hometown of Munich, as good Americans they were ready to see Europe, too. Of course, being a well-seasoned traveler, I knew that there was only so much of Europe one could see in two weeks, especially if visiting a relative who had moved to one of the continents’ top tourist destinations and wanted his family to see as much of it as possible, too. My father, being of Italian descent, rightfully wanted to go to Italy and my sister, who had never been to Europe before, wanted it not only for him but her, as well. Though I played with the idea of taking him to his mother and father’s corner of Italy, it was too far to go by any means than plane on such a short jaunt and it was not the best time of the year to go that far south in Italy. As it was, the temperatures in Germany were soaring at all-time highs and we would have positively melted in the region around Naples. Venice was possible but it’s another place best visited in cooler months and though my sister pined for it, my father didn’t seem to care much where we went in his land of origin and left it up to us. Verona was another possibility but in the end, we decided to go to Bolzano. Though just over the Alps from Austria, it would put us technically if not overwhelmingly, in Italy. It also played well with a train trip touted as one of the top ten most scenic railway rides in all of Europe. With some minor planning ahead we sorted out relatively inexpensive tickets that allowed us as many stops as we liked. Taking full advantage of the system, we would stop for a few hours in Mittenwald en route to an overnight stop in Innsbruck before continuing on to our final destination of Bolzano. Continue the memory here
- Budget Travel
it's not Austria but....
Fondest memory: One place my father seemed intrigued to visit was Switzerland and to the average American, it is just around the corner. While it is close enough, you need to go for at least a few days and it’s one of the more expensive parts of Europe. Mittenwald seemed a great choice due to the preponderance of flower bed strewn carved wooden balconies that dot the kitschy cute Bavarian village. My father seemed intrigued and consoled by the fact that we were going to Austria, more or less the same as Switzerland to the first time European explorer.
The train trip to Mittenwald was every bit as scenic as promised and though I had done it before, it was a stellar day weather-wise and having my Dad and sister gaping out the window at the stunning mountain peaks and charming farmsteads didn’t hurt either. Though my sister had been in the Rocky Mountains on numerous occasions for skiing, this was my father’s first time up close and he was quite amazed by it. After only two hours, we arrived at our first destination and my father’s first train trip since WWII was a raging success. It was absolutely gorgeous out. Perfect blue sky and crisp mountain air but in no time we were down to our t-shirts and enjoying a stroll through a fairy tale kind of mountain destination full with the resplendent flower clad balconies. At one point, we got carried away and put my backpack on my Dad to make him feel even more in the mountains. To say that Switzerland couldn’t have pleased my Dad more would be an understatement. Two weeks later, when he was ready to leave, he was still raving about Mittenwald as his favorite, even if he kept referring to it as being in Austria. So, it obviously filled his Swiss fix. The conclusion of the memory is here
- Hiking and Walking
happy not to be heading home
Fondest memory: It was unusually hot even for late July and we soon found our chosen trail was about as devoid of tree cover as a trek in the Sahara. It felt about that hot too since we were marching up what seemed like a 90 degree incline at midday. We had waited weeks for good weather and now we wondered if a few showers might not have been better. The terminus of the hike was a mountain hut set in an amphitheater of stoney peaks. It was quite scenic but since all of the hike had been exposed, it even seemed a bit too sunny and lacking in shade. Worse yet, it was fairly crowded and hardly the remote alpine setting we had admittedly been unrealistically hoping for. There was little reason to linger and we scampered back down the hot trail after a brief rest and bite to eat.
We were happy to not be taking the train back after the steep climb and we enjoyed a hot shower before heading to the local brewery for dinner. We arrived to find a few seats out front still open and enjoyed a beer before the now fleeting sun went down for the day, leaving the air surprisingly cold. We reluctantly moved inside for our meal and found a somewhat hokey if cozy atmosphere. The beers were good enough and after the day's hike perhaps seemed even better. The food was excellent and ample though it's unlikely any meal would be too big after a day of walking straight uphill in the blistering sun. We headed back to our room, again happy to not be taking the train back to Munich.
The memory concludes here.
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
the town's a charmer too
Favorite thing: While it's undeniable that the mountains are Mittenwald's primary feature, there's also no way around the fact that the cute little town is charming too. The town center is touristy but pretty too. Once in the backstreets, the quiet nature of town is revealed and lovely pastoral scenes are the norm.
Fondest memory: For some odd reason, Germany's Alps get short-changed compared to those in mighty Switzerland and even Austria's. But when moving to Munich became more than just pipe dream, the city's proximity to the mountains surely was a factor in our choice. Of course, close is a relative term and we had been living in town for nearly four months before we actually made it down to said mountainous terrain. Something else always came up. The weather was bad or more accurately bad when we were both off from work. We wanted to spend a few days there but long weekends were few and far between so we finally decided to do a simple overnighter. Simple would have meant a direct train but of course the town we picked to explore had construction on its line so we wound up having to take a bus from as far as the train was going at the time. This meant a 90 minute trip would now take a bit over 2 hours.
We booked a nice looking bed and breakfast conveniently around the corner from the town's brewery and ordered a few brochures from Mittenwald's tourist bureau in hopes of finding a few hikes before arriving to maximize our time there. Despite the hassle of switching to a very crowded bus everything went smoothly enough and with a fairly early start we arrived in plenty of time to do a hike our first day.
Continue the memory here.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Favorite thing: Luftlmalerei is avery diffused style of wall painting in Baviera. It was born in the XVII century as derivation of the Italian style "trompe oil". A famous exponent of Luftlmalerei was Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748-1792) who live in Oberammergau.
- Arts and Culture
A good walking town
Favorite thing: When you go to Mittenwald, plan to spend the day here or at least 4 hours or so.
There is so much walking to do here and it is the best way to get around town.
Parking on the outside of town in the big parking lots is advised.
Make sure that you look around each and every corner. You just never know what you will find.
Fondest memory: If you read my pages you will know that I love coffee and will never turn down a place to have a cup and a slice of pie. (and no I am not 500 lbs).
The strawberry pies in town were great and they also offer just about any other fruit pie you can imagine.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel