Wednesday, 10 August 2016

T4rdis2 Tour 2 Day 37 - 41 Bavaria Germany

Day 37 and 38
Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August 2016 - Both days warm and sunny with just a bit of cloud

I’m not sure if this is going a blog or just one long whinge, but bare with me and I’ll try and hurry up and get it off my chest!  Bloody traffic - We spent over an hour on Saturday and simply ages on Sunday crawling along around some of the more popular tourist attractions in the Bavarian Alps, and despite all our best efforts, and a whole heap of our time, we couldn’t get anywhere near what we wanted to see!  So the advice is never come here during peak holiday period - normally we wouldn’t, but we're on our way to the Czech Republic and just happened to pick this route to get there!

We left our Stellplatze at Uberlingen on Saturday morning and  drove, to start with, beside the cycle path that circumnavigates Lake Constance.  We both commented that if we'd been riding it, in it’s entirety,  it would have been a disappointment because a lot of it clings to the road side rather than the lake side.  

Our first destination was to be Lindau which is a major town with a little island attached by a bridge on the eastern side of Lake Constance near the Bavarian border. Our journey was about 40 miles which took the best part of 2 hours in slow nose to tail traffic, but looking on the bright side, there was dedicated motor home parking when we got there. We paid our money, and then toddled off  for a walk down to the lake, a trail that took us first through the very pretty town, and then over a bridge to  beautiful landscaped parks on the island of Insel where we paused for lunch - a few little morsels that we purchased from the Netto shop that we had found in the town!   

And after that we didn’t really do much else except battle with more traffic on our way to a Stellplatze at Blaichach where we spent the night under the looming hills and mountains of the Bavarian Alps.

On Sunday morning we set off at about 10.30 with a plan to visit Schloss Neuschwanstein - the fairy tale castle that is set high up on a magnificent mountain side.  Our guide book informed us that there can be up to 25,000 visitors a day, but I think today there must have been at least double that, and what made it worse was that at least as many again were stuck in traffic jams trying to get there with us somewhere right in the middle!

However, while we were on our way we did get to admire  many miles of lovely rugged alpine countryside with it’s vast mountains and low valleys, as well as several beautiful cupola frescos painted on the outside of numerous buildings in Fuessen as we crawled though the almost grid locked streets.  

Cupola Fresco in Fussen
And eventually, (about 1.30) we did get as far as the car parks for Neuschwanstein castle  but there was absolutely no chance that we would be able to park, and even less that we would be able to buy tickets and actually visit.  Therefore, we gave it up as a bad job and moved on to our next destination which was to be Ettal where we would very much like to have visited the 14th century Benedictine Monastery, but sadly history repeated itself and that plan had to be abandoned too.   

Ettal Monastery

John said ‘never mind, maybe we can come back tomorrow on our bikes’ but as we descended down a steep craggy narrow road to the town of Garmisch Partenkirchen I decided that would be a bad idea for my legs and lungs! Oh well, we'll just have to put them on our list for next time!

Garmisch Partenkirchen is famous as the best known ski resort in the Bavarian Alps but apparently it used to be two towns until unification was forced on them by Adolf Hitler so that the town became big enough to host The 1936 Olympic games.

Now, our plan for visiting Garmisch Partenkirchen was not for skiing, but to visit Zugspitze - Germany's highest mountain at 9717 feet, and the way we would have got up there would have been via a cog railway to Zugspitzblatt, and from there, a cable care to it's summit. However, when we considered how our day had gone so far, we thought, that as this was another of Bavaria's main attractions, the queue would be 'night-mare-ish', so sadly we crossed it off our list, but as you'll see later all was not lost!

However, first things first and we needed to find T4rdis2 somewhere to reside for the next couple of nights. First we popped into a camp site, but when they quoted 56 euros per night we quickly popped out again! Plan B was a Stellplatze a little further down the road, and although it was very busy we found a T4rdis2 sized gap in the long row of motor homes and the kettle was soon on and singing! Additionally, we had a fantastic views over the high crag of Zugspitze and we were right at the base of another big mountain called Wank! (no smirking cos it's pronounced Vank). Happily Wank isn't quite as tall - at only 5839 feet so tomorrow we are going to stay put and attempt an accent, but the big question is - should we walk, or should we cheat and go up in the cable car?

Day 39
Monday 8th August 2016 - A very hot and sunny day

Well, we decided not to cheat so hiking gear was quickly donned and off we went telling ourselves our walk would only be 6 miles in all, so quite within our capabilities! But boy oh boy, was it steep, all the way up for 3 miles it was either at about a 40 degree slope or big steps, and all with minimal shade from the hot glaring sun. On the way up we paused for several rests, and passed a few people who looked as if they wouldn't make it, and as we neared the top I did wonder if I would, but with a bit of 'encouragement' and an occasional shove from John we did achieve our goal - and when we got there they had even provided a bed for us to lie down and recover! However, it really was worth all the effort, because from the top we had 360 degree panoramic views of more mountains and tiny villages far below us. It was also quite funny in that you could easily tell which people had walked and which had come up by cable car - the ones that had walked looked slightly sun baked and bedraggled!

However, as usual, what goes up must also come down, and it really wasn't much easier because there were lots of trip traps and slidey bits of shale to catch out anyone who failed to pay constant attention to where they were putting there feet. So frequent stops to admire the stupendous views and listen to the music made by numerous cow bells were required.

We both agreed when we got back to the safety of T4rdis2 that our expedition had been as much as we could handle - especially when you consider that Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain we have ever climbed at 4412 feet, but Wank is 5839 feet!

Day 40
Tuesday 9th August 2016 - Rain Rain and more Rain!

This morning we woke to the pitter patter of rain falling on T4rdis2's roof, and when we peeped outside everything was shrouded in low cloud and mist - so we pulled the blinds back up and treated ourselves to a lie in! We eventually crawled out of bed at about 9pm, both nursing achy legs and feet, but it didn't really matter because today was a moving day, so apart from John having to drive and me sitting with my feet up, we didn't do much else.

Our goal was Lake Chiemsee - Bavaria's largest lake which covers an area of 80 square kilometres, is 230 feet deep and is set amidst more magnificent Alpine scenery in a region known as Chiemgau. We settled on another Stellplatze which is really more like a small camp site on a farm, and where the very friendly hosts offer free Wifi to it's guests, so although the rain is still pouring we're quite happily resting our weary limbs and catching up with our surfing. However, we are also keeping our fingers very firmly crossed that the weather will be better tomorrow - I'm not sure yet if it will be walking or cycling - we'll see see what the morning brings weather wise and then decide!

Day 41
Wednesday 10th August 2016 - Another day of mostly rain!

The rain pattered on the roof for most of the night and continued until about 11am this morning, but even then, it still looked as if more dousings were likely. Therefore, we opted to walk, and although it was fine when we left we went well prepared with wet weather gear tucked into our ruck sac. And it was a good job because we'd only been out for about 45 minutes when the heavens opened again. However, by this time we were at the lake shore and we managed to find a very convenient picnic table situated under a big tree that kept the worst of us while we paused for coffee.

Apparently, Lake Chiemsee is often referred to as the Bavarian Sea, and with the waves lapping up onto the shore of this vast body of water I could almost have been convinced that we were walking next to salt water and not fresh! The area is an internationally recognised bird sanctuary and numerous migrating birds and waterfowl nest in the reed beds and rear their young in the shallows and mud flats, and luckily because of this, we were fortunate enough to find a bird hide that provided a comfortable and dry dining room for lunch. As we nibbled our sarnies we had panoramic views over the lake and could watch the many birds ducking and diving in search of their own feast.

Then, as we set off for the second half of our walk the skies began to lighten and the rain soon stopped so as we went we dried out and also warmed up thus making our walk much more comfortable. We retraced our steps for a short distance along the lake side and then turned off onto another track which took us alongside a wide fast flowing river, and it was here that John thought he'd found himself a little snack - in the form of a big fat slimey snail! He said it would have gone down nice if he'd had a bit of garlic

Anyway, I told him not to be so silly, and that he could have a biscuit instead when we got home!
And we only just did that in time, because as soon as we closed the door the rain poured down again and it looks as if it will continue for the rest of the evening.

It's a shame really that we have to move on tomorrow because I'm sure Lake Chiemsee could entertain us for a while longer, but we've got to be in the Czech Republic by Saturday because we're meeting our friends Sharon and Paul there for a little 'holiday', and we still have a couple more stops to make on the way.

So for now take care, and I'm sure the next time you hear from me it'll be from another country xx