7 days in Bavaria
A very unusual journey happened to me in September. The thing is I've never tried any package holidays. Even in my first trip to the Altai, I agreed to be an assistant instructor to learn more about hiking in those mountains.
However, this time I won in a competition organized by Deuter, the main prize in which was a seven-day adventure in Bavaria. Everything was arranged for us, including a flight from Ufa to Munich and back; the only thing I had to do myself was to apply for a visa to Germany. Then I just had to do what they say and enjoy what is happening.
I must say that the trip was intense! I got a lot of new experience and even fulfill a couple of old dreams. I would like to express my gratitude to the Deuter team, who invented and realized this great idea.
Just think, they gathered more than 20 people from Russia, the USA, Brazil, Japan, the Philippines, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands (three of each: two winners plus a regional representative of the brand or infopartner). They organized flights, booked hotels, planned a rich program for each day, and everything went with a perfect schedule without any delays or hitches. In addition, they rented different equipment for us, bought tickets, found guides for each activity, etc. In short, the organization of the whole trip was just amazing, I have no other words!
But first things first. What can be done within 7 days in Germany?
Getting off the plane Moscow-Munich we met Eugene from Sochi, he is the creator and head of the site "Riderhelp" about ski tourism in Krasnaya Polyana and a good friend of the distributor of Deuter in Russia, so he received an invitation to this trip.
The third participant from Russia was Margarita Timofeeva. She also won this trip in the competition. We got to know each other on the internet when we found out that we were the winners in the competition.
Guys, I take the opportunity to say huge thank you for company! During the trip we became friends and had a great time. Without you the journey would definitely not be so fun.
After a little adventure with a non-English speaking taxi driver who got lost at Munich airport, I went to Augsburg, the first point of our adventure, with Yuki from Japan and Greg from Scotland. The first surprise was waiting for us in the hotel room. It was a small Deuter knapsack and a postcard with the welcoming words written on it and the fact that every evening we would have surprises associated with the place where we spend the night or the action that we were going to have.
At the reception of the hotel we were already waiting for all the other participants of the event, our Shuttle from the airport was the last. We begin to train English actively, almost everyone speaks it and everyone has something to talk about. On the one hand, all participants are from different countries, and on the other hand, we are united by the same hobbies: tourism, sports and outdoor activities. But first, all our crowd goes to the restaurant, where we are treated to a delicious German beer from the entrance!
In the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant we met all the participants of the upcoming adventure and the Deuter team. After dinner, Rita and I took a short walk through the center of Augsburg, and then woke up early to walk by the light through the cozy streets of a small town. I liked Augsburg, a quiet town with beautiful streets and pretty architecture.
After Breakfast at the hotel we were taken to the head office of Deuter, but I have already written about this separately here. Immediately after a detailed acquaintance with the production of backpacks and sleeping bags, we went on a huge bus with a minibar and a coffee machine to the famous tourist town Fussen.
More than Fussen, it is known a castle, which is located nearby. Neuschwanstein is a fairy-tale castle located in a picturesque valley in the foothills of the Alps. It flaunts on the screensaver of all disney movies, and the image of the castle is everywhere in Fussen. For example, in the hotel I dried myself with a towel with Neuschwanstein, looked at a picture of Neuschwanstein, taking a bottle of Neuschwanstein from the Minibar, so I remembered the name of the castle quickly enough.
The town itself is sugary-perfect, everything in it is so beautiful and ceremonial, so that you get a little lost in sensations. After telling our guides about it, we learned that the Bavarians themselves treat this town as a tourist place devoid of real life: everything here is subordinated to the castle, or rather to thousands of tourists coming to see the fairy-tale house.
However, to visit Bavaria and not go to the castle would be unforgivable. Thanks to our guides, the next morning we were organized a short tour to the castle and brought to a special bridge, located just above, from which the most famous view of the attraction opens.
This castle, of course, is not the only one, from the windows of Neuschwanstein you can see other nearby. And we were taken on to the more ancient Castle of Ehrenberg, near which they built one of the longest and tallest suspension bridges in the world. But before we walked on this bridge, we had a tour of the ruins of a once-existing fortress and we were told the history of these places.
The bridge is cool, at first you get scared from the fact that it swings from the movement of people, then you get used, you confidently go forward, but at some point you look down and your knees bend for the second time. If you look straight through the lattice floor there is not visible gaps, but if you look straight down, you notice more than 100 meters of the abyss under you. Such a sharp contrast is frightening at first, but you quickly get used to it and already enjoy walking on this suspended hulk. The excursion program on this day is over, then according to the program we are taken to the ascent by cable car to the mountain hut, where we will stay for the night.
A good dinner in the hut and long gatherings around the fire with stories about their countries and adventures in English, and all this against the background of stunningly beautiful mountain peaks. It is surprising how quickly the uncertainty disappears speaking in a non-native language, besides, for most participants of the adventure English is also non-native. You just start a thought and, if you suddenly forget something, the others help you remember the right word. And in many cases it was not necessary to finish the whole idea at all, even if your interlocutor is from the other side of the planet, but he also enthusiastically looks at the mountains, warms himself by the fire and likes to discover something new in travel.
I was the last to leave and set the alarm to wake up before breakfast, - after all, I don't often find myself in Germany to waste time sleeping. While many were still asleep, people with cameras were already running from one vantage point to another to capture the stunning dawn of the next day.
The next day, the organizers provided a choice of three (!!!) options for entertainment with different complexity: a walk on the cable car to Zugspitze, a small Hiking in the vicinity or via ferrata on Alpspitze. Of course, I chose the third option! I read a lot about the via ferrata and dreamed to try of them.
Via ferrata is a term adopted in the field of mountaineering. Denotes a rocky area, specially equipped with metal structures that help to overcome it with greater speed and less energy than when climbing in its usual sense. As a rule, this site is equipped with a safety rope or chain running along this site and fixed on the rock located at some distance from each other steel anchors.
Simply stated, not particularly straining, you can climb where only experienced climbers with a lot of equipment could climb previously.
We needed only a special ferrate set of self-insurance and a helmet. The logic of using this kit is that at every moment of being on the ferrate, you must be fastened with at least one mustache (a special sling with a carbine), so there are two of them in the ferrate kit. When you reach the end of the section, it is necessary consistently move both carabiners from one section of the steel cable to the other, and with two carabiners you are always safe. Thus, performing simple safety rules, we climb the rocky areas to the top, and nothing distracts us from admiring the surrounding beauty.
After Breakfast, with the help of another cable car, we climbed to the start of the route to the Alpspitze mountain. To storm the mountain trail we were offered to test a new model of backpack Deuter Trail 26. I of course gladly agreed and for several days I did not returnthe backpack, as I really liked it, but I will write about it in a separate article. At the foot of the mountain, as expected, there is a mountain hut with cafes, tables and sunbeds, where you can relax after a walk.
Although this ferrata was fairly simple it took most of the day to complete the route because of the traffic in a large group. On ferrata it can be very difficult to overtake someone, and there is no need to hurry when there are such amazing views around. After the descent, we lay on the sunbeds at the top station of the cable car, drank a cup of coffee with a cupcake and went back to our bus.
After waiting for another group, we go to the next place - the national Park Berchtesgaden. After dark we get to Explorer Hotel. The hotel is fully dedicated to active recreation: in the lobby there are mountain bikes, there are special cabins for winter and summer equipment, and on the whole wall there is a map of routes through the national Park. The design is also nice: a lot of natural materials, everything is minimalistic and technologically picked, as I like. We go to dinner in another good restaurant right on the shore of a large mountain lake.
A new day and again we are given a choice: one group goes hiking with an overnight stay in a mountain hut, and the second rides on electronic mountain bikes in the vicinity and returns back to the Explorer Hotel for the night. Again I chose something I hadn't tried before – an electronic mountain bike. The electric motor helps to pedal up, so you can not strain to climb up, and then you can roll down with the wind. Given the fact that the park has stunning paths, riding a bike is a pleasure.
As it turned outI did not lose with the choice of activity. We raced through the streets of the town, climbed to the observation deck with a great view of the lake, had lunch in a mountain hut, where I tasted the traditional Bavarian set Weißwurst, and we rolled down really "with the wind "!
We returned to the hotel by three or four o'clock, so the afternoon was at our disposal, which I was very pleased, because I can finally walk alone. Cool charismatic guide, who accompanied us on a bike ride, suggested where we can go on your own, telling about the waterfall nearby. Without thinking twice, I went for a walk in that direction. Passing by the main tourist street on the lake, I found a path and followed it to the waterfall. It was great: first, because the trail is not equipped, the bulk of tourists does not reach here, and secondly, the waterfall was cascading, very high and beautiful. The guide said not to try to climb it, but I saw a path along the waterfall and carefully climbed up. A couple of dangerous areas were present, there were memorial plaques too, but I was very careful and still climbed to the top, where the other upper path to the waterfall begins, by which I returned to the town in the late afternoon.
By the appointed time, the other participants who had chosen the bicycle option had gathered, and we went to another local restaurant. The dinner was really nice, one of the members of our group, Greg, had a birthday, that created special atmosphere. And it was the first time we had sat down at the same table and had a particularly good laugh and chat that evening.
In the morning we had a little free time, as we had to wait until the second group came down from their little hike. Most of our group decided to take a river tram across the lake to the place where the rest of the team should come, and, if possible, go to the glacier. I went with them, buying a round-trip ticket for 13 euros, and this walk was worth it. We enjoyed the misty views of the lake, listened to the saxophonist play a special tune with the engine turned off, so that the echoes would resound throughout the area and many times be reflected from the vertical mountain walls standing above the water surface. And then we walked briskly up a good trail to a small glacier in the mountain circus. We returned exactly at the same moment when our guys came there from the campaign and we sailed together back on the tram.
Having gathered all together, we have a snack in the hotel and go to Munich on our comfortable bus. Zhenya and I took the best seats in the front row, so all the way we looked through the huge windshield at the beautiful German roads. Later in the evening we were in Munich, where we had a little walk before dinner around the city center, visiting one of the largest tourist shops in Germany «Schuster».
The guys from Deuter continued to surprise us. First they put us in a very interesting hotel 25 Hours Hotel with a beautiful design and hundreds of small details that create a pleasant atmosphere in the room and throughout the hotel. And for dinner they took us to Olympiaturm. It is a TV tower 291 meters high with the rotating restaurant. Italian cuisine, a great waiter and a full view of Munich in the window were a great end to the day.
However, the day did not end for everyone. I wanted to walk around Munich alone at night, but as soon as I left the hotel I met Koji, a member of our tour from Japan. He showed me the club on his smartphone screen and said that there was a very good DJ today. I did not resist and together we went to see the nightlife of the city. The night was fun, we returned to the hotel only to 4-5 am, and after a couple of hours we had to wake up for Breakfast. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the night bars, the club and how people spend their time in the capital of Bavaria. And it was cool to chat with Koji in a relaxed atmosphere, mostly using Google translator. He is a very interesting man.
Despite the long night, I was not late for Breakfast. In addition, immediately after it we had another tour. This time we were offered a walk through the historic center of Munich on simple bicycles. The city guide spoke in clear English about the city and showed interesting places: historical buildings, popular galleries, a place of worship for Michael Jackson, the largest city Park in the world and a place for local surfing on the city river.
For lunch we came to the famous brasserie with beer garden, that is located at square Platzl.
On November 3, 1997 the restaurant celebrated its 100th anniversary. Over the years, Hofbräuhaus was visited by famous political and cultural figures: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Vladimir Lenin and his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya, Adolf Hitler.
After another free walk around Munich, we were gathered in the hotel restaurant for a farewell dinner. This evening, four guides from the Deuter team who were with us during these 7 days prepared a few warm words about each of the participants of the trip. To the clink of glasses and applause, we enjoyed the last moments of communication in such atmosphere. Perhaps by this evening I already felt the limit of my English vocabulary, because I wanted to say something nice about our guides, but none of us did it in front of everyone. But then, after dinner, we said goodbye personally to each participant and managed to say something really important.
I hope that this report will be read (when I translate it into English) by Dominic, Christian, Hanzi and Ricarda, the four who were with us every day. Thank you very much for this amazing adventure, for your concern in every moment and a mountain of new emotions that you gave us. Of course, all these trips, bicycles, hotels and restaurants were chic, but the main thing is still the people with whom it was possible to communicate closely and really have fun. Thank you first of all to those who invented and implemented it. And of course, thanks to Deuter. You showed that you do not just create a product, but put a lot of love and care to people in it, so that our travels become more comfortable, and walking with a backpack behind your shoulders is only a thrill.
So, apart from a bunch of other positive emotions, during 7 days in Bavaria I managed to cross out a whole list of interesting desires:
- To pass via ferrata
- To climb the alpspitze
- To visit the head office of the famous tourist brand
- To ride an electronic mountain bike
- To try Bavarian cuisine
- Try the beer at the Hofbräuhaus
- To ride a bike in Munich
- To see the nightlife of Munich
- To talk English for a week
- To dinner on a rotating TV tower
- To take a walk through the night streets of small towns
- To walk on a huge suspension bridge
- To see Neuschwanstein
- To ride on a water tram in the Alps
- To spend the night in an interesting luxury hotel
Although I must have forgotten something, because the trip was really intense. I hope that at least some of these interesting people we will meet again on some distant trail.