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      November 2010 > Brrrrrrrrilliant Bavaria!
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Brrrrrrrrilliant Bavaria!

Snow in BavairiaI know how the mice feel. Those mice that Robert Burns was referring to when he wrote that ‘the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley’. It was a phrase to mull over as I sat in Munich airport on my premature journey home.

I had flown out five days earlier, full of excitement at the prospect of a full week walking all of the routes planned for the new 'Beneath the Zugspitze' holiday, and writing up the detailed notes for them. I never pass up an opportunity to do some walking for Inntravel, and after poring (there were suggestions it was more akin to drooling) over the maps in the office for the previous two weeks I couldn’t wait to get in to the mountains.

Warning signMy schedule gave me seven full days in which to walk the routes we’d planned, which included a contingency day – a novelty for me, I’ve only recently started to appreciate that discretion is the better part of valour. So I had a spare day ‘just in case’. Just in case a route turned out to be unsuitable; just in case a day of really bad weather prevented me from completing a walk; just in case……

What my contingency plan didn’t cover was the possibility that winter would arrive at exactly the same time as I did. I arrived on a gloomy afternoon; indeed the Lufthansa air hostess had announced that the weather in Munich was ‘more British than in Britain’. That didn’t faze me; after all, as a walker and an Englishman, it would take more than a spot of rain to put me off! Unfortunately, what was rain in Munich, was low cloud, rain and snow up in the mountains.

The snowline crept inexorably down the mountainsides as the week progressed, though most days it was only occasionally visible through gaps in the cloud base. Despite one absolutely glorious day, which was extremely frustrating as I happened to be walking a low level route from the first hotel in Mittenwald to the second in Grainau, there was no thwarting the weather gods. By day four, I was waking up to a winter wonderland, even in the valleys.

I’m normally very excited at the arrival of snow, I can’t wait to go for a good walk with the dog, or a cross-country run across the moors. But I know the moors well; by contrast, I’ve never been to Bavaria before, the snow was settling at lower and lower altitudes, and visibility was often as little as 20 metres. I had to accept that I’d done as much as I safely could, and raise the white flag. Not that it would have been seen against the background……

Grainau, BavariaThe good news is that what I’ve seen so far really excites me. The circular walk from Mittenwald includes a spectacular suspension bridge crossing over a gorge, and the well-known Leutaschklamm. The route from Mittenwald to Grainau passes two beautiful lakes, Elmau Castle with its backdrop of the Wetterstein mountains, and finishes by going through the sensational Partnachklamm – a stunning and extremely loud, narrow gorge. I also managed a low level circular route from Grainau round lake Eibsee in the snow; I’d love to tell you what it looks like, but by then everything was just white.

I recently heard a long-serving member of the Inntravel team mention an old, unofficial company motto – ‘our staff suffer, so you don’t have to’. How true! I just can’t wait to get back out there once the snow has gone to finish the job, and this time the mice and I won’t be foiled.

Peter in deep snow in Bavaria

 

Posted: 12/11/2010 12:56:36 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: Germany, nature, snow, walking


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