Bier, Bratwurst und Bauernhöfe

by PStuyvsant

Day 1... it is 2:50 p.m. and safely strapped into seat 29A of flight AA70, we pull away from the gate at DFW while the attendant cheerfully announces it is only going to be a 10 hr & 15 min flight.  Nevertheless, after a long year of planning things are finally under way. 

The flight is uneventful, and after the meal and a couple of Heineken's (no german bier on board...knock off two points) I was pleased to find that there was a good selection of "oldies" on the audio system, so I settle in to calculate how many times the same songs will replay before we land.

With the accuracy of a german train schedule we arrive in Frankfurt promptly at 07:30 a.m. The weather is nice, partly cloudy but cool.  Breezing thru passport control I arrive at baggage claim to find my bag coming around on the carousel (add back one point).  A short hike over to the car rental finds everything in order and a '99 Opel Corsa with only 400 km on it is gassed up and ready to go (thanks Kemwel!). 

Round and round we go as we make our way out of the steep parking garage and out the door towards the main drag.   This is the second year of major road construction in and around the airport area (they seem to be adding new lanes to the A3 and A5 where they converge) and as a result some of the familiar twists and turns I used to traverse are no longer there.  As luck would have it I picked the wrong "umleitung" and so instead of being on the A5 to Darmstadt - Karlsruhe - Basel, I am on the A3 to Wurzburg.  Nice going dude. 

Finally, after a 30 min tour of the surrounding area by the airport, it is back on track and the vacation is officially underway.  As part of the routine, I have picked up the habit of making my first pit stop at the rest stop at Grafenhausen about 20 km from the airport.  A cup of strong german coffee to get the blood flowing, and a stroll around the parking area to get the kinks out from the numbing ride over and I am good to go. 

From here it is a straight shot to the Black Forest and about 12 p.m. I arrive at the B33/Offenburg cutoff.  My first mission is a request from BavariaBen to stop by one of the first bauernhof's we ever stayed in back in '93... the "Schillihof" near Gengenbach. The plan is to get some updated photos for posting to the "farms" section of his website.  It seems he had been in e-mail contact with the oldest son, Michael, and had alerted him I would be stopping by. 

Upon arrival I pull up in front and the first person I see is Herr Emil Schilli going about his farm chores.   He is pulling a tractor loaded with hay but stops when he sees me drive up.   He does not speak English and seems surprised when I asked where Michael was.   He had that vague "I know you from somewhere" look and when I reminded him I was part of that bunch of Texans who were the first Americans to ever stay there it was like old home week.  He especially freaked out when I told him I wanted pictures of the place for posting on the internet.  He was more than happy to accommodate.   Finally, as I was ready to leave, he apologized for missing Michael and proceeded to go in the barn and return with three large cans of various types of wurst, which I assume he prepared on site.  He thanked me profusely for stopping by, and for recommending his place to future travelers, and off I went.


Back on the B33 for the short drive to Triberg and the farm I have selected for the next two nights located high up in the hills.  The "Oberer Feißesberghof" is a 350 yr old farm located deep in the forests overlooking Triberg. 

The twisting, turning, schwarzwaldbahn runs about 100 meters below the house.  Upon arrival, there is a handwritten note on the front door addressed to me (shock!! this is a stunt typical of Ben) but it turns out to be written by Frau Haible to let me know she and her husband had gone into town and would be back at 2 p.m.  Right on schedule they arrive and after introductions she shows me to my room.  I was expecting your basic EZ, but instead it seems I am the only guest in the place and she gives me a large, very cozy, double

with a nice outdoor patio and a breathtaking view thru the treeline straight into downtown Triberg.  All for only DM45.  Frau Haible speaks passable english,and when she found out I would be posting pictures and recommendations of the farm on the internet she was beside herself. 

To show how the Germans will go out of their way, I was sitting on the patio sipping on a bier when I saw her coming out the door with a cellphone.  She handed it to me and said someone wanted to speak with me (what the !!!! I'm thinking).  It turned out to be her son-in-law who spoke perfect English.  He wanted me to know the Haible's stood ready to make me as comfortable and welcome as possible and that I was only the second American to ever stay there.  Nice touch I thought. 

After getting settled in, the rest of the day consisted of revisiting Triberg and a peaceful drive thru the surrounding countryside.  Ever on the lookout for new farm possibilities I have planned a recon of the areas of Schonach and Schönwald on the list of "to do's" for the next day. However...the main event of Day 2 will be the visit to Urach (Tooooobah's stomping grounds) and a first ever meeting at the Gasthaus Zum Sternen, (recently visited by Ben and crew), with fellow Stammtisch members Oldgybe & Bunsaway. 

And so, after a successful kickoff to Day 1, and with the sun going down over Triberg, it is off to the Sparmarket for some "supplies" and back to the quaint old farm to relax with a couple of cold ones.  That night, as the temperatures drop sharply and I am buried deep under those down comforters, I can hear the wind blowing thru the trees, and the occasional distant shriek of train whistles making their way thru the forest.... zzzzzzzzzzzz!

 Day 2....  With the remnants of jet lag finally behind me, (and with the assistance of a few biers the previous night), it was up with the chickens and ready for today's gameplan.  Strolling around the pastures surrounding the bauernhof while the sun started to come up over Triberg, the crisp morning air felt great. The typical Black Forest mist hanging in the air just added to the enjoyment.  Smoke was coming from the chimneys of the other farms scattered along the lower valley.


Frau Haible had indicated that Frühstück would be at 8 a.m.  By now I was needing a jump start which only that great german coffee can provide, and I was pleased to find a full-size American style pot of the stuff on the table along with the meats, cheeses,and that great Black Forest bread.  The frau noticed me filming the breakfast room and all around the house and asked if I would like a tour of the place after breakfast.  It's not every day you get to see what a 350 yr old german farmhouse looks like and so off we went. 

It is apparent that people must have been a lot shorter 300 yrs ago as many of the doorways required you to duck or else risk getting a goose egg on the noggin.  The farmhouse was one of those typical steep roof styles, with heavy beamed ceilings and a barn attached out back. The smell of hay permeated the whole house (beats canned air freshner) as we conducted the tour.   The private living quarters took up the entire upper level and there were antiques everywhere.  Especially noteworthy was the fact that they collected old riding saddles and accessories which were scattered (tastefully) around the house. 

After signing the guestbook it was time to hit the road.  First stop is a short drive over to Gremmelsbach.   This is a very small hamlet consisting of a gasthaus and some farms, and not much else.  I saw lots of zimmer frei signs out so this could possibly be a good choice for anyone looking for an out of the way spot. After a brief stop at the House of 1000 clocks (yep..they know me as a regular by now) it was time to head over to Schonach to scout out some farms which Ben and I had seen in some of our catalogues.   A picture is one thing but seeing the real deal tells the story.  Everything checked out and this place goes on the list for future trips.

The main event for today is to rendevous at the Zum Sternen in Urach to meet Oldgybe and his frau.   We had been e-mailing for several weeks prior to the trip to nail down the details. Tooooobah has already come and gone, however we will meet up with him in a few days at the Oktoberfest.  At 5:00 sharp I am pulling up into the Sternen's parking lot.  As this is Saturday, I figured the place would be packed.  So...up the stairs and thru the door...only to find the place empty except for a grinning Bill Groom, wife Lisa, and Rudolf and frau Tina Bärmann who hollered out "Larry's here" (brother did I walk into that one). 

After hearty handshakes and introductions all around it was time to get serious about why we are here...for bier and pictures naturally :0) . A pleasant surprise... Tooooobah has already paid for a couple of rounds for all of us (Thanks Jim...nice touch) and out comes those big glasses of Fürstenberg vom fass (yeah!!) 

The Bärmann's insist we all sit at the Stammtisch table so this seemed like a good time to spring the big surprise.   Out comes the Stammtisch book Ben has prepared for any of the "B.B. regulars" who may decide to stop off in the future.  I ask Rudy if it is o.k. to leave the book as we expect other Americans to be coming by now that the Sternen has become world famous.  Stunned....they can't seem to believe what is going on.   Ben did a great job on putting the book together (as you will see if you get by there).  No doubt these folks are wondering how their previous tranquil lives are now changing rather quickly. 

About this time Fritz (the father) and his wife show up.  Not having a clue as to who these strange people are sitting at the Stammtisch table, there is some rapid exchange of words with Rudy, at which point we all introduce ourselves.  When he saw Ben and Tooooobah's pictures in the book he just about came unglued.  When he found out what we were all about, and that the Zum Sternen is to become the headquarters for a bunch of crazy "Ben's Bauernhof" travel friends, he is obviously impressed and is more than happy to accommodate our request.  The book now holds a place of honor behind the counter so when you show up be sure to tell them who you are.  (BTW..the first bier is on Ben.   I know because I gave the money to Rudy along with the book.) 

Out come more biers, and we also order the great kalbschnitzel that Ben had recommended.  And yes, it was every bit as good as he said.  The next thing we know some of the locals are starting to drift in for dinner and conversation with the Bärmann's.  Fritz just had to show the book to everyone who came in, and kept pointing to the three of us and speaking rapid fire German.  I guess we made an impression of sorts  :0) 

After a great meal, great biers, great conversation, and pictures to commemorate the occasion, it was unfortunately time for me to take my leave.  It is after 8 p.m, quite dark, and I have an hour's drive back to Triberg to pack to leave the next morning for Füssen.  But it is not a sad occasion for we are all to meet in one week in Munich where we will also meet Tooooobah for the first time.  Yes...once again the bier will flow, but for now it has been an outstanding day, and meeting new friends has made it all the more memorable.  With visions of Fürstenberg's dancing in my head I sink into bed absolutely drained.. but with one final thought before conking out.  "I shall return".

Day 3... After sleeping off the previous night's Fürstenberg's from the Sternen, it was time to hit the road for the drive to Füssen. After a final stroll around the farm to enjoy the crisp morning air, and some last shots with the camcorder, it was off to Frühstück. 

Frau Haible had the usual spread ready, and a pot of that great coffee. After final goodbyes, and a promise to recommend the farm on Ben's Bauernhof site, I'm off and running. 

The plan is to take the B33 all the way to the Bodensee, then along the lake to Lindau, over to Kempten, and follow the A7 for the short run to Füssen.  I usually follow the B308 "Alpenstraße", which is the scenic route, however today the focus is on making good time. Piece of cake right?  Little did I know that the plan was about to suffer a major setback. 

Near Donaueschingen I hit some of the heaviest fog I have ever encountered in Germany. Thick as pea soup, traffic slows to a crawl.  Somehow I manage to take a wrong turn (not hard to do since you can't see the signs) and end up driving in circles only to find myself now the only car on the road.  I'm poking along at 30 km/hr, trying to follow the map, and hoping that another vehicle isn't barreling up behind me.  I had to pull over a couple of times to try and get oriented. 

Finally, I find myself in familiar territory again and back on the B33 towardMeersburg.  After about 20 miles of creeping along, the fog finally lifts and I pick up the B31 at the north end of the lake.  Great, I'm thinking, now I can make up some time. Wrong!!  At Meersburg I encounter a major stau and a line of cars as far as the eye can see. 

What I didn't know, but found out the hard way, was that there was major road construction going on further down the road and the stau stretched from Meersburg all the way to Lindau!   The plan has just gone out the window. 

What is normally about a 30 minute drive between the two towns ends up taking about an hour and a half.  I finally break free and am on the road to Kempten.  It is now a little after 12:00 and I have been tooling along for over 4 hrs.  To add to the enjoyment, I find I am almost out of gas so now the focus suddenly changes.  By this time I could use a strong tailwind, or a nice steep hill where I can put it in neutral and coast.  On fumes, I finally cruise into Füssen, and the bier and bratwurst that had been on my mind is quickly replaced by a strong desire to find an open gas station on this bright Sunday morning.  Lucking out, I spot an open Aral station, and after kissing the ground and promising myself never to cut it that close again, I complete my first gas stop of the trip.  My calculations show I am getting about 45mpg...not bad. 

As a reward for the past 5 hrs of tourist hell, the weather gods have decided to cooperate and give me a clear sunny day in castle country.  I decide to take it.  A little after 1:00 I cruise into the front yard of my accommodations for the next two days...the "Gasthaus Lutz" located in the small village of Brunnen on the Forggensee. The Lutz appears to be a combination farm/pension as they have a large barn at the back of the house, however I didn't see any livestock.

I had made reservations via e-mail several months ago and so upon arrival I find Frau Lutz is expecting me.  She speaks no English and it turns out I am the only American staying there.  I am given an EZ on the upper floor and when I opened the door I was greeted by a priceless view.   From my window I can see clear across the surrounding countryside.  Directly in view are both of the castles, with St. Coloman's church in the foreground. 

A cool breeze is blowing thru the room bringing with it those great smells from nearby farms. The price...DM40 for a million dollar view! 

After unpacking and relaxing from the day's grind, the urge for my first wienerschnitzel of the trip proves too great to resist.  I head for my favorite eatery the "Pension Meiher" over near the castles. There is some concern as to whether or not it is still there as Ben had been told by Suzanne that they may have gone out of business. Thankfully, this turns out not to be true.  Remembering me from previous visits, the Meiher's give a hearty hello and give me a table on the outdoor patio. The sun is shining, the table umbrellas are flapping in the breeze, and I settle down for one of the best schnitzels with salad and pommes this side of heaven (fortified with a few biers vom fass of course). 

After a relaxing meal, some good bier, and with the earlier challenges of the day becoming a fading memory, it appears the day will end on a high note.  It is now late afternoon, the weather is still holding, so off we go to cruise the countryside.

There are several nice farms in this area to be recon'd for future trips, and after a few drive-by's to check them out, I finally end up back at the castles. The parking lots are full (naturally), and the tour buses are coming and going, so I head for a place of quiet refuge.  

At St. Coloman's there is a small park platz for visitors so I grab a spot and immediately park myself on the bench by the watertrough, (if you've been there you know the one), to watch the late afternoon sun starting to go down behind the Forggensee.  Normally the sky would be filled with para-sailers and hanggliders coming off the Tegelberg but that is not the case today. The cows are grazing in the adjoining pastures and the smell of fresh cut grass is heavy in the air.

The air is beginning to chill and that means it will probably be a very cool night, just right for sipping on some red wine which I had gotten earlier from the Spar market.  And so, after my earlier battle with the road gods, a great meal, and a relaxing afternoon of kicking back, I am starting to feel my old self again.  Just in time, as tomorrow will be a full day of activities.  Beam me up Scotty.....

Day 4.... After surviving Mother Nature's frontal assault last night (there was a terrific windstorm that blew most of the night...shutters banging, heavy rain, etc.) the morning started out overcast with low hanging clouds obscuring the view of the castles.  Nevertheless, I am out and about early, as usual, for a quiet stroll along the lake before Frühstück.  The local farmers are herding their cows from the barns out to the grazing pastures and I yield to the temptation to follow the herd for awhile with camera and camcorder cranking away.

All the rooms at the Lutz are booked,and I am the only American. The small but cozy breakfast room is already full by 8:00 and I end up sharing a table with four Germans, (Frau Lutz is apparantly a Ludwig fan as there are several bier steins, posters, and knick-knacks with his picture on them displayed throughout the room). The breakfast is buffet style, meats, cheeses, rolls, and plenty of that good coffee, not those little containers that only hold about a cup and a half.

The plan calls for a leisurely day in and around the Füssen area,and the first stop is the main Sparkasse located across from the Hotel Sonne (no commission for converting checks to cash). After parking over by the bahnhof I head for the Fußgänger zone and the local Woolworth's.  I am on a recon for our favorite treat and strike paydirt down in the basement...  Ritter Sport's !!! I clean them out of about 40 bars, to be equally divided with you know who when I get back home. (Dee Dee loves her Ritter Sports ...or so the rumor goes  :0)

Fußgängerzone in Füssen

Back on the street the weather is starting to clear and it looks like it will be a good day after all. Tourists are beginning to accumulate and the zone is starting to get crowded, which is my cue to clear out.  With business taken care of it is back to the car and off we go.

Now that the sun is finally coming out the streets are glistening from the previous night's rain, and the temperature settles in around the mid-60's thing's are definitely looking up.  The next priority is to head over to the border crossing into Austria to load up on a case of that demon drink "
Stroh Rum", just the thing on a cold winter night, plus it makes an excellent varnish remover if spilled on furniture.  :0(

The old border crossing checkpoints no longer exist among the EU countries, which somehow takes a little of the fun out it.  It used to be a kick getting passports stamped as souvenirs, hoping they would wave you on through, and if you were really lucky you could watch the customs officials as they zeroed in on some poor dude who looked suspicious and had to suffer through the pain of proving he was not guilty of anything.

The closest call we ever had was in '95 when Ben, his boys, and I were tooling along the road from Linderhof to the Plansee heading toward Reutte.  At the border the guard demanded to see our registration papers for the rental car.  OOOPS......after a frantic search we realized they were safely in Ben's bag ...back at the bauernhof. 
:0(   Not wanting to experience the events in "Midnight Express" we were doing some tall talking to get out of that one.

With the rum safely in the trunk it's back to castle country, with a stop at a favorite imbiss for a noontime lunch of delicious "halb Hähnchen" along with a couple of mugs of the local brew.  Next stop is the parking lot at the Tegelberg for a ride on the slick-as-ice sommerrodelbahn.  Unlike the one near Lermoos which is made of a concrete like substance, this one is highly polished aluminum which eliminates the road rash if you take a spill (hmmmmm...has that ever happened to anyone we know).  The weather is perfect, the sun is shining, a cool breeze is blowing, and junior birdmen coming off the Tegelberg float gracefully around the skies. The rest of the day goes by quickly as I scout out some more farms for future trips, a visit to St.Coloman's, make a run to the Spar market, hit the gift shops,and finally end up taking pictures in some farmer's pasture as I try to frame Bossy the cow and Neuschwanstein together in the shot (puff...puff...puff).

Tired but content we conclude another successful day of the trip, and the last one in this area, as we get ready to move out first thing tomorrow for the next adventure.   Phasers on stun captain!

Day 5.... Reville begins at 0600 hrs as we prepare to move out for our next adventure.  The sun is coming up over the Tegelberg and it looks like it will be a picture perfect day.  Just right for the leisurely drive over to Zugspitze country for our next lay-over... Garmisch.

Time to load up the car, take a final stroll around the peaceful countryside, and another good breakfast before heading out.  Unlike the first night at the Lutz when all the rooms were full, last night there was only one other guest besides myself. The breakfast room is open, the buffet laid out, and I have the place all to myself.  Another day here wouldn't be hard to take at all.

Today's route will be via the
B17 to Steingaden, then over to Echelsbacher Brücke where we pick up the B23 for the rest of the way into Garmisch.  Our first stop of the day is at the Wieskirche and at 0900 sharp I arrive at the parking lot.   There are only two other cars there (but the buses can't be far behind), so once again timing is everything.  The church underwent a couple of years of restoration which has just recently been completed.  It is nice to see it once again as it should be seen ....from a distance in the nearby pastures, and without the clutter of scaffolding and canvas hanging everywhere. The interior is indeed a work of art and I never get tired of visiting here.

With photos taken and our visit concluded, three large tour buses pull up and start unloading (phew...that was a close one), but we are done and it is back on the road for the short drive over to the Echelsbacher Brücke. 

This is one of my "must do" stopovers no matter what the weather.  Last year I enjoyed a couple of biers before a crackling fire, but today the outdoor tables are set up in order to enjoy the sunshine and mild temps.  Ya' just never know.

The route between here and Oberammergau is photo heaven, forests and rolling hills, farms scattered everywhere, and a sunny day like today just caps it off.  At 1100 hrs we are entering Oberammergau only to find the streets overflowing with crowds.  Always a popular stopping point for tour buses, today is no exception.  The big difference this year is the amount of activity going on in preparation for the Passion Play in 2000.  The playhouse itself has undergone a complete facelift... new paintjob (not gray like before, this time it is a multi-colored affair), the little park that was just out front has been torn up, the parking lot is being resurfaced, and barriers are erected everywhere to divert the cars, buses, and foot traffic.

Just for grins I head over to the T.I. office to check out the possibility of tickets for the play anytime in September (yea right, like I expect they will reply "sure thing sir... how many would you like?)  I had seen too many posts in the past months from folks asking how to get them, and as I am not a participant of the organized tours scene I know chances are somewhere between zero to none.  Indeed, that proves to be the case.
:0(   Oh well.. maybe I'll still be around in another ten years and we will try it again.   :0)

After a stroll around town, a bier stop at the Wienerwald, some photos and postcards, it is off toward Ettal for a steep downhill run the rest of the way into Garmisch ( I wouldn't want to lose the brakes on this stretch of road).  About 1:00 we are entering the town and I am looking forward to adding another farm to the list.  I have made reservations at what appears to be a very nice bauern ..."
Der Bichlerhof".  I had found their e-mail site once while surfing and got an immediate reply to my request for a room mit balkon.

Following a narrow marked trail out of town and up into the hills below the Zugspitze, (only one car at a time could pass), I spot the signs that take me right to the place.   It definitely passes inspection from the outside.  A large house with sloping roof, balconies for all the rooms, a large barn on the side, and a very pretty fresco painted on the front far so good, now for the big test.  The owner is a young German who speaks excellent English, Herr Joseph Sailer.  He is expecting me and gives a hearty welcome.  Apparently he, his wife, and the mother of one of them run the place.  Between accommodating guests and herding cows all day they must stay quite busy.

I am given the key to Zimmer #6... a large double with balcony overlooking the surrounding countryside, grazing pastures are below the room, and directly over the house is a cable car run that goes up into the hills.  The price...DM48.

After unpacking, it is time to relax.  With shoes off, feet up, and a couple of biers to put things in order, I spend some quiet time on the balcony watching hikers coming and going on the nearby trails. 

As an added plus, Herr Sailer informs me I can use his computer for messages home to Ben.  Ahhhhh...score another victory for Herr Stuyvsant!

By now it is late afternoon so the rest of the day is spent back in Garmisch getting re-acquainted with the layout of the town. The local Pizza Hut (Bavarian style chalet) sits right in the middle of the intersection. This place was being built in '88 when Ben and crew were here.  We vowed never to return, but memories of the area prove to be overwhelming so we just pretend it isn't there.
:0)  I am starving for a "häunchen mit pommes" so I head for my favorite imbiss with the tongue twisting name of "City Cafe" located just around the corner from the Post Office.  The locals eat here so what does that tell you?  Price for a complete meal with a couple of vom fass biers....DM15 (who said there are no bargains for tourists).

Stuffed, but content, today has definitely been a winner.  Great weather, great accommodations.  But for now, with the sun going down over the mountains it is time to head back to the hacienda. The temperature is dropping sharply (the heavy comforter on the bed was a clue right away) and it looks like it will be one of those bury under the covers nights -  yesss....

A bottle of red wine is cooling on the balcony, tonight is the first full moon, and we are deep in Bavaria.  Who could ask for more?  Just wait..... Finding this location had me feeling like I had truly dropped out of existence, but tomorrow I was to find out just how small a world it really is.

Day 6...  That down comforter certainly came in handy last night as the temps dropped into the low 40's.  A much welcome relief from the blistering heat of Texas that I left behind just a few days ago. This I can stand.

There is an unusual feature to the Bichlerhof which I have not encountered before. The previous evening Herr Sailer asked what time I would like breakfast.  8:00 is fine by me says I, and by the way, where is the Frühstück room?  It seems that there isn't one... instead breakfast is brought to the room on a serving tray at the specified hour.  Hmmmmm...... this is definitely a first for me.   Wierd, but hey....when in Rome.

By 7:00 I am out and about for a stroll around the farm. The sun is coming up and there is a heavy dew on the pastures.  Smoke drifts from the chimneys of nearby farms as the locals get cranked up for another day.  There is one other car besides mine at the Bichlerhof which I really hadn't paid much attention to.  I'm sitting out front enjoying the cool morning air before breakfast when the front door opens and out comes one of the other guests.  Assuming him to be German I said Guten morgen, however it turns out he is an American.  We get to talking and in short order we ask each other where we are from.  Simultaneously we blurt out "Dallas"........shock!!!

It turns out we live about three miles apart yet we have never crossed paths in our life.   He is retired Air Force and informs me he and his wife travel to Germany twice a year for a minimum of 30 days, and that they have been coming to the Bichlerhof for about five years.  He was surprised I had found the place via the Internet and had made reservations by e-mail (must not be a computer buff).  He remarked that they always come in September, and always get the same room.  Their thing is to daytrip wherever their mood takes them.... they use no itinerary, have no set agenda, and as he aptly put it "we're not tourists, we're retirees".  They are halfway into this year's trip and today they are headed to Munich for some shopping.   You have to wonder what are the odds that the only other guest in an off the beaten path farm would not only be an American, but almost a neighbor as well.  It is indeed a small world.

Promptly at 8:00 Herr Sailer delivers breakfast and I get a jump start from the large pot of coffee.  Sufficiently caffined for the rest of the day it's off to the races.   As I head to the car I find Herr Sailer has switched gears and is now in his work clothes and herding his cows out to graze.  They are bunched up on the only trail leading up to the farm, so I get to play rear guard and creepy-crawl along for about 1/4 mile until finally able to break free and pass. 

The weather is crystal clear and the Zugspitze looms directly ahead as I hit the road which will take me into Austria.  After about an hour's drive I come into Biberwier for the first entertainment of the day....the 4000 foot long luge run. 

Since this is a weekday, and almost the end of the season, I am pleased to find only one other car in the lot.  It is only a german couple getting into their hiking duds as they will take the chairlift to the top to wander for miles among the thick forests that cover the area.   I, on the other hand, am ready to brave the twisting hairpin turns on the luge course, camera in hand, and hoping I don't leave some more elbow skin behind like I did last year.  :0(  Fortunately, there are no mishaps this year.

With the luge checked off the list it is off to Reutte as it is getting close to bratwurst und bier time and that seems like as good a place as any.  I believe this little town would be popular even without Rick Steve's having stayed here.  It is in a great location for those who like skiing, hiking, or just getting away from it all in a small town.  I hit the local T.I. office by the bahnhof to pick up the latest literature on farms in the area to add to our evergrowing library of "zimmer stuff".  It is nice to be able to wander the town and not have to fight the tourist crowds.  This place must not have notoriety yet as the tour buses seem to just pass it by.

After a pleasant tour of the town it is back on the road and the plan is to follow the length of the Plansee back into Germany.  This area is quite picturesque and lies in a deep valley surrounded by towering hills. The lake, which was formed by a glacier, is a deep emerald green which I believe is due to some sort of natural chemicals. 


There are numerous areas to pull over for photo stops, or picnics, and I see several cars along the way taking advantage of the opportunity.  Once again there is no border checkpoint and I breeze back into Germany and come out by the entrance to Linderhof.   Bypassing the schloss it is a direct shot back to the B23, and over to the next stop of the day, Ettal monastery.

Ettal dates back hundreds of years and the monks today still brew some of the local bier, and actually it tastes pretty good.  Gift shops and a couple of hotels make this a stopping point for tour buses and today is no exception.  Surprisingly though, the grounds of the monastery are almost empty so I am able to wander at will.

After knocking back a couple of Lowenbrau's it is time finish out the itinerary with a visit to Mittenwald (one of Tooooobah's favorite haunts).  This is a very picturesque little town with a Fußgänger zone and a small stream running down the middle of the street (remnants of the medieval sewer system which can be found in many German towns).  

The center of town is at the large church steeple and from here one can wander out in any direction thru quaint streets dotted with frescoe painted houses (Ben has assigned me the task of finding us a farm here for next year's trip).  A visit to the T.I. office yields some more catalogues on accommodations in the area so it looks like my task will be an easy one.  :0)

I toy with the idea of hopping over to Innsbruck but it is now late afternoon and starting to rain.  Lucky me... but I am six days into the trip and this is the first rain so no complaints (week 2 however is to be another matter).
:0(  Pleased that another great day has been accomplished I head back to Garmisch in what is now a very heavy rain.  Things clear up a bit as I come into town and I am able to find a parking spot in the small lot at the main intersection.  I now have a choice... walk around in the rain or head for my favorite imbiss for a schnitzel mit pommes... gee that's a tough one.

Back at the bauernhof I am greeted by my American friends just returning from their day in Munich.  Role reversal... tomorrow I leave for Munich and they are heading into Austria footloose and fancy free.  With bags packed I can now kick back to enjoy some time on the balcony and watch the hikers coming down the trails that dot the hillsides.  It has been a great two days in the area, and another new farm to recommend.  Taking Herr Sailer up on his offer I get a message off to Ben as this is the first opportuntity of the trip to use a computer. Fortunately, there will be a couple more but for now it is time to prepare for storming the beaches at the monster of all bierblasts.....the

Eine mass bitte... :0)

Part 2

Trip Reports and Journals

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