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Posts from the ‘Hikes’ Category

National Take A Hike Day 2017 A Hike Below Sea Level

Bonus.  With this hike, you don’t even have to be in fantastic shape. With the exception of a few bridges over the dikes, its pretty darn flat. The paths are great and hey, this walk is under sea level, so altitude sickness. won't be a problem. 

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How To Prepare for Munich Madness? Hike Garmisch-Partenkirchen

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order”

Oktoberfest was my “bucket list menu as the main entrée.” I also was with friends who are like-minded in that people and crowds have their place; of course, present company excluded. To be honest, I loved partaking in this epic bucket list check. And yet,

Crowds abound

Oktoberfest grounds

it was important for all of us to ride the peace train, to get out in the natural world and a side bonus of walking off those extra travel calories.

I have to give the credit to my friend who looked into the Garmisch-Partenkirchen area for some peaceful and picturesque hikes. I don’t know that I would have picked this spot on an Oktoberfest trip, nor had the wisdom to foresee the need for nature.  I sincerely enjoyed the entire area. Kudos to my friend!

The site of the 1936 Olympics, it is a picturesque town for outdoor enthusiasts to jump off from. Interesting fact. Adolph Hitler worried that  the small size and lack of lodging in Garmisch would cause this site to be passed over for the 1936 Olympics.  The two towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen were ordered merged, and the rest is history.

Our hotel had a shuttle van that took us to the Olympic Park Beginning at the ski stadium and the ski jump area. We waved to the arena since we all couldn’t wait to get out and play.

From there, we walked along a trail that leads past beautiful homes and outbuildings alongside a small river with a beautiful color.

Walking through the meadows, I got the sense that I was leaving “somewhere” and entering the wonder of nature.


The river rolls

The river rolls


LOVE when the mountains come into view.



And the river began to sing

And the river began to sing

After a walk of about 30 minutes, we came upon a trailhead where you pay a modest fee to hike the trail. Adults are 3€. We wondered why there was a fee but learned that the trail is extremely well maintained with safety features for all to enjoy. This area was declared a natural monument in 1912.

You walk through a series of tunnels

You walk through a series of tunnels

There are twists and turns in the path.  There were many people of all ages hiking, some classroom students.  There are places to stop and view the majesty of the glacial river and nature’s artistic carvings.  The stunning Portnach Gorge or Partnachklamm measures 2300 ft in length and 263 feet in height.

Next we passed by trails and signs that could guide you to many magnificent hikes and destinations.  There are 300 km of trails with a walk that will take 10 hours to get to the Zugzpitze. With a series of places to stay, I would love to do that someday.

Seriously, I want to do all  of these hikes

Seriously, I want to do all of these hikes. choices,choices

There are great maps at the trail head.

Lucky to have great compasses with me.

Lucky to have a few great human compasses along. 

We chose to hike to a place called Partnachalm.  There are more ways than one to get to this destination.  We chose a hike that led us through the woods sometimes on a steep rugged path, and sometimes in the meadows.

Take the path less traveled!

Take the path less traveled!

Just when your breathing and cardiac functioning is testing you, you enter into the meadow.



Get outa here! Awesome panoramic views!

Get outa here! Awesome panoramic views!

We were able to sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  The views at this restaurant are among the best that our world has to offer.

Check out this reflection

Check out this reflection

This was one of my favorite photos from this 2015 Bavarian trip.   Food, friends, nature and one heck of a view.  It does not get better than this.

A few other photos from this spot depicting the quaint, the majestic, and the peaceful nature of Partnachalm.

The walk down was serene and had vistas.  All of us felt refreshed and envious of those who are able to live in this type of atmosphere. We felt gratitude and peace.

Walk descending

Walk descending


Except for the fact that we did not see a cow, with a bell, in the meadow.  But, we did see this sheep in bovine clothing.



At the end of our walk, we spotted out this house and were in awe of it.

What a picture perfect setting and home.  We had to get a closer look

What a picture perfect setting and home. We had to get a closer look


I saw a woman walking her longhaired dachshund.  For real, that happened.

Life is good!

Life is good!

On the next day, we found this.  Bonus!


MEGastars: 5 of 5 star walk.


MEGatips; Here are some things that I learned and of course a few things AFTER my trip.

  1. If you only have one day, I recommend this walk. Love to hike stay a week, a year or forever!
  2. The gorge is a “must see.” I have read reviews about folks who complained about the gorge. Examples: I got wet, it was slippery, the tunnels were dark, there was people who stopped to take photos of the views. All of these complaints are avoided by; wear the correct clothes, and shoes, a hat or hood that you can put on will avoid the drips from the limestone-this is nature, if you have a vision impairment of if you are unsteady on your feet, , use the light on your phone or bring a small pen light. Yes there are tourists and visitors.   Be thankful that Bavaria has shared this majestic gorge with the world. Be a fellow human being and show peace and courtesy towards others.
  3. Unable to hike to the gorge? A horse drawn carriage is available to take you to the gorge.
  4. Another way to view the gorge, one may take the tram up the mountain from the Olympic Village in Garmisch, and then hike down the gorge through Grasek.
  5. There is a steel suspension bridge where one may have a spectacular 360 panoramic view of the gorge. They say that the dizzying view is spectacular.
  6. There are torchlight tours with a dinner from Hotel Das Grasek. That could be fun. These happen in the winter also, and I read that this is gorgeous.
  7. The hotel Das Grasek has some fun events, I did not stay there but the torchlight walks and Christmas events (fireworks, live music-etc) look super fun. They have three on site restaurants including a beer garden.
  8. I have to give a shout out to The Best Western in Garmisch. I really LOVED my stay there. I felt the price-point was reasonable in a trendy tourism spot. The service was above and beyond. The staff was extremely friendly, the breakfast was above par; with a huge choice of European style breakfast items and included a juicer. There is a van, that will take you to your spots of interests, and the driver couldn’t have been more enjoyable. Excellent stay.
  9. Don’t let winter stop you from visiting. Winter visits look outstanding with something for every outdoor lover to do.   One may still hike the gorge for spectacular frozen views.
  10. There are several lifts and gondolas that give you scenic views of the area. I think it would be fun to go on all of them, I believe that there are four.
  11. Get out there, leave no trace, take the road less traveled.
  12. Be safe, brush up on your mountain safety and study your trail ahead. There are ample resources available in Garmisch to assist your experience.
  13. Do have lunch or dinner at Partnachalm. They have a wonderful menu of Bavarian cuisine. Desserts begin at 2 p.m.
  14. Visiting the Zugspitze, see my prior blog on this stop.

Castles in Bavarian Paradise-Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau

Far Away Friday. #4 of 4, Romantic Road, Bavaria

I absolutely love this area of Germany. It is everything that the photos portray and much more. With a nearly indescribable setting, this entire area is drop dead gorgeous.  Driving through lush farmland with beautiful and historic buildings, and then into a clean lush valley with a view of the forests ,lakes and mountains as a backdrop.   There are two nature preserves in this area. Thank you Germany!  Although this is the most visited site in Germany, there are many outdoor activities for the nature enthusiast who prefers to be away from the masses.  I could see myself in this area for a lifetime.

The road in

The road in

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Neat and interesting architecture everywhere!

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My Wisconsin roots has prepared to me to appreciate beautiful barn buildings!

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And then there are these cuties. Oh, there is this moment that the castle comes into view and it took my breath away. Like a photo hoarder, I kept snapping because the sight was so cool. The romantic road is actually romantic!

This road is actually romantic!

This road is actually romantic!

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King Ludwig II  built Neuschwanstein Castle just a short distance from his childhood home, Hohenschwangau Castle.

Getting closer, one of the first things that I saw was this tidy small church in the meadows.

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Colomanskirche or St. Coloman’s Church, is dedicated to a 13th century Irish pilgrim who passed through on his way to The Holy Land. Accused of being a spy because of his “strange” appearance and unable to defend himself, he was tortured and executed in Vienna, Austria.

europe ven alp mun 094  He was made a Saint by the local people.  Many people park along this road and hike into town. Free parking!

The village of Hohenschwangau serves a the “base camp” for this area. There is a Visitor’s Center. The two castles are visible from the village.

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Hohenschwangau Castle (pictured above,) was the summer and hunting home for Prince, later to be King Maximillian II and his wife Marie of Prussia. Their sons Otto I and Ludwig II.

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There is lodging, restaurants, shopping.   It was very crowded.

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Views around the village

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I visited on a foggy-rainy day. I pride myself on dressing for the elements.  And yet, left my awesome rain gear and hiking boots at the hotel.  #impromptu hiking clothes, no problem.

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There are a few methods which get  visitors up the mountain to see Neuschwanstein;  by horse and carriage, or by bus. Both can get you to within  a 10 minute hike from the castle.And of course by foot or cowboy boots in my case,  The hike is 30-40 minutes up a steep road through the beautiful woods.

One of the first sights that I saw was Marienbrucke, which is a famous bridge built over the Pollat Gorge. I found it a bit harrowing.  I did try, but there was so many people on the bridge, that I could not walk very far onto the bridge without feeling freaked out.  The view from this bridge is magnificent.

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Just to give you some perspective.  Holy #@!

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Not for the faint of heart, but, dang these views!

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Fact: Walt Disney modeled his castle after this one. It truly is a storybook castle.

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Sights on the road up to the castle.

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I saw great views of the countryside from here.  It is free to get into the shop and lower courtyard but to get into the castle, there is a fee.

This is a story of tragedy. It is a long story and is available to you with a quick Google/Wiki click. Tragically, the castle was never completed. 15 rooms were finished before King Ludwig died under mysterious circumstances. It is hard to believe that this castle was built for the primary residence of just one person.

The hike down was probably my favorite and most memorable part of this day-megatrip, I was able to get a sense of the natural majesty of the land. The castle is well known but this hike down the gorge, not so much,I simply stumbled upon it. I saw very few people. If you are physically able,  I highly recommend this hike!

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I love these woods and waterfalls.

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One of my top ten scenic hikes of all time.

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Meg was here!

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Meg was here!

Meg was here!

It started to get a little steep. Nothing like walking on on a path in the area over jagged rock and water.  The path was affixed to the mountainside. I had to get a rock to hold to help stray my mind. I freaked out a little bit. I did see an old lady with heels on and a kid. Whatever.

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idk water thing

idk water thing

The views were completely worth it.

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This place rocked my world. I would absolutely LOVE to go back and spend more time exploring, hiking and biking. I give it an easy 5 MEGASTARS *****


  1. See my instagram for more photos of this majestic place.
  2. To tour the castle, you need to buy tickets below the castle for a guided tour only. Tickets can be reserved on line 2 days prior. Want to save € ?  tickets for both castles can be purchased together.
  3. If you are not physically active, take the bus up. I feel sorry for those horses knees, but the carriage ride up looks pretty.
  4. No photos or filming inside. There are great photos on line.
  5. Fussen, a medieval town a few minutes away is a good place to find food.
  6. If you can hike in this area, DO IT.
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