Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day Trip to Oberstdorf, Germany

Husband and I have become pretty big homebodies since moving to Germany. During the week we are surrounded by another language, different cultural norms, and frankly all around unfamiliar territory. When the weekends roll around for us, otherwise self-aware confidants, lounging in our pajamas on the couch seems appealing against the unknown, or the more scary, unexpected.
Reading about Breitachklamm in Deutsch

Halfway Down a Gorge
See the river down below?

 Our recent trip to Murnau, Germany made me realize we need to spend more days out exploring the areas around Munich. If we aren't taking advantage of our time now, before we know it we will be back in Texas with a case of the coulda, woulda, shouldas. 
Winter Hike in the Alps

So last Friday, with no weekend plans in mind, I decided to google "Top 10 Things to do in the Bavarian Alps." Don't you just love Google? Right there on my commuter train, at my finger tips were countless links with ideas of how to spend time in the Bavarian Alps. I happened to pull up About's Top Ten Things to do in Bavaria. Scrolling down the list I realized Husband and I have already completed 9 of the 10 suggestions! Maybe we aren't as bad of couch potatoes after all...
Beautiful Flowing River

Reading through About's Top Ten list, #5 Bavarian Alps caught my eye:  "Some of the most well-known resort towns in the German Alps are Oberstdorf, F├╝ssen, Berchtesgaden, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen." Husband and I have been to both Fussen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, plan to visit Berchtesgaden in the spring, but Oberstdorf? Again, another Google search...
Stuck in a Hard Place

Less than a two hour drive from Munich, Oberstdorf is located in the far southwestern part of Germany. Beautiful Alp mountainsides are the main focal point with the borders of Austria and Switzerland close by. Oberstdorf is a popular winter sports area and is famous for their annual ski jump competition. Remember when Husband an I visited the ski jump in Garmisch-Partenkirchen? Besides winter sports, Oberstdorf has plenty of other attractions as well.
Frozen in Time

Shelby Dog Exploring the Gorge!

Searching Oberstdorf's attractions on TripAdvisor, I found the number one thing to do was visit Breitach Klamm. This is a nature monument that is considered one of Middle Europe's deepest and most impressive rocky gorges. The summer photographs looked green and lush, but seeing winter pictures made me want to go immediately! 
Frozen Mountainside Waterfall

Ice Ice Baby!

In the wintertime, Breitach Klamm is a real-life ice exhibit that even the fanciest man-made ice sculptures can not compare. The frozen waterfalls, 10 foot hanging icicles, and snow covered cliffs presented a glistening winter wonderland. Husband and I spent around 2 hours hiking through the sand covered pathways, careful of the rocky overhangs, immersed in this natural beauty. Exploring the frozen gorge at Breitach Klamm has definitely made it's place as one of my favorite memories. It sure beats the couch!
Making Icy Memories

Make Winter Beautiful,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day Trip to Murnau, Germany

Husband and I have been to the ski resort alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen several times. Located in the Alps it is a great place to see Olympic sites and the Bavarian styled houses. It is a well visited area between tourists and ski enthusiast.
Murnau am Staffelsee

Just below the Alps is a much quieter if not more charming market town called Murnau. The town is one of three located on Staffelsee. There are walking trails along the water that connect the towns with scenic viewpoints. With the Alps mountain range as a backdrop, the blue village below is a gorgeous place to relax.
Murnau Morning

Mr. and Mrs.

Husband and I had the pleasure of joining our friends for a Saturday outing. We spent the morning walking from Murnau to Seehausen along the lakeside and through the quiet neighborhoods. It was nice to spend some peaceful time in nature that is otherwise more crowded with people during the summer months. Our roundtrip walk to the next town and back to Murnau took about two hours.
Murnau Lakeside

Halfway between Murnau and Seehausen

After our walk by the lake, we decided to enjoy the cobble-stoned pedestrian only main shopping street in the middle of Murnau. The mom and pop shops were busy with people taking care of their Saturday late morning errands. By 1 o'clock most of the shops closed for the remaining weekend. 

Shopping Street in Murnau

When lunchtime arrived our friends took us to Griesbrau Brewery. It is the number 2 rated restaurant in Murnau and it did not disappoint. The beer hall was long with massive doomed white ceilings, brick floors, and grand archways. The giant cooper brewing kettles greeted you at the front door and later on I learned you can take a beer tour. Not far from the brewing kettles was an open kitchen concept which showed your food being prepared right out in the open. When I say "out in the open" I literally mean out in the open. On the way to our table we passed right next to a  jumbo large cast iron skillet heating over a propane tank boiling white sausages. 

At Griesbrau, we not only enjoyed the beautiful atmosphere but the food was delicious as well. We ate traditional German food of weisswurst, schnitzel, red cabbage, roasted potatoes, and potato salad. Husband drank a dunkel beer that he claims is darker and heavier than most dark German lagers. I drank a russ beer which is very similar to the ever popular radler. The russ beer is different than the radler because it is a mixture of wheat beer and lemon instead of helles. The beers were brewed right on site and it was a nice change from our normal Munich beers. Husband is already planning a brewery tour with his buddies. 
Brew Kettles at Griesbrau

After lunch, we walked wobbled over to what my friend claims is the best bakery cafe in town. One thing I love about European living, is the daily routine of drinking an afternoon coffee and enjoying a piece of cake. At 2 p.m. there was not an empty table inside the cafe. I stood in line at the counter in front of 15 different cakes trying to decide what piece looked best. After about 5 minutes, I decided to try a cherry cheesecake. It called cheesecake because it is made with cheese not cream cheese like most Americans are used to. I was very pleased with my decision! 
Details in Murnau

Murnau is about a 45 minute drive from Munich and is well worth a stop if you are wanting to get off of the "tourist path". The drive is a straight shot and not too bad if you have your car properly serviced. If you ignore, or question check engine lights than you might end up sitting in a McDonalds drinking another coffee while the men try to figure out the German car manuals. I will give Husband the benefit of the doubt, our car Flash has two coolant tanks. This is not anything he had seen before living in German! We are constantly learning new things and overcoming unexpected challenges living abroad.
German Engineering

Happy Weekend,