September 4, 2013 – To celebrate our first full day in Mittenwald, we enjoyed a breakfast of cold cuts, fruit, and apple drink. We also made some sandwiches and gathered our water bottles (2L bottles – as a side note, no one uses Nalgene, but they do re-use old pop, wine, and large plastic bottles) and headed out the door.
One of the lovely things about our B&B in Mittenwald is how easy it is to walk out into the countryside. We were soon past the southern edge of town and heading down a narrow road, around a field and into the woods. The woods aren’t incredibly thick, but the gravel path is nice and wide and people seem to use it for both walking and bike riding. The area is also a nature preserve; on the return trip we spotted a black woodpecker flying across the trail.
The border between Germany and Austria was not obviously marked, though once we reached the edge of town we knew we were in Austria. We found a little bench under a tree (as a bonus, it overlooked the river) and ate our picnic lunch. We also explored town for a bit, before paying for the restrooms near the border. Louisa used the time to try to look innocent so as not to attract the attention of the border agents, and also read some of the monuments to 19th century Austrian military might over the invading German armies.
We decided to walk back via a different trail; this one ran parallel to the river, but was also near the road and in full sun. We would recommend the wooded trail overall, although we did see the previously-mentioned woodpecker on this part of the walk.
By the time we returned to town it was almost time for dinner. We knew we wanted to try someplace new, and ventured over to Gasthof Stern. As usual, it’s a seat yourself kind of restaurant, so we grabbed a table in the corner of the biergarten. A waitress soon came over to take our drink orders (colaweizen and a radler – half beer, half lemonade) and hand us menus. The beer was very good, and the food was even better. This quickly became our favorite restaurant in town. Throughout the next several days we had large portions of bone-in pork leg with gravy, potato balls, schnitzel, steak, and kasespatzle. Everything we tried was fantastic, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
That evening we heard some traditional music from our room, and eventually found the very end of a concert being played in a nearby park. It took us about 10 minutes to find a path to the park, but the music was audible throughout our route. Amazing how quiet these little towns can be, given all the people who live there.