Karwendel

September 5, 2013 – Happy German Birthday to one of the nerds! 🙂  The day started as the other ones, with us enjoying a nice breakfast in our little kitchen – coffee, juice or juice-like beverage, buttered bread and cold cuts and cheese, and some sort of fresh fruit (usually apples or plums).  It’s so convenient to have a grocery store within walking distance, and even more fortunate that we figured out how to successfully checkout.  Then we packed a picnic lunch (sandwiches, chocolate, pretzels) and headed out to the Karwendelbahn.

Kerwendel Lighting
Take the Karwendelbahn to the top early for the best views, and the fewest crowds.

After about a 15 minute walk, which took us across the little stream flowing through town and then up a short hill, we reached our stop.  We had just missed the first trip of the day, but had a very short wait and then a semi-crowded ride to the top of the mountain.  (As a side note, it’s definitely worth it to get there early.  By the time we came off the mountain at 12:30 there was a multi-hour wait.)

Mountain Marker
Sometimes it’s all about the little things.

The ride to the top took a few minutes at the most, given the relatively fast pace of the trip.  We enjoyed watching the tops of the mountains get closer, and the houses smaller, though our elevation didn’t seem to sink in until we exited at the top and walked over to the edge of the trail.

Tony And Louisa
We greatly enjoyed being on top of the mountain.

We spent a few hours wandering around the gentler trails at the top, as well as walking down a little one-way dead end trail with some sweet views. We got a few souvenir stones from a stone vending machine, then took the lift back to the valley.

Mountain Paths
Louisa wasn’t sure about this path, but it ended up being a good side-trek.

Once down we took our picnic lunch and headed towards the gorge trail, stopping along the way to eat.  We bypassed the pay-to-see-it trail through the gorge and instead took the path straight up the hill.  Okay, it’s not really straight up the hill, but one of us was feeling tired and she thought it was a rather steep trail.  Regardless, the views from the top are great, and the forest is a nice break from the heat of the sun.

Valley View
Yep, we were up there.

Once in the trees we criss-crossed the border a few times and eventually made our way down the hill towards the gorge.  This was a very neat part of the hike, since there are metal walkways anchored into the sides of the cliff.  There is also fantastic scenery, as you’re literally walking above the river that carved the gorge.  We walked down to the end, where we found a little shrine (perhaps to Mary) and then made our way back to the valley.

Gorge Path
The gorge trail is well designed, but maybe not for folks that don’t like heights.

After dropping our supplies off at the room we went back to our go-to, favorite restaurant – Gasthof Stern.  The food and beer did not disappoint, and afterwards we found a local band, dressed in traditional clothing, playing in the town square.  During a brief intermission (when the church bell played so loudly that the band had to stop) two of the guys went on a beer run, and made their way back through the crowd carrying three pints each.

Music
We greatly enjoyed the musical performance in town.

And who could forget birthday dessert?  There was a little ice cream vendor near the square, so we each got four scoops.  🙂  The ice cream seemed to be a mix of cream and milk, not as rich as whole cream but still richer and smoother than most American ice cream.  It also doesn’t really include “add ins” like chocolate chips, but has enough flavor to stand on its own.

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