Kicking around the Barvarian Alps with friends.
Trip Start Jun 01, 2007
8Trip End Aug 01, 2007
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After being squeezed on a plane for almost 14hrs, we were met at the Munich (München) airport by Matt's college friend, Harald. We reassembled the bicycles and took the BIKE TRAIL back to his home in Unterschleißheim. What a difference from Cape Town, a bike trail, with signs pointing the direction of the city and distance. We had to take a cab to the Cape Town airport because the roads between downtown and the airport are notorious for having rocks thrown at their vehicles, who knows what they would do to a couple of weird-o bicyclists! After meeting Harald's wife, Henriette and having a refreshing lunch on their back deck, we exploded our bags and started doing the monster chore list to prepare for our next leg of the bicycle adventure. We had been building a list of "things to do in Munich" for quite a while, bike repairs, equipment replacing, gear reorganizing... and we're surprised how long it has taken to get through that list
Taking a break from the chore list, we did some of the tourist things in Munich's city center. Enjoying the European buildings and their attention to detail (all that sort of stuff would be VE'ed out in the USA). Strolling through the Marienplatz and watching the Glockenspiel (a collection of wooden people who dance and spin at the top of the hour to the chime of a carillon), watching kids play in the many fountains, and looking at the outside and, more breathtaking, inside of churches. All of this walking fueled by some of the many choices from the bakery. We also visited the Deutsches Museum. They had displays of airplanes (inside!) and printing presses, demonstrations of automatic knitting machines and chemistry experiments, stories showing you how books used to be constructed and how they build bridges. One afternoon barley puts a dent in the displays!
In Unterschleißheim we have a social life! Harald and Henriette have some friends who also bicycled around Namibia so they came over for dinner and then returned the invitation to their home for more stories and pictures. Also, I have two high school friends who lived in Germany, came to the USA for a bit, then came back. I knew they lived in Munich and when I told them I'd be in Unterschleißheim, was surprised that they also live in this suburb. In fact, they live less then 1km from here. For a city of 1.3 million, that's pretty cool.
At Matt's last job he had the opportunity to come to Neuburg, about 100km NE of Munich, to use their wind tunnel. We spent one day looking around the city and bicycling around the country side. It's fun to crest over a hill while in the country side and see a tiny town with it's red roofed houses and church steeple
Harald and Henriette took a few days off of work to show us around the Bavarian Alps. We headed down to Berchtesgaden where we hopped onto a boat to take us across Königssee and start our hike up to our first Alpine Hut, Kärlingerhaus. The huts are great, you don't need to bring a tent or stove to do some backpacking over here, just a credit card. The dinner menu even had a vegetarian option! We spent the next day hiking to the top of the 2578 M Funtenseetauern where we had fantastic views of the Alps bouncing off in the distance. I love how each mountain group is so individual. I could say that the Bavarian Alps are like the Washington Cascades or the Colorado Rockies, but they aren't quite like either. Each has it's own personality. Harald and Henriette know a lot about the area and were pointing out other peaks and the flowers under foot. How useful to have a tour guide while in the mountains. We spent another night in Purtschellerhaus and the next morning we got most the way up Hoher Göll before the weather set in. Deciding that inside the hut sipping tea was a better place, then a rock face, to watch a lightning storm we bailed. Instead, we headed down to Austria and the Almbachklamm where we wove our way up a deep river gorge to view the waterfalls, swelled by said lighting storm.
We are getting towards the end of the chore list (which keeps having the pesky habit of adding items to itself) and hoping to start bicycling towards Istanbul shortly. We have a month to get there, because my parents and brother with his wife are meeting us to spend a week! Isn't that wonderful, they are coming over to spending some time with us during our year away from the USA. It will be good to see family.
That's it for now, tschüß! (I love using the "ß", it's an ess-set and pronounced like an "S")