Sunday, 7 June 2015

German Alpine Road (Deutsche Alpenstrasse)

Trying to find the exact route for this route proved to be quite difficult.
We use an iPad and have loaded a mapping app called - "". 
It is probably one of the best remote mapping tools I have seen. We have downloaded all of Europe including detailed maps of Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro. The detail is amazing, even down to walking tracks...and guess what - it's free! (As at June 2015)

Reviewing details of blogs that showed their routes, most were copies of maps and mentions of towns so plotting these on a map proved quite difficult when jumping form map to picture to blog and back to map. One of the blogs - provided an excellent commentary of the trip and also provided a GPS track. 
This Link will provide a download to either google maps or the programme we use.

Our thanks go to the owners of the website - they made the trip so much easier.

On to the detail.....

We arrived at and passed through Lindau on the shores of Lake Constance. There were small 'tourist signs' detailing the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, but sometimes they were difficult to see. Coming from Australia, this trip can only be described as the most awesome scenery I have ever driven. Our first day we had sunshine, but the second and third were overcast and rainy. However, the scenery of Lake Constance was spectacular, driving along the road with the lake on our right and lush ripe vineyards on our left. Quaint villages dotted here and there, and always a Gasthaus enticing you to come in for a German beer or two. 


                                                       View on arrival at Lake Constance

There was so much beautiful scenery that we must have missed due to the cloud cover that we have decided that maybe we will drive this route again in reverse when we depart form permitting! All this time travelling through Germay, we had not seen one Police car on the highway, the main roads or in the towns we passed through...we would find out why!

Our first stop was Neuschwanstein Castle just outside of Fussen.


I had visited the castle 35 years ago on my Contiki tour of Europe and my memories were that of a fairytale castle set high on a hill. It was as spectacular as I remembered. We followed the crowds of tourists up the fairly steep slope towards the castle, then on recommendation ventured even further up the hill for an even better vantage point. Wow - what a view, though both of us developing quite a fear of heights as we get older made us cautious as to being to close to the edge (no barriers to be seen!)


                                       Neuschwanstein castle - built by Ludwig 11 of Bavaria


                       As close as we were prepared to get to the edge of a very steep drop !!!
Leaving Fussen we carried onto to Garmisch-Partskirchen. We had reviewed for accomodation there and couldn't fathom why it was at 94% booked..then we read the news. The G7 conference was staying in a Schloss just outside of the town and every news crew, police crew, emergency crew (and probably secret service) had booked the town out....police everywhere! We travelled through the town the day after and reckoned there would have to have been 2000+ police on wonder we stopped off in Oberammergau for the night! Àctually we had no choice, they had closed the roads to the south so we couldn't have gone any further even if we had wanted.


Oberammergau village is famous for their production of Passion Plays which depicts the life and death of Jesus. It run for five months every year that ends in 0, the next one being in 2020 and the performers are all local inhabitants of the village. The houses is the village are painted with frescos showing the wealth and status of their inhabitants.
                               Germany Bavaria Oberammergau Painted building facade with windows and shutters luftmaileri Red Ridinghood House
                    Colourful painted house in Oberammergau

The next morning we learned that the roads had been reopened through to Garmisch-Patnkirchen and we wanted to see the Partnachklamm Gorge which was meant to be well worth a visit. As the weather was inclined to be rainy, we opted not to do any of the cable cars in the region, and figured we would be getting wet anyway at the gorge. It was awesome, one of the most amazing pieces of nature that we have seen. It is 700 meters long and in some places 80 meters deep, and the sound of the water pushing through is deafening.



                                  Photos of the gorge which really do not do it justice. 

At the entrance of the gorge was the ski jumping hill used in the 1936 Winter Olympics. After the rather wet walk through gorge, we decided to warm ourselves up by climbing the 225 steps which took us to the observation area of the jump. The stadium below looked so far away from that height - I can't imagine how competitors can bring themselves to do the run.


               Looking down from the viewing platform on the ski jump at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.


                                             Pete only about 1/2 way down the ski jump

Back on the road again and still on the Deutsche Alpenstrasse, we wound our way up over mountains covered in forestry, sometimes the trees so tall they blocked out the sun. Then down the other side through sleep villages nestled in the valley below. For much of the route, we were only a stones throw from the Austrian border, sometimes even being in the country for 5 minutes then out again. The scenery was nothing short of spectacular, contented cows grazing in lush green fields, purple lupins and yellow buttercups growing in mass on the sides of the road and the alps as the back drop, still with the last of the winters snow on them.


The last nights stop before crossing the border was at the small village of Brem, just out of Unterwossen - another place we had read about someone else's blog. Another top spot - great food and a very comfortable bed - we have been so lucky with our choices. 
Leaving the next morning with fog all around and not a mountain in sight we decided to leave the Alpenstrasse and hit the autobahn to Austria. Stopping to purchase our vignette (permit to drive in Austria) well before the border for fear of the hefty fines that are handed out to tourists if caught without, we crossed without issue and were in Austria. The clouds were clearing and by the time we has reached Schladming, our home for a week, it was blue skies and sunshine.  If, as mentioned, the weather forecast is favourable on our return, we will do this trip again. I am sure the scenery will be just as spectacular seeing it from the other direction.

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