Saturday, 16 October 2021

September Holiday: 23.09.2021 - Part I

We have now reached Thursday, Sept. 23, and looking at the photos I took that day made me decide to split this post up into two parts instead of turning it into one very long post. (Also, I am going to travel to O.K.'s in less than two hours and don't have the time to write it all up.)

The day began very cold at 2C (that's near freezing temperature) but would later warm up to almost 20C in the sun.

We chose another one of the recommended hikes from our leaflet and left the hotel in the direction of Bad Hindelang, the next town from our village. 

The path started out across pastures with a view over the lower part of the valley, with Bad Hindelang right in the middle.

It then dipped down into woodland and along a beck that turns into a rather wild stream in spring, when the snow on the mountains melts. Here, much of the path was extremely rocky and very narrow; along the walls of the ravine, iron hooks and steel ropes had been set up so that hikers could hold on to them - and we needed them! My pictures show only the easier parts of the path, as I did not stop to take photos while clinging to the steel rope ;-)

Coming out at the bottom of the ravine, we arrived at the village of Oberdorf, a suburb of Hindelang. The statue of a stag is in front of a luxurious hotel overlooking the valley.

I really liked Oberdorf; its houses and gardens were so well kept and its small, independent shops looked inviting. Untypically, its small village church is on the outskirt and not in the middle.

The inside is a mix of (very) old and relatively new with unusual colouring on the wooden panels and beams; we liked it and spent some time there before walking on to Hindelang - you'll see that in my next post, probably on Monday.

If I remember correctly, this statue was labeled St. Barbara. She's holding a book, so maybe she is the patron saint of all librarians!

Friday, 15 October 2021

September Holiday: 22.09.2021

The next morning (Wednesday, Sept. 22) greeted us with low clouds across the valley. It looked beautiful, and we knew the day would be sunny and dry again once the fog lifted.

To make the most of the day, we went out right after breakfast, starting today's hike directly from the hotel. In fact, apart from one day out of the nine we spent there, we never used the car - that's how I like it.

We had a leaflet from the hotel with recommended hikes, and chose one that would take us up the slope behind the hotel, opposite those mountains where we'd been the day before.

The first part was through the woods; always particularly beautiful this time of year.

Some of the paths were rough and uneven, some were across pastures (luckily, the cows had been brought down from the higher grounds the weekend before we arrived - I am not keen on walking through a field full of cows, never being really sure of whether they'd see us as a threat or nuisance), but much of it was on relatively easy-going small roads, good enough for the cars of the cow farmers and others who drive up there, either for work or leisure, to visit one of the alps.

We stopped at the Gundalpe for a shandy before making our way down to the valley again.

It was still only lunch time, way too early to retreat to the hotel, especially on such a gorgeous day! So guess what - we went on another walk. This time, we crossed the nature reserve again, but went right at the other end instead of left. That was the path leading to Unterjoch ("lower yoke", as opposed to Oberjoch, where we were staying).

It was easy walking in the sunshine most of the time, past cows and a small chapel (where a man with a white dog was at the door, and I did not want to wait for him to move on) - picture-book Allgäu, like straight out of a tourist brochure.

Just after that chapel, a path named Alpsteigtobel starts. It goes slowly uphill through woodland and along a small stream, and at its upper end is a house that used to be the border control to Austria. In fact, we were on Austrian ground there, with a few steps along the road before entering Germany again.

The last bit was along the busy road leading back into Oberjoch, and from there, it was only a short (but steep) uphill walk to our hotel.

All in all, we had covered about 16 km that day. A relaxing hour or so at the spa before changing into proper clothes (not hiking gear) and sitting down to dinner, and another great day was over.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

September Holiday: 21.09.2021

Only now, when writing this post, did I realise that I had the date wrong for the previous post - the day of our arrival was not the 21st, but the 20th of September. It has now been amended.

By the way, as I said in my reply to Bonnie's comment to yesterday's post, O.K. had been at the same place (same hotel, too) six years or so ago, the year before we met. When we were planning our September holiday, our original idea was to go to Austria, but there was no way of knowing what the Covid regulations would be by the time we returned home; it could have happened so that we'd be quarantined in spite of being fully vaccinated. We did not want to risk such hassle and therefore went to Bavaria. Not actually very far from last year's September holiday, but still a different place with different hiking routes for us to explore.

And as you will see in a later post, we still made it to Austria for a hike - the border is just a few miles outside Oberjoch.

Right, let's get started on our first full day, Tuesday, the 21st of September. The first three pictures show the views from our hotel room greeting us that morning:

Our first hike of this holiday took us across the valley and up on the other side. You know I am not good at steep, long uphill bits, and so I panted and puffed my way up. But I made it, and we were rewarded with beautiful views.

You can just about spot O.K. in this picture. Can't see the path? Well, neither could we really at that particularly steep and rough part of the hike. But it was there, and we reached the peak eventually, being glad we were going up here, and not down, which would have been much harder with the constant danger of slipping.

We could see all the way across the valley and the village of Oberjoch. Our hotel is a bit out of and above the village; see the yellow arrow.

See the tin box near the base of the cross? It contains the Gipfelbuch ("peak book") and a stamp. Ambitious hikers can collect stamps for their own "peak pass" to prove they have been there, and leave an entry in the notebook that is always kept at the cross. You can find similar boxes at almost every peak in this region; I don't know how typical they are for other countries or regions. We do not have peak passes and did not leave an entry in the book; our own memory and photos (and this blog) are enough proof that we've been there.

The entire hike had been only about 11 km long, but that was enough with the rough and steep paths. By the time we were back at the hotel, it was only mid-afternoon; plenty of time to visit the spa and then have a shandy on the sunlit hotel balcony.