Our next stop was to be Garmisch-Partenkirchen and we made it to Garmisch, passing through some pretty villages as we did so, and we did pause in the centre but parking was difficult and the weather was closing in (with snow forecast for the late afternoon and evening) and so we headed for a highly recommended camp site some 14 km down the road with a view to returning to GaPa the next day.
The site was five star and while not cheap appeared to have everything we could possibly need. The shower block was unreal; sparkling clean and with underfloor heating, numerous separate shower cubicles, unlimited hot water and even a bathroom with a bathtub! I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised given that the camp site is geared up for winter camping and skiing.
It’s restaurant had plenty of good reviews and we decided to eat there that evening – the food and wine were good and not silly expensive.
And so to bed and, yes, it snowed throughout the night but it was that horrible cold slushy snow that fell and that was when camp site fell right down in my estimation. The Van wasn’t parked on hardstanding but on soft mushy ground that became a cold shallow pond.
It was a beautiful morning in Schwand and we were sorely tempted to take the boat trip from St Gilgen to St Wolfgang during the afternoon. After checking the latest news, however, we thought better of it. It seems Austria is now considered by Germany to be of the highest Covid risk and there is talk of border restrictions. I don’t know what that means and I’m not convinced it would be legal but these are strange times. Time to move on.
We set off in the direction of Salzburg and then picked up signs for Germany. At the border, which was manned by German police, there was a small queue of cars but absolutely nothing with Austrian plates. Time to worry? No, we were simply waved through. Bit of a relief though.
I don’t know why we stopped at Rosenheim. I googled the place and stumbled upon the “Holiday In Bavaria” site but neither of us knew much about the place before and we perhaps still don’t. For my part, I think it was relief at not being turned back at the border that made me want to pause and take a drink in Rosenheim. It is worth mentioning too that Vanya had found what looked on paper to be a good camp site in the Rosenheim area and the sun was shining.
We parked the Van up in a church car park and walked to the town centre, the Max-Josefs Platz, and sat outside a busy Gasthof and took a beer. It was marvellous sitting in the sun with that beer and if I didn’t have to drive on to the camp site I could have been tempted to take another two or three. It’s a shame Vanya has shown absolutely no interest in driving the Van because she was drinking water and then… well, no matter.
The sun continued to shine; I was precluded from drinking anymore; it was time to check out the town. For my part we had to move as quickly as possible from Max-Josefs Platz – there were two too many distractions – the cafe bars were tempting me and the designer shops were likely to tempt Vanya – I had forgotten it was a Sunday and few if any designer shops are open in this part of the world on a Sunday.
With a population of more than 60,000 Rosenheim is a large town but, I don’t think there is much to the place and I certainly cannot agree with the “Holiday In Bavaria” website when it suggests that the town “delights visitors with its southern flair and Alpine charm”. It has some colourful buildings but, so too does the rest of Bavaria. It has some interesting museums and some enticing looking shops but on such a sunny Sunday afternoon? I don’t think so. As for the Alpine charm bit, I would suggest there are many more places in Bavaria much closer to the Alps that better qualify for that particular soubriquet.
There are a couple of things about Rosenheim I do very much like. On a warm sunny afternoon such as we enjoyed, the Max-Josefs Platz struck me as a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by and, remember, this was on a Covid Sunday when there were but a fraction of the people out and about as normal.
For much the same reason Ludwigplatz also appealed to me but sitting almost in between the two is the beautiful Kirche St Nikolaus. That place really impressed me.
While quite ornate on the outside, with some very interesting frescoes, it was stylish simplicity on the inside – a total contrast and wonderfully elegant. A truly beautiful church.
Reading this back I hope I don’t come across as too hostile towards Rosenheim. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the place. I think perhaps I expected too much of the town in the first place (but I’ll blame Holiday In Bavaria for that). Would I ever return? Yes, I would. It could be argued that I barely scratched the surface in the time I was there this time and, in any event, Rosenheim is supposed to have a fantastic Autumn Beer Drinking Festival which sounds far more authentic than Munich’s Oktoberfest.
Oh, and the camp site Vanya found in the area was very good.
The plan was to move west from Zurich to Enzesfeld (not far from Vienna) to enjoy a day or two with longstanding friends Clare and Gerhard before then heading south to either Greece or Italy before the winter snows arrive. The journey to Austria went as planned. It was largely uneventful but I took time to check out a couple of very pretty villages on the way (you know the ones I mean – they look like something out of “Little House on the Prairie” except the cows and the sheep all have big bells hanging round their necks) and I stopped in Liechtenstein (for lunch) and Munich (for a couple of beers, dinner and an overnight stay) before eventually reaching Enzesfeld.
The less said about the campsite in Munich, the better. Although not expensive, it was the worst I’ve encountered so far. I’ll likely do an update on this blog tomorrow and name and shame it. No I won’t. If you cannot say something nice it is better to say nothing at all.
I was going to climb a hill somewhere to the south east of here today but the weather was warm and sunny again (that’s four or five days in a row now) and, instead, after stocking up on some supplies in the city centre (the market was open again) I decided to chill out over a couple of beers in the local Gasthaus and then take in a football game.
Gasthaus zum Stahl
Freiburg were hosting Schalke 04 this afternoon in a Bundesliga match and since the stadium is only 20 minutes walk from where the Van is parked I went to the game. As is so often the case when I go to watch a new team, they lose (witness Partick Thistle, Darlington, Macclesfield, etc to say nothing of West Ham) and Freiburg duly obliged by going down 1-0. Typical. However, the match wasn’t bad and the two sets of supporters were outstanding throughout the game. Very, very noisy.
I got there early to get the ticket
The Freiburg End
Managed to blag my way into the VIP Lounge at halftime and partook of a beer and bowl of pumpkin soup:-
Yesterday morning was a bit of a disaster. I’m not sure if it was me, my sat-nav system or the French roads (or a combination of all three) but I spent far too much time going backwards and forwards down narrow dirt track roads instead of visiting the places I wanted to see in Verdun and Metz. The only positive during the morning was being able to replenish my wine stock from a small Carrefour with a supply of local Pinot Noirs and some Italian Amerone – can you believe the Amerone was less than 7 Euros a bottle?!?).
Anyway, it will suffice to say that I got fed up with France and decided to head for Freiburg in Germany (that’ll teach the French!) but what a great result.
I’m parked up in a Campsite (with all the amenities you could wish for) close to Freiburg city centre. Had a meal and few local beers last night in the Gasthaus next door and was up early this morning (Friday) to explore.
I’ve taken countless photos (far too many to include in a blog like this) and none of them do the place justice. Population-wise Freiburg is about the same size as Lille but there the similarities end. The centre is entirely pedestrianised except for the local trams and the ubiquitous cyclists and perhaps because of this it seems slower and quieter (although Friday is market day in the Munsterplatz and the square was packed this morning with stalls selling everything you could imagine from roses to schnapps). There’s also a small indoor market which I believe is open every day and on Saturdays there is a flea market. There are many narrow streets, old and new, packed with little curiosity shops, antique shops, cafes and bars but they sit well beside all the modern designer stores you would expect to find in a modern German city. There was one coffee shop, the smells from which, dragged me back to enjoy a fine coffee and the best apple pie I have ever tasted. That was today’s breakfast.
The Gothic Cathedral Tower – Freiburg Minster
The city is crisscrossed by picturesque brooks
The building in the centre conceals McDonalds
That object in the distance at the top of Schlossberg Hill is worth a visit
Another reason for Freiburg feeling so very much slower and quieter is Schlossberg Hill, just to the east of the old town and on the edge of the Black Forest. I broke from the hustle and bustle of the market to visit Schlossberg Hill and I had the place very much to myself (probably because the funicular railway was not working). There are countless paths up the hill from the town and at just 456 metres above sea level it is easily walked. The castle after which the hill is named is long gone but there is a 30 metre observation tower at the top of the hill which is worth ascending. The steps up the tower are wholly enclosed but there is still a feeling of some exposure partly, I suspect, because the tower wobbles like a jelly as you get closer to the top. At the very top there is a platform that cannot be seen in the picture below but which will accommodate one person, two at a squeeze but you will have to be on intimate terms, and the views from there are worth the extra couple of metres.
The Observation Tower on Schlossberg Hill
The view over Freiburg Old Town from the Observation Tower
The view East from Schlossberg Hill Observation Tower
I’m going back to France (I want to see Colmar while in this part of Europe) but I’m inclined to stay here for another day or two and explore some of the Black Forest first.