01 December 2009

Garmisch -- Back to Nature!

Everyday on this trip has been pretty epic but some days tend to stick out above the rest as particularly memorable. In fifty years when we are sitting in our rockers telling stories of the good ol' days, this day trip to Garmisch will be a highlight.

One of the greatest things about Munich is how close it is to incredible mountains, and peaceful Bavarian villages. Garmisch is only an hour south of the city, but in some ways it felt like we were taking a step back in time.

Just to reiterate -- these are the ALPS (not that anyone could possibly not know what mountain they were visiting...)

The winding path we took to our destination led us along a river of fresh alpine water, through a quiet neighborhood of shingled homes and next to quaint farms with sheep. We even encountered our first "Alpine-type" man decked out in lederhosen, a linen shirt, and a feathered-felted cap.

Set in a valley in the Alps, Garmisch is also a popular destination for winter sports. This is part of the Olympic Ski Stadium the Nazis built for the 1936 winter games (and is still in use). In its day, the stadium held an incredible 100,000 spectators. We both decided ski jumping is NOT our sport -- so terrifying!

The reason we made the trip to Garmisch was to hike to Partnahklamm. Partnachklamm is a spectacular gorge with a gushing river running through. A pathway and tunnels have been constructed along the side and up into the limestone hills to allow visitors to get a view of this incredible natural beauty.

It is always invigorating to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and go somewhere quiet. There were a few other visitors there, but in general, we were alone to commune with the elements.

This place was awesome in the original sense of the word. We were in total awe of the sheer size and dramatic beauty of the place.

The combination of solid rock, turquoise water, red leaves, evergreens, blue sky, and snow capped mountains was unlike anything else.