8 August: Venturing into Germany

Author: Mrs A

Location: Pfronten, Bavaria, Germany

What we love about travelling in Europe is the the ability to amend our plans on the fly, make decisions at short notice and even change countries – all a great challenge in Australia, where at busy times of the year campgrounds must be booked well in advance (restricting any spontaneity) and as for changing countries…well, that takes both funds and planning, and it would be very hard to take a vehicle.

It was a message from our friend Stefanie pointing out we were only a couple of hours away from her in Bavaria that prompted us into pointing Truffy’s nose north upon leaving Innsbruck and head into Germany. It was a spectacular drive, through mountains and following rivers, through alpine tunnels and past countless castles and fortifications.

Yet another fine view out of our windscreen as we wind through the Zugspitze – part of the Northern Limestone Alps

The language, food and scenery sounded and looked very similar to Austria, but in just over an hour’s driving we arrived in the town of Pfronten.

I would love to say it was some secret knowledge that brought us to this village en route to see Stefanie, but it wasn’t, just a site written up on an app with good reviews – and we really hit the jackpot in terms of location. It turned out that a tavern had added motorhome parking to its car park – thereby increasing customer numbers and earning a side income. It was so much cheaper than we had experienced of late too, a total of €14 (AU$23/£13) for the night including drinking water and electricity.

I sat down with Google maps and plotted out what I hoped might be a good circuit cycle ride, taking in a few sights on the way. The region is literally riddled with cycle and hiking paths, and we had spotted a few castles and lakes on our drive through.

The paths started right at our campground, car-free tracks heading across the countryside, amazing views in all directions.

Five minutes ride from camp and we cannot see another human

Our first point of interest was the castle of Eisenberg, built in 1313. It has been owned by Germans and Austrians, attacked by peasants, built up, renovated and raised to the ground again in its 706 years lifespan.

Castle Eisenberg
A commanding position…ensuring peasants all around can be reminded who is in charge
Looking back towards the main castle
Enjoying the lookout from the tower

In the 1980s there was significant restoration of the buildings and interesting finds have been stored in a museum in the nearby village of Zell (open at weekends only).

Setting off on another typical pathway towards another amazing view…not too busy either!

We set off next towards Hopfensee, a large lake surrounded by villages and walking tracks, skirting the edge of the lake through the village of Füssen towards another lake, Weissensee. All tracks were off road, cutting through woodland, old farm tracks along fields, or purpose built alongside the busier roads, but felt really safe at all times. There were plenty of other cyclists around, big smiles on their faces, enjoying the sunshine, perfect temperature and stunning scenery after several days of rain and cooler temperatures.

Weissensee Lake – popular for swimming, paddle boarding and fishing
Looking over to the lakeside village of Oberried
Do these birds appreciate their view? Looking down Weissensee lake from Oberkirch

Our 40km circuit ride finished back at our local tavern for a refreshing beverage. Other than potatoes and vegetables there was nothing on the menu that was dairy-free, so we settled for a beer and glass of Riesling before heading back to Truffy for showers and to cook dinner. An awesome day.

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