Ravioli, sun, truffles and the beautiful Schreksee
Jana had cooked some yummy nutty pasta for tea - then Julian and I headed out for a quick ride in the Schwarzwald before it got dark and it was time for bed. The next day Jana and I had a nice time hanging out and begun by eating breakfast at a nearby cafe. We constructed a vege strudel for dinner, much to Julian's delight.
One hot stuffy Ryan Air flight and I arrive in Memmingen. From there I took a very long train trip to Freiburg to stay with Julian and Jana for a couple of days, before making my way down South to stay with Crispin in Oberstdorf. I managed to reassemble my dismembered bike in the sweltering heat at the railway station and cycle round to their place.
On Wedsnesday Jana and I had the plan to head to Switzerland (about 1.5 hours drive) to spend the day rock climbing. We bhad bought the guidebook the day before and spotted a suitably shady crag which would hopefully stay out of the sun for most of the day. We had the crag and its multiple routes to ourselves all day, and slowly worked our way through some fun climbs.
In the evening we meet Julian and his workmates at a beer garden (they had just finished a mountain bike ride) for some delicious German radlers. Jana had to go back to work on Thursday so I mucked around getting things sorted for leaving on Friday, before Julian and Jana got back from work and we decided to go and sit in the Dreisam (the river which flows through Frieburg) and read our books! It was very refreshing and is apparently a very popular thing to do!
Friday came around all too quickly and it was time to hop back on the train - back through Memmingen and onward to Obertsdorf. I arrived in Oberstdorf late in the afternoon. It is a small town in a broad valley surrounded by tall peaks. It reminded me very much of Austria - not much of Germany anymore. As soon as I arrived in Cris's little attic apartment he proposed a swim in the Frieburg See - I was keen after a long hot train trip getting there.
We rode up into the forest for some time before reaching the deep green lake. After cunningly avoiding the 'pay to swim in lake area' we found a spot to dive in - the water was clear and surprisingly warm.
Cris had to work the following day and it was another stinking hot one - so I decided to slog up a steep road on my mountain bike. I climbed right up to the Seealp, then on up an amazingly steep sealed path. I bravely rode through a gigantic herd of mooing cows, then the path got even steeper till my legs gave up!
At that point I looked at my map and saw the track was described as an 'extreme downhill' and maybe you were supposed to take that big gondola drifting overhead? Nevermind, I jumped on my bike and whizzed back down the many switch backs through about 800m of descent.
That night we stayed at Frauke's place (Cris's girlfriend) in order to get organised for a two day tramping trip we had planned for Sunday and Monday. Frauke had another friend staying with her - Bini - and she was coming on our trip too.
In the morning Frauke's Mum drove us to Vilsalpsee and we started our walk up into the mountains. We reached the ridge after a long climb up through pretty alpine meadows and a farmhouse with very friendly ponies and goats. After lunch we continued along the ridge, then dropped down to the beautiful (but badly named) Schreksee. We pitched our tents, then dived into the lake and swum out to a little island.
At about that time some spots of rain began to fall, and by the time we were attemoting to BBQ our dinner it was pouring! Needless to say we went to bed early that night.
In the morning it was still cloudy and a bit drizzly, but we decided to head up anyway; over a saddle, along a ridge top, then a steep descent into the valley which lead to Hinterstein where we would be picked up again by Frauke's Mum.
We dumped our packs on the ridge and went up to another of the many peaks along the way which are topped by big crosses. Cris and I decided it was a fun game to have a race to the top - resulting in us collapsing on the summit. We ate lunch, then continued along the ridge to where we needed to descend - and it started raining again.
With our jackets on we descended down a slippery track that was covered in cold little lizards that had obviously been caught out in the downpour - there were so many it was an effort to avoid standing on them! We were looking for a track to our right that we planned to take down the valley, but when it never appeared Cris and I lead the way bush bashing downwards to find it.
The girl's quickly decided this wasn't such a good idea (probably sensibly) and convinced us to head back to the main track where we made a slightly longer but more straight forward descent down to the valley. We mooched about in Hinterstein playing in the little fountain before Frauke's Mum arrived and drove us back to her place for some drying out of gear, hot showers and yummy dinner.
Yesterday Cris and I cycled back to Oberstdorf (about 2 hours ride) through some pretty German countryside. It was still a bit rainy, so we spent the afternoon mucking about at his flat and buying copious quantities of food for our ten day trip to Lago De Garda on Thursday.
Today Cris headed off to work and I went for a neat run up to the Schattenkreuz, up a very steep hill near Obertsdorf. The weather had turned sunny again and we are almost ready for our trip to Lago De Garda tomorrow. We have 3 bikes with us and climbing gear and huge amounts of food - so we are all set for some good times. In 4 days Chris F will fly over from Norway and join us for the last 6 days of my stay.
So, better hurry away because I am supposed to be packing and so this post was a bit rushed!