Note to Readers. While looking through prior posts this one appears to not have been posted. If it is a duplicate, sorry about that!
Up early to get on the trail, checking in luggage at the Hauptbahnhof went smoothly and we then boarded the S6 line for our ride out to the last stop at Starnberg, the trailhead for the Ludwig’s Way.
Located at the top of the Starnberger See (Lake) we faced a day’s hike of roughly 12 miles to Herrsching, on the shore of the Ammersee where we would take a ferry across that lake to our destination for the night, the town of Diessen.
It was a glorious day, warm with blue skies and we set out in high spirits. A couple of hours into the day we stopped for a coffee break at a trailside café, and finished up in Herrsching with enough time to have a beer before boarding the ferry around 2:00pm.
A half hour later we arrived at the Seefelder Hof in Diessen, a quaint gasthof located not far from the ferry dock. Dinner that night, at a pizza/Italian place in town was filling and satisfying, preparing us for what would be our most arduous day of the hike, 15 miles or so to the vicinity of Hohenpeißenberg, with no pre-made plans for lodging other than to find a place to stay when we arrived.
The first part of this day includes hiking through multiple environments, from farm road, to groomed path to forest trail. Just outside of the small town of Raisting you walk for about five miles through a beautiful stretch of forest until you reach Wessobrunn, which was mentioned in a post for the 1984 trip. As Joanna and I we did then, we stopped for lunch at the Gasthof Zur Post, where I again enjoyed their delicious Schweinebraten (Pork Roast Bavarian Style).
The weather had turned on us and would remain rainy and cool for the rest of the trek. Not uncomfortable to hike in, it just meant wearing a jacket and taking care to make sure that our packs stayed dry. Around mid afternoon, about 4 miles outside of Hohenpeißenberg, we reached a junction that would require a decision about the direction to take. Normally the choice would have been easy, that is to take the route that promised the most direct route to town. But on the signpost there was directional arrow to Gasthaus Forelle, the charming place we’d stayed at in 1984. Promising a bit shorter distance and a chance to reconnect with a fond memory, we opted to head in that direction.
Somewhere along the way trail markings became scarce and we lost track of where we were. This was farmland out in the middle of nowhere, with no distinguishable landmarks for a guide and we found our selves relying on my rusty memory and a hazy sense of where we thought we should be headed. A number of stops at farmhouses didn’t pan out, as we couldn’t raise any of the local populace to ask about directions and so we wandered around for what seemed like an eternity.
I finally located a road that appeared familiar, heading up a hill and we took off, hoping to find the sought after Forelle. Wee eventually located what might have been the building, but there was no sign of the Gasthaus as we knew it. It was quite late in the day now and all of us were running close to empty, lunch having been many hours earlier. But we gathered ourselves together and took off on a paved road that wound around the perimeter of the hill leading up to Hohenpeißenberg Summit. We made good time, mindful of how late in the day it was and the uncertainty of where we would be staying that night
After a bit of distance, maybe a mile or so we rounded the edge of the hill and could see that the track we were on descended down to a larger stretch of road, one obviously leading us closer to Hohenpeißenberg. Walking into the outer edges of town, a Gasthaus appeared on the right hand side of the street and we made our way to it. Once inside we asked if they had any rooms for rent for the night. The proprietress replied that they did not, but that the gentleman sitting over at the Stammtisch might have rooms for rent. Nodding his head, he pulled out his cell phone and called his house to confirm availability, respondeding that he had rooms to let and would be more than happy to give us a ride over there, and when we were ready take us back to the Gasthaus for dinner. How could we refuse?
We loaded our gear into his SUV and drove a mile or so to his lovely house, a couple of blocks up the backside of Hohenpeißenberg hill from the main street. I don’t recall how much the rooms were (they were certainly less than we paid at the Seefelder Hof) but they were a sight for sore eyes. It is easy to see how days like these are an important part of the fabric of a great trip and a rewarding experience. To start out the day with no fixed resting place, encounter challenges that test your will, and then to find yourself in a warm room, a hot shower and a good meal on the horizon, leaves one with feeling of contentment so rich and deep that it creates a memory so strong it doesn’t fade with time.
We did get our ride back to the Gasthaus and had a very typical, but nice German meal. The highlight of which was one of the best deserts in recent memory; thin slices of apple dipped in a cinnamon sugar batter, fried in a banana’s foster type sauce of butter and brown sugar, and served with a rich vanilla ice cream.
A fine breakfast awaited us in the kitchen of the house the next morning, preparing us for a day of hiking that would take us through some of the most beautiful scenery of the trip. We made small talk with the owner’s wife, a pleasant start to a good morning, loaded up our packs and made our way down to the trailhead.
We stopped briefly at a little market to get some provisions for the day, and then set out, walking primarily on farm roads through verdant pastureland surrounded by forest. Our destination for the day would be Rottenbuch, approximately 11 miles that would take us through the Ammer Gorge (Ammerschlucht), a hike Joanna and I very much anticipated recalling it from our journey through the area in 1984. It would be a good day; the kind that dawns fresh after one filled with adventure. We were ready. We could feel it in our bones.
Ammersee Ferry: http://www.seenschifffahrt.de/en/ammersee/boat-fleet/
Seefelder Hof: http://www.seefelder-hof.de/