Cycle Tour Tour in the Alps 2013
Dag 5: Arzbach - Grainau
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Added on 25 Aug 2013
on 06 Jan 2014
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by Ottocolor on 18 Nov 2013
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Arzbach, Bayern, DE (689 m NHN)
Grainau, Bayern, DE (721 m NHN)
03 Aug 2013
Very hot (up to 30 degrees centigrade) and sunny all day long. The tent was pitched during a thunder downpour.
Camping Erlebnis Zugspitze
Griesener Straße 2
We cycled on the Isar Radweg the first three-quarters of the way until Wallgau. The surface was asphalt on mostly good bike paths along the road. After Sylvenstein Lake we rode on a major road with no bike path, but little traffic. From Vorderriß to Wallgau on a beautiful minor road along the Isar, which is a toll road for cars and motorcycles. The signposting of the Isar cycle path is very poor. Almost non-existent. After Wallgau we cycled on forest trails up a steep hill to Barmsee. Afterwards more forest trails and yet another extremely steep but short hill. Then the cycle path along the road to Garmisch-Partenkirchen downhill. After the ski jumping hill a beautiful paved bike path in a separate layout along the railway. A little hard to find the campsite from it.
Sources of information
Kompass cycling and mountain biking map No. 3125 "Bad Tolz, Isarwinkel, Karwendelgebirge" 1:70,000
Kompass cycling and mountain biking map No. 3127 "Füssen Garmisch-Partenkirhcen Ammergauer Alpen Lechtal" 1:70,000
The first real alpine stage. Better time-planning than the day before, and we were lucky to make it to the camp site in dry weather.
The morning in Arzbach began relatively early, as it was quite hot in our tent already at 7am. Simon was still asleep when I got out and stretched my limbs. There were several small tents around us, but the place was not crowded. The first task was to find some breakfast, most important some rolls and milk for our muesli, but the campsite reception and kiosk was still closed. Which was understandable, when they also ran a restaurant and came to bed late every night. But luckily I managed to buy breakfast in the village of Arzbach. Only at the second look I noticed there appeared to be a bread store, which hardly advertised. But the locals happily lead my way. When I came up to the campsite again, Simon was awake and we tucked into our breakfast where I had sat the night before. Simon was not quite fresh, but it was indeed already hot, even though we were sitting under a large umbrella. After packing our things the reception had opened and I paid the bill. It was the cheapest camp site of the entire Alpine trip and the service was as all right. I was a little startled that camping daddy still (or again!) wore his lederhosen on. The Bavarians use them not just as evening wear, but as daily clothes. Perhaps this is exactly because tourists like to be among the 'natives', but I don't think so really. It seems 'genuine' enough.
Now we were ready to go out on the stage to Grainau. First we rode on the same gravel path along the Isar, where we had cycled in the dark the evening before. We discovered the place where we could easily have bathed in darkness, but then so steeply and reach out. After a few kilometers the trail we caught sight of a great inflatable rafting boat on the river and stopped to look at their pleasures. There was a strong eddy just where we stood, and when they had passed it with much squealing and screaming, they paddled to shore and carried the dinghy back again. They would jolly well have a ride more! Well, it didn't cost extra. They all had a life jacket and helmet on, so it was probably a club that equipped its passengers that way. I just dipped my toes into the crystal clear and cold water. Ah, it was great. Both Simon and I were a bit lethargic from the heat and the tiring day yesterday, so we dreamed probably both of just relaxing here, but that way we would not make it to Garmisch-Partenkirchen until dusk.. Well, it was also great to ride a bike on the smooth and nice bike lanes and get some fresh air in our faces. Soon we came to the town of Lenggries, where we wanted to find a pharmacy. Simon had got a wound from his saddel, so he wanted me to buy a cream to lubricate his behind, but we had come too far and could not bear to go all the way back into the town center. That bad it obviously did not hurt. After the town came a stretch with large forests. The bike path was paved and weered away from the car road. Now the terrain was more hilly, especially the last piece before the dammed lake of Sylvenstein Dam. It was a good toil, but fortunately there were other, even slower cyclists on the path, whom we overtook. It makes it always easier to see other people work even harder. But then came a small tunnel up, especially made for cyclists and behind there the artificial lake's green blue water lay ahead of us. We had reached the dam of a hydroelectric plant, and here we met the car road again. The climbe had made us both hungry and the lake invited to a bath, so it was now the goal of our longing. As always we had packed lunches after breakfast. First I took a few pictures and then we had to ride a piece on a fairly busy road. A water well at the roadside was a pleasant surprise and we drank to our hearts' delight of the clear spring water that gushed out of the moutain side. Now we cycled over a high bridge and down to the left on the other side down to the beach. There were many people, as it was a perfect day to lie on the beach and have a swim. The water was very deep, and it was full of minerals, as it turned dark very quickly when we dove into it. After bathing and having lunch, we rested both in the shade of a tree. Simon read in his book while I went for a little walk below the high bridge where we had cycled over the lake. Then I fetched water from the spring to our bidons. It was important to have plenty to drink in the heat. This required, of course, that I first rode up to the bridge and then across it. We had agreed to meet at the parking lot of the beach. But then I could drink as much spring water, as I fancied. It tasted heavenly. Better than expensive champagne! And weissbier ! And that says a lot, I should say. But anyway, every pleasure in due course.
We cycled now on a fairly big road with no bike path, but it did not really matter, because there was not much traffic. And I knew that we would soon exit. We went mostly downward along the dammed lake down to the right. When it had turned to a normal river again, there was a bridge which we crossed. Now began a toll road for cars and motorcycles, but we just cycled through without having to cough up money. For the same reason they were now even fewer cars. In addition, the road was very beautiful through some beautiful alpine landscape with the river Isar to our left. It looked very natural out here with large gravel banks that formed islands out of the river. It was probably a nature reserve, and I guess therefore the road was toll. One drawback was that we mostly rode in the hot sun plus the road all the time went slightly upwards, which was no wonder since we cycled up the Isar. Shortly before Wallgau we turned off the road and cycled over a golf course. Now the reserve was over and we were soon in the village. Now we both fancied a rest with a coffee break, but it would take some time yet. Wallgau itself was crammed with cars because of a detour, so we gave up trying to find Isar Cycle Route, which signposting is really poor, almost non-existent. Instead, we found a grocery store where we bought groceries for dinner. The pharmacy next door had already closed, so Simons behind just had to wait a little longer for lubrication. After a few kilometers on a bike path along the main road to Garmisch we found the cycle route again and left the road. The signs led to something called Barmsee, and on the map I could see that there was a bathing place, so that was where we were heading now. It turned out to be quite a long ride to get there, or rather up there, because there was an insanely steep hill on a dirt road in the woods. We saw some people who looked like bathers on a path to the left, and they told us they had been out swimming, but it was a totally stuffed small lake, where they charged money for letting us in which I had absolutely no intention of. Now the coffee had to be enjoyed in the wilderniss, no matter what was the cost. It cost a wave of sweat more, then we had the idyllic Barmsee all for ourselves, so I threw myself into the lake's blue in birthday suit, as is my habit, when there are no other spectators. While we bathed the water for coffee boiled on the gas cooker, and it felt like a great reward to guzzle it inside along with some biscuits. We did not like to think of going the same way back up over the insane hill in the woods when Simon had the idea to look at the map if we could move forward towards Garmisch along the path we were on now. And happilty enough, we could. Even if it cost another crazy and extremely steep climb where we almost had been unable to push our heavily laden bikes up the mountain. But the signs had shown the right way, and now we simply refused to turn back. Soon we were rewarded with a nice bike path downhill around another lake, again packed with lots of people. Now we were soon out on the highway again, but there was still a bike path, and now it went down full gallop toward Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we would have a look at the famous ski jump before the last couple of kilometers out to Grainau.
We went so fast downhill, that I was afraid we had gone past the ski jump, so I made something of a sudden braking at the bottom that made Simon think there had been an accident. But I just needed to get my bearings, then we were at the Olympic Stadium in Garmisch -Partenkirchen. It was built for the Winter Olympics in 1936 and is hence built by the Nazis. It is indeed to some extent similar to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, where the Summer Olympics that year were held. The stadiums curved facade with high arches and a wide triumphal entrance in the middle are similarities between them, but here there was also a ski jump hill, which nowadays is the place where the New Years Ski Jumping always goes on on January 1st. Many times at home, having more or less a hangover, I have admired the maniacs, throwing themselves off the tower and floating down toward the town. It's always TV's first sports broadcast of the year, and still is. While we stood and admired the elegant ski jump tower, which is only a few years old, we noticed that the skies were covered by some ominous clouds ahead, and we still had around 5 km to the campsite in Grainau. Therefore, we left the ski stadium and just a brief look at the large drawings of famous ski jumpers plus read the technical characteristics of the hill before we mounted our iron horses again. I expected now a wild chase through the town with many cars and difficulties in finding our way, when we found a nice bike path along the railroad track with excellent signposting that seemed to lead straight to our goal without any cars, traffic lights or hassle. Great! Only the weather was becoming increasingly threatening, and we heard the first thunder roll through the valley. I knew that in the mountains the weather changes quickly, and I had absolutely no desire to put up the tent in rain, so we raced up the path without much attention to the magnificent landscape. The only problem now was to find the place where we were to leave the bike path and enter the road. Some friendly locals helped us and soon we found the campsite, which was right next to the highway. Now it started to rain, so it was urgent to pitch the tent in a hurry, and I had absolutely no ear for Simon's idea of looking for a better place than right next to the entrance and the main road. But there were other tents here, so I considered it all right. We got somewhat wet, and so did our things, but some Swiss girls, who arrived about fifteen minutes after us were completely soaked. Later we met them at the large new service building where they sat outside and cooked their meal. Since there was no camp kitchen ! Urgh!. I had absolutely no wish to sit outside, so I had Simon to pick up our food and cooking gear, while I would definetely find a suitable space inside to cook. And so ended up in a large scullery, where the girls had spread their soaked tent out to dry. They thought it was broken so badly that it was unfit to pitch it. But the girls didn't bother and enjoyed their supper and played cards. Somehow they would probably solve the problems along the way. Great attitude! The room had the annoying feature that the light went out constantly, so while I prepared two kinds of soup, lentil soup for me and tomato soup with pasta and cocktail sausages for Simon, I had constantly to make gestures to make the motion sensor register it and turn on the light again. In the end dinner was ready and we slurped the soup in the tent after wobbling quite long way back in pitch darkness along gravel roads with many large puddles as it still rained. What a strange camp site! But the shower worked very well in the same service building, and then we slid into our sleeping bags hoping that the tent would keep the water out. Outside we heard even more young people arrive, so our little tent site was well stocked. They were quite noisy as youngsters tend to be, taking no care of sleeping adults, but anyway we were still fast asleep. I wondered about the campsite. It seemed as if it was not finished in design and that turned out to be absolutely true the next day.