Preparing Nepal: Another Winter Exercise

Does it Look Stormy?

Weather conditions are tricky today, but Barbara, secretly known as Supergirl, brings best spirit with her and thus we go for another snowshoe-tour. The latent danger of avalanches as well as limited sight lead us to the well-known trekking path around the Rosskopf / Spitzingsee.

The path in the forest presents our surrounding as a perfect winter-wonderland. Further up with open landscape it becomes much more difficult and that is not only due to the body-check with an ignorant snowboarder. The masses of fresh snow combined with the strong wind are certainly challenging, but we beat it with will, force and laughter.

Before we turn around and face the whiteout, we stop for a short rest behind a rural barn. Lucky us that we regained our sinews with hot tea and boarisch Brezn! The path downwards is hardly visible with the wind blowing masses of snow even over fresh traces. We loose the original path several times and fight our way back on solid ground, sinking in the snow up to our hips. It definitely was a good decision to go for a well-known route today.

Once back at the parking, our cheeks glow red of snow, wind and joy. It has not quite been a piece of cake, but some nice workout and a whole lot of fun.




Preparing Nepal: Winterly Hochries


When it comes to altitude difference, forget about sea level and focus on today’s cloud level. Sure enough, four blondes know how to compete winterly weather and thus we enjoy a neat little tour up to the Hochries / Chiemgau.


The start is all mud and meadows, but after an hour we continue our way through old snow beneath young feet. The tour itself is easy, challenged only by the slippery snow that requires a certain concentration with every step you take. From time to time we come to a halt and take a look around. It might not be spectacular, but is so much better than the foggy city of Munich in these first days of January.


Once on top, we take over the best table of the Hochrieshütte and settle down for food and coffee – an outlook that regularly becomes visible on my typical summit face.


Coffee! Food!

Before we start our descent, we use the excursion to change the way how to look on life and peaks. Being flexible, that is what we aim for.


Downwards, the snow prevents any rush. 800 m height difference are not more than a relaxed walk in the woods, but nonetheless our route led us to the first peak of the year.


Preparing Nepal: Rosskopf by Snowshoe


Peak with a View

Been there, done that – and yet another peak: Hector is keen on snowshoeing and thus we head off to Spitzingsee.


The Rosskopf hidden behind the Church is as high as its Tower

After a colourful sunrise we start relaxed at 8:00 am and even though we are not alone on the streets, there is (astounding enough) no rush towards the Alps. When confronted with 550 m height difference, Hector spontaneously decides to stay at the Spitzingsee parking while I rent some snowshoes and start moving uphill.


The path winds up through the forest and I try to enjoy the constant effort. Actually, most the time it is above all: effort. But even when wondering why I am doing all of this mountain exercise stuff, I still see the beauty that surrounds me and appreciate that I live just an hour away from the Alps.


Most Attractive Sports Facilities around Munich

Approximately ½ of the altitude difference is spread over romantic paths in the forest. Now I look at the other half and I wonder: Shall I take the black ski slope, straight uphill? Or should I choose the natural mogul piste straight up?

With confidence in my snowshoes and based on the sheer ignorance of any appearing difficulty I manage to climb up the mogul field up to the peak of the Rosskopf. Sure enough I find the lazy skiers that use the ski lift hilariously unathletic. I pass them by in silence as I make my way to the cross.


15th Peak 2017!

The view exceeds today’s expectations and that is not only due to sporty tour skiers changing their clothes. Two weather fronts struggle one against the other, leading to white-gleaming peaks beneath a fretful sky.

For the way down, I choose the black ski piste and my buttocks as extra breaks. 1,5 hours later I am back down at the Spitzingsee and enjoy the view on the frozen lake with the only required movement being the arm with the hot wine punch getting eventually up and down.


Preparation: Is It Hot in Here?

As time moves on, great expectations build up sort of a pile. A pile of best expedition material. In this case: a sleeping bag that promises to keep my basic body functions up until -43° degrees Celsius.


Dreaming of a White Christmas?

More important is: 90% of down are supposed to keep me warm and cosy even with temperatures falling below -13° Celsius, which is considerably cold for the inside of a Himalaya lodge. Still, it is months away, but with my equipment being ready, I allow myself to start dreaming of snow-white mountain peaks, of great nature and a wonderful experience.

Hard to imagine that I will really need such professional stuff, but good to know that I am definitely prepared – for whatever may come along.


Dreaming of Himalaya Peaks

Preparation (12): Schinder – A Tough Tour


The first November days show up with the last reminiscence of the splendid summer. Consequently, another hiking trio is up for the Bavarian foothills of the Alps.

Using the toll road towards Valepp, we start deep within the hilly forests between Tegernsee and Spitzingsee. As usual, our path has a clear direction (straight up!) and I wonder whose idea this has been…




After 1,5 hours we reach open meadows at the Trausnitzalm. With neither cows nor catering we only sit down for a short break before we continue our way up to the first peak of the Schinder.


The path gets steeper and rougher while the horizon gets wider. The multifaceted tour with brooks to cross, trees to pass and small paths may be arduous, but never boring. In higher locations hiking sticks are welcome, apart from occasional rocks that are passed best with hands and feet for the way aloft.

Once on top of the 1808 m peak of the Austrian Schinder, we look out to the Großglockner, the Großvenediger and all the other peaks of the Alps.


Room with a View

Tendency goes to two-peak-tours and thus we leave the first summit and hand ourselves down the furrow to the ridge between Austrian and Bavarian Schinder. The steel rope is more than welcome – and yet this still is the warm-up for the most interesting parts of the hike.


The second summit offers a brand new cross and narrow rocks that we share with a handful of hikers. The sun breaks through thin clouds and the view presents the Alps with glistening snow on the distant peaks.


What a joy knowing that from here on all we have to do is a bit of downhill wandering. At least this is true for the last half hour of the tour, but before that we have to face the way down the corrie. And, being part of it, the legendary Schindertor. Thanks to the steel ropes climbing is comfortable and exciting all the same:


Through the Schindertor

Tons of scree carry us down reams of altitude meters, surrounded by a bizarre moon landscape in all shades of grey.



Looking back to the recently overstepped mountain tops is very satisfying. Little by little the path gets less rough and the landscape more mellifluous. 6,5 hours after our departure we arrive at the car, all proud of the 1.000 m height difference and the most interesting tour of the year.


Preparation (11): Heimgarten & Herzogstand


View on the Walchensee. And on fresh Snow in the Alps!

Some might wonder what motivates me to spend almost all of my weekends in the mountains with the effort of uphill-walking, sun protection and sweat. The answer is easy: it is all for the good of upcoming holidays. The better I train now, the less exhausting will be future trekking tours. The more I pimp my condition, the less difficulties I expect during walks on 4,000 meters above sea level (let alone the pass of 5,500 m). The more I walk the alps, the more I will enjoy the Himalaya. But that is far away in 2018, now let’s focus on the mountains around Munich.


Average Equipent for good-looking Hikers

This time we are a group of four lovely ladies with a double peak tour ahead. The kick off at a comfortable time in the late morning comes along with endless hours of beauty sleep and puts some pressure on our peak performance: Winter time will cut daylight around 5 p.m., so we better not dawdle.


Today’s Mountain Crew

The first section of the tour leads through autumn forest up to the Heimgarten. Today is a multiple-season-hiking-day with warming sun, icy paths, golden light and some snow, all changing within minutes. The North and shady parts of the hills cling to something around zero degrees Celsius while the sunny hillsides pretend to be stuck in late summer. On top of the world = peak with fresh wind from all sides, we appreciate that there are no worries about pick-nick food getting warm.


Heimgarten Peak

From here we follow the ridge for a couple of kilometres. It is like walking on the back of a dragon with a lot of ups and downs on the dragon’s jags. With my affection for special ways, I enjoy the small path with downhill views on both sides: one side looks down to the Kochelsee, the other to the Walchensee.


Ridge Between Heimgarten and Herzogstand (the Latter Visible in the Distance)

Parts of the path are quite icy and so I can proudly present another scar with a story. However, the fantastic panorama continues for about an hour until we reach the Herzogstand and the masses of tourists around the small pavilion. Being one of the most famous peaks close to Munich and given the funicular as transport-potential for the lazy, we share our second peak of the day with a friendly photographer and dozens of supernumeraries.


Lucky us that most of the crowd is unwilling to take the foot path down. Bathed in golden light we zig zag down and arrive at the parking just in time before daylight finally fades.


Our legs tell us something about 1.200 meters uphill and downhill and approximately 16 kilometers of distance. Statistics say that we climbed up 332 floors – that is more than twice the available levels of the world’s highest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Our bright eyes tell the story of a splendid day with an endless sky, white snowy peaks and blue lakes that reflect the colourful autumn leaves.


What a Day! What a View! What a Wonderful Life

Preparation (10): Material Testing on the Rotwand


It is around six in the morning when a strange noise disturbs my first coffee. I know this sound, but it has been a while that I have not heard it. It takes 30 seconds until I make it up: Rain! Somebody obviously ignores that rain has not been part of today’s plans.


Autumn at the Pfanngraben

Thanks to the detailed weather app of bergfex, we decide to get going nonetheless and so the five of us start today’s hiking at Spitzingsee. Drizzle continues during the first hour of the tour, preventing glorious pictures of the fabulous gorge of Pfanngraben, containing basins of clear water and little waterfalls along the way.


The higher we get, the brighter is the sky. Now that I know that my new outdoor equipment is indeed waterproof, I am fine with the drizzle having stopped. The path leads through meadows of summer’s mountain pasture, now deserted with all happy cows being either down in the cowshed or in Bavarian restaurants.


A bit later today’s culinary destination is in sight: the Rotwandhaus with a kitchen crew that presents their whole menu with an extraordinary grasp for herbs, fresh ingredients and perfect food quality.


Rotwandhaus in Sight

At first, we ignore the temptation of the alp and continue our way up until we reach the peak of the Rotwand. The sun rewards us with shy rays sent down through the cloudy sky and the peak adds a 360° view to it.


View from the Rotwand (Fragment)

Now hunger and downhill gravitation work hand in hand and minutes later we catch the best table in the Rotwandhaus. Even with the mixed up weather there is quite some crowd in the alp – on sunny days, you should look for less frequented hiking peaks. Unless cuddling strangers is among your favourite hobbys, that is.


For the way down, we choose the easy walking path that leads back to Spitzingsee in only 1 hour of walking for the 850 m altitude difference. Grazing sheep complete the typical mountain picture of the Bavarian frontyard hills and we are once more pleased with the beautiful hiking of the day.


Downhill: Taking the Easy Way

The tenth peak of the year has been the first without muscle soreness, so at least I do make some progress. Still, I have five months yet to come until I need full strength, mountain routine and an expedition sleeping bag. That is what happens when being up for higher aims…


Just One of my Peaks

Preparation (9): Mahnkopf / Karwendel


Summer came back and October is as golden as you can imagine. Perfect conditions to pick up the preparation routine about running up that hill.

We have chosen the Mahnkopf for today, departing from the fairy tale mountain village Eng. Sunrise on the road was already stunning, best prefix for a wonderful day in the Karwendel mountains. The four of us start fresh and motivated into the 17 km tour, surrounded by one of the most charming parts of the Northern Alps.


Walking trhough Eng

The height difference would be much more relaxed without the Hohljoch right below the rocky walls of the Laliderer Reisen: we lose at least 200m altitude difference before we reach the (currently closed) alp Falkenhütte.



Laliderer Reisen

When we pass by the interim hill of the Ladizköpfl, we are rewarded with the view down to the Kleiner Ahornboden. The sun does all the effort to simulate a bright summers day: short trousers and t-shirts are way too much, but as hiking in a bikini is so not-state-of-the-mountain-art, we ignore the heat and continue our way up.


Ascent to the Mahnkopf

The last section of the tour goes straight up the flank of the Mahnkopf, all steep and stony. The grass around the path is flat from the first seasonal snow – just 10 days ago all of this has been a winter wonder land. When we finally reach the peak, it is all worth it: a 360° panoramic view, mild sun and few hikers are all we need for a short rest.


The way back is identical to the way up, including the Hohljoch-frustration of lost and heavily regained altitude meters. At a quarter past five we stumble in the Alpengasthof Eng and fall down on the benches, begging for food, drinks and coffee.

With quite some breaks and alpine pick nicks, the tour with roughly 1.300m altitude difference took us about 8 hours, mostly uphill. If not for the traffic jams, it would have been a great but exhausting day. Even with broken down traffic (Munich tourists, argh!) I would do it all over again, especially with the fantastic road-guidance from the back row, manoeuvring us toward Munich on tiniest roads!




Sweden Résumé II – Backwards


Sweden is a wonderful country for relaxed travelling. Even though my heart is more into France and Italy –less distance + higher communication possibilities – I will surely choose Sweden again for future holidays. So here comes the personal reminder for my future self:

  • Add some cities to the tour: Malmö, Lund, Gothenburg (Stockholm is just too good and thus more of an extra destination for extended weekends)
  • Dancing! Get into touch with people of the Lindy Hop or other dancing scenes
  • Enlarge wild camping: start in the south and continue along the way
  • Look out for luxury camp sites: spend 75% on simple camper parking / without service and fresh up van + body every once in a while, then best on exceptionally good sites (if available)
  • Go North! Armed with masses of no-bite head for Lappland and continue via Norway all the way up to the high North


Going through all places I have been in reverse order, the highlights have been the following:

Labussee / C24 Camping Bibertours

What?   Nature, a whole lot of it. Pretty lake, relaxed atmosphere, good showers (electricity available for few pitches only) and nasty mosquitoes.


Who?    Me, myself and I plus some smalltalk with other campers and the camping staff.

What else?         Slow down, use the boat rental or not, switch off your cell phone and forget about a world that only exists beyond the endless forest.

Warnemünde / Rostock

What?   Endless beach, touristic town, cruise ships and ferries. Camper parking on “Stellplatz Mittelmole” or close to the Ostseestadion (no service).


Touristic Harbour in Warnemünde

Who?    Friends + friends of friends. And the beach bar.

What else?         Perfect in-between. Between Germany and Scandinavian ferries. Between everyday life and holidays. Between sand and sea.


What?   Ferry landing, Jogging + gastronomy at the Kiellinie, Camper parking in Wik.


Camping at the Canal

Who?    Legendary Svenja with charm and travel stories.

What else?         Military base, Kieler Förde, starting point of the Kiel canal = the most frequented artificial water way worldwide.


Ferry Gothenburg – Kiel

What?   15 hours, 240m ship, restaurants + bars, comfortable cabins and Hector in the pole position.


Who?    Greedy tourists between me and the breakfast buffet.

What else? Pure luxury: my own bathroom. Colorful sunset + sunrise.


What?   Quiet town, Carlsten Fortress, camper parking (sea shore, no service) + Familjecamping, Kayak Skagerrad.


Fantastic Time in the Marstrand Skagerrad

Who?    Hector, the skateboard and the jogging shoes. A bit of smalltalk here and there and the kayak rental.

What else?         Pretty close to Gothenburg, however very calm and inviting. Sincerely recommended: float through the Skagerrad by kayak (eventually with a stop at the Gästhamn), walk or run through cliffs / reed / hills / forests of the nature reserve, visit the fortress, eat delicious fish soup at Marstrand Wärdshus, sit in the sun at the harbour, count the wild sheep on the peninsulae, zzzzzh…

Orust / Tjörn

What?   Pretty islands in the Skagerrad, North / West of Gothenburg, dominated by local summer residence owners, strange mixture of lovely places and a repellent undertone.


Who?    Grumbling pensioners meet sullen Hector.

What else?         Eat at Café Borgen between Orust and Tjörn – and forget about the islands.


What?   Tiny island between Skaftö and Orust, relaxed camp site with places directly at the sea (w/o electricity) and regular pitches on the other side of the island’s sole street.


Hector at his Best

Who?    Chats with other campers, tents and vans mixing up at the shoreline and sharing the sea side meadow.

What else?         Free ferries from and to Malö. Instead of the camp site’s outworn showers you may prefer a bath in the crystal blue sea. Hector marked a cross in the grass with his tires, says he wants to come back.

Between Tanumshede and Norra Grundsund

What?   Ancient rock carvings, perfectly explained during the free guided tour. Small villages, yacht harbours and hard to tell if the landscape’s core consists of water or land.


Who?    Competent guide, mostly German tourists, ancient artists (at least their traces). Not a single soul found in Grundsund.

What else?         Grundsund is a pretty harbour with a small parking – but so void it was almost spooky, thus we hurried on until we found Malö. Good choice.


What?   Vivid small town that if nothing else attracts tourists for Camilla Läckberg. The sole camp site contains hundreds of residental campers + 1 meadow for spontaneous tourists. The long-established Hotel Bryggan (free WiFi in the lobby!), several restaurants / cafés / bars and the very best Kanelbullar mark the town as a high potential stop-over.


Fjällbacka at my Feet

Who?    Foreign tourists and summer resident owners clash together.

What else?         The gorge is very special and the view from the Vetterberget cliff soaked me in for hours. The church at Kville looks like it just popped out of a story book and retrospective Fjällbacka turned out to be one of the best places of the trip.


What?   Small town with a beach and a camper parking in 15m distance to the sea.


Once More Hector Made his Way to the Beach, Driven by pure Instinct

Who?    Thanks to late sunset I enjoyed hours of animated conversation with the van travellers next door. Their daughter has made up a wonderful website about her Canada-via-mobilehome-trip and I really should contact her anytime and ask her to continue the blog…

What else?         There is a “real” camp site in Frillesås but I have preferred the service-free parking at the beach and a bath in the North sea after my early morning run. Most travellers that use simple parkings rather than regular campings are of the sympathetic kind with open minds and interesting stories – best conditions for shared wine in the evening.


What?   Luxury camp site (expensive, even for Swedish means) and a historic castle along the way. Around the camp site is: nothing (except the Ringsjö lake).

Who?    Friends, a whole family of friends – great that we managed to meet!

What else?         Next time I show off with acrobatic moves on the playground I should think of a warm up first (had hell of a muscle sourness).

Bolmen & Torpa

What?   A calm camp site at Bolmen followed by wild camping near Torpa (lake hopping).


Perfect Vanlife

Who?    Jogging chat with Thomas and a bit of smalltalk at the wild camping lake. The rest was Hector, the barbecue and the intensive use of my book shelf.

What else?         Stormy wind in Bolmen and the discovery of a quiet region with hundreds of lakes and endless forests, speckled with small villages. Elks hiding all the time.



Hällevik and the TradJazzfestival


Caught in Dancing

What?   Hällevik at the Baltic Sea might be a nice town even in other times, but during the TradJazzfestival it buzzes with life. The same dozen of bands plays 5-10 concerts spread over 3 days, however leading to the sensation of live music popping up every half hour in another corner of the town.

Who?    Great to have met the Lindy Hop dancers, added by friendly pensioners and all kinds of people in good mood.

What else?         Lucky me that they all played my favourite kind of swing jazz! My favourite place has been the benches between the sea (3m to the right) and the large festival tent (3m to the left) – hard to imagine a better place for a festival, apart from the dance floor that is.





What?   Nice village in the North of Ronneby, driving my bed into my uncle’s garden.

Who?    Two days with my uncle and my cousin.

What else?         Beside the beautiful lake in the North of Eringsboda we made our way along the coast line of the Baltic sea, passing by Sandhamn, Torhamn, Björkenäs and Kristianopel.


What?   Sandy beach, little town with some restaurants and a large camp site.

Who?    Mainly Swedes, few contact – hard to tell if I have not been in the right mood for encounters or if folks in the campers around have been sort of reticent.

What else?         Millions of tiny black bugs – when wind came up it was a relieve. All along evolution the bugs have not learned to cope with the wind. On windstill days focus your outdoor activities on the time between 6:00 am and 8:00 am.


Hector, Offshore

Leipzig & Warnemünde

What?   Parking at the edge of the Agra Park (Leipzig) and in front of huge, really huge cruise ships in Warnemünde. Beach, touristic harbour, reams of shops and restaurants and did I mention the beach?


Everyday Life in Warnemünde

Who?    Nico + Christian – thanks for the initial encounter of the holidays, for beer, for dinner and for the bath in the sea.

What else?         Swimming pools with a spiral toboggan on top of a cruise ship – now, really??




The trip was a wonderful mixture of time for myself and people I met, beautiful nature and reliable super Hector.


Proof of the One and Only Rainshoer I got Caught in

1AI have been to Sweden once before, in a convertible car and with different company. Then, in 2003, I have seen the main cities, have discovered Astrid Lindgren land and Öland, I have been to the two huge lakes (Vänern + Vättern) but I missed being closer to nature, let alone diving in any of the waters we passed by. Consequently the 2017 Sweden trip focused on different aspects. Whatever expectation I could have had (while in fact I had none due to a lack of preparation), sure enough they have been fulfilled.

For next year I have different destinations in mind, but already now I am looking forward to coming back to the South of Sweden, then extending the trip way North and with even more time to spend. It will be a pleasure!