At 7:30 we gingerly peaked out the patio door and found a beautiful, clear day with bright blue skies. We rode off from our Gastehaus in shorts and jerseys about 9:30 through some really pretty back lanes with ponds and lakes and great views of the mountains to the south including the mountains above Garmisch. See for yourself.
The temperature took a nosedive, and it started to rain so quickly that before our coffee break we donned our raingear and took shelter first in a bakery in Pensberg and 3km later in a McDonald’s (demonstrating just how desperate we were.) in the same town where we ordered another coffee, dried out and ate our lunch. Despite our respite for about one and a half hours, it was still raining hard when we left the golden arches and headed toward our final destination of Sankt Heinrich on the southeast shore of Starnsee, one of the lakes in this area of Germany. Our hands were frozen so once again the dog poop bags came to the rescue. We arrived at our Hotel about 3:30 dripping and a bit dirty. The temp had gone from near 70 this morning to the high 40’s this afternoon. Thankfully the hotel staff came room to room and turned on the heat after we checked in.
Friday, September 15, 2017 Sankt Heinrich to Pocking (Starnberg See)
Breakfast was included in our reservation which is often the case in Germany. The good weather we woke to lasted most of the day before it clouded up around 2pm. It did not rain. It feels like late fall here.
We rode further north away from the Bavarian Alps on the east side of Starnberger See (lake) further into the Blue Land (Bavarian lake country) with long, wide lakes dotted with castles, villages and homes facing the water.
We stopped at every informative placard in front of some of these places which explained the history of the location in German. Always fun trying to piece together what it says.
Many people were taking advantage of the good weather by walking and riding along the lake path. To extend our riding day, we did a 15k loop away from the lake and up to a plateau to get better views of the Bavarian mountains and enjoy the very rural hilly farming country.
While riding on the plateau, we stumbled on a former palace that is completely surrounded by a 6’ high wall which obscures the full view of the structures inside. We got a glimpse of the palace itself
and could see stables and many horses grazing.
Much of this morning was riding on unpaved roads surrounded by dense trees that let little light or warmth in. We relished the places where we were in the sun since the day never got warm. The high was 62.
We pulled into Starnberg which is at the top of Starnberger See (lake) about 2:30 and had our pm coffee break. There is no “old town” or walking area in Starnberg, just the Tourist Office, a church square, and long beach areas with loads of vacation possibilities. We then turned south along the west side of the lake then inland and up (steep -15% and long 1.5 km hill) to Poking, our abode for the next 2 nights. We were happy when the climb was done, and we were able to check into the Gastof zur Post.
We had dinner in their restaurant which was wonderful German style. The Gasthof is from 1505 and has many old pictures and memorabilia around the building.
We received a surprise email through Warmshowers.org (WS) from a couple (Frederic and Ophelie) we hosted in Grand Junction in 2013. WS is a worldwide group of touring cyclists either looking for places to stay in people’s homes or hosts willing to offer places to stay in their homes to touring cyclists. Frederic and Ophelie, wrote that they were in Cuxhaven, Germany, where we had been earlier this summer and must have seen our review of the WS host that we stayed with there. The email subject was “it’s a small world.” They wrote that they had just returned from a 29,000 km trip to Asia. We emailed back giving them our itinerary in hopes that they will be near enough to us to meet. This is doubtful as they are in the very north of Germany, and we are in the very south, nevertheless, a big surprise to hear from them. That’s part of the fantastic benefits of WS.
Saturday Sept. 16, 2017 Pocking
Again with the rain#!#! It was very cold and rained steadily until about 11:30 then intermittently after that. We stayed in and worked out our route and made room reservations from now until the end of our trip on the 28th. We plan to re-visit Dachau on the 25th and then ride the 20 km into Munich. We made our Munich hotel and B & B reservations before we came to Europe because of Octoberfest which is a Munich event which started today. Octoberfest has made it quite difficult to find reasonably priced places to stay anywhere in southern Germany as this area is only 30 km from Munich with frequent trains. The time planning was time well spent so that for this last week we can take it easy and ride to our hearts content and head to predetermined stops for the night.
Although it was cold enough to see our breath, we bundled up and started out on a day ride in the hills around Pocking. We got about 1km down the road and stopped for a cup of coffee at a bakery and re-assess since it was raining lightly.
We kept our rain jackets and rain pants on just to stay warm. Everything is super green from all the rain and the flowers are loving it. We found a small village church to explore. On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the grocery store for tonight’s dinner provisions. When we came out of the store, the sun was shining through a “sucker hole” while it was raining lightly. The sky looked like it was lifting so Ed took off for another hour’s ride to Starnberg and back…yes, down then back up that big hill from yesterday. The GPS said a short part of it was 15%. The sun was out the rest of the evening.
It is fall here and the leaves are starting to turn.
Sunday, September 17, 2017 Pocking to Herrsching on Ammersee
Unlike other days when we visited churches that happened to be on our route, we set out with the specific goal of visiting the pilgrimage church and Monastery at Andrechs. Like most days recently, it was raining (lightly.) By the time we got to Andrechs the rain had stopped although the sky in places was heavy with cloud.
This monastery was founded in 1455 and produced beer. The beer production continues to this day in a big way. The brewery is being renovated so is not open for tours this year, and the monastery is never open to the public. The church is open, and there are tours, but only in German. It sits at the top of a steep hill with several buildings around it. The outside is very colorful and has the obligatory sun dial (which in this climate is somebody’s idea of a joke) and the interior is Baroque to the max with little non-decorated space.
It’s rich in color with frescos all around. The aisle side and the front of the pews that form the side of an aisle are hand carved oak that has darkened with age. There is marble and gold leaf everywhere. It is glutinous for the psyche. We paid one euro and climbed to the almost top of the steeple (about 10 stories) and peaked out the cutouts just below the top. The views of the surrounding countryside showed how much this church reigns above the farmland, lake and village below. The one open “window” without wire mesh afforded a great view of the Bavarian mountains to the south.
The church is only one part of the reason to come to Andrechs. The other and probably dominant reason is the beer garden/hall. They, collectively, are massive. The lines for beer, produced at the monastery, and food (mostly pork in one form or another) were long but quick.
After our visit we rode the last few kms into Herrsching, another of the see (lake) side villages that attract mostly German tourists. To our delight and surprise there was a street fair in progress. Many booths of many themes including the police, the fire department, face painting, a balloon artist, windows and blinds, traditional Bavarian clothing, etc. Most of the shops were also open, which is extremely rare on a Sunday in Germany. We wandered around and found shelter from the fast moving rainstorm, had our afternoon coffee and watched a paddle wheel ferry leave for another stop along the lake with the Bavarian Alps in the background. We rode 3 blocks to our hotel where we’ll stay for the next two nights. Ed washed the dirt and grime off the bikes, and we settled in. It was a cold day, and it was dark at 8 pm. Summer is over.
Monday, September 18, 2017 Herrsching
Another day with a high of only 55. It rained but we didn’t get wet since we had stopped riding on a road with a canopy created by trees that kept the half hour rain off of us. We meandered around a few lakes and through a half dozen villages. It was a beautiful 40Km ride with no agenda other than take a ride and see the landscape and marvel at the interesting buildings
We got back to the hotel about 4 and relaxed until 6 when we were picked up by Ivy and Peter, the couple we met a few days ago in Murnau. We went to a local restaurant and had a typical German meal sans meat. We talked and talked for 3 hours which went by very quickly. They are both widowed and have known each other for 50 years before their spouses passed away. They are both delightful and had many questions about our bike travel and the USA.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 Herrsching to Weilheim
We rode through 6 or 7 very small villages and saw (and smelled) a lot of cows. The village of Raisting had a stork still in residence on the peak of the church. In deference to the stork we visited the church and stopped across the street at a bakery for our morning coffee. All other storks in Europe left for northern Africa around mid August.
We took a long coffee break at McDonalds while we ate our lunch and waited out yet another rain storm. We got to our destination (Weilheim) early so bike wandered around including a casual ride from Weilheim to the nearby village of Polling where we were surprised by a big monastery and school complex. The church was open but a metal screen across the back portion prevented up close views. Nevertheless, it was quite a place also in the Baroque style which is present in most of the churches in this region.
At 5pm we contacted our Warmshowers hosts and stopped to pick up dessert as a sign of our appreciation. As we left the grocery store it started to rain quite hard. We delayed for a few minutes and then rode to their home in the “suburbs” of Weilheim in the rain. We were drenched by the time we got there. Both Annette and Michael are approaching 50 but look more like 30.
They have 2 grown children living elsewhere. They amazed us with their travels including 2 trips to the U.S. riding with their children in the early 1990’s when their children were infants, and Annette was still breast feeding one of them. Annette had also made a 6 month tour last year to India, Iran and Nepal by herself. We had a very enjoyable evening with them and a great meal cooked by Annette with vegetables from her garden. Our sharing of adventures lasted until after 10 pm. They invited us to stay a second night, but we had already made reservations for the next night so had to decline.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Weilheim-Worthsee
with only a little bit of sunshine late in the afternoon. Thankfully only two very brief periods of sprinkles. We were clothed in everything we had except our rain pants for the entire day, this included neck gators, long fingered gloves, beanie (Ed) over the head/ears and puff jacket under rain jacket for Maggie. We rode north along the west side of the Ammersee. Yesterday we had ridden along the other side on our way down to Weilheim . The shore line here had more marinas and many boats but only a couple of boats sailing on the lake since it was so cold.
We pulled into our Airbnb lodgingand met our homeowner around 4 where we immediately turned on the heat and warmed up. We ordered a pizza delivered and stayed warm while planning routes for the next 2 days.
Thursday, September 21, 2017 Worthsee to Kleinberghofen
Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what beautiful day! We woke up to the sun shining in our window. It remained sunny all day. It was cold for the first few hours, but warmed up by afternoon. Ed was able to take off his knickers, socks and jackets after lunch. Maggie took off 2 of her 7 layers.
Ed’s left hand was falling asleep frequently while riding which he attributed to his broken seat (loud crack after a big bump a few days ago, and the seat nose broke in half) which caused his rear end to move forward on the seat. He bought a seat….scary…. at a bike store on our route and adjusted the height and angle many times until the bolt head to the seat post clamp was stripped. He jury rigged the clamp in place but did not expect to have it replaced until Monday as we’re in a really rural part of Germany and didn’t expect to find a bike shop. However, about 100 yds from our abode for the evening we came upon a bike shop/lawnmower repair/small engine repair shop. The two men attacked the stripped bolt with various bits and hammers and extracted it quickly without damaging the clamp. You could see they enjoyed a bit of a challenge. They replaced Ed’s clamp since it had to be super tightened and often failed to hold the seat stationary, all for 6 Euros (about $7) and in only 15 minutes. Ed likes his new seat.
We’ve rented a room in the loft of a young couple’s apartment in a very tiny village just north of Munich. We’ll stay here for 3 nights doing day rides in the area before heading to Dachau then Munich. This area is rolling hills and really pretty farm country.
There are small roads and bike paths all over. There is a Biergarten a couple of doors down at which we had a very good dinner. The waitress/owner was very friendly and spoke English. There is only 1 other restaurant within 3 miles. Its name is Burgerhaus, which is not exactly appealing to either of us.
Friday September 22, 2017 Kleinberghofen
It was really foggy and quite cold until late morning, then mostly sunny and warm by mid afternoon. We got to know our hosts, Nancy and Rene over breakfast then they went off to work. Rene is a salesman for a company that manufactures concrete slabs used as flooring, mostly for decks and balconies. Nancy works in sales for a language program company.
We lingered drinking coffee while their washing machine worked it’s magic on our laundry. Around 10:00 we started on a day long quest to ride to most of the things on Nancy’s list of interesting sites near here. We rode 47km going from church to church
This area north of Munich is beautiful rolling hills with a river meandering through. After our lunch stop we noticed on the map that there was a mill museum along the river a couple of villages away. Off we went, but when we got there, it was closed. We thought the sign on the door said it is open M-F from 2pm to 6pm, so we rode another loop of 3 or 4 villages and returned after 2:30. We could hear noise from within, so rang the bell, but when a man answered, he said they’re only open for tours on Sundays unless prearranged. He then saw we were on bicycles and asked where we were from (he spoke no English). When we said USA he asked what state and his face lit up when we told him, Colorado. He then invited us in and gave us a quite animated tour through the whole place. It’s a large water(now electric) mill from 1805 that still grinds grains to sell as flour and is used as a saw mill cutting local lumber. He turned on the different motors and belts that run the mill. It was all very interesting and fun to see the old machinery still used today.
Our ride back was really lovely as it had turned out to be a warm and sunny fall afternoon with leaves starting to turn. We stopped at a market for dinner supplies on the way back and arrived home around 6pm. Our hosts we out at the local Biergarten for the evening so we used their very large screen TV to watch a Netflix movie. Just like home on a Friday night!
Saturday, September 23, 2017 Kleinberghofen
We lounged around until about 10:30 and spoke with our hosts who gave us the best information about Munich’s Octoberfest, ie: how it works with the tents, cost, best time and where to go, and what not to bring in. They told us what area’s are most interesting (traditional), and how to get there. We’ve not been able to get this kind of information from the internet or talking to others.
We visited two monasteries. The first had a series of very clean and attractive buildings, but the church only afforded a very limited view inside from the rear of the nave as there was a locked wrought iron screen toward the entrance to the church. There was no other place to visit in the village, so we sat outside a bakery and enjoyed our morning coffee. Not a bad consolation prize in our minds. A check with the person at the Visitor’s Center confirmed that there was nothing at the monastery open to the public. Since this is the only place of any consequence in this village, one might ask “Why is there a Visitor’s Center?”.
The monastery was comprised of a number of buildings that are off limits to visitors, but the church itself was huge, stunning, open and quite a treat for even the most glutinous eyes.
The rest of the day was a terrific wander around by bike just riding for the pleasure of it. We were tired when we arrived back at the house at 5pm. We had dinner at the same restaurant that we had eaten at 2 days ago and enjoyed a duplicate meal to the one we had Thursday evening. The food was just as good the second time around.
Tomorrow we’ll ride to Dachau where we will again go to the concentration camp. (It does not seem appropriate to say “visit” one of the more than 2000 examples of the depravity of most of an entire nation.)