February 2, 2013

Sledding in Munich (Spitzingsee)

Last weekend, I went sledding for the first time in my life and it was an experience I will be repeating soon.

My friend Janina invited me to her amazing plan for Saturday: a day trip to Wallberg with two other Germans, a new Munich expat from South Africa and another friend from Australia but living in London.

Southeast to Tegernsee (the most popular lake close to Munich) in Rottach-Egern you get on the Wallbergbahn (a small mountain train) that takes you up to the top of the mountain, from where you can sled run back down to the village and there you can enjoy a typical German lunch and go for hike in the surroundings of the lake.

The plan sounded great but I wanted to know more, so we checked my friend's book on winter tours around Bavaria and according to it: Wallberg is a very popular destination for winter hiking and sledding but unfortunately, it was not suggested for beginners. I was (still am) a beginner. 

As a consequence, we had to change the plan. My friend then suggested to move the location to Spitzingsee but the plan remained similar. We took the train in Munich, which by the way it is called BOB (sorry, but it makes me laugh every time someone in Munich says: I go with BOB to...). BOB is not a man but a train and the acronym for "Bayerische Oberlandbahn", which means a Bavarian train line that goes to (across) the region Oberland, located  south in Bavaria, boarding with Tirol.

Less than an hour later we arrived at the train station and we then took a bus. Many people drive or take the bus up to the highest point, but we stopped before because we wanted to do some hiking. There are very nice hiking tours that you can plan around the area, check online. For us, it turn out to be a very good idea! You will see in the pictures that we were lucky with the weather: sunny, no wind and no rain, but the most important part was that it was a very good exercise, the winter clean air, the scenery and the people we met along the way made it the best choice ever. (Leave your car at home!!!!).

Once we reached the Gasthaus, we ordered hot chocolate and sat outside to relax and enjoy the view. We met a family and spoke to some other customers. Most of them were there also for sledding and some others had been skiing (there are sky slopes nearby). 

After some tee/hot chocolate (some also had a proper lunch in the Gasthaus). We rented the sledges for 3.50€ per person. My friend showed us the basics (how to slow down, turn right/left) and after five minutes we were good to go. Sledding down was one of the most amazing things I have ever done, if you have not done it, please try it!  If you have and you are reading this and thinking I am lame, please excuse me:  we do not usually go sledding in my home country and so this was a new experience for me. 

Once we "parked" the sledges down, we had a another 30 minute walk round the lake till the next Gasthaus, where we ordered "Kaiserschwarrn", originally from Austria, this is a sort of caramelised pancake served with apple jam, plums, almonds, raisins... Just what we needed!

By the time we finished our Kaiserschwarrn, we had to rush to the bus stop to head back to the train station and to get on BOB and back to Munich.

We were a group of five and bought a Bayern Ticket. We paid 8€ per person and this included the train and the bus transport, two ways.

We left at 11am and I was back at 7.30pm. The perfect day trip thanks to the lovely Janina. I picked up some brochures of winter trips around Bavaria. All were published by the DAV, which is the "Deutscher Alpen Verein" (the German alpine club). DAV is an institution here in Munich, go check their website, go talk to them, go join them... in winter and in summer: they know what, where and how you should be doing the skiing, the hiking and the sledding...

I hope that my experience helps to inspire those of you new to Munich. The winter in Munich is long but nobody said that you had to spend it inside!!! 

There are many winter tours/excursions, which one have you done? Have you been sledding? where?

Related posts:

Biking in Munich
Rooftops and weather in Munich
Roof avalanches, archaeological findings and Rocky Horror Show
Barbecue and sunbathing in Munich
On a Sunday: why is it so cold?