German Alps (Tegelberg)September 30, 2016 in Germany
We'd read about a fairytale castle nestled on the side of the German Alps and had set today aside to go and see it. We grew increasingly excited as the grey mass of the Alps loomed larger and higher on the horizon. Although the land on the approach was a little hilly, there was a very definite start to the Alpine band of mountains. We were glad our plans didn't include driving through them today.
Seeing Schloss Neuschwanstein (the castle), we pulled up and took some photos but it was shaded so we weren't able to see it in its full glory. However, we'd spotted a cable car going into the mountains. We decided on the spur of the moment to take a trip on it and were so very glad we did!
The car was enclosed with about 25 people squashed in but it was a reasonable price and sped up the mountain at ear popping speed. The green valley with its 2 lakes opened up underneath us as we passed by sheer cliff faces and over tall pines. When we reached the upper station we saw what a good day it was for it. The sky was a rich blue, as were Forggensee and Bannwaldsee lakes more than a thousand meters below us. The sun was warm but the air fresh with hardly a breeze. There were dozens of people hangliding from this point, leaping off the side of the cliff and hoping to catch a thermal.
Our attention was soon drawn to some noisy raven-like birds that we identified as Alpine Coughs- we'd seen Coughs on the Welsh coast last year but this was our first sighting of this charismatic high-altitude bird.
There was a worn scree stone path leading up to the summit of Tegelberg (marked by a huge metal crucifix) and so we set off along it. The views became unbelievably more stunning as we climbed; the imposing mountains spanning out behind us and to our right. The path began to change from walkable scree to solid rock and we came across our first metal cable pinned to the rock at points with solid metal rods. We carried on up the increasingly steep and precarious 'path' and eventually made it to the top, 1707m above sea level. The vertigo had kicked in for Will but Vicky was exhilarated! There was a panoramic view, made all the more spectacular by the rich colours and contrast brought out by the perfect weather!
On the cable car journey back down we worked out we were just 2 miles from Austria. Upon reaching the base station we were welcomed off the mountain by the sound of cow bells ringing around the necks of a small heard of bullocks.
We didn't stay here overnight but thought the experience deserved its own footprint as it will stay in our memories for a very long time.Read more