Retreat into the Alps

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Daily, Travel

I took a few days off in the beginning of August and travelled south to Oberstdorf, a town in the Alps I had visited numerous times when I was living in Ulm. I knew the Alps region in its proximity pretty well, so I figured it would be a great destination considering I didn’t want to spend much time and effort in planning. What actually makes me keep coming back to this place, is the fact that even without extensive planning, I could still easily discover new, interesting hiking routes each time, and I don’t expect to run out of them any time soon (an informative outdoor map is helpful in this case). I have picked a few pictures from each day to briefly show what I saw and did during this trip, enjoy!

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Day 1: after checking in at the inn shortly after 5 p.m., I went for a relaxing walk in sandals. I realised that it had been one year and four months since I last came to Oberstdorf. Yet the town and the path to the lake felt all the time so familiar.

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Day 2: what I did for my first tour, was to go to a small village called Riezlern (1086m) in Austria in the morning, and hiked my way up to the top of Kanzelwand (2059m), which lies along the border between Austria and Germany. The weather changed drastically on the way up, by the time I reached the ridge, it started getting foggy really quickly.

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Day2: the visibility was fine up to this point. Afterwards for quite a while I could not see anything beyond a few meters of distance, exactly like how it was the last I was on this ridge line, which was nearly two years ago.

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Day 2: …but fear not, you never know, a few minutes after I made it to the summit, the fog cleared away all of a sudden. Everyone standing under the cross looked at each other and we all simultaneously laughed because of this pleasant surprise.

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Day 2: another direction, the fog was still floating as you can see, in fact it didn’t take long for it to come back and block sights in every direction again. A woman there said to me ‘it is wonderful, isn’t it’, I said ‘yes, but now the fog is coming back’, then she said ‘yes, but all together it is wonderful’. She’s exactly right, every bit of change in the mountains is beautiful as it is. Changes make moments like this precious.

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Day 2: loved this view, I sat there for a long time, beautiful rocky formations near and far.

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Day 3: it was a cheerful, sunny Saturday, I met up with friends in Oberstdorf and we went by car to Bad Hindelang (825m). Our destination of the day was Schrecksee (1813m), and we had to make it there and back. The tour consisted of four distinct types of landscapes – we joked about entering four different realms – the steep and humid Forest Reach, the green and vast Forsaken Fields, the long and rocky Ivory Terrain, and our destination finally, the Summer Vale! How do you like those names? 😉 Unfortunately, I only took my camera out after reaching the Summer Vale 😉

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Day 3: do you see the cows lining up on the other side of the lake?

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Day 3: we rested and ate our lunch here. We took off our boots and socks and ran around.

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Day 3: here I’m borrowing a photo from a friend – I was running down to the lake. 

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Day 4: lots of rain and fog, but that didn’t put me off. I took the cable car to the station Höfatsblick (1932m) and hiked towards the Großer Daumen. The terrain was entirely rocky on this side and there was a lot of climbing involved. The white and red sign pictured here is the trail marker – about the only thing that I could rely on in such weather.

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Day 4: speaking of not getting discouraged by rain and fog – that didn’t last the whole day. Midway in, it started raining quite heavily and there hadn’t been any sight of another human being for hours (I was alone). The rocky surface started to wear me out and I made a decision to turn around after reaching Koblatsee.

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Day 4: Koblatsee. I’m sorry, this is not how it looked, I brought out the colour of the lake using Adobe Lightroom… In reality, everything looked grey in the fog. Simply, grey. If you’d like to see how it looks like on a sunny day, click on this page.

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Day 4: just when I stopped expecting anything from the rest of the day, suddenly, a Steingeiß (female ibex) came to stand in front of me! I was instantly filled with joy!! I wasn’t alone after all!! I have this Steingeiß. Isn’t she beautiful?

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Day 4: she didn’t seem scared or anything, she went on munching grass and flowers while I stood and watched. I also waved hello.

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Day 4: despite the terrible weather during the day, it was the most tranquil evening I’ve had in a long while. After eating a big dinner while watching figure skaters practice, I went for a walk up on the Kühberg until the sun had set completely.

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Day 5: the last day of my vacation. Before having to go to the train station, I went up Nebelhorn via cable car and took a walk on the top. The weather was crispy and superb. Cool winds and sunshine, always the best combination. Then I went back to the inn, said goodbye to Josef, who was the only staff  at the inn and had to manage everything from room cleaning to breakfast preparation. Josef is from Hungary and is probably in his 70’s. I remember our conversation over breakfast one day, he told me how he felt after moving to Germany (Oberstdorf to be exact) for one month, he said that people in this town always come and go, no one ends up staying. And yet he was always so nice to everyone. His true, honest thoughts made me feel sad somehow, but I wasn’t sure which part exactly made me feel this way.

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