Munich is surrounded by little lakes, and I can say little lakes, because I come from Michigan which is surrounded by big lakes, or the Great Lakes as they are more officially called. Anything smaller than the Great Lakes are little lakes. Of course this is all a matter of perspective, but despite their less than Great size, these lakes are no less magnificent. They are down right gorgeous, and considerably cleaner than the Great Lakes. The last week of May, we visited Ammersee, and we were treated to some pretty amazing views, especially at the end of the day when a storm started to roll in.
This week, a friend offered us her family home on Walchensee, about an hour outside of Munich. We had never heard of Walchensee before, as it is not easily accessible by public transportation like the more popular Ammersee and Starnberger See. Nestled in the foothills of the German Alps with fantastic views of Zugspitze (the tallest mountain in Germany) Walchensee blew away all the other lakes. The first day we arrived there was cloudy, but I did manage to capture this interesting shot of a sailboat being towed by a rowboat.
Turns out, the locals in Walchensee are fiercely protective of their little spot of paradise and have prohibited use of any sort of gas guzzling polluting motor boats. The obvious result, a very clean lake, but the unintentional side-affect is that the lake has become a popular destination for sailors, windsurfers and kite-surfers. Unfortunately on days when there is no wind, sailors have to tow their boats with a row-boat, but I'm sure they don't complain about not having to share the lake with "stinkboats."
On Friday, the we took the "Herzogbahn," or cable car, up the side of the mountain, and we were treated to some amazing views. Unfortunately, we were there at the wrong time of the day, so we had less than ideal lighting for photographs.
The lake winds its way around a couple mountains, so without an airplane, or maybe climbing to a higher peak, it is impossible to get a photo that can fully grasp the shape and size of the lake. Below is another end of the lake from the other side of the mountain.
There are loads of hiking trails in the area. When we started out on the trail pictured below, we thought we were just taking a nice walk in the neighborhood, with Maggie on her trike and Maxi on his Laufrad, however it wasn't long before the trail got too steep, and we abandoned the bikes. Yes, you can do that in Bavaria without fear of someone stealing them. Pretty soon though, it was too tiring for the kids, and Paul became their camel.
The contrast of the mountains and the water is something rare, but it reminded me a little bit of Lake Moomaw, made by the Army Corp of Engineers, about an hour away from our home in Virginia.
Clearly, Walchensee is much cleaner, so clean that Germans say the water is drinkable. That means a lot coming from a race that typically refuses to drink tap water, preferring bottled fizzy water. No, that doesn't mean that Walchensee is fizzy, just that the water is clean and tastes good, which my daughter can attest to, as she drank quite a bit of it.
Even though the kids are fully dressed in the photo above, they did get to jump in the water the next day. And spending as much time as I did in Lake Michigan growing up, I wasn't concerned with the frigid 15°C (59°F) water temperature, despite the gawking stares of nearby observers.
Paul has taken upon himself to try and get more photos of me on vacation. This isn't the best photo from the group, but I think it is the funniest. I'm usually behind the camera, not in front of it, so for good measure here is one more photo from Walchensee.