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Posts tagged ‘Werdenfelser Land’

Fasching, Maschkera, Oimrausch: pre-Lent shenanigans in southern Germany

This ain’t no Hallowe’en1.

In southern Germany, this is Fasching, known also as Werdenfelser Fosanacht, to go along with the masks for Maschkera. It’s also about about distinctions and differences by comparison with Karneval on the Rhein.

Festivities take place before Catholic Lent, and the key idea behind the wild colourful costumes and wooden masks is the very pagan origin and ritual of driving out or driving away evil spirits of winter lurking inside people and their homes and welcoming the friendly spirits of spring for a productive growing season.


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Bundesstrasse 2, B2, Mittenwald, Karwendel, Bergwelt Karwendel, Bayern, Bavaria, Oberbayern, Upper Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Karwendel soars over Mittenwald

On the Bundesstrasse 2* in Upper Bavaria between Munich and Innsbruck is the German Alpine town of Mittenwald next to the Isar river. Towering above town to the east-southeast is the snow-covered wall that is the Karwendel mountain range. The Karwendelbahn gondola takes visitors, hikers and skiiers, and employees of Bergwelt Karwendel up to over 2240 metres (7350 feet) in elevation. The ridge line along the very top is the Germany-Austria border.

* The road signage at the intersection of Mühlenweg and Weidenweg points the way towards German highway Bundesstrasse B2. B2 also has the European (B-class) road label E533.


I made the picture above on 27 February 2017 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 lens, and the following settings: 1/640-sec, f/16, ISO1000, and 24-mm focal length. Die Fotoaufnahme ist mit Wasserzeichen versehen worden. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-aMd.

Grossglockner, Grossvenediger, Hohe Tauern, Austria, Oesterreich, Alps, Zugspitze, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: top of Austria from the top of Germany

For over ten years, I’d been trying to confirm claims of naked-eye sightings (and subsequent photographic evidence) of Italy from Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany at 2962 metres. Not only did I verify the claim, but I also sighted additional mountain peaks of the Alps in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

The next question was whether I could see the highest peak in Austria. With Google Maps (see below), I determined a line-of-sight distance of 135 kilometres from Zugspitze to Grossglockner. I had been wise to use both wide- and zoom-lenses to cover as much of the horizon from the southeast through the south and over to the northwest.

Photo (1) above is at azimuth 105 degrees (east-southeast) at 70mm focal length. The area framed in a red solid line is shown in the next photo, and the area framed in a white dashed line includes peaks of the Nordkette (North Chain) towering over the city of Innsbruck. Labeled are the Wettersteinhauptkamm ridge along the Austria-Germany border, the Jubilämsgrat ridge descending from the Zugspitze summit, and the Gletscherbahn (glacier cable car) between summit and plateau 300 metres below.

With an optical-mechanical zoom at 300mm focal length, photo (2) below* shows Grossglockner (3798 metres), Austria’s highest peak, and Grossvenediger (3657 metres). Both peaks lie in the Hohe Tauern mountain range in the central eastern Alps.


Grossglockner, Grossvenediger, Hohe Tauern, Austria, Oesterreich, Alps, Zugspitze, Germany, fotoeins.com

Photo (2): Grossglockner is Austria’s highest mountain at a height of 3798 metres (12461 feet) above sea-level.


Click the arrow-window icon at the upper-left corner of the map below for the legend.

* I made both photos on 25 February 2017 with the Canon 6D, 70-300 glass, and settings: 1/1000-sec, f/16, ISO500, and 70mm/300mm focal lengths; beide Fotoaufnahmen sind mit Wasserzeichen versehen worden. I made extensive use of Google Earth, Google Maps, Alpenwelt Karwendel, AMAP Austria (from BEV Bundesamt für Eich- und Vermessungswesen), and Open Topo Map. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-bco.

Waxenstein, Wetterstein, Hammelsbacher Fussweg, Grainau, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: “Pillars of society” (Grainau)

In winter, there’s always skiing and snowboarding in the Bavarian Alps, but a look here suggests that a walk in the fresh air (with that scenery) can also work wonders. Just outside Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the footpath Hammersbacher Fußweg stretches west to Hammersbach and Grainau with the Waxenstein mountains towering in the background. The clouds coming in and out on this late-February afternoon bring the threat of snowfall.

I made this photo on 24 February 2017 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/160-sec, f/16, ISO1000, 50mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-2Vu.

Zugspitze: can I see Italy from here?

“If I’m at the highest point in Germany, can I see Italy?”

Over the years, I’ve seen at various times the claim made about seeing Italy from the tallest mountain in Germany.

I’m startled by the winter morning sun, streaming through the window into my hotel room in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I rise slowly from the bed, barely able to keep my eyes open. I shuffle across the room, and pull the small linen drapes aside. It’s blue everywhere, and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. My eyes are now wide open, heart pumping with excitement, because I know skies are gonna be clear up top. Later I learn forecast conditions for the Zugspitze summit are excellent: mostly sunny, visibility out to 160 kilometres (100 miles) with a high temperature of -8C/+18F. Cold, but very doable. It’s also why I have with me 70-300 glass for the long zooms.

Below I show photographs with sightlines and their corresponding average azimuths*: east-southeast (107 degrees), southeast (138 degrees), south (175 degrees), southwest (210 degrees), west-southwest (250 degrees). I label specific mountain peaks of interest in addition to the flag of the country where the mountain is located. In a few cases, mountains lie along the border between two nations in which case I provide two country flags. For the labeled peaks, I’ve also provided further information about mountain heights and sightline distances in the map below.

Spoiler alert: not only am I able to spot mountains in Italy, but also other peaks in Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.


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Zugspitze summit crosses (Gipfelkreuze) on Austria and Germany, fotoeins.com

Alpen panorama from Zugspitze, the top of Germany

Visitors to southern Bavaria and the twin towns of Garmisch-Partenkirchen should aim high with Zugspitze in their sights. At a height of 2962 metres (9720 feet) above sea level, Zugspitze is the highest point in Germany, and can be reached from the Bavarian side in Germany or the Tyrolian side in Austria. As shown above, crosses appear on both Austrian and German (taller) sides. Most will take advantage of one of the following three ways to ascend to the summit:

On a clear cloudless day above and below, panoramic views from the summit include sight lines to other Alp peaks in Germany and Austria.

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Loisach valley, east to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, fotoeins.com

Oberbayern Hausberg: bovines and alpine meadows (2011)

It’s a bright autumn afternoon in Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria), and the cogwheel railway is on the descent from Zugspitze, returning to the valley base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The train slows on approach to station “Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg”, only two-kilometres southwest from the twin towns.

Loisach valley, east to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, fotoeins.com

Loisach valley, east to Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Train station, Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg, fotoeins.com

Train stop “Hausberg”

Stepping out at Hausberg

Doors to the stuffy train compartment open out to the breeze riding down the Loisach river valley. Deep breaths expand and fill my lungs with the slightest hints of hay, fresh cut grass, cow dung, and woodsmoke. Brightly illuminated pastures beckon me forward, one foot in front of the other. Blank looks from the “bayerische Kühe” sprawled out on the grass suggest a possible course of action. Except for the part about the blank faces …

I’ve already seen a number of people in the valley as the train weaved its way down from the summit. Couples are out on their walks. Their slow gait is not representative of age or condition; their easy stroll reflects many years of familiarity with the area.

With a smile, I’ll greet passersby with “Grüss Gott”. I’m in small conversation, proceeding typically in one-way flow: “where are you from?”, “how did you learn German?”, “how long are you here?”, and “do you like the area?” My final answer often surprises them most: “ich würde hier lange bleiben, wenn ich könnte.” (I’d stay here longer, if I could.)

Within an illuminated river valley surrounded by “little” Alps, idyll has another name: Hausberg belongs right here in the now.

Loisach valley, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg, fotoeins.com
Loisach valley, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen Hausberg, fotoeins.com
Loisach valley at Hausberg, fotoeins.com

Loisach valley, at Hausberg, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Ausserfernbahn DB train, to Reutte in Tirol, fotoeins.com

Deutsche Bahn “Ausserfernbahn” train, to Austria’s Reutte in Tirol

Tracks shared by Bayerische Zugspitzbahn and Ausserfernbahn, Hausberg, fotoeins.com

Tracks shared by Bayerische Zugspitzbahn and Deutsche Bahn

Bovine residents at Hausberg, fotoeins.com

Bovines, meadows, Alps, Hausberg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberbayern, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria, Bayern, Germany, Deutschland,  fotoeins.com

Simple things in Upper Bavaria: bovines, meadows, Alps.

Reaching Hausberg

Visitors staying in Garmisch-Partenkirchen can easily walk the short distance from either of the twin towns. The flat stretch of Loisach river valley is easily walkable on the paved pedestrian path from Garmisch-Partenkirchen on the way to Grainau, Eibsee lake, and beyond. Alternatively, hop on the regional “Ausserfernbahn” train from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Reutte (in Tirol) and request to disembark at Hausberg. Another alternative is to hop on the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn cog railway on its ascent or on the way down from the Zugspitze summit.

I made all of the photos above on 9 October 2011. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5A1.

Bayerische Zugspitzbahn, Zugspitze, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: early snow over Eibsee lake in Oberbayern

Just below Riffelriss at a height of about 1600 metres (5200 feet), the downhill journey of the Bayerische Zugspitzbahn cog (rack) railway emerges from underneath the Zugspitze mountain tunnel with this view north towards Eibsee lake and various peaks on the other side. Here in Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria), spectacular views of the German Alps never seem to end, on the ground or at elevation. Compared to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest point at almost 3000 metres, some might label the surrounding 2000-metre formations as “hills”.

•   More posts on & about Zugsptize

I made this photo on 9 October 2011 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/250s, f/5, ISO100, 32mm focal length (51mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-5Aw.

Münchner Haus, Zugspitze, Germany

Germany’s highest postal code on Zugspitze

Here you are; you’ve made it all the way up onto Zugspitze, the highest point in Germany.

You’ve always appreciated receiving handwritten mail in letters or postcards. As you’re traveling, it’s time you reciprocated by sending cards to family and friends, and you’ve written up a few postcards, ready to send. You’ve come up to the summit and you have the postcards in hand with correct postage already affixed to the postcards.

And in passing, you’ve just noticed there’s a mailbox here … at an elevation of over 9700 feet (almost 3000 metres) above sea level.

Sitting on Zugspitze’s west peak is the Münchner Haus (Munich House), started in 1897 and maintained since by the Deutscher Alpenverein (German Alpine Club). The building has the mailing address and post-code: “Münchner Haus, 82475, Zugspitze”. The accompanying and familiar yellow Deutsche Post mailbox here on Zugspitze is the highest in the country (obviously), and the box’s contents are emptied at 1030am every morning except Sundays (“Leerungszeiten”).

There’s no guarantee your mail will get a “Zugspitze” postal mark before the mail is sent to its destination, but one thing is true: that mailbox has a stunning view of the Alps to call its own.

Münchner Haus, Zugspitze, Germany

Münchner Haus, Deutscher Alpenverein (2011).

Münchner Haus, Zugspitze, Germany
Münchner Haus, Zugspitze, Germany

Germany’s highest mailbox (2011).

Zugspitze Germany

Münchner Haus’ east-southeast view, towards Gletscherbahn (glacier cablecar) and Reintal valley (2011).

On a repeat visit to Zugspitze in 2017, I discovered the mailbox on the summit was no more. The “highest” mailbox and post office in Germany is located in the warm confines of the Sonn Alpin on the Zugspitzplatt plateau below the summit proper.

Münchner Haus, Zugspitze, Germany, fotoeins.com

No more mailbox (2017).

Deutsche Post, Sonn Alpin, Zugspitzpltt, Zugspitze, Germany, fotoeins.com

Deutsche Post office with PLZ (postal code) 82475 at the highest point in Germany.


I made the photos above on 9 October 2011 and 25 February 2017. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-4h2.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberbayern, Bavaria, Germany, fotoeins.com

The twin towns of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (fall 2011)

(Mostly overcast conditions in autumn, October 2011.)

They are six syllables, almost a mouthful, but the two words also represent hiking, climbing, trekking, skiing, Olympic history, and Alpine grandeur.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is located about 90 kilometres (55 miles) southwest from München, and can be reached in about 90 minutes with Deutsche Bahn regional-trains. With the town’s close proximity to the Austrian border, additional trains direct passengers onwards to the Austrian towns of Reutte and Innsbruck.

In preparation for the 1936 Winter Olympics, the neighbouring towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen were merged in 1935 to form a single entity. According to “Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features, and Historic Sites” by Adrian Room (2005):

Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Town, southern Germany. The present town was formed in 1935 on the amalgamation of the two communities Garmisch and Partenkirchen. The former name means “Germar’s district,” the latter “(settlement of the) Parthians by the church.”

Many arrive in Garmisch-Partenkirchen for day hikes into one of two gorges in the area: Partnachklamm and Höllentalklamm. Longer daytrips include a visit to Mittenwald or an ascent to Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany.

In town, there are small narrow cobblestone streets, few cars, and many colourful buildings built in a distinctive Bavarian architectural style. Garmisch feels more modern, whereas Partenkirchen has retained its old Bavarian charm. The combined town is contained neatly at the junction of the Loisach and Partnach rivers, in a broad valley surrounded by a crown of mountains. There must be something in the crisp air and the snowmelt; some consider Garmisch-Partenkirchen as a base for daytrips, but the town itself is worthy of discovery.

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