Weekend Wanderlust: Reaching new heights within the Allgäu

Weekend Wanderlust: Reaching new heights in the Allgäu

My legs have been dangling uselessly within the air. Beneath my ft, round 1,000 metres of empty house separated me from the luxurious fields of southern Bavaria.

Simply 24 hours beforehand I had taken the relatively impulsive determination to go paragliding within the Allgäu, a area of tree-lined mountains and postcard villages on the border with Austria. And now I used to be strapped into the passenger seat of a paraglider as my pilot hunted down thermal air currents that might raise us up over the Alps.

To say that there was one thing surreal concerning the expertise doesn’t fairly do it justice. Sitting snugly within the glider, I used to be so comfy I had a tough time convincing myself I used to be really hanging in midair and never watching the world’s most high-definition .

Myself and my girlfriend had made the choice to leap off the mountainside the day before today. We’d solely come to the Allgäu to climb the Tegelberg, “mad” King Ludwig of Bavaria’s favorite mountain. However close to the summit we got here throughout a paragliding faculty making ready for take off. A fast chat with the teacher later and we have been booked in for 2 tandem flights the next afternoon.

A tandem flight departing from the Tegelberg. Picture: DPA

Klettersteigs and castles

The climb up the mountain had already afforded sufficient pleasure and spectacular surroundings to make the journey to Germany’s southern border value our whereas. The route we selected, named The Yellow Wall, concerned a mix of climbing and climbing a Klettersteig – a sequence of ladders and metal ropes that transport you up uncovered cliff faces.

Our information e-book had knowledgeable us that the route was fundamental sufficient that it wasn’t essential to deliver climbing harnesses. However as we approached the primary steep rock face a visibly shaken couple handed us on their manner down. “That was an excessive amount of,” was all they stated. Uh oh, had we bitten off greater than we may chew? However after 5 or ten minutes of climbing we have been comfy once more. The metal cables provided a superb grip and at any time when the rock turned too steep a cleverly positioned metal foot maintain helped us on our manner.

Tegelberg is certainly not Germany’s highest mountain, nor its steepest. However it does have one thing that no different mountain has – a fortress so extravagant it bankrupted the king of Bavaria. King Ludwig determined to construct Neuschwanstein fortress near Tegelberg’s base within the mid-19th Century. Now and again on our climb we’d catch sight of this “fairy story” palace balancing improbably on a fist of limestone rock lots of of metres beneath us. It’s a sight to behold – and all of the extra satisfying for the truth that we weren’t combating by means of a sea of vacationers to take an image of it.

The spontaneous determination to go paragliding meant that we wanted a mattress for the night time. An unattainable activity absolutely within the peak of summer time at considered one of Germany’s most iconic vacationer sights? Not a little bit of it. After knocking on a couple of doorways within the close by village of Schwangau we struck fortunate. For the princely sum of €40 we have been provided an infinite room with a view over the fortress. As one native instructed us, a lot of the vacationers who come to see Neuschwanstein are bused out and in on the identical day, leaving the individuals of Schwangau in peace.

The following morning we swam within the Alpsee, a lake simply past Neuschwanstein fortress that has an otherworldly turquoise glow to it. Ludwig actually had an eye fixed for the dramatic. As soon as once more we have been shocked to seek out we had the lake to ourselves.

After which got here the leap off the mountainside. We pulled on our jumpsuits on the mountain base earlier than travelling with the cable automotive to the highest. After a nervous wait and a number of other false begins, my pilot lastly gave me the order to run and bounce. We skimmed excessive of some bushes and have been away.

A couple of minutes later we discovered our first thermal present and began corkscrewing larger and better into the sky, growing our altitude by 1.5 metres a second. Quickly we have been 2,000 metres above sea degree. Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak lay to our east, the large rocky summits of Tirol rose up above the tree line to the south.

A jogger pausing on the scenic Alpsee within the fall. Picture: DPA

A phrase of warning about paragliding although: everybody worries concerning the takeoff, however the factor that’s probably to get you is movement illness. In keeping with my pilot, a minimum of considered one of his passengers vomits in midair each week. As we corkscrewed in tight turns up by means of the nice and cozy thermal air, I may perceive why. The serenity I felt firstly of the flight was quickly changed by grogginess. The touchdown in a cow discipline 20 minutes later didn’t come a second too quickly.

Extra than simply mountains

The Allgäu is a delight for lovers of the nice outdoor. In addition to mountaineering and paragliding, the area is well-known for canyoning and kayaking. And within the winter, the world is a family-friendly snowboarding vacation spot.

However this scenic location has loads to supply those that like issues a bit quieter too. A number of mountains have cable automobiles, which means you may skip the trouble of climbing and get straight to the spectacular views. And for individuals who desire to maintain your ft firmly on the bottom, there are a number of cities within the Allgäu which completely seize the heile Welt really feel of the German south.

If you would like luxurious and rest, head to the small city of Oberstaufen, recognized for its grand 19th century lodges and spas. In the meantime, Wangen im Allgäu, a city near Lake Constance, is well-known for its baroque city centre.

The area Can be notable for its Bergkäse, a powerful exhausting cheese.

So: castles, mountains, cheese. If you wish to step out of the hubbub of a contemporary Germany metropolis and bask in a couple of timeless cliches, the Allgäu is the right place to do it.

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