Hiking the Adlerveg: Day 3 (Hintersteinersee – Kufstein)

Highlights: Almdudler, Kaiserschmarrn, and Chairlifts

The next morning, a little groggier after our late night of jagertee and schnapps, we woke up for breakfast at the Pension, another plate of meats, cheeses, breads, and yogurt. We met Anja, our new guide for the day (well, really, Deb’s guide, who was gracious enough to take us along for the ride). A gregarious, body-building type,she may have had a bit too much gusto for our tired faces first thing that morning, but I’m definitely glad we had her. Our first ascent wasn’t too bad (not at all like the first day), and mostly took us through wooded paths and then into open alpine pastures. We did pass little huts selling fresh buttermilk and other fresh goods along the way, which was a nice change of pace from the first day where we didn’t pass anything open until our drink stop).  Continue reading “Hiking the Adlerveg: Day 3 (Hintersteinersee – Kufstein)”

Hiking the Adlerveg: Day 2 (Gaudeamushütte to Hintersteinersee)

The next morning, I headed down for breakfast early- hot coffee, a plate of meats and cheeses and breads, and of course butter, Nutella, and jam. I talked more to the American woman and to another German guy who’d stayed in his room the night before. Turns out, the American woman, Deb, is a travel writer and she was waiting for her guide for the day. She was also heading the same way I was, as was this new German guy. While I was planning to get through 2 stages that day, I agreed to start with them and just keep moving on half way through the day.

Deb looking up at the Kamml Gorge – 400m up as soon as you leave Gaudeamushutte
Part of the Via Ferrata – wires and steel ropes which let climbers get up close and personal with the mountains

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The Adlerveg: Day 1 (Thunder, lightning, waterfalls, a woodshed, and the most beautiful sunset)

The 6 days I spent in Tyrol definitely proved to be very different than I imagined.

I set out from Innsbruck on Monday morning, after stopping by the Alpine Club to get any additional info I could. The guy at the Alpine Club was helpful and seemed to know the route pretty well. But, in broken English, he kept pointing at the map gesturing his hand in a “so-so” waving way, saying the weather wouldn’t be great and he wouldn’t recommend setting out, but that I could start today if I really wanted. I’m stubborn, so he told me where to go down the street to buy some detailed maps from the bookstore (this may have been my most reckless move of the trip so far, but I at least wanted to take as many smart precautions as I can). I grabbed those, and a bright red Mammut raincover at the sports shop next door, and set off for the train station to make it to my starting point: Sankt Johann. Hoping to beat the impending storms, I looked forward to some alone time on my gutsy solo venture. Lots of time to think, I figured.

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Stuck in Innsbruck 

I got into Innsbruck late afternoon after stopping in Mittenwald on my way from Fussen, where I mostly just walked up to see the castles, did an unexpected nature walk back to the city (and discovered that while trails aren’t marked in distances but in time here, it’s done by seniors and therefore estimates about double the amount of time it really does end up taking), and then had lots of Bavarian food and beer. Not worth a full post, so some pics below before on to Innsbruck.

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I spent 2 days in Munich in early September 2015 as part of my 6 week Eastern Europe/Balkans trip. Sadly, I can’t say it’s somewhere I’m dying to get back to, but it does have its charm and beauty.

Oh Munchen. You were definitely interesting from beginning to end, just not sure in the absolute best way possible. The couch surfing experience was quite an experience, but more on that later, off blog.

My visit started as soon as I got off the 8-hour bus from Berlin and headed off towards my Couchsurfing host’s apartment. Right off the bat, I came across the main train station, blocked off and guarded by armed police and medical volunteers. Medical tents were set up, and people flooded off trains, single-file, into the various tents. It was the first refugee arrival zone I’d seen. My “greeter” would later tell me there were 3-week-long waitlists to volunteer – so many Germans all over Munich wanted to help, they’d already reached capacity. It was definitely a sight, since it’s unlike I’ve ever witnessed firsthand in the U.S., and made for an interesting time to be in Germany.


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Berlin: you really are quite something 

My stay in Berlin was short but definitely the most dynamic of any stay I’ve had so far. I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew is that I’ve always wanted to go, and I’m so glad I finally did.
When I first landed and got into the city, I stopped by my hostel to check in and drop my bags off, but they weren’t accepting check ins until 2pm. It was 1:15. So after checking some quick wifi (you can never be too grateful for free wifi when you have no other way to connect) I actually took my bag on my back and headed for the free Berlin tour meeting point. Our guide was this spunky blonde German girl from Dresden and she took us on 3 long hours of history and walking around the city’s main attractions. I’m glad I went since I got to see some sites and hear stories about them that I probably wouldn’t have known otherwise. (That the hotel balcony right in front of the Brandenburg Gate, for instance, is the same balcony where Michael Jackson hung the baby. Crucial info I know.) I met a lot of other travelers, a girl spending the day in Berlin before taking the night train to Poland, and an older woman from Australia traveling on her own for 2 months.

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Stockholm in 24 hours: where everything is more expensive, but maybe worth it

Saturday, 5 September
Let’s just say this was a whirlwind trip to Stockholm, but a great kickoff to the 6 weeks. I arrived (delayed) around 2:30pm at Arlanda, tired but eager to get started. I had arranged to stay with a couch surfing host who would be picking me up at the central train station. As planned, and arranged easily over wifi once I got in, we met up and he instantly suggested we head downtown to go meet a girl from the Netherlands who also needed a place to stay after her other host turned out to be less than desirable. Along for the ride, we met them at a coffee shop (them being the Canadian studying in Holland, another Canadian on his way from Italy, and a Swedish-American girl- all other couch surfers). One thing led to another and we all split up, the other girl and I heading back to our hosts house to drop off bags and rest and talk.
He showed us his apartment and all its intricacies. Everything has to be child proofed in Sweden, he explained. So the knife drawer has a block on it to prevent from opening, the stove won’t heat unless a timer is also put on (this one mostly for older people) and all windows are specially locked. Very Swedish, I suppose. We don’t associate Sweden with design for nothing. Even the escalators I noticed stay stationery unless someone steps onto it. Clever indeed.
Later on, we headed back downtown to meet up with everyone again. This time, we ended up with about 8 people, some coming and going, but all met through random encounters or couch surfing. Eclectic group of people, but absolutely the nicest people you could ask for. We wandered around, leaving one popular beer garden line of about 1,500 people to finally end at a docked boat/nightclub where we all sat on the upstairs deck. “Cheap beer” at 64 SEK, or about $8, was not exactly flowing, but we talked politics, pop culture, religion, relationships, and so much more. Everyone seemed fascinated by Trump, not surprisingly. He’s our “pride and joy”! Hearing how everyone had met (thrown together by couch surfing disasters, success stories, happenstance meetings on the street, events, etc) it was just another reminder of what cool people you meet and experiences you end up with when you go with the flow and are open to almost anything.
Starting around 12:30, it started downpouring, so we all sat tight too about 2 when we made a mad dash for it. In bed by 4 for a quick 2 hour nap before my flight to Berlin, I could not have asked for a better beginning to the trip and a better group of people to meet on my first night in Europe this trip, and only night in Stockholm. May not have seen much of the city by day, but the people made this night.
Next stop: Berlin!