Riding the Alpine Road in Bad Tolz, Bavaria

Donkey! Charlie was afraid of donkey, as he's afraid of water, heights, noises, cats...

Dave the motorhome is in a packed (sort of) stellplatz in Bad Tolz, Bavaria, Germany (€0.50 per 90 minutes, N47.76314 E11.55015). It’s on the flood plain of the Isar, but the river looks low so Dave’s safe unless it lashes it down. German stellplatz have, incredibly, fewer rules than most motorhome parking places in Europe, so folks have chairs and awnings out, we’re not packed together at all.

We ate like kings yesterday. With the rain pouring down hiding the hills, we could have stayed in and free-loaded but that wasn’t right. The restaurant, which like all buildings here, was massive, had plenty of free tables. German test failed, instead of a dark beer a lager arrived, Ju passed with her shandy (radler). The menu had us both scratching heads though. Bavaria has a reputation for being conservative, and it’s pretty visible, with buildings, gardens and roadsides (never mind churches) bristling with crucified Christs, and menus written in indecipherable script. We copped out, and chose things we recognised, schnitzel and a meat plate. Both delicious and vast.

The Charlie alarm clock went off this morning, door scratching indicating he needed out. As he leapt out his front legs squared off, head under the empty caravan parked next to us. There be rabbits ‘ere, lots of ’em, and Charlie loves nothing more than failing to get anywhere near one. Two donkeys were out too, we guess not knowing they’re born compared with their rough-necked heavy loaded Moroccan counterparts. Geese eyed us up as they wandered free, young goats begged for grass with devil eyes.

Up, with the sun beaming down, we took a walk around the hand-gliding landing field attached to the restaurant which is attached to the farm (just what kind of place was this?). The lush green against the pale sky unsullied with cloud warmed our cockles. We pointed out this and that oddity as we walked, noting from a poster that we’d missed yet another local knees-up.

The road called. An ex-colleague of mine, Helge, a motorbiker living near Munich, recommended the German Alpine Road. It’s been around as a tourist route for 80-odd years and we’d never heard of it. The question is, Helge is an accomplished biker, used to long distance mountain riding. We are in Dave, a heifer of a machine, with brakes which smoke like charcoal at the first hint of a mile long 15% decline. We compromised, using autobahn to skip a section before swinging back towards Austria and grabbing it, by the horns. The same Helge scared me witless on a trip from Munich to Bayreuth a couple of years back, unused as I am to Mach 3 on vaguely icy roads. The autobahns are fine in Dave though, we just hitch up to the back of a lorry and cruise along, trying not to wince when an Audi flies past with no wheels touching the ground.

The Alpine Road, at least the short stretch we’ve done, was fine in Dave. Ramming him into 2nd gear on descents seems to do the trick, albeit raising one almighty whining noise form his clunking engine. This same engine by the way is causing us some consternation, Germany has restricted access to loads of town centres based on certain categories of engine filthiness, and Dave is indeed filthy. We have a map of these zones and are keeping our eyes out to avoid being crushed on the spot by the zealous.

The road brought us past a little tiny spot called Tatzelwurm. We’re not really sure what’s going on here. The place appeared the haunt of the corporate conference (I should know), shining flash cars everywhere, people sat staidly at lunch. Dragon-like lizards adorned everything, carved wooden ones stuck to a restuarant, metal ones used as property numbers. Turns out the Tatzelwurm is a mythical thing (really?), but they had a wonderful waterfall around the corner.

It’s Murray’s (Ju’s brother’s) birthday today. I won’t give away his age but as Ju says, he is half way to 90. We had a call with him, croaked out a few bars of happy birthday and resumed the road. Bikers overtook us, an elderly Fireblade caught my eye, one of the old ones which forced your arms wide to fit around the tank. Lots of signs adorned the roadside, reminiscent of Derbyshire, reminding the bikers they are fallible and their bodies soft.

We’ve left the Alpine Road to come to Bad Tolz, for somewhere to sleep the night. It’s a pleasant spot close to the river, and just a few minutes walk into the car-free, stone pathed town centre. Not much of interest though, so we tucked into an ice cream and headed back. Oddly, maybe, the highlight of my day was Netto. We poked around in the isles to the place buying up all kinds of local tasty looking grub, including a schweinshaxe, which is a fatty hunk of pig, incredibly kept uncooled (we think), lasting until 2013.

What happens tomorrow? Dunno.

Cheers, Jay




Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.