Friday 25/Tuesday 29 May 2018: Bad Reichenhall (Bavaria)

On Friday night, 25 Polyramblers met at the Wieninger Schwabenbrau restaurant in Bad Reichenhall for a nice dinner after travelling there by different means. The main party had reached Salzburg at lunchtime and, after a pleasant bus trip, arrived in Bad Reichenhall. After settling in our room in the Vier Jahreszeiten (4 seasons) hotel, we had lunch at Cafe Reber where the cakes are to die for. Then some of us visited the old salt works while others went to the spa. We met late afternoon for a tour of the very nice town. We went to the Royal Spa Garden where we saw the inhalatorium, we sampled the salty water in the rotunda, saw and heard a number of churches and went to the old town. Quite a full day.Saturday 26 May 2018: Königssee
After a restful night and a nice breakfast, we took the bus to Königssee. There were long queues but we managed to buy tickets for the whole group. We travelled on the lake on quiet electric boats. Along the way, the boatman plays his trumpet and the echo bounces back from the mountain walls. The walkers stopped at St Bartholomä church for a quick visit and then we started climbing through the forest along narrow paths. Up and up we went. We stopped for a picnic lunch and continued climbing along more exposed rocks where there were cables and ladders to help our progress. The views were magnificent but some points along the path were a bit scary. We saw lovely spring flowers including lily of the valley. We finally reached Archenkanzel, the top, after climbing 957m. Soon after, we arrived in a meadow with an Inn in the middle, Kuhrointhutte, such a welcome sight. We stopped for a drink and then started the descent, first along a gentle path and then on a very steep gravel path through the forest which was very punishing for the knees. After going down 984m, we finally reached Königssee after the last bus had left. We considered walking back to Berchtesgaden but Harriet and Hilary went to a garage where they kindly ordered taxis for us and we arrived in time to take the train back to Bad Reichenhall. The Strollers took the boat to Salet at the far end of the Königssee and walked about a mile to the Obersee and to the Fischunkelalm where they had lunch. They continued to see the Rothbach waterfall, the highest waterfall in Germany and then took the boat to St Bartholomä where they stopped briefly before getting the boat back to the departure point. They managed to catch the last bus to Bad Reichenhall.

Sunday 27 May 2018: Berchtesgaden
On another sunny day, the walkers took the train to Berchtesgaden. We walked along the river Berchtesgadener Ache, passing the salt mine, along woodland and lovely meadows before reaching the Almbachklamm gorge. We had a drink at the inn, looked at the marble ball mill and had our lunch. We then entered the beautiful gorge and walked alongside it on narrow paths and crossed over 25 bridges until we reached Theresienklause, a small barrage. We continued walking up out of the gorge through a forest. We met a sign for an Inn which sounded minutes away but it was a lie. We eventually found an Inn in Maria Gern where we stopped to have a drink. We bypassed the lovely church which was at the top of a hill and continued to Berchtesgaden. The Strollers took the bus to Berchtesgaden, then another bus to the Documentation Centre in Obersalzberg and a further bus to the Kehlsteinhaus – the Eagle’s Nest. They took a tunnel to the lift which took them to the top where they visited the rooms, admired the view and had lunch. They then went back to Berchtesgaden where they had a quick look around the town before returning to Bad Reichenhall.

Monday 28 May 2018: Predigtstuhlbahn
Sunshine again for a day full of options: spa, swimming, shopping, a walk to Thumsee for a paddle, a trip up the cable car (Predigtstuhlbahn) – built in 1928, it is the oldest large cabin cable car preserved in its original state in the world. Those who went up the cable car did various walks but the elite group of 6 did the Lattenberg crossing, a 7 mile walk up 464m and down 1345m. It was a great ridge walk with beautiful views up to Salzburg and, on the other side, the mountains. Of course, we had to stop at the inn on the top to have a drink before starting the walk. There were still a few patches of snow. The descent started on rocky exposed terrain and continued through the forest on a narrow path with a lot of tree roots. We saw a chamois who ran away when he heard us. And we passed the Stone Agnes, a rock formation. After a few hours walking down, we finally reached Hallthurm where we waited for the bus back to Bad Reichenhall. In the evening, we all gathered for a meal at the Brauereigasthof Burgerbrau, a brewery who has been going since the 1400s.

Tuesday 29 May 2018: Bad Reichenhall and Salzburg
Hot and sunny again for our last day which consisted mostly of relaxing, shopping and sightseeing. The Strollers went to Salzburg and walked up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress and around the town, others stayed in Bad Reichenhall and went to Thumsee, shopped, relaxed in the spa and the garden until it was time to leave. We made our way to the airport where we were told that our plane was delayed because of the weather. We were given vouchers to buy some food and waited. After 3.5 hours, we finally took off and landed at Gatwick at 23.00. We made it home at around 1.00/1.30 but it was not enough to spoil our lovely weekends in the Bavarian mountains.