Agent Name: Lisa
Date: May 2011
Places visited: Munich City, Bad Kohlgrub located in the Ammergau Alps, Fussen and the nearby village of Hopfen am See, in close proximity to King Ludwig’s fairy tale castle Neuschwanstien, the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Theme park Castle. Obersdorf, at the foot of the German and Austrian Alps, home of the German ski jump training facilities, Oberstaufen, in the Allgau, a tiny village providing a relaxed environment for wellness treatments and something for your golfers.
This study tour was focused on the wellness industry in combination with the tourist highlights of Bavaria. Germany has a very well developed spa and wellness industry and what is more relaxing than taking in some of the smaller villages of Germany while unwinding with some moor health baths? Germans take a very holistic approach to health and wellness and this active destination showcases this. The vast number of unique owner operated inns and hotels offer traditional spa services, therapeutic physiotherapy treatments as well as a variety of outdoor activities with many hiking trails, bike paths and history available to explore. And the wellness “Die Kur” is resort holiday for health, under doctor supervision. A holistic cleanse is a very simple description of this popular resort package offered at many of the spa resorts.
German struck me as a very active holiday destination with many MANY choices of activities. The Bavarian region of Germany is the one that most people associate with when you ask someone about German, including the beer gardens, the women dressed in their traditional Dirndls and the gentlemen in their Lederhosen. A wide variety of food is available and it is evident the Germans enjoy a commitment to local, fresh and seasonal ingredients to help satisfy you after a very active day.
Our study tour took us from Munich(Munchen) an hour and half into the rolling hills towards the German/Swiss/Austrian Alp region for a quick overview and then each subsequent stop was within another hour drive through the country roads. Off the beaten path and away from the Autobahn.
Once you move from the very large cities do note that most of the key hotel staff will speak impeccable English, but many of the shops and services are more accustomed to seeing more German speaking visitors. Keep a German/English dictionary or translation app on your wireless device for this region because once you get into some of the smaller locations you may need to look for words.
My experience though has been the German people are very shy about using their English but they put us to shame. You’ll get by without too much trouble.
My favourite hotel was the Haubers Alpenresort (www.haubers.de) a delightfully charming and fresh family resort overlooking Oberstaufen with their own onsite golf course. Their passion for the hospitality industry is evident and they understand the technology that many travelers are looking for, while on “holiday”.
My favourite town was Fussen, considered the end of the Romantic Road. This town dates back to the late medieval period and looks up towards the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles. Beautiful monastery houses host many works of art and mementos of history stretching across nearly 2000 years. An easy city to walk it is well worth arranging with the city tourist office, for an English speaking guild to give you some insight into the history of the town. However, many of the museums and galleries don’t have offer English guidebooks yet.
What’s a visit to Munich without a trip down the stairs into the Ratskeller Munchen, to sample your choice of the many many Bavarian specialties along with a stein of house beer? This is where you can sample many of the tastes of Barvaria from their expansive menu, but come hungry as the portions are generous. If you can visit in May to early June during Asparagus season its not to be missed and served in many different ways. The deliciously delicate white asparagus is a true treat. At the German
Kaesespaetzle http://germanfood.about.com/od/potatoesandnoodles we enjoyed after a mountain hike above the golfcourse was delicious, made with fresh cheese from the farm next door. MMMM Emmentaler!
This is a hiker’s paradise. The Allgau, the entire region we explored offers you 7000 kms of trails and offer 3 different altitudes to suite everyone’s abilities from “idyllic valley walks, to marvelous mid-altitude trails and challenging summit hikes”.
At the foot of the Bavarian Alps, you’ll hear the sound of the cow bells ringing out across the meadows. A beautiful melody to hear, as the animals graze in the meadows. Consider bringing one home as they are normally hung on beautifully embroidered collars or canvas for hanging outside your front door.
Most people know about Schwangau, if not by name by the images on postcards. This is the village of the “King’s Castles” and home of the Neuschwanstien Castle built by King Ludwig but not completed before his early death, under some suspicious circumstances. This is the castle that inspired the castles that grace Disneyworld and Disneyland.