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The central part of Upper Bavaria was fantastic because of the
combination of great mountain scenery overlooking cute and colorful little
villages full of artwork and life. One village I loved very much was Mittenwald,
a little border
town between Bavaria and Austria. Mittenwald sprawled along the middle of a large valley
carved by the Isar River as moved northward toward Munich.
The Isar was joined by waters feeding from several
nearby lakes via the Lautasch Brook. Consequently, Mittenwald was nestled
in a deep valley with rolling hills on one side and the steep bare-faced cliffs
of the Karwendelgebirge on the other.
This travelogue is a photo
gallery, because there was more to show from my three visits there than there
was to write about. It begins at the downtown, then moves up to higher
ground to the west in the residential zone, then finally up a gondola ride to
the top of the cliffs. Enjoy.
|This is the city
Church, simply called the "Kirche" in Mittenwald's tourist information.
The Baroque-style tower was fairly common in Bavaria, although the
simple decor of the rest of the church suggested it was rebuilt or
renovated, probably since WWII. The interior was lovely white with
a lot of Baroque artwork.
||This was the north end
of the Obermarkt, the main pedestrian zone that extended several blocks
from the Kirche. This street was where the majority of tourists
spent their time in Mittenwald.
|Along the way were a
number of beautifully decorated shops and eateries, such as the pastry
shop shown here. The front of the building showed murals of scenes
from 100 to 200 years ago. Most of those in this town were of
ordinary people doing daily business, whereas in other village they were
||This scene shows the
Karwendelgebirge overlooking one of the
newer cafes and tourist shops. This one was located east of the
Obermarkt and was clearly positioned to handle the tour buses that
parked in the lot of the photo to the right.
|North of the Obermarkt
by only about fifty meters was this structure, the Geigenbaum Violin
Museum. This was the home of the Klotz family, who for generations
hand made violins (elsewhere in the town was the Klotz Denkmal honoring
the patriarch). The Museum was fantastic, showing how violins were
made and explaining the deep history of classical music in this part of
||Of course, this area
was not just about tourism. The full-time residents had things to
do too. Well east of the town was the city's hockey rink, which
was fully outdoors. I took this shot in December of 2002, when it
was surprisingly dry (usually the snows were pretty heavy by November).
But, the Zamboni was out doing its duty for the local team to play later
in the day.
|The next two
photographs were taken from high ground west of the town. Above
several rows of residences, both modern and old, was a small street
against the woodline. In the center, with a great view of the
city, was this tiny Chapel. Chapels like this were common in such
||These crucifixes were
along the same road at the highest point. It was not uncommon to
find such memorials at the summit of hills overlooking a Bavarian
village, but usually it was just Jesus on a crucifix. Having Him
with both revolutionaries was less common.
|The final two
photographs shows the Karwendelbahn, the gondola ride up to the top of
the Karwendelgebirge. Believe it or
not, the seemingly sheer face was climbable. As we rode up we
passed by climbers following a very narrow path zigzagging across the
cliff. The path was no more than a foot wide. I appreciated
just sticking with the gondola.
||The Westliche Karwendengebirgenspitz
was about 1000 meters
above Mittenwald and lacked railings.
This was me sitting at the sheer edge of the cliff enjoying a truly top-level
view of the village. The top of the mountain had a restaurant,
hotel, and other services for the weary hiker. There
were a half-dozen other peaks overlooking both sides of the ridge.
It was not necessary to go out on the walking paths if one was
acrophobic. The guesthouse on top had a fully-enclosed area that
allowed one to feel more protected. (I do not know if I would ever sit
on the edge of a cliff like this again!)
Trip taken 18 August 2001 -- Page last
updated 01 September 2006 --
(C) 2001 Tom Galvin