During last year’s Easter holidays, we’ve been to Genoa. This time, we decided for a bit more peace and quietness, and a bit more nature. So, instead of the Mediterranean or any other sea and big town, we opted for the mountains – or, to be more precise, for Mittenwald. I’ve been in the area as a kid, together with my brother Willi and our parents, so I knew it would be great.
Easter Monday – the journey, and the first half day
We left home at around 9 o’clock, and went there in about 5 hours and 15 minutes, losing some time in Munich because of a construction area within their “Mittlerer Ring”. After arriving in Mittenwald, we walked the place a bit and had some coffee, ice cream and a wonderful cream cake with an almond paste in the local Italian café. Then I programmed my GPS, and it promptly led us to a farmer’s place instead of the youth hostel.
said the friendly farmer, and:
“you’re not the first ones – happens all the time…”
- and then he explained us how to get there (marked the exact location in my Flickr photos, so if you want to go there, better have a look at those).
After arrival and checking in at the youth hostel, I set my camera to black & white (I was in the mood for that, and it was getting late anyway), and took this first photo of their winter garden with a view:
The food – both breakfast and dinner – was very very good there by the way, basically “all you can eat” (within the limited amount of time) buffets. And after our first dinner, when Zuleikha got ready for bed, I took my tripod and the camera and went for a short walk alone. It got darker and darker, but I took these:
This was with the camera set to black & white, and also to 16:9 wide format. I tried some composites as well, but liked the normal photos much more this time. This following one was stitched together as a panorama from eight images tho, and so it has some 21 Megapixels:
Each of these eight images took two and a half seconds already, and the following single shot even 5 seconds – so it definitely was getting darker really fast:
Later during the week, Mitchie took a few photos of these mountains in the setting sun, and “Majestic…” was all she could say. That’s true. Awesome scenery, which leaves you without words.
Tuesday – first full day with herb butter, a summer coasting slide, and in “hell”
Kids make friends very fast, and so during Monday’s dinner Zuleikha and we were invited to join some herb collecting and butter making party from Thomas, who was there with his sister Judith and with their mother Andrea. We met after breakfast at 9 o’clock, but there was a very strong and cold wind blowing, for which I wasn’t really prepared – so I left the party and with the car went to Mittenwald to fuel it up, and to look for some kind of hood or other protection for my head & ears. I only found some things for Mitchie and Zuleikha and our cat, so I went to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. No luck there also, but there was no wind at all at that place, so I started to explore that a bit.
I went up the new Olympic ski jump, which looks like this:
And if you look down from where the athletes have to lift off and fly, it looks like this:
Amazing, isn’t it? And frightening – you don’t even see the landing zone when you have to jump. Wow. The markings at the sides of the track say something like 150 meters down there…
Beside the track, you can have yourself pulled up the whole hill:
And if you look to the other side, you see that Olympic arena, and a warning sign:
Beautiful place. No wonder it’s one of the tourist attractions in southern Germany, especially during winter. But what’s also beside these ski jumps is a summer coasting slide, so I decided to go back to Mittenwald and pick up Mitchie and Zuleikha and her new friends to bring them here. First, I took these from and at the youth hostel:
And then we went back to Garmisch, where kids and adults had some fun:
The real attraction at least for for me tho would have been the Partnach Gorge – but sadly, this was closed due to too much melting snow and ice on top of these mountains, so it would have been too dangerous to go in there with high water. Wrong time of year for that; if you want to see those dramatic waterfalls and cliffs, you better come here a month or two later, or even during summer.
But there’s another one between Mittenwald and Leutasch (Austria), where we also have been as kids, so I went up there (the others weren’t too keen in walking uphill for half an hour only to see this):
You can walk over these mountains, or drive over them, and see a sign telling you that now you’re in Austria. Which we did, later. Both by car, and walking. But these were my photos from Tuesday.
Oh, I still haven’t explained the “hell” part of the headline. Well – what was simply called “Leutaschklamm” during my childhood has now some fancy names like “Geisterklamm” (ghost gorge), or “Höllenschlucht” (hell gorge), and even the paths have names like “Koboldpfad”, or “Klammgeistweg”. There’s no English Wikipedia site yet, but if you ask Google or any other search engine, you’ll get the idea (and some more photos as well).
Wednesday – rain, violins, ponies, and play
Yup, Wednesday started with not so nice weather, and the forecast (from DWD, which the youth hostel host hang out each day) was similar: colder, and with rain. But since Mittenwald is famous for its violin making tradition, a visit to the violin museum was on our list anyway, so we did that first thing in the morning:
The museum is very nice and definitely worth a visit. They have lots of things to read, and videos and even movies to watch, as well as very nice and old exhibition pieces, mostly behind glass and air conditioned. Two basses, also very old (one from around 1900, the other from 1820 IIRC) were displayed openly, and this one here was detuned – but maybe that is better if they’re not played regularly?
After that, I thought that maybe the mountains would hold off the clouds, and the weather would be nicer over in Austria, behind that first line of hill tops – so we got into the car, and went the old (and free to go) road over Leutasch down to Telfs. It was still raining there, but the view down from the mountains onto Telfs is fantastic, Alpen at their best. Zuleikha had fallen asleep in the car, and when I saw a “Ponyhof”, we stopped and went in. Didn’t take any pictures there – Mitchie did, but it was almost too late to get Zuleikha sitting on and riding a Pony into the hall for two other girls who had their first lesson there. Thanks again to Bettina Oberleitner of Ponyhof “beim Lipp” for explaining and showing us everything.
On the way back over these mountains we had snowfall, and back at the youth hostel it was sunny again – almost like four seasons in one day. Mitchie and Zuleikha started a game of Rummikub, and soon other kids joined us. I asked the parents if I might take photos of their kids playing, and started to take some photos of:
Gave those parents my card and promised them to send the photos if they wanted them, but I hope they don’t object that I show their kids here as well – the photos on Flickr are in full resolution like always, and thus good for prints as well, so they can get and download them from there. I do this very often, and until now no one protested (except one of my colleagues, whose (not so bad) photo I had to remove again).
Thursday – Leutaschklamm again (with cottage), and on and in the rocks
On our last full day I asked Mitchie and Zuleikha if they wanted to walk that “Koboldpfad” (marked in blue, the shorter of two or three ways) over Leutasch gorge again, and since there you can also learn something, they agreed. I didn’t take photos this time, but told Mitchie to mount her shorter 20mm (and later even my 14-42mm kit zoom) lens onto her Pen camera, which she did. Haven’t seen her pictures yet, but they’re the only other ones we have from that gorge. She also took some of Zuleikha standing with one foot in Germany, and the other one in Austria. Later on that way, we came to “Gletscherschliff” cottage which we happily entered for coffee and apple juice, and I took a photo of one of the two dogs there with Mitchie’s 45mm lens on my Pen:
From that tavern you also have a great view over Mittenwald, but I took a photo of that on film, which isn’t developed yet. But the view is like the one on the link.
I had promised Zuleikha to go on top of that Karwendelspitze with the Karwendelbahn, so that is what we did next. It is expensive for adults, but since they pull you up some 1200+ meters over the valley, the view is probably worth it – you decide. Inside these cablecars, they have some badly tinted windows which makes white balance in post a challenge, as you can see.
They pulled us up there with about 4.6 meters per second:
And here you get an idea about the window tint:
Once up, it looks like this:
And they have a pedestrian tunnel with a length of about 400m which was open for those who wanted to go skiing:
Between the restaurant and the “giant telescope” exhibition center, it looks like this:
Inside that exhibition center, you have a great view over Mittenwald and the Wetterstein mountains as well, but their window is striped with different tints again, so it’s not worth showing a photo of that here. Don’t know why they did that – maybe to sell their own postcards and photos?
Took this last one on the way back down:
And back at the youth hostel, I mounted my longest lens (150mm, which is 300mm-e) onto my E-520 to show it from the other side:
Here you also see the “Viererspitze” with a height of 2052m (that Karwendelspitze is some 2244m or so).
That was the last photo I took on our journey; later the same evening I first had a nice and interesting talk, and when everyone was gone to bed and I was out for a smoke, I saw an unbelievably clear and starry sky – but I had the tripod back in the car trunk already, and didn’t want to make noise anymore. Plus even my widest (28mm-e) lens wouldn’t have been wide enough to share that experience, and I wished for Olympus’ 9-18mm or even 7-14mm lenses, the latter one being much too expensive to be a real option for those rare moments where you’d really need it – I’m not a pro photographer after all.
Friday – heading home
Not much to report here; we’ve had another one of those great breakfast buffets, and then we checked out and went home in a bit less than 6 hours. Later the same evening I reviewed my photos, tried the two composites I made, and the panorama shot, developed everything else I found interesting enough with the Olympus Viewer 2 and RawTherapee software packages on Windows and Linux, and uploaded the photos you saw here to Flickr. I even started to write this article, but only finished it now, on Saturday at around noon (plus one hour summer time “correction”).
Thanks for viewing and reading.