Solo Traveling through Austria, the Bavarian Alps, and Berchtesgaden. Day 8


  • I woke up early on this day as there were a few adventures on my list that I wanted to experience. I grabbed some delicious Bavarian breakfast at the hotel, and headed to the bus stop. It was cold and raining this morning, so I brought my rain jacket and umbrella. As I stood at the bus stop taking in the fresh air, I could see fresh snow that had capped all of the tops of the mountains around me. It was truly a beautiful sight. I hopped on the bus when it arrived and then took another when that one stopped, and eventually ended up at Königssee Lake. I went in search of another bus that would take me to the Eagles Nest, which was Hitler’s vacation home at the top of the alps. Unfortunately, I ran into a number of paper signs that said that the Eagles Nest would be closed for the rest of the year due to the snowfall from last night. If only I had made it the previous day! Oh well, onto the next adventure.

  • Headed to the docks at Königssee Lake, I passed through a number of restaurants and adventure clothing stores. When I arrived at the docks, I paid to take a small boat to the other side of the lake. I packed into the boat with about 30 others and headed off. We had some friendly college aged captains leading the way and gave a great deal of information all about the lake, the mountains, etc., however, it was completely in German. From the boat shaking laughter that followed every pause in the captain’s stories, I could tell that that they were sharing some interesting information, and also that I was the only non-German in the boat. There was one part that I did very much enjoy, where the boat stopped in the middle of the lake and one of the boys played a bugle. The bugle echoed from mountaintop to mountaintop, and you could hear the songs repeated without end! It was amazing and I had never heard anything like it! The boat ride was long, and I was anxious to get off of the small and overcrowded sardine can, but I was also seeing some of the most breathtaking scenery of my life.

  • When the boat finally reached the destination of the other end of Königssee Lake, I excitedly jumped off and headed down the pier to escape the small crowd. I scanned a poster that probably indicated when the boat would be back, but after not comprehending the German words for a few minutes, I decided that I would worry about it later. I was ready to go exploring. As I turned around and took a few steps, I was hit right in the chest with the reality of everything around me! Looking at a crystal clear lake, surrounded by the enormous snow capped Bavarian Alps, with grass as green as you have ever seen, and air as fresh as I have ever experienced… again, there are just no words to describe it. While I had been so ready to put my feet on the ground and start trekking, I was now frozen in time, and had lost any sense reality. I was in a dream, and all that I could do is watch the frost expelling from my breath and stare at this amazing world.

  • How long I stood there, I have no clue; But when I did return to reality, I started hiking along one of the paths in front of me. I honestly wish that I could explain this experience better, but cannot. All that I can say is that with every step, I saw and experienced more wonder than I imagined possible. I have never been anywhere that was so close heaven in my life. I did not hike quickly, as I wanted to experience everything. After a half mile, I was still in shock that a place like this could exist. I stopped, turned around, and as I was thinking that this place couldn’t be more astonishing, a rainbow appeared. I know; this has to be something out of the Narnia books or maybe even a Disney movie, but no; this was very real:

  • Continuing forward, I watched as the scenery and ecosystem changed. In almost a few steps, the area went from lakes and mountains, to bright green valleys, to hardwood forests. The rain was slowing down, and the sun began to shine.

  • As I broke through the forest, I was hit with another shocking sight: Obersee Lake. This small lake is the epitome of transcendence. The lake was so clear that you could see the bottom of the water and the reflection of the Alps in one glance. It was like a giant blue-green mirror had been perfectly placed on top of the stretch between 2 small lake shacks.The snow capped mountains peered over the waters and watched as me and a few others silently fell in and out of thoughts and haze. This is what heaven looks like. The only way to cope with what I was experiencing was to make failed attempts to capture as much of the moment as possible by taking pictures with my phone. There are some amazing pictures, but again, they are nothing compared to the feeling that was a much larger effect and bled over into my other senses.

After losing myself for over an hour, I decided that I should continue. I picked a trail that shadowed the edge of the lake, and started moving. The trees loomed large over the challenging path and I was able to use them for hand-holds as I jumped from ledge to ledge. The path led me to yet another steep staircase along the mountain, and I trekked it carefully while escaping some of the rain. From the start of the lake, I could see a building on the other side, and I was now able to get a better look from above. It was a farm, and I could hear the cow bells clanging from around their necks, echoing in the mountain tops. After the long and steep set of stairs, it finally reached its peak, and traveled back downward. By the time that I reached the foothills of the mountain, I was only a short hike to the valley in which the farm awaited.

  • Step by careful step, I made my way through. I eventually broke through the trees and saw the beautiful farm from a closer view. I passed by a number of friendly cows, clearly as pleased as myself, and I tried to determine whether or not I should approach this residence. As I came closer, I could see a few other trekkers sitting on an outdoor table, which let me know that I would not be shot on sight. Long overdue for a rest, I saw a handwritten sign that indicated fresh milk was available, and the women of the house came out to greet me. I accepted the milk and gave them some euros out of appreciation. I then lost myself again in this incredible world.

  • I have already spent too much time explaining how I arrived where I was at that point, so I will skip the adventure back. Upon my return to the Königssee Lake docks, I had sat in a beer garden overlooking the lake and had some delicious spaetzle and a half-litre of Hofbrau helles. Afterwards, I scanned the shops, I took a bus back to downtown Berchtesgaden where I continued walking and beer garden hoping. Due to the rain, most of the beer gardens required me to sit inside, but the rain had stopped and a few had already dried off their seats. One in particular was my favorite: I sat at a large wooden table with what I imagine was a sheep’s coat thrown over the bench. The sheep’s wool was very warm in the cool outdoor air, and I enjoyed the friendly conversation from the waiter, a delicious half-litre of dunkle, and an amazing view of the Alps.

I had to catch a 6am train to Munich the next day, and I was determined not to miss the last bus back to Bischopscweden after last night’s experience, so I headed back to the hotel around 7pm. I had a good night’s sleep, and woke up to another crazy adventure: walking through the rain, pitch black at 5:30am, hopping the fence of the empty train station, and getting on the train which I prayed very strongly was headed to Munich (it was), but ended up arriving at the hotel and meeting up with my group with 15 mins to spare. The next week was spent traveling with new friends and old, learning all about Bavarian beer and seeing some historic and amazing places. It was the perfect second half to the solo adventures that I had spent in search of new experiences, especially because everything was taken care of for me, and I could sit back and enjoy the ride. This was undoubtedly an experience that I will never forget.