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Seefeld, Austria near Munich

Updated on July 15, 2011

Hiking in the Alps

Living a short hour’s drive from the Alps does have its advantages. While my husband and I were sipping our morning coffee on the balcony, we decided to take advantage of the last of the warm days and go hiking.

We took our time getting ready (our little boy, Marc, was still recovering from last night’s dinner party that had kept him awake long after his normal bedtime). At around nine o’clock, Marc reared his sleepy head and stumbled on to my lap to enjoy his “good morning cuddle.”

Now, nine o’clock may not seem like a late start to you (it certainly never was to me – until I met my husband, that is!) but Matthias, was born and breed in the green valleys of Germany and instilled with the idea that anything worth doing must be started before six a.m.

Seefeld, Austria
Seefeld, Austria

So, after quickly feeding Marc his breakfast we were on the road and headed south towards Tirol, an absolutely stunning region nestled between Austria and Italy in the Tyrolean Alps. As we drove through Garmisch, (which is the epicenter of Germany’s highest mountain peak called Zug Spitze) we saw a sign for a summer rod´l bahn, (which is something like a toboggan but it runs on a track instead of snow), and impulsively decided to take a short detour. Needless, to say, Marc thought this was a terrific idea and hopped from one foot to the other with excitement while we bought our tickets.

The scariest part was riding the track UP the hill (very much like sitting in a roller coaster car and being pulled up to the top of the first crest). The toboggan itself sits right on the ground and is pulled up at an almost 80 degree angle - at least that's what it felt like to me. The entire time, I had the feeling that I would tip backwards and go tumbling down the hill like poor Jill. But, I kept up a brave front (you have to with my two guys!).

Of course, as with most things, it’s always much scarier in your head than it is in reality and in a whoosh we were down the hill and standing in line again for another go. In the time it took me to finish my diet coke Marc and Matthias had already raced down the hill another three times and it was time to get back on the road.

We arrived in Seefeld around noon and our stomachs were rumbling. At the base of the mountain we planned to hike was a typical hütte. Basically, a very rustic lodge or cabin with equally rustic fare. We sat down at the huge, hand carved picnic tables and waited for our lunch to arrive. I enjoyed a smoked ham and mountain cheese plate with black bread while Matthias ate geröst´l - Fried potatoes with bits of pork and a scrambled egg on top. Marc flittered back and forth between our plates and washed it all down with a huge glass of fresh milk.

After being properly fortified it was time to begin our hike. Marc and I were in luck. Because we started out so late in the day, Matthias choose a more “gentle” path up the mountain. (Normally, I feel like I should have strapped on a pair a spikes and a restraining halter.) It only took us an hour to make it up to the mountain’s highest point where we had a glorious view of the picture perfect town below.

On our way down we came across a field of blueberries and Marc ate so many his lips turned purple. Matthias and I spent most of our time searching for the ever elusive porcini mushroom (to no avail… sigh).

Marc is absolutely fascinated with rocks, (yup, just plain old rocks), and by the time we were half way down the mountain he had filled his shirt like a peasant woman’s market basket. He held up one that had an interesting pattern and asked me what he could buy with it. I laughed, and said he could buy anything on the mountain that he could pick up and carry. Well, it wasn’t long before Marc spotted what he wanted. A huge granite stone that had been broken in half and where it was broken it glittered like a thousand blinking stars. That thing easily weighed 10 pounds (which is one quarter of Marc´s body weight) but he dutifully laid his “money stone” next to the coveted rock and picked up his prize.

At first we tried to discourage him but he was determined to have it. “I paid for it,” he said. “It’s mine.” As he stumbled and staggered under its ever increasing weight we had to marvel at his resolve. He did eventually put it in his backpack but you should have seen the glares we got from people passing us. They probably thought we were making our little boy carry our water for us or something. Marc carried that stone almost all the way down to our car without complaint. I only helped him the last kilometer or so. It now sits in his room as a small monument to his determination (where it will eventually get buried under a mountain of toys).

As wonderful as hiking in the Alps is for body and soul, the real motive behind the excursion was to have dinner at Kracherle Moos, a restaurant in the town of Seefeld. The chef, Balthasar Thaler, has received well deserved international acclaim for his cooking. The restaurant itself is very cozy and small. I don’t think they had room for more than 40 guests. It’s typically decorated with rustic wood tables and chairs, wood paneling and hand painted pictures of the surrounding country side.

Matthias and I both ordered appetizers and split them so we could taste as much as possible. Between the two of us we had a marinated mushroom salad served with thinly sliced smoked mountain ham and cold marinated beef served with salad and roast potatoes. Marc had a mouth-watering kaiserschmarm, which is something like a cross between a pancake and French toast served with preiselberren compote (which is similar to cranberry sauce).

For the main course, I had one of the most scrumptious roast duck plates ever! (And I love roast duck, so I eat it a lot.) It was served au jus with greens, sweet red kraut and hand made noodles that were so thick they were more like long gnocchi. Matthias had Gescnitzeledes, which was sliced veal served in a wild mushroom cream sauce with fresh made hash browns on the side. Yum! A local wine from the vineyard “Toppf” made everything go down a little easier.

Desert was vanilla ice cream with pumpkin seed oil. Sounds disgusting but it’s actually delicious. The oil is as black as chocolate and, mixed with the ice cream, has a similar taste only naturally nuttier.

All in all, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we booked a room for next weekend so we can do it all again.

To the good life!

Article by Anne Alexander Sieder


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    • Jeff May profile image

      Jeffrey Penn May 

      7 years ago from St. Louis

      Sounds great. Would love hiking and climbing in the Alps.

    • edelhaus profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Munich, Germany

      Thank you- and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this marvelous article. I enjoyed taking the journey with you. Beautifully written!


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