It does not take much in the sense of quantity to have a good time. But it takes high-quality friends!
My dear camping + hiking + action + good-time friend Barbara offers to take my hiking equipment in her backpack, leaving my (still injured) shoulders weightless. Of course, I strip the necessities of the tour down to an absolute minimum: water, sunscreen, lip balm, Brotzeit, a light jacket, an egg, salt (for the boiled egg), a short-sleeve shirt. Nothing fancy.
With all my former muscles being left behind some months ago, we aim for a relaxed tour: 600 m altitude, 9km (easy to extend with just one or two wrong turns) and a decent number of mountain pastures. Adding perfect weather and a peak with a picturesque cross, and here we go.
The smart part of today’s team (that would be Barbara) doubted that via ferrata or “interesting mountain challenges” of any kind would be the right thing as long as my movements count as slightly handicapped. Hence, we focus on nice paths with a bit of exposed rock around the ridge – just perfect for my longing for real mountain experience.
The friendly hikers we meet along the way comfirm implicitly that the old magnetism-rules are back in place. The good mood we carry with us is tells me something about sporty outdoor action and how much I had missed it.
Looking forward to further hikes during the summer of the strangest year! And who knows? Perhaps I will be able to carry my own backpack next time…
Good Karma is back! After some back and forth, misleading advice from the Staffelsee campsite and running against torrents of tourists, Hector jumps in the very last free spot between lake and Alps. Camping Riegsee turns out to be the most charming one: ripened sanitary rooms with the right focus (clean and proper rather than chic), friendly staff and relaxed guests. Any camper crossing by is smiling a hello to Hector and me while I sit around and inhale the view towards the mountains, Zugspitze included.
I invest 18,-€ and get lake view + electricity in return, added by a well-tempered lake and a 6 km bike tour when going to meet friends for barbecue. On my way, I spend further 2,60 € on delicious calories hidden in some ice cream at Murnau (both, the ice cream and the town are a clear recommendation to tourists and inhabitants!). As the evening drops in, I am back to normal, finally fixing my disrupted world view.
There is nothing better than combining holidays and friends, and as the evening settles, the barbecue conversation drifts towards the craziness of 2020 and all the Covid-19 impacts. Coming along with different points of view, I slightly change my perspective. Just a bit of a nudge towards an unknown angle is all it takes to get me back on track of positivism. Leaving political edicts behind that may either erect or break borders and limitations, I rather focus on freedom as a mindset and all the possibilities that start in our heads long before they result in exterior action. The elements of the shifted prospect are about skaling fundamental values, harmonizing well with the last sips we get out of the wine bottle – however, a more detailed excursus would only distract from campsite pictures, so let’s get back to being here and now on a holiday mission.
With all the favourable spirit, I am rewarded with a splendid sundown when cycling back to Hector. The night is a short one, as I go to bed only after the fading light has turned into black night entirely. And, of course, I get up early enough to catch the last pink rays of sunlight around 5:30 am, spotting fresh glistening snow on the distant peak of the Zugspitze.
There is time for tea, breakfast, coffee and a swim in the lake before my micro holiday comes to its end. The tourist torrents take over for the next two months, leaving no place for spontaneous trips – or so it seems… Guess Hector and me have found our summer challenge, checking out alternative spots in the upcoming weeks.
On my way out of the water and onto new destinations, ideas and action! And who knows: perhaps I even learn to do better selfies…
I used to think that FOMO is an absurd tendency of people not possessing inner strength nor will. Now, with all others out there hiking or travelling (while I continuously witness the slow healing progress of my shoulder), I totally understand FOMO and the cruelty of Instagram. These days, I can hardly remember my last hike, let alone via ferrata or climbing excursion.
The other side of the medal is the enormous appreciation of the smallest escapes as an outstanding event. A day off, good weather and the last off-season-week ahead? All I have to do is switch on Hector’s “baggage magnetism” (proved throughout the years) and get my stuff onboarded. Instantly, I am looking forward to a lake-escape and perhaps a bit of outdoor movement.
Lucky me that I got friends living in a picturesque village close to a mountain lake, only a stone’s throw away from a peninsula-campsite. Surrounded by water (and resident campers??), I count on a relaxed day with holiday feeling plus the event of meeting friends. Then, perhaps during July, further destinations might come in sight, taking “my Hector is my Castle” in the most literal way.
Hector is ready to roll and impatiently awaits the next departure – more to come in a few days only!
Bei Regen fällt es leichter. Das Arbeiten-statt-Reisen, genauso wie das Statische anstelle der Bewegung. Auch Hector guckt bei Regen weniger trotzig, eher resigniert. Weder meinen Bus noch mich täuscht der Sommerregen darüber hinweg, dass wir mehr unternehmen sollten, aber in diesem Jahr ist bekanntlich alles anders, nicht zuletzt meine sportliche Beweglichkeit. Anders ausgedrückt: Für meine Sport-Einzel-Verletzungen hätte ich mir kein besseres Jahr aussuchen können, soviel ist sicher. Fast genauso sicher ist jedoch die Erkenntnis, dass meine Work-Life-Balance wie eine wild gewordene Schaukel hin und her schwingt …
Mit dem Universum bin ich übereingekommen, dass 2020 nicht auf das biologische Alter angerechnet wird. Es zählt einfach nicht, genauso wenig wie es als Reisejahr ernst zu nehmen ist. Natürlich hoffe ich trotz allem, dass ein paar hübsche Alltagsfluchten möglich sein werden: unter der Woche in Richtung Berge, letzte freie Stellplätze an Sommer-Wochenenden (trotz Overtourism) und spontane Planung, so in etwa stelle ich mir das vor.
Hector stellt sich vor, dass er noch oft der Held der Nächte sein darf mit all seinen Luxus-Features. Ein eigenes Bad (auch wenn die Raumaufteilung nur in Kubik-Zentimetern gemessen werden kann), zwei Zimmer / Küche / Frühstücksraum sowie Lounge und Terrasse. All das sollte einladend genug sein für Übernachtungsplätze die so karg sind, dass sie von WoMo-Parzellen-Campern verschmäht werden.
Spätestens ab Herbst wird es dann spannend in Sachen 2021! Wie viel Zeit / Geld und Freiheit sind möglich, wie viel davon ausreichend wahrscheinlich? Ziehe ich die alten Pläne aus der Schublade oder schaffe ich nur gestückelte Touren (2020 gehäckselt, sozusagen)? Und wird Hector dann genauso fröhlich mitsingen wie die letzten Jahre – bevor wir unsere Reise-Unschuld verloren haben?
Ich hoffe (und glaube) das Beste!
Hector is insulted. While he aims for coincidental discoveries during our travels, I am back in working routine. Even the overtoursim-argument does not calm him down, he just stamps his front tyre in frustration. Guess I will need to think of micro-holiday escapes in order to balance work load vs. lightness and appease my wonderful van.
Meanwhile, I might have missed calm days during early June and most campsites are fully booked until end of September. Camping is the new holiday paradise for quite a few people these days, and I am not the kind that reserves months ago or stays for two weeks in one spot. Consequently, I will continue the tendency to look for simple overnight possibilities: Official camper parking spots, restaurant front yards and whatever else is out there.
Once more, I appreciate the choice of a camper van with integrated bath room. Even though it is tiny and can only be measured in cubic centimetres. I have water (heated – if required), I have a toilet and even the fridge works on gas (instead of electricity) when convinced by loud cursing or slight caresses on its front.
As of now, I find it hard to plan. Planning had been a kick in the ass lately. Yet, vague ideas in the back of my mind and a smile returning onto Hector’s front lights are counted as good achievements for today. Sure enough, more is up to come and new adventures may wait for us during summer!
Even when your inner self is balanced as hell, you might appreciate an external impulse to get things going.
Creeping slowly out of my frustration hole about the disabled Grand Trip 2020, I suddenly hold a travel book in my hands: “Let’s Camp”, published by “fort & glücklich” – already the cover causes a little smile on my face. Flipping through the book, my travel lust gets more and more activated. First consequence is the decision to either work (find a job, earn money for serious travels in 2021 or later) or to use June for spontaneous trips across Germany. While in fact I hope for the money, a hidden part of me might like the latter.
The second consequence is that, almost unconsciously, I start packing up Hector. Bed and blankets, towels and fresh water, coffee, tea and wine. These days (mid May), you hardly find any reliable information about Bavarian camping possibilities. The only thing sure: campsites are closed. But what about official overnight-parkings and other alternatives?
I decide to try it out. Hector, of course, is eager to get out and play. On Wednesday (my favourite holiday-weekday), we head off and an hour later find our spot for the night: The camper parking at Sylvenstein Stausee is open for campers! A nice mixture of vans, RVs, cars with roof-tents and any other possible overnight shelter is dispersed under high trees. The lake shore is a 4-minutes-walk away from Hector’s spot and the sun keeps smiling from an almost cloudless sky.
I keep it low and lazy, enjoying the view across the lake towards the Alps while reading a book and munching peanut flips. This typical holiday feeling motivates me to unpack my folded bike and look for even more touristic pictures around the dam wall.
Lucky me that I can finally test my new bike storage. I will need to coat the inner carton walls with some smooth material, aiming to ease the packing + unpacking of my bike. All the rest is just perfect: the compartment within the van, the bike itself and the adoring comments from other campers. Funny that most travellers make such an effort with bike carriers behind their vans when it is so easy to change perspective, chose another kind of bike and just fold it wherever your car offers some cubic centimetres of space.
The evening develops quite pleasant as I sit together with a young couple from Osnabrück and two other single campers. We share wine and beer, chats and experiences. Oh, I really missed the normal life with random encounters and travel stories!
The finale of my sunrise series happens in the most comfortable way: The last spot I have chosen is the Eastern part of my appartment. I witness the change of colours in the sky for a full hour before I manage to catch the exact moment when the sun crosses the horizontal axis. I try to ignore the itching thought of ideal spring weather at my planned destinations (eg Bretagne) and focus on what I have instead. I have had 30 days in a row, all with perfect conditions for early morning runs and a maximum variety of sunups.
Ha! Exactly 1 month ago I froze the yearning for travel, for vanlife and freedom in a picture. And as of May 28, I have just come back from a short trip with great little Hector – but that is another short-story for another day.
Once upon a time (> 25 years ago), the former airport was closed and a park has been established. With neatly arranged rows of trees, paths that seem to continue endlessly on straight lines and an artificial lake. The Riemer Park never got rid of its very special ambiance – here is how it looked like on April 25, 2020.