Limitations and Possibilities

June. Preferred month for pre-season travelling. Between “Pfingstferien” and crowded July. But this year: too soon, too close.

Hard enough that the general camping lust has increased significantly, exceeding the number of available campsites and places. Annoying enough that you need to reserve and plan, disrupting spontaneity. Irritating enough to calculate the minimum number of FFP2 face masks needed for a 2-weeks-beach holiday, counting in the impact of sunscreen leftovers when wearing it during sunbaths.

Following the Covid rules in France, the development in Germany and the worldwide situation, I have decided to let loose. Finding a niche for a package holiday, best without ever leaving the hotel area, is so not my style. The same is true for standard cruises, holiday apartments and Mallorca. Almost two years have passed by since my last travel, and yet I refuse to step in the pile of standard tourists. Instead, I will benefit from the Alpine playground beyond my door step.

Hiking, lately: Alps around Eschenlohe

With friends, mountains and an almost infinite range of hiking possibilities, I will dive deep into the sensation of outdoor effort. What is it that triggers endorphins from exhaustion? The thrill of “how far will I get”? Steadily aiming for new summits, new peak crosses and new outlooks? The hours of fellowship with hiking buddies, the pride after intense tours?

Probably, all of it. And even more.

Feels good to be here – Rewarding Views and Good Company along the Way

Consequences are, that this so-called travel-blog will continue with outdoor actions that might or might not be perfect for travels, for holidays or for the sheer fun of it. Fantastic trips across Europe (or even more exotic) are not yet to be expectable.

So, here is the first exercise hike of the year. Apart from 2x Hirschhörnlkopf, that is, but still. A relaxed walk towards Osterfeuerkopf / Osterfeuerberg is just right for meeting a friend I have not seen in months – and the 350m altitude difference may mark the kick-off for more serious training.

What You See is What You Get

Instead

Taxi??

While others sneak into holidays at randomly possible destinations, I continue with mountain tours as a remedy against deeper frustration. Instead of first camping escapes or real travels, the incredible winter enables the 10th ski tour of the season.

Conditions are almost perfect, given the fact that we face the second half of April and no artificial snow has been spread over the slopes. The lower part of about 50-100m comes with more brown than white, but the higher the ascent, the more fairy is the trail.

Despite my overwhelming fitness, it takes – once more – about an hour until I reach the Kolbenhütte. Still, I am happy to celebrate the tour with a sip of tea before I rip off the skins from my skis, turn the ski binding a 180° and enjoy the downhill slide.

#skitour Ski Tour
End of April, wonderful Snow

While spring is right around the corner and will be followed by summer, the holiday / travel question will become of more and more importance. But that is another story for another day…

An Almost Perfect Winter’s Day

Fresh Snow

The air is full of snow and the same is true for the streets, the hills and the icy seats of the gondolas. With the latter being locked down anyway, the fresh snow is nothing less than fantastic.

Another Sudelfeld Ski Tour

Today’s conditions come along with the perfect ski buddy and the trail from Grafenherberg to Sudelfeldkopf. The weather enfolds sort of charming in the lower part. It gets more interesting in the white-out, when leaving the trees behind. By the time we reach the Sudelfeldkopf, the panorama is a monochrome one.

Today’s View at Sudelfeldkopf

Due to -10°C and breezy snowflakes, we seek shelter at the gondola station. These days, no lift guard complains when tourists pose in the middle of it’s concrete walls.

Insights rather than Outlooks

The descent is a dream of powder: fluffy snow up to our knees turns into pure joy. At least the joy kicks in once we have found out which direction is down. At first, it is hard to distinguish between the cloud and the snow. Cautously, we fumble down until we make it to an alternative ski trail and orient by means of voices and traces. As soon as we reach the timber line, we are back on track and enjoy the zig-zag through the deep white powder.

Better View in the lower Parts

And then… Then the evening approaches and I find myself facing snow from all sides again. Star of the night is the sled I have found in the back of my basement. I pick up one of my sporty neighbours and, soon enough, we head for the mountains. Fading daylight and intensified snowfall make us stumble into a picture postcard scenery.

Step by step, we make our way through the continuous snow as we try to ignore the exaggerated romantic athmosphere.

Later, during a Night-Out…

Forty-five minutes later, we come to a halt at the gate of “Obere Firstalm”. Meanwhile, the night has settled in and we discuss the best technique for the next section of our excursion. Face the dark night in the forest and go down slowly, always prepared to stop when others come along? Or put on a “Hirnbirn” (headlamp), sending a clear signal to upcoming strollers, such as “Get out of the way, this is us in full speed!”? Of course, this is nothing we need to discuss thoroughly…

Oprion A: Get down slowly, just hazy silhouettes in the night…
Option B: Get down in the most Dynamic Way, Assuming Others will jump away for their own Sake

Finally, the downhill slide is great! We keep our paste as high as possible, only stopping two times when colliding with a drift of snow. Lucky us (or: them), hardly anyone is out here late at night, so the conclusion of the day is a simple bottom line. Playing in the snow is so much fun!!

Skateboard Yoga Double Tree Pose

Hector is sincerely annoyed and yearns for overnight-escapes, holidays and a sabbatical. The bucket list “back to real life” grows week by week, while on the other hand I am rewarded with unexpected spare time. The no-concert, no-theatre, no-bar, no-restaurant, no-climbing, no-pool and no-party block is only half-way eaten up by work, cooking and ski tours.

Consequently, there is room for new sport disciplines. Like cycling-TRX-muscle-wine-tasting or interval-jogging or: skate-yoga.

Skateyoga #skateyoga skateboard yoga

All you need is a private yoga class, a skateboard and a neighbour. Step 1 = leave the yoga mat behind and hop on your skateboard. Step 2 = try out any balance posture you can think of.

#skateyoga skateboard yoga tree
Today’s Pose: The Tree

The next level is: get the entire yoga class on the board. What sounds difficult at first is easy enough in lockdown, due to the reduced number of participants around.

skateyoga
Get up!

From here on, it is all laughter, wiggling, wobbling, more laughter and the re-sorting of components.

Two persons on a shaky board seem like a Mexican wave performed by a bulk of centipedes. Still, minute by minute, we align better and gain stability, thanks to fantastic inner core muscles. It might as well be beginner’s luck, but who am I to judge?

skateyoga skateboard yoga tree
Getting there

After a full second that feels like nothing less than a minute, we call it a patent-worth invention and finally give in to gravity. Before we open up our own skateboard-yoga-strength temple, we will try out further fusion sports, such as slackline-dancing, bike-climbing or dumbbell-swimming.

#skateyoga skate yoga skateyoga skateboard tree pose
skateyoga pros

Caretaking, Outsourced

Winter time is ideal for some caretaking, seeking endless youth for brave little Hector. On the other hand, winter comes with frosty temperatures, leading to: nothing. I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn. So much for my detailed time schedule.

Fortunately, I face the cold season this year with a 50m power cable and a climbing rope. The one leads to the other and leads it down from my balcony, bringing my socket closer to my van. After a night with best green electricity, Hector is fully charged and ready to go.

Up for a health check

The full speed on the highway tells me something about Hector’s yearning for travels. Or about tailwind. Hence, it does not take long until my van is properly parked at the region’s best Fiat garage, while I dream about heated grips on my folded bicycle along the way to the train station.

Waiting

If not for the accurate departure of the S-Bahn that I missed, I would have been back within less than an hour. Still, I am pleased, knowing that Hector gets better maintenance at the Fiat workshop than I could warrant with my own hands. All hoping for travels in 2021!

Hiking the Alps: Overview

AllgäuAuerberg2017very harmless
Ammergauer AlpenGeierköpfe2020challenging
Ammergauer AlpenHennenkopf2017challenging
Ammergauer AlpenKofel2021challenging
Ammergauer AlpenKolbensattel2021harmless
Ammergauer AlpenScheinbergspitze2020mostly harmless
AppenzellSäntis2014challenging
Bayr. VoralpenBrünnstein2020challenging
Bayr. VoralpenHeimgarten & Herzogstand2017mostly harmless
Bayr. VoralpenHirschhörnlkopf2021harmless
Bayr. VoralpenRabenkopf2020harmless
Bayr. VoralpenSudelfeld/Vogelsang Skitour2021harmless
Bayr. VoralpenWendelstein2020harmless
Bayr. VoralpenWildalpjoch2020mostly harmless
ChiemgauFeichteck & Karkopf2020harmless
ChiemgauGedererwand2020challenging
ChiemgauGeigelstein2020mostly harmless
ChiemgauHeuberg2020harmless
ChiemgauHochplatte2019harmless
ChiemgauHochries2018harmless
ChiemgauHochstaufen2019mostly harmless
ChiemgauKampenwand2017mostly harmless
ChiemgauKarspitze2020harmless
ChiemgauKranzhorn2020harmless
ChiemgauSchwarzenberg2020harmless
ChiemgauSpitzstein2017harmless
DolomitenDrei Zinnen2017harmless
KarwendelMahnkopf2017harmless
KarwendelTorkopf via Torscharte2020almost challenging
MangfallgebirgeSchinder2017challenging
MangfallgebirgeSeebergkopf2017harmless
Reit im WinklHausbachfall Via Ferrata2019challenging
Schlern, RosengartenHofer Alpl2019harmless
Schweizer NationalparkVal Cluozza2015harmless
SpitzingseeRosskopf2020mostly harmless
SpitzingseeRotwand2017harmless
SpitzingseeBodenschneid & Rinnerspitz2017harmless
TegernseeHirschberg2020harmless
ZugspitzregionAlpspitze Via Ferrata2019challenging
ZugspitzregionHöllentalklamm2016harmless
ZugspitzregionHausberg/Kreuzeck Skitour2021mostly harmless
ZugspitzregionRiffelspitze2017challenging
ZugspitzregionWank2016harmless

The How-To: Camping, Vanlife and prepared Spontaneity

All those camping-rookies driven by Covid-19-isolation: amateurs! The crew = Hector & me, we have experienced years and years of recalcitrant bugs, overcrowded high season places, anonymous “get away!”-notes – but more than anything, we experienced the big freedom despite all.

Freedom, after all

The planning necessity is season-driven: Camping during school holidays = no big planning required, just hold on to the one and only reservation you have got. Once there, try not to move, you will only stumble over other tourists’ feet wherever you turn to. Using off-season months is different and rewards you with joyful preparation long before departure.

Preparation Pile

Best practice is a prepared tour-map: pre-collected options, filed in a cardboard folder, including GPS coordinates, hints and phone numbers. It minimizes the time spent starring on my cell-phone display and enables more hours on top of a surfboard, at the beach or with a glass of wine in my hand. The trick is to remain flexible enough to skip some/many/all plans and follow the sun or other campers’ recommendations.

The Tour-Map

My general preparation guidance is:

  • Get a book about the target region. Computer research is a good add-on, yet a book on the couch feels less like work and more like a holiday hobby. Deciding upon the region may be accompanied by some books like “Let’s Camp” (fort & glücklich, available for Germany and for Europe), presenting wonderful spots, accompanied by campsite information. Another favourite choice – especially across Southern Europe – is any travel book published by Michael Müller (culture, places, food and even camping, all covered). Start reading = start yearning.
  • Get a rough road map (often included in travel guides), collect probable destinations, sketch possible routes. I intend to move rather than stay in one place, yet I want to do sporty action, see interesting things and taste delicacies along my way. Throughout the years, Hector and me have developed a fine travel rhythm with stages of 200 – 400 km per day.
  • Spread ideas and expected highlights among friends. Most of Hector’s dream destinations allure others to come along, and thanks to my 2-bedroom-interior, they are very welcome.
  • Adjust timing, participants and action: check for festivals along the way and find the perfect match of expected weather, low season and friends to meet during the tour.

Once done, allow yourself to look forward to it. Find a remedy for this f**ing Covid-19 stuff and do not wait too long before you fulfill your travel dreams.

FOMO and how to get out

FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out

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.

Back in 2019

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.

Das Blaue Land

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.

July, maybe?

Hector is ready to roll and impatiently awaits the next departure – more to come in a few days only!

Insulted Hector

(English version below)

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!

Expected Outlook

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!

B-Sides: No. 20

20200420b

München and the development of the Werksviertel: Once it was a factory area, then full of clubs and bars and all kinds of nightlife places, now it turns into a new high class quarter. I used to love dancing here, surrounded by subculture events, container café and interim-usage, while now it becomes very established for a more distinguished public. Still, traces of mixed-up times remain, leading to two more pictures as of April 20.

20200420b5

Standing Still: Big Wheel of Fortune