The doors of the Wendelstein Seilbahn creak open, revealing an empty cabin. I drag my beloved wife, protestingly into the cabin, not because she doesn't want to go to the top, but not always likes the means of transportation. Besides hiking and climbing up this majestic mountain, the two modes of transport up are the Seilbahn (cable car), which is on the Bayrischzell Osterhofen (southern) side, or the Zahnradbahn (cogwheel rail) on the Brannenburg (northern) side of the mountain.
As we have opted for the Seilbahn, the cabin doors eventually close; the ascension adventure begins ...
Germany is experiencing a unusually cold and wet spring. Its already the end of May (2013) and rumour has it that there's still a bit of snow at Wendelstein's summit. The striking mountain is 1838 m high! There is low cloud around and as the car breaks through it, we are greeted by .... snow! And quite a bit of it! In fact, a mini snow storm!
The temperature is right down to Zero, below it actually. We decide to enjoy some good Bavarian cuisine at the inviting panorama restaurant, at an altitude of 1 724 metres. Bring on the Gluhwein, bitte!
After a hearty Bavarian meal, Wendy and I venture outside into the snow, like kids experiencing snow for the very first time! There are some great lookout vantage points (Gacher Blick") and, on a clear day, I'm sure that the views are stunning. We only saw snow!
Not too far off from the top station terrace, the quaint little Wendelstein church (1890) crowns the "Schwaigerwand". Well worth a peek inside, even if it is just to get out of the snow storm for a while and re-charge!
From the church, there are steps leading down to a walkway, passing the top station of the "Wendelstein" rack railway, to the entrance of .... the Wendelsteinhöhle! (caves!). Widely regarded as Germany's top show cave, one is mystically transported, 300 m into the mountains's belly. An awesome experience! There are numerous infopoints explaining the geology, biology and the psychological and philosophical point of view of the caves. Make sure you have a couple of loose Euros as there is an entrance fee of €2, through an automatic turnstile. Quite a long walk back to get some change, especially when its snowing!
There are many more attractions at the top of this grand mountain, such as the observatory, miles of hiking paths and the Gipfel (summit) at 1838m. Unfortunately, coming from a hot South Africa and lacking sufficient thermal clothing, jackets, hiking shoes and a trusty St Bernard, we decided not to risk missing out on more fabulous Bavarian cuisine.
Whether winter, summer, autumn or sping, I believe that the Wendelstein mountain is a must- visit! Even if one has to travel for an hour or two to get there, it is well worth spending a day in the presence of this majestic lady of mountain peaks!
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