With the encounter with the Peissenberg, we had managed to get to the foothills of the Alps, but yet, did not reach the mountains themselves. This was the subject of our next trail, where again no man-made monuments but the landscape itself were the topic with the valley of the Ammer river as the overall subject culminating in the arrival at our first mountain of the Alps.
Update: Corrected some minor flaws
With the Peissenberg, we had approached the foothills of the Alps, the very obstacle that lies in between Munich and Venice, the heart of everything that constitutes our trail, our fear and deepest desire, the real quest and ultimate challenge to take, fascinating and dreadful, with its high icy peaks, often covered in mist and rough ridges, their steep walls of rock and cold stone, and the unfriendly and yet lovely harshness, unveiling impressive views downwards and onto the surface of our very homeland and the grounds awaiting, extending ostensibly endlessly into the distant horizons, and thereby providing the feeling of unlimited freedom. On the Peissenberg hill, you could see them in their whole glory and beauty, make out the faintest details, felt like being able to touch them with ones very hands. But yet, the hill is separated by the foothills from them. This tour had been dedicated to lead our band through these foothills to enable us to climb our first mountain the next time we would meet.
|Image: Departing from the Peissenberg|
Starting off from were our last tour ended, in Peissenberg, with the warm sun above our heads we marched out of the village and strolled along the open ground surrounding Peissenberg. Slowly approaching the valley of the Ammer river, eventually trees surrounded us, and as those formed a forrest the road became a trail and ultimately a dirt track, but a pleasure to hike it as the gargling noises the Ammer greeted us with became louder. Onto a country road we soon arrived at the greenish blue waters of the river itself and spotted a bridge connecting the banks.
|Image: Bridge spanning across the Ammer river within the Ammer valley|
However, we werent bound to cross the river, and instead turned right up the slope and along interesting sinks and terraces of chalk that water heading down to the Ammer river had formed.
|Image: Chalk terraces nearby|
For quite a while did we follow the banks of the river nearby, over a small trail leading over wooden bridges and, sometimes stairs, underneath the shead of leaves that nevertheless was pierced by glittering sun beams every now and then, the river flowing by and unleashing glimpses onto its glittering green through its living garment of plants. Eventually we had to divorce from the river to head on to Rottenbuch village with its abbey
, where we visited its baroque church - some saints ostensibly donated their skulls to decorate its altars - and then sat down in the garden of the nearby Italian restaurant, or not quite so Italian. The lunch was delicious, though, and the haircut of the waitress would have been worth taking a picture of. Onward we went over hills, pastures, always watched over by cows chewing their gras in total disrespect of the sun having reached the zenit. In the afternoons the Schoenegger Kaesealm
came into sight, offering the opportunity to have some beer, cheese, cake and a bottle of peaches liqueur. We did not drink the liqueur, yet, but instead moved on down into the valley of the Ammer again, and onto a romantic waterfall, the Schleierfaelle, a beatiful place to relax on the bank of the shallow Ammer, and have a last snack.
|Image: The Schleierfaelle waterfalls in the Ammer valley|
In and out of various small valleys never leaving the vicinity of the Ammer for too long, the sun began to set as we reached the stony bottlenect of the Ammer valley, where the river ground through a wall of rock. Great!
|Image: The bottleneck called Scheibum the Ammer ate through the rocks|
Unfortunately, from there on our tour turned into a hunt for the departing train in Altenau, a village still being several kilometers away. Nonetheless, after leaving the last valley there was some time to enjoy the scenery of the Alps now really within our reach, having grown higher and higher as we came closer and closer.
|Image: Facing our target, the Hoernle peak|
Underneath the target of our next tour, the Hoernle mountain, the first peaks of the Alps to be visited by our tour, we managed to catch the train, and celebrated our success with a sip of the peaches liqueur.