Mittenwald

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Home Page > Travelogues > Germany > Bayern > Mittenwald

Germany

State of Bayern (Bavaria)

Mittenwald -- Art and Violins and Perilous Cliffs, Oh My!

Germany

State of Bayern (Bavaria)

The central part of Upper Bavaria was fantastic because of the combination of great mountain scenery overlooking cute and colorful little villages full of artwork and life.  One village I loved very much was Mittenwald, a little border town between Bavaria and Austria.  Mittenwald sprawled along the middle of a large valley carved by the Isar River as moved northward toward Munich.  The Isar was joined by waters feeding from several nearby lakes via the Lautasch Brook.  Consequently, Mittenwald was nestled in a deep valley with rolling hills on one side and the steep bare-faced cliffs of the Karwendelgebirge on the other.

This travelogue is a photo gallery, because there was more to show from my three visits there than there was to write about.  It begins at the downtown, then moves up to higher ground to the west in the residential zone, then finally up a gondola ride to the top of the cliffs.  Enjoy.

 

This is the city Church, simply called the "Kirche" in Mittenwald's tourist information.  The Baroque-style tower was fairly common in Bavaria, although the simple decor of the rest of the church suggested it was rebuilt or renovated, probably since WWII.  The interior was lovely white with a lot of Baroque artwork. This was the north end of the Obermarkt, the main pedestrian zone that extended several blocks from the Kirche.  This street was where the majority of tourists spent their time in Mittenwald.
Along the way were a number of beautifully decorated shops and eateries, such as the pastry shop shown here.  The front of the building showed murals of scenes from 100 to 200 years ago.  Most of those in this town were of ordinary people doing daily business, whereas in other village they were religious. This scene shows the Karwendelgebirge overlooking one of the newer cafes and tourist shops.  This one was located east of the Obermarkt and was clearly positioned to handle the tour buses that parked in the lot of the photo to the right.
North of the Obermarkt by only about fifty meters was this structure, the Geigenbaum Violin Museum.  This was the home of the Klotz family, who for generations hand made violins (elsewhere in the town was the Klotz Denkmal honoring the patriarch).  The Museum was fantastic, showing how violins were made and explaining the deep history of classical music in this part of Europe. Of course, this area was not just about tourism.  The full-time residents had things to do too.  Well east of the town was the city's hockey rink, which was fully outdoors.  I took this shot in December of 2002, when it was surprisingly dry (usually the snows were pretty heavy by November).  But, the Zamboni was out doing its duty for the local team to play later in the day.
The next two photographs were taken from high ground west of the town.  Above several rows of residences, both modern and old, was a small street against the woodline.  In the center, with a great view of the city, was this tiny Chapel.  Chapels like this were common in such mountain towns. These crucifixes were along the same road at the highest point.  It was not uncommon to find such memorials at the summit of hills overlooking a Bavarian village, but usually it was just Jesus on a crucifix.  Having Him with both revolutionaries was less common.
The final two photographs shows the Karwendelbahn, the gondola ride up to the top of the Karwendelgebirge.  Believe it or not, the seemingly sheer face was climbable.  As we rode up we passed by climbers following a very narrow path zigzagging across the cliff.  The path was no more than a foot wide.  I appreciated just sticking with the gondola. The Westliche Karwendengebirgenspitz was about 1000 meters above Mittenwald and lacked railings.  This was me sitting at the sheer edge of the cliff enjoying a truly top-level view of the village.  The top of the mountain had a restaurant, hotel, and other services for the weary hiker.  There were a half-dozen other peaks overlooking both sides of the ridge.

It was not necessary to go out on the walking paths if one was acrophobic.  The guesthouse on top had a fully-enclosed area that allowed one to feel more protected.  (I do not know if I would ever sit on the edge of a cliff like this again!)

Trip taken 18 August 2001 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin

   
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