I caught a morning train to Berchtesgaden using the BayernTicket and arrived in the early afternoon.
Berchtesgaden is a small town near the Austrian border, a gateway to tourism in the German side of the Alps. The area has a history of salt mining, and the infamous “Eagle Nest” (Hitler’s summer retreat) is located near here.
The weather was crappy, so my original plan to take a boat across the Königsee lake was a bad idea. I decided to run the ~10k road to Schönau am Königsee and back to keep myself busy. While in the area, I picked up a brochure about local hikes for the following day.
Afterwards I walked around the “old town” and found a Greek place with gyros as big as my face and a great view. The local brew is called Hofbrau Berchtesgaden and it is delicious: crisp and flavorful.
7. Hofbrau Berchtesgaden Helles
Today I did my first “real” mountain run since getting into trail running: from Schönau to the Arkenkanzel lookout and back: almost high and steep enough to give me a taste of an emerging running event the Europeans call a “vertical K”.
I headed up the road for the bobsled track, already feeling the steepness in my calves (and a little soreness from the day before). And then the trail got wayyy steeper. I have never seen a trail so consistently steep in the US. They hate switchbacks here, I guess.
I ended up walking most of the middle section, although I was making great time. The signs say it typically takes more than 3 hours. I popped out at the Kührontalm hut at the 0:55 minute mark, meaning I was ascending at over 3000′ per hour. That’s the best pace I’ve ever been able to sustain! This running thing opens up some interesting possibilities…
At this high meadow the trail hits a road, and the hut is well stocked with beer and food. I wish I could have stopped for the most scenic drink ever, but I also knew I had a long descent ahead of me and I’d need my coordination. There is also the prettiest little chapel I’ve encountered so far on the trip.
The run to the Arkenkanzel lookout was quick, and the view of the Königsee was spectacular.
The descent was pretty brutal. The very steep gravel trail required real care to avoid wiping out. I made it from the hut to the Königsee covered bridge in 0:24 but my body was unhappy with me. But it was fine because I walked another 50 yards to a beer garden to recover with a Hefe and a pretzel. The Franziskaner was one of the best wheat beers I’ve ever had.
8. Franziskaner Hefeweizen: Dunkel
I didn’t do much else in the evening because everything in Berchtesgaden is closed on Sunday. Off to Salzburg in the morning!