Wednesday, 18 September
Today was the coolest day of our trip so far, it never got out of the low 60s and was overcast most of the day. Dolora and I made a chilly but short walk to Nicole’s apartment for breakfast and coffee. Nicole’s friend Anna was there to greet us and spend the day with Dolora, Nicole, Frank and I. It was nice to meet Anna since she is Nicole’s best friend and we have heard much about her. Anna understands some English but speaks very little. Today’s agenda was a visit to Falkenstein Castle.
Falkenstein Castle is the ruin of a castle in the Bavarian Alps, near Pfronten, Germany. At 1,277 metres (4,190 ft) above sea level, it is Germany’s highest castle. “Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria purchased the ruin in 1883 and planned to construct a fairy tale castle, but the plans were abandoned upon his death in 1886. Getting to the castle was a three hour hike with a altitude gain of about 1,800 feet. I had an enjoyable ride in Frank’s Toyota GT. The ladies rode in Nicole’s car. We parked Nicole’s and Frank’s cars near Alatsee Lake and headed up, up, up. The weather was perfect for hiking and the trail nice. Our first stop was at a mountain hut, Die Salober Alm, for coffee and a short rest. This marked about the 1/3 way-point. Leaving the hut, we hiked with cows for a short while. The hiking trail followed the Austria/German border, putting us in Austria for the first time. There were many border markers along the trail. We stood with one foot in Germany and the other in Austria. After about 3 hours, we arrived at Burghotel Falkenstein, where we had soup for lunch. This hotel is several hundred feet below the castle ruin. After lunch it was up to the ruin for a snack of soft pretzels and impressive views. It was decided that Frank and I would hike back to the car and the ladies would hike to a parking lot and we would meet them. A short while later, we picked up Anna, Dolora and Nicole and headed back. After a farewell to Anna, for the day, off to dinner.
Nicole and Frank had a Greek restaurant, Hellas Taverna, that they had been wanting to try. A short walk to the old town and some more good food. Gyro and calamari for me and a pasta/meat dish, Pastizio, for Dolora. At our hotel, we said farewell to Frank. He is meeting his father tomorrow for several days hiking in Tirol. He hopes to be back in Kaufbeuren on Tuesday night to see us before we return home. We would enjoy meeting his father. Plans were made to meet Nicole in the morning for breakfast.
Although the weather was not great for photos, we enjoyed the hike and views. It was perfect weather for the strenuous hike! Keeping our fingers crossed since we made it a week without a drop of rain.