Table of contents
- Motorcycling in the Bavarian Forest Especially good in winter
- Bavarian Forest (information)
- Bavarian Forest (2)
In the Bavarian Forest by motorcycle
Motorcycling in the Bavarian Forest
Especially good in winter
Riding a motorcycle in the dark season? And whether! Josef Seitz proves that the Bavarian Forest offers special charms, especially in winter.
December 3, 2004
The Athenians would be jealous. But they won’t know anything about the mighty temple, which towers like a foreign body high above the Danube between the woods. It looks like the Acropolis. Only better together. Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and his master architect Klenze came up with this at the beginning of the 19th century. A temple of honor for the ?? praiseworthy Germans ?? should it be expanded to include the attribute ?? who teutscher tongue sey ??. And these ?? Teutschzungigen ?? are immortalized as white busts inside that Valhalla. An interesting mixture of warlords, painters, composers and thinkers, from Barbarossa to Rubens and from Beethoven to Kant. Even a lady is now among them ?? Sophie Scholl. The view from the Walhalla over the country is as interesting as the crowd of busts. Directly below the steeply sloping hill, the Danube shines in the mild November light. On the other side of the bank, Lower Bavaria becomes as flat as Prussia. But behind me, it’s nice and hunchbacked. Exactly the right terrain for motorcycling.
The only disadvantage is that the Bavarian Forest is currently hiding under a thick layer of fog. With a view of twenty meters, farms, small hamlets and forests emerge from the white soup as ghostly as they disappear again. Willmansberg, Sulzbach, Siegenstein, the fog is getting thicker and more difficult to find your way around. Falkenstein Castle ?? finally a fixed point! Its park offers a small Bavarian forest landscape and can be safely explored on foot. The thick carpet of leaves feels like cotton wool under your feet. I pant over rough rock steps up towards the castle until mighty, gray-green rock walls block the way.
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Urban detour to Austria: Scharding am Inn.
The only way to continue is through a crack in a huge, shattered boulder. Pull in your stomach and through. The castle towers above, impregnable. Not even the Swedes, marauding through the country in the 17th century, could harm her. What war hordes couldn’t do, time almost managed to do it. Only after the Princes of Thurn and Taxis had simply given the run-down facility to the Falkensteiners was it renovated 30 years ago. A biological rarity is hidden behind the castle: luminous moss. Remnants of it grow under a low rock overhang, reflecting the light in a fluorescent manner.
The fog clears a little towards the southeast. Sweeping hills emerge and the road dries up just in time to really enjoy the curves from Schwarzbach up to Bernried, before the engine crackles again in the monastery courtyard of Metten. Metten has one of the most beautiful monastery libraries ever. In the baroque rooms, the book inventory is almost a minor matter, hardly a square centimeter was spared from decoration or design. Only recently, Metten housed the smallest printed prayer book in the world. Until a few Japanese came to visit, as a frustrated Benedictine monk tells us, who then promptly made an even smaller one at home.
I drive further north, around the Butzen and on narrow, winding roads towards Eging. Suddenly it actually seems to be ?? German spirit ?? in a few square kilometers. to lack. A western town, Pullman City! Complete with saloon, fort and Indian tippies. I feel like in Mardi Gras. The Wild West in full size. Even with a real bison herd. More irritated than fascinated, I swing into the saddle of the Honda to gallop further south and cross the Danube for a little detour ?? to Scharding, a beautifully preserved Austrian border town on the Inn. The baroque gables of the old houses line up lively and create a uniform wave pattern in the overcast sky. It promptly pours until I reach Bavarian soil again. And head for the native Tittling. Where you can find everything that has not been in the past in the Bavarian Forest for too long. Carefully dismantled old farms and workshops were rebuilt in the museum village. A look into the farmhouse parlors gives an idea that life here was no picnic. The conditions in the mountainous fields were difficult and equipment such as steam machines and threshing machines were priceless.
Bavarian Forest (information)
The Bavarian Forest, located at the border triangle between Austria and the Czech Republic, is one of the most pristine areas in Germany with its national park, some of which is a hundred years old. Just right for winter pleasures.
From the north-west via the A 3 to Regensburg, from the south-west via the A 8 to Munich and then on the A 92 to Deggendorf. From the northeast, choose the A 9 and A 93.
There are many private rooms, especially near the national park. Including breakfast, the prices are around 25 euros per person. If you want to combine hiking and motorcycling, it is best to look for a holiday apartment in the area around Zwiesel, which usually costs only slightly more than a room. Good home-style cooking and, above all, excellent game specialties are offered very cheaply on both sides of the border.
The glassworks typical of the Bavarian Forest have settled in the area of Zwiesel, Spiegelau and Bodenmais. The Eischhutte and Joska Crystal are among the largest. There the route from raw material to finished glass is demonstrated for visitors several times a day. There are also smaller businesses in the surrounding villages where glassblowers like to let you look over their shoulders while they work. The Frauenau Glass Museum documents the millennia-old history of glass. The glass barn near Viechtach / Schonau also offers interesting works on glass art. There, in the »Aegayrian vaults«, in addition to the operator’s glass pictures, a mixture of finds from Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquity can be viewed. The world-famous graphite works in Kropfmuhl (near Wegscheid) and the silver tunnels near Bodenmais, which provide information about the beginnings of mining, offer an entertaining tour. Information on the Bavarian Forest National Park is available from the Hans-Eisenmann-Haus near Neuschonau. The Hollbachgspreng near the Grober Falkenstein and the Mittelsteighutte jungle directly behind the Zwieslerwaldhaus are among the most exciting corners of the national park’s primeval forest area. Also ideal for those who don’t like hiking, as the latter starts right next to the parking lot. The library in Metten Monastery and the medieval town of Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic are also worth seeing.
The range of travel guides about the Bavarian Forest is quite extensive. Marco Polo and Merian are each offering “Bavarian Forest” live in compact tank bag format for just under eight euros each. The illustrated book of the same name in the See series provides good information & experience by Raimund Kutter and Gabriele Greindl for 12.80 euros. The Czech territory of the national park is mostly only touched on in the travel guides. The polyglot »Czech Republic« provides an initial overview for 7.80 euros. Mairs offers the best orientation for the German part with the general map sheet 17, “Regensburg, Weiden, Passau” and for the Czech Republic with the sheet “West and Central Bohemia”.
Bavarian Forest (2)
An acropolis for everyone “praiseworthy Germans”.
In the direction of Finsterau, the road gradually lifts out of the narrow hills and leads over extensive slopes. Increasingly dark, almost black spruce slopes blend into the colored autumn forests, and the cutting cold lets the increasing gloom be felt. I drive a little along the Czech border and finally up to the Dreisessel via Heidmuhle. Up there ?? near the border triangle Austria-Czech Republic-Germany ?? there is a rock with three seat hollows. On which, according to legend, the rulers of the three countries once sat and negotiated the course of the border. Presumably with better visibility, because in the thick fog I find the armchairs with difficulty, let alone the Honda later in the increasing dusk.
As soon as Dreisesselstrasse is behind me, the fog has blown away. The route meanders along the Austrian border via Kropfmuhl with its famous graphite deposits to Hauzenberg, the home of Barwurz. A plant or its root, which attentive farmers once observed that cows pawed out of the ground and ate them when they felt unwell. What is good for a cow cannot be bad for a person, thought the resourceful Northeast Bavarians and quickly distilled a schnapps from the roots. Of course, it’s not about the alcohol, on the contrary, every Bayerwaldler will swear stone and leg that the bearwort is a medicine. And that’s because it’s true. A prescription-free one on top of that! The only apothecary thing about the wonder drug is the price. But because one shouldn’t save on health, I have a small bottle wrapped for me.
At breakfast the next morning, my landlady told me that the first snow had fallen today on the Arber. When I drive up towards Neuschonau a little later, I like to think so. Winter cold has arrived. Probably just right for the shy fellows who have regained their old habitat on the southern edge of the Bavarian Forest National Park. In addition to lynxes, a pack of wolves and a family of brown bears roam the forest in large enclosures. The national park as a whole forms a completely left to its own nature reserve without human intervention. What dies remains and serves as the basis of life for the next generation of plants. In some areas, for example, a wild mountain jungle has already formed from criss-crossing tree trunks.
Time required: three to four days, distance traveled: around 850 kilometers.
In the Zwieslerwaldhaus is one of the oldest core areas of the park, which was placed under protection at the beginning of the last century. It is like a window into the past of Bavarian forest primeval times. Mosses shine, drowned in water, on the remains of crumbling tree trunks. Old wood is now being conquered by mushrooms, ferns and young trees. Only one tiny animal caused serious conflict with horror scenarios on the peaks of Rachel and Lusen, where bare spruce trunks tower like skeletons: the bark beetle. Uninhibitedly increased by the warm and humid summers of the nineties, it itself damaged the healthy mountain forest. The national park administration faced the dilemma of losing huge forest areas or intervening in the self-regulation of nature and cutting down the infested trees early. And with that, to possibly save the rest of the forest. With a heavy heart, they thought about the real meaning of the park and let the beetle do their thing.
To warm up, go down to Riedlhutte to the glassblowers. The Nachtmann lead crystal works is one of the many glassworks in the northeastern part of the region where the raw material for glass is obtained from quartz sand, potash and all kinds of secret ingredients. In the cozy warmth of the stove, sweating men shape vases and drinking glasses for the audience with the glassmaker’s pipe.
There is really something to see in this corner of the Bavarian Forest. It is only a stone’s throw to Bodenmais and the neighboring Silberberg. Although there was never really a lot of silver in the mine shaft, digging took place here before Columbus discovered America. Already at the beginning of the 14th century people were looking for precious metal and stone. I learn more about the tour through the tunnel. The miners mined sulfur and magnetic gravel. This resulted in important means for glass processing with vitriol and polishing red. The work in the tunnel must have been horrific. For blasting, the rock was first heated by a wood fire in the tunnel and then “quenched” with cold water. Accordingly, the workers were constantly surrounded by acrid dust, smoke and steam.
Outside, autumn has finally decided to show some sun. The roads are dry and the tires claw into the tar at every turn, as it should be. The route leads past remote farms to Arnbruck. So-called death boards accompany me again and again on my way. Initially used as a bier, they were later decorated with a short saying about the life of the deceased and draped next to a cross or a chapel on the side of the road. This saying was obviously not always taken very seriously and sometimes makes you smile more than condolences.
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