Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blomberg Blast

While we had lovely views of the South China Sea in Hong Kong, we also have great views here in Munich. Now we enjoy the Alps in the distant, typically with Lake Starnberg in the foreground. If you really strain, you can see the Alps from our house’s upper most balcony. And the view from the kids’ school always stops me in tracks, despite the busy rush to get to after school activities. Right above the sports field, a range of snow topped mountains sits tantalizingly close.
In our first days here, we managed to get to the closest mountains (about 40 minutes away) for a bit of skiing. The skiing however was always a bit fraught, as the kids rented equipment and negotiated the  all German language ski lessons. Our “best” winter alpine adventure was with so-called rodelbahn, which is essentially taking a ski lift up and then tobogganing down a long course. It was fun but harrowing. When we found out we could do it again without the snow, we decided to give it another try.
To get to the mountains, we drove to Bad Tolz, an area of Bavaria just south from us. Bad Tolz has been populated since the Ice Age. With its green valley, gently undulating stream, placid lake and snow topped peaks, it is easy to see why. Bad Tolz was a market center in the 14th and 15th centuries, destroyed by the Thirty Years War and revitalized again in the 19th century with the discovery of a natural spring. Bad Tolz now is known for its medieval town center, churches, and spa culture. But we saw none of that. We had eyes only for Blomberg, the rodelbahn hill, at least this time.
At Blomberg, we took a ski lift up the mountain and then had a pleasant short hike to a small restaurant. Unfortunately, the meal there was very Bavarian (meat and potatoes). We came up short on all of our entrees but supplemented with pretzels and ice cream. From there, we hiked another hour or so up to the top of the mountain. The peak was marked with a cross, reminding us of Romanian mountain tops. We lounged on the top and thought about bursting into The Sounds of Music but mostly refrained.
To get down the mountain, we hiked and eventually reached the sommerodelbahn. Basically, this was a toboggan with wheels and one lever to either speed up or slow down the whole thing. Sadly, it did not seem that much safer than the winter version. Again, there were no helmets but we were only one person on each rodelbahn, whereas in the snow version we had an adult and a child on one, which added to the speed. The kids were exhausted after all that. On the car ride home, they feel asleep listening to 80’s music over the radio. Music from the 80’s still rules the airwaves here. Just the other day Royce was singing along to “we built that city on rock and roll” to herself. The soundtrack to the Sound of Music is getting more and more appealing with every passing car trip.


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