March 29th 2015

Imagine the land where Bavaria meets Austria - mountains in all directions, sparkling sapphire lakes, fairytale castles and storybook villages – and food, delicious food. Here is where we cross the 'Weisswurst Equator'. The marking of the north-south divide in Germany is not a matter of latitude, but a change of sausage. Up in the Alps, the 'white sausage' of minced veal and pork bacon, flavored with parsley, lemon and onions has an almost mythical status and its own set of rules. Served with only sweet mustard, a pretzel, and a cold wheat beer it is a traditional Bavarian dish that must be eaten with the fingers – and only before noon. The invention of the icebox has given that last point a degree of flexibility, but tradition is important here. From across the border, fancy a plate of 'The Emperor’s nonsense'? Actually a delicious sweet confection of shredded pancake and fruit, Kaisershmarr’n was apparently a dish created for the Elisabeth of Bavaria, who was watching her weight. kaiserschmarrn 500 free pic She declined the sweetmeat but her husband, Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I, said words to the effect of: 'What’s this Schmarr’n the chef has come up with?' and ate the lot. Wheat also plays an important role in Bavarian/Tyrolean cuisine. There are numerous noodle and Knödel (dumpling) dishes, breads and of course, cakes, pastries and Torte to die for. And don’t forget the pretzel. Its invention is accredited to the Bavarians and a stein of local beer (40 types and 4,000 brands) and a plate of wurst is incomplete without one. From the Tyrol, bilberry (Heidelbeer) liquor is sweet, fruity and velvety with a kick. If that whets the appetite, our Walks in Bavaria and Austria are a perfect 'slow travel' way to get to know these similar, but intriguingly different neighbors. In Bavaria we take the mountain railway from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to a charming alpine village and we travel (by cable car) to the peak of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, to marvel at the views. We visit the over-the-top palaces of tragic King Ludwig and stay in a hotel run by the monks of the beautiful Benedictine monastery in Ettal. We see the village of Oberammergau, famous for its Passion Plays and hike the Voralps from our base in a pretty, typical Bavarian town. austria michael 700 The following week, taking our back-to-back option, sees us set off on our Austria Walk. We explore Innsbruck, the capital of the Austrian Tyrol before heading to a mountain resort and our hikes on the trail through classic alpine scenery. We see stunning lakes, stay in KItzbuhel, listen to Tyrolean music and spend a night at the former hunting lodge of the Von Trapp family, where the 'sound of music' is in the air. Either Walk is a very special vacation; taken together they’re unforgettable. And going back-to-back means we’ll treat you to a night in a hotel in between, with a loyalty discount for first-timers on both Walks. Contact us for more information.

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