I guess we all get that feeling every now and then: home is kind of boring, you fall into some sort of every day pattern consisting of eat-work-sleep-repeat and you just really need to get away. I get that feeling quite often and honestly become some sort of unhappy, constantly complaining monster- version of myself. This was the case a few weeks ago, I hadn’t been anywhere in a while and the next trip seemed too far away. Unfortunately, I was working 5 days a week and had to save all the money for moving to London soon, so there weren’t many options.
But why book long distance flights if you can also just start exploring and appreciating home a little more?
A friend of mine had just recently been to the Eibsee, which is located right at the foot of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, – and she absolutely loved it. You can find the crystal- clear and freezing cold lake near Garmisch- Partenkirchen (I feel so sorry for every non-German speaker who has to read this name), a city which is famous for its skiing region and hosting the Four Hills Tournament every year. The drive from Munich towards the Alps is already worth mentioning: roads leading past wooded hills and lakes with the dark blue silhouettes of the mountains in the background make being stuck in traffic not so bad.
A couple of year ago my neighbor got me a little present for Christmas saying ” I know you love traveling, but sometimes it doesn’t have to be far”. He got me a little book published by a Antenne Bayern, a radio station, which listed the 100 most beautiful places in my state. I thought it was a really sweet gesture but didn’t really touch the guide for a few years; I fancied places like Costa Rica, Sri Lanka or Canada, home was boring. When looking up what we could do in Garmisch I remembered that little book and couldn’t stop reading. All of the sudden I had no idea where to go first, Neuschwanstein Castle, the Zugspitze, different gorges and lakes, hiking trails…so much to do and so little time. Why have I never thought of traveling in the area where I lived before?
We ended up arriving late in the afternoon just spending the rest of the day by the lake. Unfortunately, it was a little more crowded than we expected it to be- lots of tourists visiting the Alps wanted to end their day at the lake too. The lake itself was freezing cold, we literally had to force each other to get in for a swim, but the water coming from mountain creeks was simply too beautiful to not swim in. After the crowds had left and we had the lake to ourselves we head back to my car to find a sleeping spot for the night. Even though wild camping isn’t allowed here we decided to just sleep in my car as I don’t see a difference between an empty car parking somewhere and a car with people sleeping in it parking somewhere. As long as you don’t litter, play loud music or harm your environment in any way I really don’t see a problem. We met quite a few people spending the night in the same spot as us, so it seems to be sort of accepted. In case someone would have wanted to stop us, there’s still the excuse of “still having a long drive ahead and needing some rest”. Which doesn’t really seem legit when having the whole care prepared with sleeping bags and pillows, but oh well. Apart from saving money sleeping in your car just makes the whole trip so much more adventurous, you’re 100% flexible and can spontaneously decide if you want to stay at a place or head to the next town. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t own a luxurious, big and comfortable car; we moved the front seats of my 12- year-old baby-blue VW Lupo called Lotti to the most comfortable position, cuddled up in our sleeping bags and voilá- we had a bed for the night.
On the next day we decided to visit the Partnachklamm, a gorge, which I also found in my little guide. We had no expectations or whatsoever, but I think this was one of the most magical places we’ve both ever been to: the ice blue river winding its way through the rocks; bright green trees above us and water dripping from the small caves we were walking through. I couldn’t decide where to look first, I was literally just amazed by the beauty of nature and enjoyed every second in that damp and cold gorge.
There are lots of hiking trials nearby, no matter if you enjoy climbing mountains or casual walks through the forest. We chose to go up to a ruin called “Burg Werdenfels”. It’s an easy walk which takes approximately 45mins and rewards you with a view of Garmisch and the Alps in the background.
So next time you get that wanderlust- feeling start looking for places nearby- I’m sure that no matter where you live, you’ll find a spot worth visiting not far from home to escape everyday life. Just use those couple of free days and spare dollars you have: all we needed was 2 days and 35€ each for a truly wonderful weekend.