travel

Location Shoot, Bavaria (Part 2)

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Later that day, I travel onwards via train to the small town of Inzell, which is another pleasant surprise, located as it is roughly mid-way between Munich and Salzburg. I arrive there after switching to the bus after a twenty minutes or so transfer from Traunstein, where I left the train. It’s snowing heavily when I get there but, as per usual, the roads remain navigable and the pavements are relatively clear. That’s the thing you really notice in this part of the world, everyone knows the job they have to do in terms of snow clearance, from farmers who get paid in winter to keep roads clear with their tractors through to residents who diligently clear the patch outside their house. This is a very traditional town and there’s a real air of community here, so little wonder that it is well known for attracting families who can stay at the well-appointed local campsite, in cozy B&B’s or hotels in the area.

The Bavarian style is so charming and of course those flower boxes are to die for

The Bavarian style is so charming and of course those flower boxes are to die for

Adding to that appeal, there are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including 3-hour cross country hikes allowing you to get some stunning shots, plus the rather more testing Nordic walking, with no end of different tracks and trails to work your way around. Those less keen on that kind of strenuous exercise should try the great facilities at Inzell Water Park, which boasts a natural lake. If you want to get the best from this and other activities in the area then it’s good idea to invest in the Inzell Card, which can get you into all of the main attractions in one fell swoop. It’s possible to enjoy everything from snow tubing, tobogganing and the local cable cars too, with the views that come with them. Try the Hochfelln cable cars for panoramic views of the Chimera and Tyrolean Alps from the summit at 1,674-metres or try the Ruaschberg cable car for another angle, which tops out at some 1,670-metres. On the way back you can also take in the Woodcutters museum and end the day with a visit to the Hofbrauhasu brewery down in Traunstein, where you can discover the finer points of Bavarian beer brewing.

Inzell Water Park boasts a natural lake

Inzell Water Park boasts a natural lake

Touring around the area in the car, it’s easy to see the appeal of this place in the winter. One thing you notice once you leave the town is how quiet it is, with the snow deadening things even more. If you’re looking for snowscapes to shoot then there is plenty to experiment with in this neck of the woods. But, by way of a detour, we also take a trip to the Max Aicher Arena, which is a huge and very modern indoor speed skating track that was opened in 2011, although the area has an illustrious association with the sport going back over 50 years or so. Inzell and the surrounding landscape is also well known for its other winter sports activities, taking in everything from Biathlon challenges to husky races. There’s also the Inzell Balloon festival in the summer months that sees large collections of hot air balloons sweeping majestically over the mountain hillsides. We even drop in to the SoccerPark nearby for a coffee. This is a place where locals and tourists alike come to play a sport that is one part football and one part golf and is, apparently, becoming hugely popular in Germany.

Off for lunch

After shooting in and around the town, it’s soon time for lunch, so we head for a local butchers shop that has a restaurant too. Now, it’s not every day you get a behind the scenes tour of one of these places, but Hubert Hirschbichler the owner (and himself a former speed skater) kindly allows me into the back of the shop for a look around. It’s a fascinating insight into meat production and the very enthusiastic butcher explains that they kill the animals on site and then proceed to use just about every last bit of it for a whole variety of produce. I have to pick my way gingerly across the floor as it’s like a skating rink and there’s also a lot of condensation so though pictures are allowed, not many come out due to a steamed up lens, but I do get a chance to see a very large vat of blood, some freshly slaughtered carcasses of deer and pig plus the chance to take a few snaps of a man making very large sausages. Back out front, it’s easy to taste the difference as I tuck into a plate of pork and potatoes with a nice sauerkraut salad, all washed down with some local beer.

After the hearty lunch I’m also ready for a snooze rather than a trek to the next location, but with six minutes before the bus arrives, I’m ushered into a next-door relaxation/wellness type place that has one of those incredibly sophisticated massage chairs. Even with my winter coat and shoes on the appeal is easy to see as the owner clamps on a pair of headphones complete with calming German dialog and stress-relieving background music and it makes for a great way to wait for a bus. I emerge just in time to board feeling surprisingly chipper for all the kneading my back and legs have just taken. It’s another short bus ride back down the hill to Traunstein and then the train will take me to the next port of call, via Munich.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen (it used to be two separate resorts) is Germany's most famous ski resort and is part of a skiing area which has 38 lifts and 43 slopes

Garmisch-Partenkirchen (it used to be two separate resorts) is Germany's most famous ski resort and is part of a skiing area which has 38 lifts and 43 slopes

Travelling during the day means the trains are reasonably quiet, so it gives me a chance to sit back and relax on the way up to Munich. On arrival, I need to change in order to get another line back down to the Zugspitzregion. So I jump on a train bound for Garmisch-Partenkirchen, although the only minor issue is that I get off my first train on platform 3 and the connection is on platform 37. Plus I’ve only go about 3 minutes to get there, so it’s a bit of a dash to make it while carrying a backpack that seems to be getting more full of local literature by the minute.

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