Had a spare day in Fussen, a delightful but busy Bavarian town. The old medieval part of town is overlooked by the Hohes Schloss castle and has a delightful mixture of colourful Bavarian ‘town houses’. Fussen is known for lute and violin making and I passed a statue reflecting this. Cafes are busy serving the hordes of tourists who come to town mainly to visit the two nearby castles associated with King Ludwig II. The hotel I stayed in even had a couple of Japanese waitresses, dressed in busty Bavarian costumes, to cater for the influx of Far Eastern tourists.
Time to escape into the hills.
I walked out of town westwards heading for the Alatsee. The path soon entered the beech forest and switch-backed along a ridge. There were paths everywhere, all well signed and well used by the locals for recreation. Further up the valley I merged onto a busy cycleway leading to the lake, cycling seems to be very popular in these parts. Ignoring the possibility of coffee at the lakeside gasthof I continued up the steep jeep track which brought me to the Salober Alm restaurant in a little alp. People seem to appear from all directions heading for the hut so it soon became quite busy serving meals and drinks. There were great views back to the Schwangau area, the Ludwig castles and the surrounding Alps. Over coffee I plotted a circular route back using a different valley. This involved plunging into the woods in a southwesterly direction. I found the path which dropped down a very steep slope in a series of tight hairpins, a bit like a walkers Alpe d’Huez. Half way down there was a ruined tower overlooking the valley, the information board showed it to be an old castle [13thC] controlling the area. This had been an important communication route heading through the alps , a Roman road Via Claudia Augusta came this way and a salt road in the middle ages. The notice said Ludwig II and his brother visited this castle as children.
It was while reading the notice that I realised I was in Austria, I thought the signs were different. Checking the map I see that the Salober Alm was already over the border.
Once down in the valley I skirted the large industrial limestone works and followed tracks signed back to Fussen. On a quiet lane I heard the characteristic clinking of carabiners and spotted a couple of climbers on the cliff above. A short scramble up revealed a very compact steep face of limestone with lots of bolted lines. The climbers explained it was very technical climbing, there were certainly no cracks. Unfortunately they were just having lunch so I saw no further action.
My path became the Laendeweg. I think I noticed the border on my way back, a defunct shed. Gentle forest tracks lead back above the glacial River Lech to Fussen in time for tea, or rather coffee, in one of the cafes. On my last night in Bavaria I ate a superb meal in a quiet restaurant away from the main tourist area, accompanied by a dark beer from King Ludwig himself.