It was the last weekend in August and I had an invitation from one of our business partners to spend a weekend on the beautiful Tegernsee. I just love that valley, but do visit seldom, since the driving to get there can be an agony, especially on weekends. Once you leave the hihgway coming from Munich it can easily take an hour to drive the 16 miles to Rottach at the southern end of the lake. Often it is a bumper to bumper drive and very nerving. My love for this valley comes from my time at the hotel school in Tegernsee some 30 years ago. 6 months filled with lots of fun.

The Tegernsee Valley: where money meets tradition

On Saturday morning we were picked up at our offices and drove direction south. And of course we had the obligatory traffic jam. Finally we did arrive at our destination and to start with we went on top of the Wallberg with the cabins. From the top of this mountain you will have a great view not only of the valley and the surrounding mountains, but on a clear day you can even see as far as Munich.

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Wallberg: the valleys landmark summit

The top station is not at the summit. To reach it, it will take you another 20 minutes by foot. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to climb it today, because lunch is waiting for us at the panoramic restaurant. On a hot summer day like today this place is very busy. The food is great and the wait staff is a bit overstrained, but still very nice. After lunch our hosts had organized a special Bavarian Olympics. Things like how long can you hold a full Stein in the air, what do typical Bavarian words translate to in proper German and so on. And in good old olympic spirit to be part of it, is the most important. This is a lot of fun.

Around 4 p.m. we went back to the valley, where our bus was waiting to bring us to the hotel. Around the lake the hotels didn’t invest much in their structures for a long time, despite being in the so called valley of the millionaires. They just thought offering romantic and typical Bavarian accommodation would be enough, but in recent years they realized that they can’t go on like that or they risk to loose even the rest of the vacationers too. This was the point where all of a sudden a lot of small luxury hotels opened up and finally catered to the crowd, that was visiting. We stayed at the Bachmair Weissach a hotel with a very long tradition that has been renovated and expanded. And now it has the big WOW! effect. It is just great.

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The planners did find a cool way to mix the old traditions with the modern times. The rooms offer all the amenities of the 21st century, but the style and decor is still local. And this in a very trendy way. I wouldn’t have expected a Sushi restaurant here, especially remembering the big outcry 30 years ago when this Big Burger chain with the yellow letter wanted to open a restaurant in the valley. Back to the hotel. I can really recommend it for a long weekend or even longer. On a rainy day you can rejoice in a large spa.

My first ride in a hot air balloon

But the highlight of this weekend was yet to come. At 6 p.m. we were picked up in 4 vans that brought us to the nearby town of Bad Tölz. We stopped on a meadow a bit north of this nice town. This was to be the place from where I would start my first hot air balloon ride. Believe it or not, but I was really excited.

I actually had expected that the balloons would be waiting for us, ready to take off, but our pilots gave us the possibility to watch them being blown up. It’s fascinating to see how fast this goes. And so we had to wait only a couple of minutes before we started.

Blick auf Wallberg

Our group was divided between 3 balloons and I was in the last one to become airborne. This gave me a good view of the two other balloons that were already climbing into the sky. it felt great to see the ground vanish slowly under your feet and once you reach a certain height the views are just breathtaking. This is a great way to calm down, relax and leave your stressful job life behind.

The ride is awesome and I don’t want to go down again. But at some point we had to get ready for the descent, since the sun was about to vanish in the west. And then came the final spectacle. While we saw one of the most beautiful sunsets in the west, a full moon rose over the mountains in the east. Just look for yourself.

Really amazing.

Apparently it is not that easy to find a good landing spot, but our pilot was doing a great job and brought us down safely close to this farm. The kids that lived there came running and were full of astonishment. A bit like: Look what the cat dragged in.

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Once we were back on safe grounds we were all asked to help pack the gear. With the right team even this can be fun. But in the summer heat this is also a bit sudatory.

It was already close to 10 p.m. when we came back to the Tegernsee and were brought to the famous Moschner where we were expected for dinner. Meanwhile we were really hungry. They have a bar on the second floor where I have spent a fun night during Carneval some 30 years ago. The perfect spot to end a day filled with fun and excitement. On the other hand the small bar was soon too packed and loud for me. Guess I’m getting old. 🙂

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On Sunday morning we enjoyed a hearty breakfast on the hotel’s terrace. A small creek burbels through the resort’s ground, passing next to our table. How I wished that I could stay there for a few more days.

After breakfast there was another highlight waiting for us. The town of Rottach has a tradition that is called the horse fair. This day starts with a big parade of beautifully decorated horses and carriages, as well as riders in historical costumes. Bavarian marching bands are completing the show. But first we take a stroll along the lake shore and watch the great scenery.

And while strolling we see the parade to be formed..

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As I already mentioned all horses were decorated with flowers and their tails were nicely braided. One of the marching bands found a very interesting way to arrive for the parade. Drawn by a small boat they sat on a platform and played a typical Bavarian tune.

We the spectators were lucky, because we were able to watch the parade from a shady point. But those poor people in it had to walk a few miles through town where we had again temperatures in the mid 80’s. Since I used to play in a marching band myself, I knew that this comes close to torture. Respect for doing this. Below you will find a few more pictures.

With plenty of  great memories we drove back to Munich on Sunday around noon. What a great weekend.

Dear readers, have you ever been in a hot air balloon? Did you like it? Why don’t you tell me?

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