Here at Blacks, we realise it's not just the UK that needs exploring. Our latest travel series, 'Destination Inspiration' follows some of the Blacks team as they delve into the deepest jungles, trek to the highest peaks and cross boarder after boarder in search of adventure.
Today it's Emma's turn to take us on a Bavarian getaway in the German Alps…
Day 1 - Flying High
Every great German holiday starts in Austria. Landing in Salzburg, my first thought is always, 'I thought I was skiing in Germany this week?'. After a winding 45-minute drive across the border into the foothills of the Chiemgau Alps, it was clear we had arrived in the right country!
The views were less Die Hard and more a cocktail of Frozen and White Christmas, which were only added to by the Alpine lodge-style entrance to the Alpenhotel Wittelsbach, our home for the next week.
On the first day our jobs were simple: unpack cases, taste at least one glass of Gluhwein, and hire skis.
Day 2 – Elope to the Slopes
Our rigorous, task-based approach continued the next morning. Wake up, get dressed, consume as much of the breakfast buffet as humanly possible and head to the slopes. Day 2 started well!
Due to recent snow fall in the area most of highway 305 in Berchtesgaden had been buried by avalanches which meant that our journey to the ski slopes was an extra 25 minutes each way (total time 40 minutes each way). Although this did cut into the skiing time slightly, it did mean we had chance to see much more of Bavaria.
The ski resort, Reit im Winkl, chosen obviously because of its great reviews (and maybe its funny name), has two gondolas to take us to the base of the resort. At this point you are reliant on a 4-man chairlift to reach the top of the first run. This run is a oversized blue with a view from top to bottom. Perfect for beginners, perfect for warm-ups!
By day two we'd found our feet, discovered it was cheaper to buy a ski pass for six days instead of five, and fallen head over heels in love with the slopes. Straight after landing on the wide beginner blue, you can ski on to a heated 6-man chairlift and enjoy the ride to the top with heated seats to keep you warm. And, it only gets better from there, including the extra-special run that incorporates a stop at border control before heading into Austria.
Day 3 - Supermarket Sweep
A rite of passage for every one of our family holidays is that there must be at least one night spent exploring the local supermarket. This might be searching for the next tea towel for Gran's collection or sampling Bavarian treats with unusual names.
Try the Edeka Kaltschmid in Ruhpolding centre because it has chandeliers and cheap wine. It's like doing your weekly shop in a stately home but with a better selection of cheese.
Day 4 and 5 - Night Time Skiing
For most of the day we were wizzing around Reit im Winkl, crossing over to Austria and then making our way back using various chairlifts, T-bars and snowploughs. Yes, there is serious powder on these hills.
On two days, though, we switched things up a little. After stopping off at Restaurant mit Bedienung for a bowl of goulash and a glass of wine or five, we decided a snooze was in order before some evening festivities.
After napping our way back to normality it was time to don our ski gear once more and head out to try a spot of night skiing.
In the early evening the purpling sky was lit up by floodlit runs and split by music blaring from speakers. Making the most of our ski pass, we spent most of the night snow ploughing our hearts out on the slopes. There is nothing quite like flying down a red run with Abba's Gimme Gimme Gimme for a soundtrack.
Day 6 – The Biathlon World Championship
If your quads and glutes could do with a rare day-off, there are other sites to see. Ruhpolding is home to the arena that hosts the Biathlon World Championships each year. We managed to catch the women's final race which involved cross-country skiing uphill, shooting at a target and then some more cross country skiing. It was great to see a Winter Olympic sport in action and watch some of the hopefuls for the games in 2022.
With this as our day spent exploring local sites, we also took the train to Traunstein (around a 20 minute journey) for a spot of lunch at the local brewery. Here we sampled a range of Bavarian beers and treats including chocolate beer, Spaetzle dumplings and Damfnudel which is simply a big bread bun covered in custard. What more could you ask for?
Once the Biathlon and beer tasting was over, the Gluhwein had run out and the skis had been returned, it was sadly time to bid farewell to Bavaria for this year at least!