Take me back to Malerwinkel St. Sebastian Church-Ramsau

Do you go to church?

Ooopps, perhaps this is a invasive question but i think it´s very normal to ask someone about it. The answers could be varied though…

The iconic and idyllic picturesque Malerwinkel “St. Sebastian ” church in Ramsau, Berchtesgaden.

If you do…when was the last time you visited?

Anyway, few weeks ago, we saw this beautiful little chapel in Ramsau called “St.Sebastian” and I´ve heard that everyone was raving over it. I´ve got to see it before my own eyes. They said it is the most photographed landmark in Ramsau, and became quite famous for cover magazines and travel destinations in Germany.

I wonder why even former US pres. Einsenhower himself even painted this landscape…?Why is it so special.

St. Sebastian church -Ramsau

Then we drived to Ramsau and visited this church, not only once, but twice. Ramsau is very near to the hotel where we´ve stayed when we visited Berchtesgaden so it´s along the way.Too bad we weren´t able to get inside because of Corona restrictions.

Seems that the idyllic setting of this church is quite a catch. Behind the chapel is the Watzmann mountain, and a river flowing and a great backdrop with a iconic wooden bridge.I heard that it has become a favourite subject for landscape painters and photographers.It´s called “Malerwinkel” because it´s so picturesque that many artists uses this backdrop as an inspiration.I found a beautiful Ramsau Gallery here.

My favourite version is how it looks in Winter.

Growing up, I am a church- goer. Probably not by choice but as a kid, you were taught to obey and you do what you are being told.In Philippines, almost 80% of the population is Catholic and going to church is actually a big part of our culture. It creates a certain stigma that “one must” repent and spend meditation or prayer times and observe Sunday as worship day.Over here in Germany, Sunday is a “Ruhetag” , a silent day, for relaxing, and not making “too much” noise, there goes the unwritten rule of not mowing your lawn.

Idyllic landscapes in Ramsau, in Berchtesgaden National Park

As a small kid, my grandmother would tag us along every Sunday, and attend the Cathechism classes. Aside from the religion classes we have at school, we do so many routines in the church, like reciting the Rosary, observing the Lent ( Holy week) and so much more. I have memorized all the prayers and sitting in the church every Sunday, observing and watching the priest do the ceremony and take communion as well.

I remember that we look forward going to church and have this childish behaviour of sitting backwards facing the next row so I could see the other people. I am happy If I saw someone that I knew ,a classmate, a neighbour, or maybe my crush, perhaps! Our old church is quite beautiful. I love the choir and I often spend times meditating there.

I still remember it´s interiors, especially the paintings on the ceiling and the engravings on the wall. I spent so much memories in that church because first, me and my siblings were all baptized there, so as my cousins.I would glance up in the ceilings and trying to decode what the images means and yes, inside the church, I felt calm and safe.

The first church I´ve visited here in Ingolstadt is the Liebfrauenkirche . It´s a 15 minute away from where I live and I went there for quite many times, but not for worship.There´s also a nearby church to where I live, a 5 minute walk and I went there during Christmas mass.Religion and worship is another culture-shock for me here.Nobody talks about religion, or asking if you went to church, or what are your beliefs.They talked about politics, football, and rock concerts, but not anything about religion. Churches became like museums, a tourist attractions.

But here´s the thing; I pay taxes for being a Catholic.

Truthfully, I am quite amazed just how big the cultural gap that I am living into. I have no personal problem with it. Here, churches are really really beautiful, the architecture and history is enough to make someone captivated, Gothic or Renaissance it maybe, churches here in Germany are something that I am always fascinated with.

Do you have any unforgettable church experience?

Alpine Fairy tale Hiking to Salet-Obersee-Fischunkelalm

We´ve found a Paradise in Obersee

We are still high from the dramatic beauty of Königsee and then out of the blue, we are again rewarded with another shock of natural doses of beautiful landscapes from our beautiful hike to Obersee in Salet up to Fischunkelalm. Actually, Salet is the last stop for the boat trip we´ve had in Königsee and St. Bartholomä.This place is actually remote–meaning, it can only be reached by boat. There are no villages near Obersee, only the few Beer gardens and the Fischunkelalm.

Yes, there is no other way you can see this lake, only through the boat company who runs the tours through Königsee. But then, let me tell you—it is really worth the trip because this place is simply—the alpine paradise in Bavaria!

“It´s not the mountains that we conquer, but ourselves ”

I think I lost count of the different shades of greens, blues, aquamarine, turquoise, and teal colors when I saw this place. They say that the tougher it gets going, then the wonder power gets real. What is true about hidden paradise is that maybe the reason why they are deeply tucked into the mountains so it is well sheltered there.

From the time we step out of the boat, I already started hearing people saying ” Ohhhh” ” Wowww” ” Sehr sehr Schön ” ” Wünderbar“, I , myself included saying these words. I still think my photography skills deluded the naural beauty of this place. It is really worth every step to see this place. Well , with hiking with a view like this , who am I to complain?

” A walk in nature walks the soul back home..”
” There are no short cuts to a any place worth going …”

Of course with a little hiker with us, we took our pace. We stop to admire the universe of moutain peaks and listened to the choir of cows making their own thing. With the crystal clear waters of Obersee, we saw tiny fishes swimming It´s probably that they are also rejoicing, hearing some noise after a long pause because of Corona .

My neck kinda hurt from looking up and admiring the moutain views. The rocky formations are so incredible and imagining how a Moraine separated the Königsee from Obersee.Either way, both lakes have their own charm.

We´ve done so far so many family hikes but hiking through Obersee in Berchtesgaden became our number one choice now. For now.We are already thinking of coming back and seeing this place once again, probably in Autumn when the foliage is more colorful. The hike through Obersee is a great experience, at least for us. For such a long time in Lockdown and confined to only nearby hiking destinations, the sight of Obersee takes away our breath and all our worries from Corona.

This place is definitely worth the hike even with small children. Although I personally would recommend to wear your little toddlers instead of bringing a pram since the ascent path to the Fischunkelalm is not accessible with strollers. The photo below is the one I took just after we passed through the flat hiking path before we continue the steep flight of rocky, muddy steps heading to the Fischunkelalm and Röthbachfalls.

Hiking adventure is one of those thing you can do only if you have the determination to do so.

Crystal clear mirror like waters reflecting the mountains creating a perfect Apline fairy tale views, that´s what Obersee is all about. In every angle, I can smell the clean air, the crisp sound of the trees, and the excited steps of nature walkers like me.About the hike, it starts at Salet and ends there as well. The hike length is approx. 8km ( 5miles ) and classified as medium difficulty. It is doable with kids, and I personally recommend doing this with little children.

The uneven rock steps with only a cable support for hand might be a strain for elderly and for families with very small children. The ascent and descent path is one way so it would be really challenging. I noticed this because we travel during the times of Corona so we are still practicing social distancing. The path is rocky and slippery so small children should be guided accordingly.But then, I have seen so many families doing this hike so it´s really worth the hike.

After hiking for almost half an hour, we´ve passed through cascading river, beer gardens, wandered through the lush forest and finally we´ve reached the first resting area. This boat house is quite famous, it´s the image of Obersee, its all over in Instagram and causing quite a traffic in this point. People are waiting in line to do photoshoots and families lined up with heir kids to do selfies .There are banks and tables for people to sit and rest as well.Now I understand why this spot is really worth a photo.

Finally, after a adrenaline hike, we finally reached Fischunkelalm and this view awaits us.I could stare for hours at these panoramic views. So peaceful, tranquil and beautiful in every sense. Families packed a picnic and sitting near the banks of the lake is quite a beautiful thing to watch. Couples hugged each other and taking selfies beside the lake, and some sit and enjoy a cold beer in this unique setting. Children pets the cows and played with them while others play with the waters.

Pretty mushrooms along the way

While trekking, I spotted these rare row of mushrooms on a tree bark. It looks so pretty with light purple color surrounded with lime green moss. Its amazing how nature surprises us in many ways. As we continue our hike, we sing a song, did a quiz to entertain the little one and with a few pops of Gummy bears, the drama and tantrums came to an end.

Upon reaching the Fischunkelalm, we decided to grab a drink and have some snacks. The menu is limited but everything is delicious.We tried their local delicacies of bread with fresh cheese, bacon and some drinks.This is the stop point as well to completely admire the whole view of Obersee surrounded with stone mountains and reflecting waters. This is where I actually get some space to to snap photographs without the crowds.

My daughter busied herself talking to the cows and playing with other children. She was quite thrilled when she heard that some kids are speaking English so she decided to make friends. She played for a while near the lake banks while I got busy taking photos and admiring the views. The water is still so cold but feeling them with your hand is forgivable.I guess in peak summer months, one can enjoy dipping their feet in this glorious lake.

At this point, stretching for another half an hour, one can continue hiking (1,5km) through the mountain pastures that leads to marvelous view of Röthbachfall, Germany´s highest waterfall (400m). Seeing this waterfall, we were reminded by our thunderous experience seeing the Krimml Waterfalls compared to this one.

A panoramic view of Obersee with the enigmatic Boathouse

Our feet are aching at the end of the day and our faces are red from the sun, but definitely, our hearts are full and glad.We started heading back to Salet to wait for our return boat trip. The last trip departing from Salet is 5.10pm, (on peak season 5.40pm) take note of this last departure time because there is no other way to go back to Schönau unless you are prepared to pay for around 250 Euros for a boat to pick you up!

Some practical tips on visiting and hiking through Obersee :

  • Don´t forget your camera. It´s such a shame if you don´t caprure these wonderful nature.
  • Start early, especially if you are traveling with small children. The mid- path going to Fischunkelalm can get lots of traffic as noon time approaches so this can strain your child. Bring plenty of snacks and drinks to keep them hydrated.
  • Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes, preferably closed. The rocky parts can hurt your toes and you don´t want to go home with blisters and cuts. Layers are recommended to wear. You can also discard a light jacket once it gets warm and hot.A hat and sunscreen is always a great idea.
  • Go to the bathrooms and wash hands frequently before doing the hike. The cable for hand support on the face of the moutain is used by thousands of people who hike there so be aware of personal hygiene.
  • Decide early if you want to go to St. Bartholomä first or hiking through Obersee. The earlier the better to avoid the long queue lines on returning to the boat back to Schönau-Königsee.
  • Bring some cash–it´s always wise to bring cash since snacks from the Fischunkelalm is paid in cash only.
  • and lastly but very important —Bring lots of Good Mood!

What is your favourite hiking adventure?

Have you already traveled during Corona times?

Until then, stay safe and have a happy week. Tschüss!

Königsee -Schönau,the heart of Berchtesgaden National Park

Königsee majestic views taken from the Jenner Bahn (1,874m)

I am super excited to share about our family trip to Berchtesgaden which is also called Berchtesgadener Land.I totally fell in love with this place at the moment I saw it. It looks even more beautiful than the photos I have seen in internet.For a moment, I thought I was in Norway seeing Fjords but then it´s just right here in Germany! Berchtesgaden is definitely a heavy tourist magnet in Bavaria , especially during the summer season .We are lucky enough to visit it end of May so the crowds are still manageable and the temperatures is still enjoyable.

In 1978, Berchtesgaden was declared a National Park no wonder everywhere I looked, everything is clean and the nature is quite well preserved.

It is located southeast of Germany, near the Austrian border, (Salzburg 30km) ,180km away from Münich and connected through A8 and is easily accessible with inter city trains. It´s quite famous for Königsee, the cleanest lake in Germany , and the second deepest to Bodensee ( Lake Constance), with a depth of 192 m (650 ft).This lake is so unique and beautiful in every sense that it even retains its cold temperatures even in summertimes.Königsee or King´s Lake can only be explored through the electronic boats which is run by Königsee Bayerische Seen-Schiffahrt. I highly recommend to book your tickets online and early as possible since this place can get really crowded and packed.

Very charming boat houses in Königsee

We booked our tickets online and got there early, around 9:30 am to avoid crowds.The Corona Testing stations are located near the entrance and the one beside Mcdonalds in Seestraße.The parking area is large enough but I noticed that during lunchtime, it was already packed. FFP2 masks are required inside the boats and everyone was really observing the regular hygienic measures.The boat trip is stroller friendly and also handicapped persons are welcome on board.Pets are also allowed provided they wear nozzles. Unfortunately, bicycles are not allowed.The boat tour starts from Schönau, then make a stop in St. Bartholomä and goes further to Salet. All the timetables and boat shedules are clearly indicated in here so it´s really good to plan your trip to avoid missing the boat.In general, all boats trips goes every 30 minutes.

A beautiful world in greens and lush waters

Berchtesgaden is a national park so private boats, fishing, and camping are not allowed. They only allowed electric boats to preserve the cleanliness and silence of the lake.With the water temperatures, it is not really ideal to go swimming .

There´s a very informative audio guide tour while on board so everything is actually well narrated about the lake and the surrounding nature. One of the highlight of the trip is the “Echo of Königsee ” (at the Echowandcliff) which is interesting as we heard the mimic echo sounds played with a Flugelhorn.

Königsbach Waterfall

Through out the sailing, our hearts skipped a beat because the scenery is really beautiful. The boat glides gently and creates soft ripples through the water. With the majestic views of the Watzmann mountains, cascading waterfalls, and evergreen forests, we surrendered to the power of nature. The beauty of nature is beyond words.

During the calm boat ride, we feast our eyes on the beauty of Watzmann, the 3rd highest in Germany, 2,713m (8,953ft).We saw another side of this mountain aside from the views we have in our hotel.the Watzmann Ostwand is the highest cliff in the Eastern Alps and stories says that almost 100 mountaineers have lost their lives there. So climbing this peak is actually not for the faint hearted.

The boatman shared an interesting legend which my daughter found so cool that she kepts on asking what happened to King Watzmann. I said, probably, He´s still bad and did not repent so He´s still a mountain up to this day and guarding the Königsee. The legend says that King Watzmann is the highest peak, his Queen is the second and their seven children are the smaller peaks in between.Unfortunately, he was a cruel ruler so God turned him and his whole family into a stone.

The entire boat trip from Königsee Seelände to St. Bartholomä is approx. 35 minutes. This is the first stop where you can depart the boat and have a hike in the area surrounding the church and the lake shores.From St. Batholomä, the boat goes further to Salet which takes again another half an hour. We stopped by here to check out the check but unfortunately, because of Corona, the church was closed for public so we just have a short hike around it. The views are breathtaking as ever!

View from the dock harbor of the St. Batholomä Church

This little Baroque church in the peninsula of the west shore of Lake Königsee is quite admirable. It was built from 17th century and it´s idyllic setting makes it even more peculiar. The architecture is so unique with its two onion domes and a red domed roof has the floor plan after Salzburg cathedral.We take a look around and my daughter enjoyed feeling the cold waters and hiking thorugh the large boulders of stones along the shore line.

Emerald blue waters of Königsee

Königsee is so clear that the water quality is like drinking water. Just looking at the waters is really relaxing and how I wished that all lakes would be so clean like this.

This Fjord-like lake is 8km long and up to 3/4 miles wide reaches a maximum depth of 192 meters. It is really deep! I saw many tourists in a rowing boat and they looked so small in the middle of the lake.What amazes me more is its unique emerald color which cames from dissolved mineral deposits which breaks the sunlight on a beautiful sunny day. High above viewed from the Jenner Bahn, Königsee lake is quite deep blue in color which creates a very picturesque view.

This stop also allowed us to take a breather and relax with a view. There are charming beer gardens, restaurants with serves traditional Bavarian foods, plenty of bathrooms and infinite nature vista of Königsee and the outstanding mountain peaks.

The rock formations ” Schlafende Hexe” or sleeping Witch

We´re quite amused to know that on the right side of the boat we are rewarded with another fascinating view. This is the rock formation of the “Schlafende Hexe” of the Sleeping witch.Legends tell that these rock formations resembles a witch who lie on her back. When we drive back and on the area going to Bad Reichenhall, this view is actually in front of us. The whole time we are talking about how prominent the nose of the witch and probably someone already hike and reach the peak of her nose!

My daughter loves Königsee very much and she adores the mountains. Once we reached Salet , it´s almost nearing lunchtime. Good thing that we took our snack in St. Batholomä before we go on our next hike through Obersee. There are many families doing this hike so she was quite entertained that many children of her age are also doing some fun hike with alpine views.

We took our own pace and enjoy our time hiking , making frequent stops taking photos, creating memories along the pristine views of the mountains and azure blues of the lake Obersee. I highly recommend that you wear adequate clothing and plenty of layers just in case it gets windy and sudden change of temperature. It is always good to wear proper shoes as this path going to Fischunkelalm is quite rocky.We brought enough water and snacks so we can stop and make a picnic whenever we wanted to.

“To walk in nature is like witnessing a thousand Miracles” –Marie Davies

Exploring Berchtesgadener Land

Great news, we are finally able to do traveling again.

Fresh air, lush mountains and crystal clear emerald lake

I have always wanted to see Königsee in Berchtesgaden for a long time. I have long heard from friends what beautiful nature paradise it is and I can´t wait to see it by my own eyes. Besides, we are really looking forward for proper hikes and just being out in nature. It´s still too cold for swimming but the thought of lakes and boat rides is so tempting.As the temperatures starts to get warmer, the more that I am itching to be out…to explore and to safely travel again. Of course, with Corona, it was not so easy. It really felt odd. I feel uncomfortable just the thought of being in a large crowds and mingling with people once again. The idea of having contacts is somewhat exciting but then the worry is still there…

There were so many “What if´s” ….

A much need breath of fresh air and hiking together

I am telling you, It felt really strange to pack a suitcase once again. I don´t even know where to start…

What to bring?

Of course, masks and dinsinfectants are present.

But then our excitement grows more and more…so we decided to book ahead , pack our stuff and go !

View of the Berchtesgadener Alps from our hotel room

We kept on checking the updates in Berchtesgadener Land for the re-opening of Tourism so we can book our hotel. Luckily, from last week, hotels and vacation houses finally reopened and Königsee reopened for Tourism. These includes the boat rides, cable cars, tours and everything. Some attractions remained closed during our visit but then we didn´t mind it since we planned to stay outdoors as much as possible.The less crowds, the better. We took note of the current Corona situation and scheduled daily Corona Tests just to be sure.We are already partially vaccinated but then we opt to do a PCR test just before leaving since it´s also required for our hotel stay. Schools here in Bavaria have two long weeks of holiday so we are definitely looking for something to do with kids and just be out from the house and staycation in Berchtesgaden made is simply a heaven for us.

Berchtesgaden is quite a great choice for a family staycation.It´s located in the southeastern part of Germany, almost near to the border of Austria ( 30km), south of Salzburg and only 180km drive from Münich.We drived out early, so we reached Berchtesgaden in time.Throughout the planning, I was totally stressed out thinking about the weather and what do we wear. It was predicted to be rainy, cloudy and yes–not so good so I was really frustrated. It would totally ruin our itinerary.But then we pushed through it, and I was really thankful that we are blessed with wonderful blue skies and enjoyable temperatures for the coming days.

It was perfect!

Can´t get enough of these beautiful mountain peaks

Lovely weather, fewer crowds, it´s just perfect time for lots of hiking and enjoying the glorious nature.

I wanted to share this post for families who are planning their first vacation and Staycations with smaller kids.I think it has been quite stressful for everyone but then I am glad to post more positive experiences during this time.The scare and anxiety is real but then I think we all deserve something better than worrying.I was totally happy seeing my daughter singing happily, hiking in the woods and dreaming of playing endlessly under the sun.

Malerwinkel Hike in Berchtesgaden

On the positive note, I must say that I am quite impressed by the system.We felt at least assured since the normal Corona Hygienic measures were strictly observed in Berchtesgaden. When we arrived at the parking area of Königsee, I noticed that there were quite a number of tourists, probably because it is “Ferien” or school holiday. The hotels requires a negative Test results and only in- house guests are allowed to dine -in and eat in the restaurant. The touristic places have very clean bathrooms, complete with Disinfection stations and there were lots of Schnell Tests Stations or ( Corona Quick Test). Doing these tests made us feel assured and safe so it´s really a must to do if you are planning to go on a trip during this time.

Here, ticket purchases can all be done online and reservations are quick to do as well so it really saves us time.

Prost!

And lastly, we were able to finally sit in a Beer garden, but luckily, this time with a majestic view of Watzmann and Hochkalter mountains!

Did you already tried traveling during Corona times? How was it?

Wishing you all a great Sunday, and stay safe. Tschüss.