As the cold winter weather swept across Europe it could do nothing to dampen the strong Bavaria spirit of the Munich Colmcilles as they headed for the idyllic setting of Tegernsee on a brisk Saturday morning. Gathering together in the city, the convoy set of into the rising sun with a day compact with an intense work-out, a spot of learning, an afternoon of relaxation, and of course, an evening of Bavaria’s finest beer and various servings of pork.
Whilst weaving our way around the edge of Tegernsee’s waters, the setting for the day became increasingly majestic. The lakes surface was layered with a thin skin of ice and as the lake moved southwards it became increasingly embedded within the snow covered Bavarian Alps.
Arriving at the local cross country skiing center the sun slowly rose above the tall mountains in the background bringing the temperature up to a ‘moderate’ -8°c. It was here that the group was to be given crash courses in cross country skiing by two much experienced veterans of the sport, Alois Büchler and Albert Petermeier.
After some carefully guided advice and initial practice around the paddock, the group ventured of into the surrounding fields of pristinely prepared skiing paths. Whilst some took to the sport like a duck to water, cruising of into the distance, the same couldn’t be said for a few others who were devoting much of their time to trying to stay on two ski’s or picking themselves up from the ground.
As the morning of cross country skiing wound up the group reconvened for a comforting lunch of Bavarian sausage, soup and cake, before moving around the lake for an afternoon at the ‘Monte Mare Seesauna’ for some much needed soothing from the intense morning activities.
(un)Dressed and ready the group strolled into the ‘Therme’ area, a charmingly wooden carved structure with a fully glazed side along the edge of the lake gazing across its water towards the rising Alps. With the morning activities still pulsating in the bodies of the group no time was wasted in diving straight into the bubbling Jacuzzi. Shortly after, there was a call from Angie Büchler that the next ‘Aufguss’ in the sauna was about to start and on top of that, they were giving free beer
out during the sitting. Naturally, the group rushed for a seat and while the temperature rose to a crispy 95°c (yes that is a difference of over 100°c from that morning) the beer and jokes served for a fine spoon of sugar to help the medicine go down.
With the muscles beginning to loosen as the ‘Aufguss’ ended, there was no other way to finish the process of than a good old ice bath, and no, I don’t mean in a big steal bath filled with square ice cubs, but a more natural alternative; a quick dip in the lake where the staff had kindly broke away the ice. Cleary this hearty experience got the better of a few as they made it no further than their knees while a few braves souls managed to go all in.
With the muscles redeemed and the body enlivened with ancient old methods (and a quick beer), the group relaxed on the terrace in the warm interior, especially reserved for the Munich Colmcilles. As the sun set behind the mountains, the suns reflection rippled across the lake towards us, and as the tranquil atmosphere took hold the group slipped off into a well-deserved snooze.
Relaxed and replenished, the last stop of the day was a trip to the infamous brewery and restaurant the ‘Bräustüberl Tegernsee’. On arrival, the lively Bavarian atmosphere warmed the vaulted interior from the sub-zero temperatures outside. Famous for its own home brewed larger and servings of pork, no time was wasted in ordering a round of ‘Helles’ and large plates of ‘Schweinshax’n’ to satisfy the well justified thirst and hunger.
After a few Bavarian deserts, a few more ‘Helles’, and a few customary ‘digestives’ (strong schnapps to be precise), the group finally headed for the local train station for the trip back through the mountains and the surrounding countryside back to Munich.
A big thanks to Angie Büchler for organising the day and making sure everything went smoothly, and well done to all those who braved the elements and in the icy water.
An adopted Gael.
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