Freezing Germany

Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 22, 2007

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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, September 15, 2007

5th - 8th September 2007.

The thing we will remember about Kongissee is the cold. Our previous dashboard temperature gauge record low was 6 degrees set crossing an alpine mountain pass in Switzerland at an altitude of over 2500 metres. We set a new record on Thursday when the digital mercury plummeted to 5 degrees (the maximum for the day was 7) just before lunch. Incredibly, we are only at an altitude of 600 metres.

Konigssee is in Germany but only just. There is a little piece of Germany that pokes into Austria just below Salzburg. Our arrival coincided with the first snowfalls of the season and all the surrounding peaks were covered in a thick blanket of snow. The mountain behind our place even had snow half way down it and we estimated that we were only 300 metres below the snowline one morning. We named our accommodation "The Fish Bowl" after the circular breakfast nook that was right on the footpath, right near the neighbourhood bus stop. People waiting for a bus could look through the windows and see what we were up to. It did afford us spectacular views of the surrounding valley and snow capped mountains. We spent a bit of time indoors because of the weather so at least we still could see all the goings on around town.

We did get out everyday though. The coldest day we spent in Salzburg. The weather didn't stop the crowds and avoiding being poked in the eye by thousands of pointy umbrellas quickly became top priority. We went into a large clothes shop to get some gloves for Mum and Mandy. When we left we found that Mandy's umbrella had been stolen from the front door. Out of a pile of 50 ours got stolen. Probably been sold on the black (umbrella) market by now.

We stopped in at an Italian café so Mum could have a coffee fix and we could all warm up a bit. It was like being back in Italy with Bellisimo's, Grazie's and Prego's everywhere. When we emerged from our warm Italian caffeine dream people were taking photos of the building we were just in. Apparently some bloke called Mozart used to live upstairs a while back and had become fairly famous.

By Saturday the weather had warmed up to a balmy 10 degrees, so we ventured out for a cruise on Lake Konigssee. The lake and surrounding snow covered mountains where shrouded in low cloud and mist but even some light rain wouldn't deter us. At the far end of the lake there is a smaller lake cut off from the big one by many avalanches over thousands of years. The walk to the smaller one took 15 minutes but was well worth the effort. Thousands of moss covered boulders lined the walk until the lake opened up before us. With next to no wind, the waterfall and mountains at the far side were reflected on the glassy lake surface like a mirror. We rode the ferry back and returned to the warmth of the fishbowl.

I made a small purchase in the small town of Schonau, our local shopping village. I couldn't let Mandy and Mum do all the shopping. It's a bottle top opener, but no ordinary bottle top opener. It's a foot long piece of timber with the inscription in German: In heaven there's no beer, So we might as well drink it here. We have code named it "The Donger" for obvious reasons. It makes for some good donger jokes around beer o'clock most days.

Next time: More records tumble as we head south for some warmth....
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