Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tour Preview: Why it's OK to be Blue in Bavaria

White and blue are the colors of Bavaria, and if you join us for a hiking tour through Germany’s Bavarian Tyrol, then you’ll quickly discover why.

The colors white and blue are as symbolic of Bavarian culture as haute cuisine and fine wine are symbolic of the French. “And preserve you the colors of his sky, white and blue,” sings the Bavarian national anthem. Look up to the mountains and you’ll see white fluffy clouds and sparkling alpine snows. Behold the brilliant blue sky upon which Bavaria’s beauty unfolds.

Brief History

There is an old story that the Counts of Bogen first adopted the white and blue rhombus pattern of the Bavarian flag back in 1204. The Wittelbach family took it over in 1247 for use as their family coat of arms, and the colors have been with Bavaria ever since. While historians might disagree on the original meaning behind the colors, everybody agrees that the white and blue shield does a fine job of representing Bavaria as a whole. When presented with an option to choose different colors back in 1950, the people voted unanimously to keep white and blue as the official colors of Bavaria.

The Bavarians are very proud of their colors, evidenced by the abundance of white and blue flags that adorn the castles, beer houses and chalets dotting the Bavarian landscape. When you hike through the Bavarian countryside, you’ll begin to understand why white and blue are such an integral part of Bavarian culture.

White and blue are the colors of the sky, but white and blue also represent the lakes and streams that constrast so vividly with the green Bavarian hills. White and frozen in winter, blue and shimmering in summer, the lakes and rivers of Bavaria delight hikers and visitors from around the globe.

We’ll visit three of Bavaria’s cherished mountain lakes during our new 8 day Bavarian Tyrol Trek. Beginning just outside of Munich, we’ll spend two nights on the Tegernsee, a lake famous for its 8th century Benedictine Abbey, relaxing spa resorts and scenic position at the base of the Bavarian Alps. We’ll spend two nights at our favorite 4 star hotel.

Moving into the mountains, we’ll hike on high trails before descending via singletrack and farmroad to the Kochelsee. A regular home for artists and anyone with a penchant for beautiful places, the Kochelsee offers expansive views from its surrounding mountain summits. A semicircle of mountains borders the southern shore of this lake, while hiking trails go off in every direction. We’ll spend one night at our preferred 3 star hotel.

Our second-to-last hiking day finds us snapping photos over the Walchensee, one of the largest and deepest alpine lakes in Germany. Due to its geopgraphic location, and protected from northern and easterly winds, the Walchensee enjoys a milder climate than most mountain lakes. Sadly, we won’t spend the night on this lake, but we’ll be in Garmisch, home to Germany's highest peak and an equally cool place to be.

See our tour page to learn more about the Bavarian Tyrol Trek.

Or contact us for more details.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


"Where I live, the open space of desire is red. The desert before me is red is rose is pink is scarlet is magenta is salmon. The colors are swimming in light as it changes constantly, with cloud cover with rain with wind with light, delectable light, delicious light. The palette of erosion is red, is running red water, red river, my own blood downriver; my desire is red. The landscape can be read. A flight of birds. A flight of words. Red-winged blackbirds are flocking the river in spring. In cattails, they sing and sing, on the riverbank they glisten.

Can we learn to speak the language of red?"

--Terry Tempest Williams, from RED: Passion and Patience in the Desert.

Experience red for yourself. Our 2012 Arches & Canyonlands hiking tour departs on May 5th. Won't you join us?

Image: Redrock spires.
Arches & Canyonlands, Arizona | Ken Fuhrer

Friday, January 06, 2012

Tools of the Trade: Enjoying Good Food in Slovenia

Pots, woodfires and spoons; these are the tools of the trade.

When you stop at a watering hole in Slovenia, you get fresh homemade goodness with every ladle. Take the Brunarica Pri Ingotu, for example. You won’t find industrialized pre-packaged plastic food at this hiker’s retreat. No way!

This cozy timberlodge, a favorite stop on our Slovenian Triglav Circuit, serves local food and drink made with love, and they do it in a beautiful mountain setting. Note: the view of the Jasenje meadow and the surrounding Julian Alps is divine. Treat yourself!