Tegernsee is a town set on the shore of Lake Tegernsee, in the mountains of Upper Bavaria. During December, we were were staying in Schliersee and the plan was to head over and check out Tegernsee. Looking at how close the two towns are I figured this would make for an excellent run.
It's about a 15 minute drive, but I scoped out a route on the map (there are so many hiking routes over here, it's seriously amazing) and it looked like it would be about a 12km run.
Of course, there's a bit of a hill in the way. Both Schliersee and Tegernsee are set on lakes in a valley - they just happen to be different valleys. Whilst it wasn't going to be a large amount of elevation gain I was still anticipating that I would be hiking up one side to run across the top and down the other. It had snowed during the previous night or two so I was expecting some snow higher up along the ridge which could make for slow going.
I worked backwards from the time the rest of the family would be aiming to get to Tegernsee and set off giving myself plenty of time to get there. I first head out through the back of Schliersee and Breitenbach, which is absolutely lovely on a chilly December morning.
Running through the brisk, early morning air was quite pleasant as I made my way along the road and through the next little groups of houses. Although it was along the road there wasn't really any traffic.
I passed a small weir, and turnoffs to what looked to be other little forest trails.
Near the end of the road, I turned onto the forest trail that I would be taking - very similar to the one I was on whilst heading up to the Brecherspitz. It's a reasonably gentle grade and would actually be quite good for a sustained uphill effort, but I wanted to keep the effort real easy so was hiking the uphill bits.
This was a pleasant hike up the forest trail, with a few babbling creeks along the way to enjoy, until the track ended in a steeper section that opened up to a couple of mountain huts.
This was also where the snow was!
Already there were a few other hikers up here enjoying the morning - I kept following the main track around in the direction of Tegernsee, but as I moved on I realised I missed a short climb up to a nearby peak (which I would catch on the way back).
I passed a number of people hiking the other way (or running - like the person who was absolutely crushing the climb running up the hill in the other direction) whilst crunching along on the snow in the crisp, sunny air.
After cresting the top of the hill the terrain had levelled out, and from here it was a flatter run over the top, before it starts to descend down to the village of Tegernsee. Cruising through this little section amongst the slightly snowy pine forest and a few very snowy sections where the forest opened up was absolutely glorious.
I was seeing a surprising amount of hikers (and other runners) around. It seems that hiking and exploring these trails is quite popular here. I can see why, as it's an amazing network of trails. Given I can't speak German (one of the things I would like to do before travelling next time is trying to learn a little bit more than a few greetings), I was going with a fairly universal "hello". Most people where greeting me with "servus", which I had to stop and google (it's a southern / Bavarian greeting).
Moving further along the trail I passed a couple of intersections which would be fun to explore some other time, and then stumbled across a pub at the top of the hill. Of course there is a pub at the top of the hill - that's where a lot of people are hiking to / from, as you can only access the pub via hike or bike.
It also has an excellent view over Lake Tegernsee, so I stopped to take it in for a few minutes.
Now the downhill begins! There are several routes down into the village, and I chose the most straightfoward route down the main fire trail - this was a nice, smooth fire trail with quite a number of switchbacks which was rather steep and fun in places.
The track then opens up out of the trees to some houses and I follow the hiking trail signs down a number of stairs onto the streets, and then cruise through the streets down to the lake before looking around to find the rest of the family.
We had had some snacks (obviously) and explored Tegernsee a bit.
I could have got a lift back to Schliersee, but I enjoyed the run so much that I decided to head back over the hill and run back to the hotel - making it about a 24km run all up.
The downside to this, however, is that it meant it was basically all uphill from the lake up to the pub at the top of the hill, including a whole bunch of stairs that I certainly don't remember coming up.
However, it was still a pleasant hike up through the forest trails - breaking out into a beautiful sunny afternoon at the top of the hill, and a very busy pub.
Heading back towards Schliersee I had to be a little careful of the snow that had become a little more like ice than I recall it being on the way through. This was only a few small icy sections, though, and much of the track back was along these awesome forest trails.
Almost back at the mountain huts, I had already decided that I was going to head up the peak that I missed on the way through.
I started to climb the track up to the peak, which was short and sharp and very icy - but worth it with excellent views out over the flat landscape beyond the hills towards Munich.
I had an excellent conversation up there, two German ladies stopped me, I explained that I cannot speak German:
"No problem! You are running!" "Yes, just running across the top." "You are our hero!"
Whilst I'm certainly no-ones hero, it was a fun interaction that put a smile on my face for the rest of the downhill - everyone I met has been super friendly.
Cresting the top of the peak means I'm rewarded with some amazing mountain views, before starting the descent back down towards Schliersee.
The descent was a good, fun continuous downhill through the forest - a much quicker descent than it had been on the climb up - and then back down through the little villages to Schliersee.
Rachel had gone for a run around the lake, and had the room key, so despite feeling a little cooked by this stage (having not actually packed that much food for the run), I thought I would head around to meet her on the lake run, so I head out in the opposite direction around the lake.
It was a beautiful afternoon, so despite the legs protesting I got to enjoy the afternoon views out across the lake towards the mountain (including the Brecherspitz, which I climbed up the other day).
Meeting up with Rachel was the point to turn around and head back to the hotel - This added about 5 kilometers, so by the time I got back I'd done about 29km of running and explored a bunch of trails I wouldn't have ordinarly got to explore.
As someone who runs a lot, I've been finding more and more that running to explore new places is an excellent way to explore, take in the scenery and get a run in at the same time. It's something I'll likely continue to do whenever I'm in a new place.