Due to the Green Shnolz, Eurofurence 26 – which was planned for August – already got cancelled this year. A pity, really, especially considering how I met a nice fox there last year. Fortunately, said fox lives relatively nearby, and with the governmental restrictions lifted to the point that solitary visits are permissible, I take this as an incentive to make the home of said vulpine the target point of the next part of Project Petal:
Part 3 ~ The Petal of the Goat
(Well, there simply is no fox in the Chinese zodiac after all…)
Once again, this should be one mighty tour, this time centred around Munich's two big lakes: The Starnberger See ("Starling Mountain Lake") and the Ammersee ("At Sea Lake"). Each of the two legs of this journey should take me directly along one of these two lakes, beginning with…
The Starnberg Stratagem21-May-2020
Since by now it's only a month from the Night of Long Shadows and the days are reasonably long, I for once don't have to get up at first light. Hence, it's already pretty bright outside by the time I depart.
However, since it's still only 7:00 – and on a public holiday to boot – there's barely a human outside, and at least for a while it should feel like I have the world all to myself.
My route today should first take me to the little stream Würm ("Worm") that passes not a mile from my home. That little stream conveniently originates at the Starnberger See – which was, in fact, named Würmsee ("Worm Lake") before it was renamed to "Starnberger See" in 1962 for publicity reasons, causing real estate prices around the lake to skyrocket. Hence, I should follow the Würm more or less closely to the Starnberger See, then cycle down south along its eastern coast, and finally turn west at its southernmost tip, making my way through woods and across hills until I reach my ultimate destination for today, the town of Peißenberg ("Peiß Mountain").
Since I'm visiting a fellow vulpine, I am looking forward for some vulpinity. However, I should, in fact, get more of that and sooner than expected, namely in the form of fox graffiti as I cross beneath the Untermenzing station.
After that, all I have to do is cycle past one of the remaining fields of Untermenzing…
…and then I am already at the Würm, which will guide my way over the next three hours or so.
Even though I have lived here for the better part of my life, I soon find that there are still many little places to be discovered, such as the Menzinger Mühle ("Menzing Mill"), which has stood here since at least 1397. Having been repeatedly renovated, this rustic building stands strong until today.
The latter can also be said about the Blutenburg ("Blossom Castle"), which is also located right next to the Würm. This one is significantly less of a new discovery and much more of a well-known local landmark though.
Even though I'm pretty much cutting straight through Munich, the route I take is quite green thanks to an abundance of parks along the Würm.
In fact, this stretch is part of Munich's outer bicycling ring, and it's not long before I espy a sign pointing towards the one of my two major milestones today: The city of Starnberg, which resides at the northern end of the Starnberger See and will be where the ride along the Würm ends, and the ride along the lake begins. Right now, I still have over 20km to go though.
Geocaching fail of the day, by the way, goes to this one. The hint here is "beneath the ivy".
Still in the midst of Munich, I enter the first forest of the ride in form of the Pasing city park…
…and not much later, I leave Munich behind, crossing first through Gräfelfing ("Count-en Caught") and then Planegg ("Plan Corner")…
…where I happen to pass directly by the famous Blue Tower of Planegg.
The Würm is still my constant companion, although out here there are houses built to either side of it, so I have to follow it at a distance, crossing over occasionally.
My ride continues through the streets of Stockdorf ("Stick Village"), where the houses are much more solidly built than its name would imply. Also, this place is already part of Starnberg County.
Past Stockdorf, I enter the first "proper" forest of this ride, which stretches all the way from there to Gauting ("Geat-ham").
There, I am surrounded by a veritable orchestra of birds that sing a merry melody which floods the forest.
A Geocache is also hidden around here… or maybe I should rather say, it was hidden here, for I find that the hide appears to have been recently ransacked.
Leaving the forest, I find myself in the fields of Gauting…
…where I apparently follow the course of an old Roman road for a short bit…
…on which apparently today dogs cycle their humans for a walk.
Even here on these peaceful fields, however, signs remind of the ongoing severity of the Green Shnolz ravaging the land.
One might think there wouldn't be much notable out here, but alas, after the Roman road I should come across the Karlseiche ("Carl's Oak"), a memorial tree planted in AD 2000 in celebration of the 1,200-year anniversary of the coronation of emperor Carl the Great, who is said to have been born in the rice mill of Gauting.
Said mill, by the way, is also still standing. In fact, it's right over there.
Past Gauting, I reach the edge of the Munich Gravel Plain. Past here is the reason why the Starnberger See is where it is, which happens to come in the form of forested hills formed by moraines from the last ice age. First of all this means more forest for me, and the path is slowly getting more adventurous as well.
The Würm flows through a valley between two individual moraines, and out here you can really witness it in its original, primal beauty.
Secondly, it means that the flat part of the ride ends here, and so I soon find myself struggling to climb a rather steep dirt path up the forested hills.
Now, I know I could have stayed near the Würm and taken the easy path, but then I would have never reached this lovely alpine pasture on top of the hill.
It is from here that I can catch the first glimpse of the Starnberger See off in the distance.
It is also up here that I come across the most skillfully disguised Geocache of the ride.
Driving down the hill on the other side, I end up at the Schloßgaststätte Leutstetten ("Castle Inn People Place-ton"), where I find a steampunk Alien statue, because what else would be standing in front of a traditional Bavarian countryside restaurant?
From there, things get somewhat adventurous. For one, I end up balancing across a pond on a mossy tree stump in search of another Geocache…
…and then the way continues in the form of a gangplank walkway across the Leutstettener Moos ("People Place-ton Wetlands").
It is here that I bit the Würm farewell. The little stream drains from aforementioned wetlands, and since those are a nature preserve, I can only make it out by the line of bordering trees in the distance.
With that, the first milestone is reached. Now, I don't actually cross Starnberg, but instead decide to go for the place with the more simplistic name of Berg ("Mountain") on the eastern edge of the lake instead. I should soon learn that many ways lead to Berg.
The one that I end up taking ends up leading me through a place with the very interesting name of Kempfenhausen ("Fighting House-ing").
Not long afterwards, I enter the town of Berg, and ironically end up right next to the Starnberger See.
However, as if to justify its name, Berg soon enough punishes me with what must be the most brutal ascent of the day with a whopping 14% gradient. And yet somehow I still manage to fight my way to the top.
Fortunately, following that is a nice, relatively flat and shady stretch through the woods…
…which turn out to hide a little secret place in the form of a Mega Freaking HUGE chapel.
Turns out that this is the Votivkapelle ("Votive Chapel") erected in memory of King Louie II, which was built at the shore where his dead body was found washed up at 13-June-1886. Also, it is here that I am able to help out a group of fellow cyclists path up their bike by letting them borrow the multi-tool that I always carry around.
Afterwards, I make progress relatively fast as I follow the road by the lakeside, which is straight, flat, shady, and also pretty idyllic.
It is here on this remote end of the lake that I come across a little place that still stands testimony of the time when the Starnberger See was called Würmsee: A fish breeding house with a plaque that apparently was not changed in the last 50 years.
As I make my way south along the lakeshore, I pass a number of places with interesting aquatic names, be they Ammerland ("At Sea Land"), Seeheim ("Lake Home") or Ambach ("At Brook"). Also, I take note that I have now entered the county of Bad Tölz ("Bath Tölz") and Wolfratshausen ("Wolf Council House-ing") now.
By now, I am far enough south to see the Alps on the horizon, even in today's somewhat humid conditions…
…and since it's just about noon around now, I decide to take this chance on the shore with a bank and a view on the lake and the Alps to go sit and eat lunch, which consists of some bread topped with cheese and some meat plus a few Müsli bars and a gulp of water.
[To be continued…]
Animals Abound at Ammer, Amper and Ammersee23-May-2020