I am very fortunate to be staying in a rather lovely apartment in residential Trudering.
Downstairs, my very accommodating hosts have made me feel very welcome, although I do not see much of them. They work very hard, and then they disappear without fail every weekend. Ski addicts. Mountain addicts. Sun and fresh air addicts.
We had dinner together on Friday, and they invited me along for the day on Sunday. Not being a skier, I was a little hesitant, but I must admit I was mildly fascinated by what it was that got them out of bed at 06:30 on both Saturday and Sunday after a busy week in the office.
And then it all made sense...
Having lived for 12 years on the sunniest island in Europe (Hvar in Croatia), I had noticed that the skies of Munich were a little greyer, as was indeed the case on Sunday morning. For people working in offices in the winter without the sun, I could understand the attraction of finding a little sunshine, but was it really possible to get to the sun from these grey skies in just a short drive?
Our destination was a small village called Alpbach, which they had chosen both for the skiing, and also for the nice walks, pretty nature and delightful village for me, the non-skier. Pausing at Sauerlach (as seemingly hundreds of other locals did too) to pick up a cousin who had parked there so he could car-share, we headed south to the mountains. And a lot of blue sky. Now I could see it - the grey cobwebs of the working week blown away.
I left my more active friends and their friends, as they headed up to the top of the Inneralpbach resort, which at 38 euro for a day pass (which also includes use of a neighbouring resort) I was told was very reasonably priced.
I myself took a wander around to sample the atmosphere. On one slope, a skiing competition for young kids. Families were out in force supporting their little ones, who descended the slopes at a frightening pace.
Even the local statues were friendly and welcoming.
It was a gorgeous day, and I decided to walk the 4km downhill into the village itself and take the bus back. Having lived by the sea for so long, it was nice to enjoy the sight and sounds of icy streams.
Alpbach itself was a delightful little village, and I thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing Weissbier at the Hotel zur Post as I entered the village. The sight of the horses running through the main street was a nice contrast to busy city life in the Bavarian capital.
It turns out that it is not just me who thought that Alpbach was very pretty. It was named not only the most beautiful in village in Austria (quite an achievement), but also the most beautiful flower village in Europe, according to this welcoming message. Curious, I had a look online to see how it looks in summer. Rather nice, I think you will agree from the video below:
Not convinced? Try Alpbach in winter instead:
The day was all about the skiing for the guys, however, so I took the bus back up the hill (about five minutes) and just enough time for a drink at the base camp bar before meeting my friends and heading up the slopes by cable car.
And there was nothing wrong with the view!
Or the choice of luncheon venture. It seemed as though half of the city had decamped to Alpbach, and there was a real biergarten atmosphere high up in the hills.
From a grey morning in Munich, out came the suncream. It was warm!
And for those who wanted to sit inside, there was plenty of room.
As the skiers went off again after lunch, there was time to relax and reflect. Totally gorgeous views, and Italy and the famous Kitzbühel were clearly visible. What a lovely way to laze away the day with my book, and a perfect introduction to the world of the Munich winter day tourist. And I thought the centre of Munich was Marienplatz!
For more information about Alpbach, click here.