I know the saying, All Roads Lead To Rome. What I like to think is: All South Germany’s Rivers Lead To The Danube.
Yes, I’m being silly, but Lake Tegernsee in Upper Bavaria is yet another of Germany’s lakes that somehow manages to lead off towards the Danube.
OK, maybe not directly since this nine square kilometer lake (that was created during the Ice Age) flows out to the Mangfall River, which flows to the Inn River. Which, in turn, flows into the Danube. Wow, it’s like Six-degrees of Separation River & Lake style. ;-)
If something goes out, it must have an in, right? The biggest contribution of water to the Tegernsee comes from the Weißbach, but it also gets water from the Rottach, the Grambach, the Alpbach, and the Zeiselbach. Whew, that’s a whole lot of H2O, huh? No wonder the deepest part of the Tegernsee is 72-meters.
For as big as the Tegernsee is, it isn’t a big sport fishing lake. Cool, no competing with others for prime fishing locations. It’s a hit or miss whether you’ll catch whitefish, trout (the rainbow variety), pike, or charr.
Unlike the Königssee that is “encircled” by one town, the Tegernsee is encircled by a handfull of charming villages (sshh — and the trail around it is just awesome!).
Rottach-Egern is one of them. From the Tegernsee you might have noticed the sharp spire of Rottach’s St. Lawrence Church, built in 1111. Up close, you’ll notice the Romanesque church has both a Gothic and Baroque appearance.
Bad Wiessee is the resort town around the Tegernsee. Besides its mineral springs, Bad Wiessee has a beautiful Baroque chapel (known as the Hubertuskapelle), 18th century farmhouses, and an 18th century Plague Chapel.
One of the more interesting towns shares a name with the Tegernsee. The town of Tegernsee is home to the Tegernsee Abbey, founded by two brothers in 746 A.D. — remaining open until 1803 (yes, that’s more than a thousand years) under the Benedictine Order. The Tegernsee Abbey is where you’ll find the Tegernsee Castle (once a Royal Palace), a restaurant, and a brewery.
FYI, a brewery was founded at the kloster some time in the middle of the 11th century. That’s like 500 years before the Purity Laws went into effect — but I still bet it was good.
Forget German beer for a minute, the St. Quirin Church of the Abbey is a must-see. This Baroque church is a sight to behold with all its marble, gold, and painted dome ceiling. If I could grab a pillow & lay on the floor all day staring at it, I would. They wouldn’t let me, though, the spoil sports! ;-)
So, on to Kreuth it was — at least I know this town can party. Every year on November 6th the town holds its Leonhardifahrt, which they’ve been doing for over 500 years. We Germans do love tradition, don’t we?
Just don’t go expecting them to let you in to see Schloss Ringberg. This 20th century castle (that looks older because it’s got a blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles) is only open once every other year. When they do open it up, everyone wants a glimpse.
It’s a good thing there are ferry crossings along the Tegernsee, this is how I got to Gmund am Tegernsee. Oh, wait — I could have just taken the train that arrives every hour from Munich, could I? Arriving either way is no big deal, so long as you see the 17th century St. Giles Church (it started out in the 11th century), or the Plague Chapel (built 1634) which has a World War I and World War II memorial right outside.
You know what? Who cares if all roads lead to Rome or if all the water leads to the Danube. I’m staying right here for a while…