Wilder Kaiser – four days of great views, delicious food and fun trails

I know it has been quiet here for quite some time. I changed jobs at the beginning of the year and was pretty busy getting myself organised in a new city. But I really want to get back to sharing more of my small and bigger adventures here on this blog of mine. So to start things of again I like to share with you my first four days hike in the alps in the area of the so called “Wilder Kaiser”.

I always wanted to do a hiking trip from one mountain cabin to another. I just imagined it to be very magical to be able to see the sun rise and set high up in the mountains.

Sunset from the VorderfeldenkaiserhuetteAnd I was right. It is such a relaxing experience to be able to stay at a hut for the night and not having to get down to the valley before sunset. But let’s get down to the details of our tour.

Two friends, my brother and I more or less followed the tour put together by the DAV, the German hiking club. We did shorten the hike on our third day because the suggested cabin was fully booked. We therefore had to take another one which in the end was the best night we spent on our trip. However let’s start from the beginning.

Day 1- Kufstein to Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte
(1.415m up / 515m down – 3,5-4 h)

The tour starts at Kufstein in Austria. From Munich you can easily take a train which takes roughly one hour. In Kufstein you then have to take a bus to Ebbs and get off at “Schulzentrum” (school center). From there you follow the Kaiserbergstraße following the directions to Aschinger Alm until you reach a sign saying “Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte” – I know this is a very German name for a cabin ;). It’s the destination on the first day.

Following the serpentines up into the forest we quickly gained altitude. The path gets quite steep sometimes and very narrow as well. We reached the cabin in roughly four hours taking our time and making some breaks on the way up.

The Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte was a really nice cabin to stay in. We shared a five bed room with a nice guy who we met at the next hut as well. The terrace in front of the cabin is perfect for sunbathing. We stayed there till it was time for dinner and the sun started to set. Dinner was good but food wise the breakfast really blow my mind. The buffet was more than I ever expected to be served on a mountain hut.

KufsteinVorderfeldenkaiserhütte

Day 2 – Vorderkaiserfeldenhütte to Stripsenjochhaus
(1.400m up / 1.200m down – 7,5-8 h)

So having had a filling breakfast we set off on our second stage of the trip. You can choose between two different routes. One is a bit more challenging and goes straight up from the cabin covering three different peaks nearby before you end up on the same trail as the other option. We actually wanted to go for the less steep and shorter option but were forced to also make at least one of the peaks due to lumber work on our trail.

In the end the detour was worth the round about 1.000 metres more of altitude. The view at the top of the so called “Pyramidenspitze” was pretty great and the trail was, although a bit challenging, fun to walk. Instead of our planned five hours hike we ended up with roughly seven hours of walking before we reached our destination for the day: the Stripsenjochhaus.

Pyramidenspitzeday 2 at Wilder KaiserStripsenjochhaus

The last hour or so was quiet hard though. 20 minutes before you reach the cabin you have to go up around 100 metres of altitude which after a long day of hiking can be draining. However spotting the cabin at the ridge between to peaks wipes the hardship quickly away.

Overall the cabin was very clean and we enjoyed our four bed room. However compared to the other huts we stayed in, the food was only average I would say.

Day 3 – Stripsenjochhaus to Kaindlhütte
(547m up / 876m down – 6-7 h)

On the third day my legs started to get a bit tired. Starting the tour of the day, it didn’t help that we first had to get down to the valley. I always find the descent harder than the ascent. Make sure you stop at the Anton-Karg-Haus for a coffee or maybe even late breakfast when you reach the bottom of the valley. It might even be nice to skip breakfast at the Stripsenjochhaus and eat it after the descent at the Anton-Karg-Haus. I think the food might be much better ;).

But make sure that you don’t stuff yourself because from there the ascent via the so called “Bettlersteig” (beggar’s climb) starts. I think for this part you shouldn’t be a complete beginner and have some experience of hiking in the alps. The trail gets quite narrow some times and there are very short bits where a bit of scrambling might be necessary.

Bettlersteig - Wilder KaiserBut don’t worry, you don’t need proper climbing gear. As an experienced hiker you will have no problem at all. On the third day it was amazing how far we had come. Because on our way up we often saw the Stripsenjochhaus and even our first hut on the other side of the valley. It’s a great feeling to see how far your own feet can take you.

Wilder Kaiser After around six hours of relaxed hiking we reached our last hut: the Kaindlhütte. I only can recommend to change the original DAV tour towards this destination. The cabin isn’t big which makes it feel very cosy and creates a comfortable atmosphere. On top of that, we had the best food on our trip at this hut. So delicious 🙂

And if that’s not enough to convinve you, have a look at the pictures.

KaindlhütteKaindlhüttesunset at KaindlhütteDay 4 – Kaindlhütte to Kufstein
(263m up / 935m down – 3h)

On our last day we took the direct way down to Kufstein because we wanted to be back in Munich at around 4pm. We took around three and a half hours to get to the bus station where there is a bus every 30 minutes or so going to Kufstein.

However if you still have some energy left you can do another though hike over the so called “Scheffauer” and the Hintersteiner lake. If you don’t feel like you can handle another peak, you can still make a detour to the lake which is meant to be really nice for swimming as well.

Overall I was surprised how exhausted I was in the evenings and how in the moring after a few steps I felt energised again. The four days were very relaxing and a great oportunity for digital detox. We didn’t have any signal so we spent our evenings playing cards and having early nights. If you like hiking and the alps, I can only recommend doing this tour or a tour like this. You will love it.

Tipps and Overview:

 

 

 

Sightseeing and great food in Montmartre

At the end of October I packed my little carry-on suitcase and went off to a one week trip to Paris and London. I really needed the break and was happy that my brother and an old friend of mine accompanied me. We took the TGV to Paris and arrived at noon on the last saturday of October. Because our Airb’n’b was conveniently located in Montmartre we choose to use the afternoon to explore that special part of the city.

entrance of the cemetry of MontmartreI know some of you might find it creepy but we started our tour by exploring the cemetery of Montmartre. You will find it in the west of the quarter. The entrance is at the end of the Avenue Rachel.

Make sure you take that entrance, before you end up walking around the whole cemetery like we did in search for another one. Because we thought – “there surely is more than one entrance”. Well, I tell you there isn’t 😉

cemetery Montmartregrave of Heinrich HeineSome very famous painters, writers and musicians are burried on that cemetery. But even if you don’t spot one of the famous graves, the variety of tombstones and decoration is quite unique. Within seconds the quiet and the calmness of the cemetery lets you forget that you are in the middle of the French capital.

After leaving the cemetery we headed up the hill towards Sacré Coeur passing the famous Place du Tertre. Make sure you don’t take the direct way. Just walk around, get lost and discover the narrow alleys and old streets of that quarter. But, do make sure not to miss the vineyard behind Musée de Montmartre.

vineyard of MontmartreFrom there we strolled through the narrow streets heading slowly towards the dome of Sacré Coeur. On our way I admired the pretty little houses and dreamed up a whole life of me living in one of them.

streets of Montmartre

 – What do you say? Dream house material? –

Finally we arrived at the breathtaking cathedral Sacré-Coeur.

Cathedral Sacré CoeurThe square in front of the cathedral is very crowded due to the view you get over the city. Because Montmartre is the only hill in Paris and so it is the only natural place for a good view over the town.

Do go into the cathedral. It is free and the interior is as beatiful as the outside of the church.

view up to Sacré CoeurWe continued our way down and followed the rue Abesse back to our flat, stopping here and there to admire the cute little shops and to buy ourselves some dinner.

Speaking of dinner, because we stayed in the middle of Montmartre we went out for dinner to a couple of pretty good restaurants. The food was such a treat so that I completely forgot to take pictures…

So, if you are looking for a good location for a nice french meal, you can’t go wrong with those:

Jeanne B.
A cute little roastery with local sourced food and a small well-arranged menu. The staff is very friendly and speaks English if your French is a bit rosty. They offer a deal for a three course menu on the evening for only 29 Euros.

Chez Toinette 
If you want traditional french food, go to Chez Toinette. We tried our first snails there and endulged in a delicious dug as a main and a heavenly creme brulée. It is a bit more pricy than Jeanne B. but worth every visit. Do book a table though because it fills up very quickly.

Le réciproque
This restaurant was extraordinary. The menu costs 35 Euros and you get close to Michelin star dinner for that. I was mind-blown by the price-performance ratio. I would have not expected such a treat for that amount of money. Again I would recommend to book a table. And don’t be put away by the french menu. The staff do speak English as well.

I can’t recommend those three restaurants enough. The food was delicious and the staff very friendly. In all three locations the waiter or waitress spoke English. On the top of that, they were also very helpful with the selection of wine.

I mean what would be a proper french dinner with a good glass of wine, right?

 

 

Gibraltar – one big rock, nice beaches and british food

I still owe you a report about my final destination of our roadtrip – Gibraltar. Let’s put it this way: I probably would have never considered visiting Gibraltar without my friend living there. However, spending a couple of days there I got to like this place.

Entering Gibraltar I felt like being transferred right back to England. Everything looks so British. One minute you have been in Spain and the next you are walking past a huge Morrisons offering everything I missed from my time in Leeds. Even the weather changed from clear and bright to foggy and windy within one day 😉

But let’s get started on what you should or can do when visiting Gibraltar.

1. The Rock and the Nature Reserve

Gibraltar from above

Take the cable car or walk up to the top of the massive rock dominating the city. From up there you have a great view of the city and can watch the monkeys chasing tourists or trying to steal stuff out of unoccupied bags.

Rock of Gibraltar

The day we went up the weather was extremely strange. I have never seen something like this before. On the one side of the rock there were heavy clouds which the wind blew over the edge like in the picture above. Doesn’t it look strange?

2. St. Michael’s Cave

After we took the cable car to get up, we decided to take our time and walk down to the city. On our way we passed St. Michael’s Cave – a very nice stalactite cave which is open for visitors. The cave is illuminated with colour-changing lights which is really nice to watch.

St. Michael's Cave Gibraltar

3. Beach

Before the weather turned all weird and british I had one day of sunshine which I used to explore the edges of the place and most importantly check out the beach.

beach in Gibraltar

This beautiful place lies on the opposite side of the rock. If you want to walk there, take the way via the airport – don’t try it the other way round. Trust me I tried an ended up being halfway around the rock when hitting a very long and dark tunnel with a sign – pedestrians not allowed!

The Sandy Bay is the last of the three beaches but it is worth passing the others. When I visited back at the end of may it was very calm there. The water was cold but nice 🙂

Definitely one of my favourite places in Gibraltar.

coast of gibraltar

4. Europa Point

Trying to walk around the rock I also passed the Europa Point which you also can add to your list of sights. Being the most southern point in Gibraltar, you can see the African coast if the weather is clear.  Besides that you can also visit a military museum which I didn’t because of the nice, sunny weather that day.

Where to eat?

Gibraltar has a lot of british Pubs and restaurant chains like Wagamama. However if you keep your eyes open you can find some really nice places for local sea food or some spanish inspired food.

On our first evening we went to a restaurant in the so called Ocean Village – a nice area with lots of bars and restaurants. We went to El Faro where I ate some really nice grilled fish. Afterwards we headed to the massive yacht Sunborn for drinks at their terrace. If you are looking for a fancy location do go there.

On my last evening we headed towards town to a local fish restaurant – The Blue Anchor. My friend and I shared a platter full of seafood fresh from the water. Probably one of the best meals on my holidays.

Seafood at Gibraltar

Roadtrip from Málaga to Gibraltar – Castillo de Castellar de la Frontera

After one day in Málaga, me and my friend hired a car and started our trip to Gibraltar. Driving along the coast we first stopped in Marbella. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t as good as we hoped so we just walked along the beach instead of actually going for a swim.

Beach at Marbella, Spainsea at Marbella

I can’t really tell if I liked Marbella because we didn’t see much more than the beach. However pasing huge hotels at the promenade, I would’nt choose Marbella over Málaga for a longer stay. But as I said I can’t judge properly.

What I can tell you is, that Marbella has a great restaurant for sushi. The Kyoto offers extraordinary sushi not far away from the beach. I know it is a bit strange to eat sushi in Spain when you can have tapas but my friend had serious cravings for sushi so we ended up enjoying a pretty good meal.

Sushi restaurant in MarbellaSushi at Marbella

After lunch we drove further following the coast. Some kilometres before Gibraltar we drove north to Castillo de Castellar –  a beautiful old castle with a small town around it.

Castillo de Castellar– Doesn’t this look stunning? –

We parked the car and got lost in the narrow streets of the small town.

castillo de castellarcastillo de castellarcastillo de castellarIt is a bit of a ride to get there but it is definitely worth the effort. You will not regret it, i promise.

castillo de castellarNext to the castle is a small lake where you can go for a swim or rent a canoe. Within the town you will find small cafés and some little shops. You can even stay in the castle which is a hotel now.

After a long stroll around we headed towards Gibraltar which we reached in the early evening. Perfectly timed for a nice dinner and an early night ;).