Calendar

August: Isar fun against the heat

World-class cultural highlights, top international cuisine, exclusive shopping worlds and spectacular surroundings: Munich has a lot to offer in every season of the year. Here you will find a few additional and individual ideas for each month of the year.

Cooling off in the Isar on a hot summer’s day

Wide stony beaches, clear water and speedy access: Not many other cities come close to Munich and the Isar river in terms of swimming. The longest and most popular beach on the Isar starts at Reichenbachbrücke bridge and runs down to the Flauchersteg bridge. The only place where swimming is banned for safety reasons is a small section near Wittelsbacher Brücke bridge. The crowds begin to thin out slightly in the south around Marienklausensteg bridge. For nudists, we recommend the beach at Maria Einsiedel outdoor swimming pool or the stony beach at Flaucher park. Surfers, on the other hand, should head to the wave at Flosslände (a mooring point for river rafts). This spot is a lot more relaxed and calmer than the Eisbachwelle in the Englischer Garten. However, surfing is only permitted here at certain times. In August, it is open daily between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. In general, very few restrictions are place in and around the Isar although the river is officially classed as a wild river, even in the city. Take particular care when the water is high and when close to weirs, as these can form dangerous eddies. The water quality is checked on a regular basis and is classed as being safe for human health.

 

Back down to the valley: Almabtrieb celebrations

In Bavaria, 24 August – also known as St Bartholomew’s Day – traditionally marks the start of the “Almabtrieb” cattle drive. Pasture farming in the mountains has always followed a fixed pattern. At Whitsun, cows and their calves are taken up to the Alpine mountain pastures, where the grass is greener and more succulent. However, it would be too dangerous and cold for them up there during the winter, never mind that the grass would be hard to find under a blanket of snow. For this reason, the animals are brought back down to the valley for their safety at the end of the summer. To keep any evil spirits at bay, farmers decorate their cattle with ribbons or garlands of flowers. This tradition is known as Almabtrieb (literally: driving from the mountain pastures) and is still the cause of huge celebrations in many villages to this day. These events are announced at very short notice. If the summer has been particularly warm, the pasturing season can be extended until early October. For an overview of dates, see Almabtriebe.de. An extra special version of the Almabtrieb celebrations takes place in Mittenwald. Instead of cows, goats are paraded through the centre of the village in a tradition known as Goassabtrieb.

Elders and betters

The Hollerstaude is perhaps the most popular bush in Bavaria. “Holler” is what Bavarians call the elder or elderberry bush (known in the rest of Germany as the Holunder) (Sambucus nigra). Like wild garlic (see April), the elder is regarded as a kind of super plant. Elderflower tea is an old home remedy for colds due to its expectorant and slightly diaphoretic effect. The plant’s berries were once used to make a purple dye, which was suitable for dying leather. Because the elder bush grows almost anywhere and is easy to maintain, elderflower juice was once a kind of soft drink for poorer members of society. To make it, they collected the white elder flowers in large baskets and left them to soak in water for two days. The concoction was then filtered through a cloth and sweetened with sugar, creating an elderflower syrup. Adding water then gave you an elderflower cordial. Nowadays, the drink is a popular thirst quencher, particularly at Alpine huts. For a true speciality, try Hollerkiachl. These deep-fried pastries are made with elderflowers.

More about this: Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, Schachenhaus and of course Neuschwanstein: Bavaria’s castles and palaces are among the most beautiful in the world. And the best bit: even the journey to get to them (or back again) is almost a royal pleasure itself. Royal Wanderlust!

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photo: Christian Kasper