A Winter Weekend in Oberammergau

It's early afternoon, but the sun is already low behind the mountains as we thread our way towards the Ammergau Alps. With each transfer, our train gets shorter and the mountains grow taller. Winter sunlight illuminates the mountaintops as shadows climb up from the valley floor. It will be almost dark by the time we arrive in Oberammergau for Nathanael's birthday weekend but it doesn't matter. We are happily returning to this small town in Bavaria which we've already visited in summer and fall, with every expectation that we'll enjoy winter here too.

Stepping off the train, we are greeted by fresh, crisp, clean mountain air which is a welcome change from the city. We walk the short distance to the centre of town, which is buzzing with the festive atmosphere of the weeks before Christmas. We make our way past holiday shoppers browsing decorative storefronts and around a large Christmas tree or two, soon arriving at our guest house. On our host's recommendation, we set out for some traditional Bavarian food at a nearby restaurant. We celebrate Nathanael's birthday with hot bowls of pumpkin soup, Käsespätzle, Wurstsalat, and of course a delicious dark beer from the nearby monastery at Ettal. Apple strudel and coffee complete the meal and we walk 'home' for a long winter's nap.

The next morning we wake to church bells ringing softly and clear skies. A mist surrounds the Kopfel, the distinctive mountain which overlooks Oberammergau. After a hearty breakfast at our guesthouse, we head out to explore and are quickly reminded of how much art there is in the town. From the extensively decorated church interior to locally made wood carvings to the famous Lüftlmalerei (traditional wall paintings on building exteriors), there is art everywhere!

Pilatushaus with Lüftlmalerei on snowy winter day

We continue walking and find ourselves on a path along the Ammergau river. There are lovely walking trails on both sides of the narrow river, and as we squint through the sunlight reflecting off the water, we notice ducks happily floating along the frigid water as a golden mist rises in the chilly air.  It's amazing that they can swim along so easily while I am struggling to keep my fingers warm!

I am better at keeping my camera batteries warm than my fingers so it's time for a coffee break. Of course, each cafe and bakery is full of tempting treats and naturally we need to try some before heading back outside. As cold as it is, it doesn't last long before the natural beauty draws us outside again. And this is how the weekend goes - photography, coffee, photography, coffee. Oh wait, that's most days! ;)             

Cold, sparkling, cozy. If I had to sum up our trip to Oberammergau in three words, it would be these, and altogether, that makes it a pretty photogenic place. 

Where is your favourite place to visit in winter? Share in the comments!

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