Golden rays of sunshine shimmering through the treetops. Rustling leaves and the crackling of branches, soft forest floor, streaked with roots, the scent of wood, moss and damp foliage - for centuries the forest has been a mysterious, archaic place of longing. He was extensively sung about in songs, depicted in pictures or described in literature. As in Goethe's poem "Found": "I went in the forest / So for myself, / And looking for nothing, / That was my meaning. / (...)"
Even today the forest exudes a magical attraction, symbolizing health, natural force and salvation at the same time. And nowhere else, I thought, could it be more shady in the hot summer of 2018 than in the Bavarian Forest.
Escape the heat in the Bavarian Forest
The Bavarian Forest is one of the largest forest areas in Central Europe and borders directly on the Czech Republic. In addition to the first and oldest national park in Germany, there are also two nature parks where you can observe native animal species and other natural sights. Densely overgrown primeval forests, small lakes and raised bogs - all of this spread over various altitudes from around 700 meters to 1.450 meters.
If you don't know too much, like me, about the regional characteristics, this is the first point of contact Hans Eisenmann House. It is one of two national park centers that want to convey to visitors more about the history of the forest in a particularly vivid way, such as how forest wilderness is cultivated in the first place. I found out what the park motto “let nature be nature” exactly means can be experienced after a strong thunderstorm. Trees that are swept away simply stay where they are, are gradually attacked by bark beetles and eventually die. What seems morbid to us, however, depicts that completely natural process that first paves the way for a stable and species-rich forest: the dead wood provides habitat for many species of animals and fungi, and new trees grow out of the fallen trunks.
A hike with animal encounters
The information sheet promises to be able to see up to 40 native animal species on the circular route in the animal open-air area. I see brown bears wallowing in the sun, including a lynx, I look eagle owls in the eye and share the blackberries with a young wild boar family along the way. Since the blackberries are not enough, I stop in a cozy dining room and decide between a snack and bread dumplings after a visit to a traditional glassworks.
The Guest Service Environment Ticket (GOOD) ensures that all regional highlights can be reached easily and in an environmentally friendly manner. With the ticket, which can be obtained in many accommodations, you can experience the entire region free of charge by bus and train.
Admire traditional glass art
With the promising Igelbus and the forest train, I continue to Frauenau, the regional center of glassblowing. Located directly on “Glasstraße”, I would like to find out more about the traditional handicraft that has shaped the region for 700 years. In addition to a glass museum and the glass sculpture park, there is also here Glashütten. Here you can look over the shoulder of the glassmakers at work. Directly at the stove I observe the impressive transformation of glowing mass into artful glass objects. Many a visitor even tries out a glassmaker himself.
I am now drawn back into the forest, actually on one of the numerous hiking trails. It is not without reason that the Bavarian Forest is called “the green roof of Europe”, which provides enough shade even on hot days to climb one of the peaks. It starts at the hiking car park at the entrance to the climatic health resort Sankt Englmar, up to the 1.048 meter high Pröller summit. The hike leads through a forest of beech and spruce, which grow here wild and natural. The further and higher I go, the fewer people I meet. It becomes quiet inside of me. No street noise, no voices, no bells ringing - only in the distance the rustling of a mountain stream. It continues upwards until the summit cross appears in front of me. I run the last few meters. Then the view opens - for a moment I am filled with an irrepressible feeling of freedom, of being one with nature, and of the awe of its rules, which does not adhere to anything man-made. Perhaps it is the autonomy of forest and nature that reflect our longing for it. Maybe it's answer?
By the way, Goethe's poem continues with “In the shadow I saw / A flower standing / Shining like stars / How beautiful little eyes. // I want to break it, / It says fine: / Should I have withered away? “- Goethe already understood how important it is to respect nature.
There is a lot to discover - even on your own doorstep
The trip to the Bavarian Forest showed me that beautiful places are very close. You don't necessarily have to drive far or even fly. There is also a lot, sometimes exotic, to discover right outside the front door. Like the Bavarian Forest, a natural primeval forest in the middle of Germany that answered my longing.
Sustainable overnight stays in the Bavarian Forest. For example in these accommodations:
On the "Gutsalm Harlachberg“In Bodenmais.
Photo credits: Lisa Klakow