The First Snowy Saturday In The Central German Mountains
Yesterday the temperatures finally dropped and heavy storms pushed the clouds away from us after what felt like weeks of pouring rain (it was actually only raining for a few days, but the amount of water was ridiculous). I wished I could spend the weekend in the Alps, but it’s simply too far, so instead I decided to to drive to the Harz – a low mountain range in northern/central Germany.
Friday afternoon when I came up with the idea I was so excited already that I didn’t wanna wait till the next morning. But I was planning on going to the Irish Pub with a friend to see a band performing that night. Somehow I was so tired after a quick bike ride that I decided to grab coffee at Starbucks around 6pm; I got back an hour later and laid down on bed to relax for a while – when I woke up it was midnight, needless to say the concert was over already.
After a lot of tossing and turning I finally got out of bed at 630am and packed my backpack, made myself some coffee and oatmeal and left soon after. The sky didn’t look too promising and the 70minute drive felt much longer due to some snowfall the closer I got to the mountains.
By the time I arrived in Torfhaus, a small mining village in the National Park the snow stopped and it felt like the sun might even be strong enough to pop through the dark clouds. My first stop was the outdoor store Globetrotter; they have a tiny active store right in the village that’s open 7 days a week (that ain’t the norm in Germany) and run by five employees continuously. I had a nice talk about the region and cross country skiing with one of them for almost one hour before I left (with a pair of thin gloves).
Without a certain route in my head I started walking and the further I got out of the settlement the lesser folks I had to share the path with. Soon after I left I saw signs stating the direction and distance to the Brocken – the highest peak (1141m ) – but it was so cloudy that I couldn’t even see it yet. For some reason I brought my gas stove and instant coffee – the best thing when you’re out in the cold – so I looked for a calm place to unpack my stove and thirty seconds later I had good cup of hot coffee!
The further I got up to the peak (it’s rather a gentle dome) the more people appeared (there are roads leading further up and an old coal-powered train goes all the way up to the top), but the heavy storm and bad visibility made me feel solitary.
I warmed up from the inside and outside with some hot wine punch in a tavern. My legs were a little sore – not because of the 12km hike up the hill, but rather because of my bike tour the day before – so a short break felt great.
Once I got out the stormy and icy weather cooled me down immediately so I put on another layer of merino wool. Best equipped I started my walk down to the car. Around 2,5 hours later I made it right in time for sunset.
Before leaving I went to a cozy looking pub/restaurant for a glas of kid’s punch – it’s a hot apple cider with cinnamon and other wintery spices.
The day went by too fast and while driving home through the hilly slopes I was thinking to myself how lucky I am to live so close to such great places . I’d almost prefer it over the Alps and I’m excited to see how it’ll look like once the real snow arrives. With it being such a short drive I will come here more often, that’s for sure.
How did you spend your weekend?