Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Bavarian Forest - All in White

I love waking up to snow. When I went to bed on Friday night it seemed unlikely... but as I stepped outside of our apartment-style room at the Reutmühle Resort on Saturday, snow flakes swirled lazily about, and each step was accompanied by the soft crunch of the pristine snow under my cozy winter Crocs.

Yes, here in the Bavarian Forest - in Southern Germany - it's still very much Winter. Which makes horse-drawn carriage and -sleigh rides all the more special. Over rivers and creeks, past thick patches of ever-green forests, and across pretty rolling hills, there's no better way to experience the surrounding countryside.

Based out of the tiny town of Ulrichsreut, these sweetly authentic tours are made possible by Angela and Max Seidl, whose farm has been in the family for three generations, and their massive “South-German Cold-Blooded Horses” .

Max speaks with a thick Bavarian drawl, making him hard to understand - even for some of the Germans on board - but his country-boy charm and adoration for his incredible horses easily penetrates the language barrier.

After an hour gallivanting through various sleepy Bavarian villages, we were invited inside of their old farmhouse for some “Glühwein” and hot chocolate.

Having opted for the latter, I promise you it was the most incredible hot chocolate I have ever had. Made by Oma Seidl herself with their own farm-fresh milk, it was served at just the right temperature, topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. A little piece of heaven from Seidl-hof.

After returning to the hotel for lunch I took the boys back to the room to nap... while Tobi went to a special back-strengthening class. The plan was to meet up in an hour for cross-country skiing, but since the snow along the path was too thin for skis, we opted for a family hike along a nearby trail of the Bavarian Forest National Park. To make the hike toddler-friendly, we borrowed a sled from the hotel reception and pulled Lukas along the snowy parts. We passed a pretty stream, several meadows, lots of huge snow-covered trees, a trout pond, and a couple of old farm houses. Time flew as we marched along, did somersaults in the snow (alright, so I was alone on that one), and took lots and lots of photos.

When we weren't outdoors, we filled our time at the tropical-themed indoor pool and jacuzzi, and Tobi managed to find some time for the sauna.

If there was a drawback to the trip, it was the length of our stay. Two nights and only one full day gave us too little time to explore the area, and it felt like we were in a hurry to relax. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? What are the chances that we'll get it right next time?

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