Time: 5.5h. Up: 30m. Down: 0m.
Distance: 23km. Difficulty: easy.

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Stage 1: Munich (520m) to Kloster Schäftlarn (555m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

The H2H begins in the center of Munich: Marienplatz. But before you start, look around at what you will not see for most of the next four months. Hordes of people, many of them tourists. Buskers. Shops. Cafés. Tall buildings. Signs and billboards. All the hustle and bustle of modern urban life. Take a few minutes to let it sink in.

Then settle your packs on your backs and start to leave it all behind. Head through the streets of Munich to the River Isar, turn south and follow it for three days to the Alps.

Although you spend much of this first day in the city and its suburbs, after about half an hour this will be hardly noticeable because almost all the way is on paths in the park-like valley of the Isar.

The citizens of Munich love their cosmopolitan city, but, as shown by the profusion of outdoor restaurants, convertibles, and bike paths, they also love fresh air and outdoor activities. They have therefore given Munich a green heart and a link to the surrounding countryside -- the Isar and the belt of parks along its banks -- which make it one of the most pleasant major cities in Europe to approach or leave by foot. A perfect place, therefore, to begin a civilized expedition such as the H2H.

Start at Marienplatz, then head west to the Isar via the old gate in the city walls at Isartor. At the river cross to the eastern bank then walk south staying always next to the river. At or just before Großhesselohe cross over to the west bank and then continue down to Kloster Schäftlarn, a complex of buildings set back about several hundred meters from the river across open fields.

Alternatives: unnecessary, or rather, if necessary then you probably shouldn't be on the H2H!
Maps: a town map of Munich and then K-180 Starnberger See.

<There is no blog entry for this stage since I did it just prior to the arrival of the other H2H hikers. As a group our first day was Stage 2.>

Click here to go to all of our H2H photos on Flickr.

Room and Board Options
Lunch: there are various restaurants and Biergärten along the way, although you mostly have to leave the path and climb out of the Isar valley to get to them. My favorite is the Waldwirtschaft in Großhesselohe (signposted from the path) reached a couple of hours after leaving Marienplatz.
Dinner and overnight: for convenience, and good food and beer, stay and eat at the Klosterbräustüberl (+49-(0)8178/3694, 14 rooms). Other options can be found here but all are some distance off the path (the closest are those in Ebenhausen).

Getting There and Back
Munich: there is a railway station and a major airport here (for train schedule information, see Die Bahn).
Kloster Schäftlarn: a path leads from the Kloster a kilometer uphill to the village of Ebenhausen from where S-Bahn (local) trains every 20-40 minutes will take you back to Munich (for S-Bahn schedule information, see the MVV).
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Munich , centered on Koster Schäftlarn.

Background Information and Links
Wikipedia: Munich, Isar, Waldwirtschaft, Kloster Schäftlarn.
Local websites: Munich, Schäftlarn, Kloster Schäftlarn.

Interesting local topics:

  • Bayern. Bayern (as Bavaria is called in German) is a proud and ancient state that traces its existence as a political entity back to around 550 AD. It was only (unwillingly) absorbed into modern Germany in 1871, and maintains to this day an independent streak that is revealed by such things as its name (Freistaat Bayern... i.e., the Free State of Bavaria), its politics (it is the only German state with ...a powerful local party, the CSU, which has ruled Bavaria without a break since the 1950's, ...to have refused to ratify the Federal Constitution, and ...an independence movement), and its tendency to reject membership in nationwide German organizations in favor of setting up its own, nominally independent ones (e.g., there are two branches of the Red Cross in Germany: the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, and the Bayerisches Rotes Kreuz). It is a fascinating place, and since you'll be spending a couple of weeks here, the more you know, the more interesting those weeks will be. Start with the Wikipedia page on Bavaria, which has lots of links to more information.
  • Beer. On the H2H you should drink beer in Bayern, wine in France, and both, but with regrets, in Austria and Switzerland. Bavarian beer is, in the opinion of many (including me), the best in the world, and no-one should walk through Bavaria without trying several of the thousands of local varieties. Given the importance of beer to the local economy and culture (the oldest local brewery -- Weihenstephan -- is older than Munich itself!), a little reading beforehand would seem to be in order. A good place to start is the Wikipedia article on the history of beer, and then you might want to continue with the article on Beer Gardens, or, much better but in German, Biergärten.

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