Tuesday, June 25, 2013

German lesson: spazieren the North Shore

Wildflowers and Lichtenstein Castle, Swabian Alps

I just got back from a ten-day trip Germany. There is so much to learn and experience there, even with their natural areas. Amazing how in so densely populated a country there are such great trails and great experiences in natural areas.

Natural areas in Germany are:
  • Very well-marked (excellent trail guides are available)
  • Accessible by public transportation
  • Lots of amenities (and by amenities, I mean beer) (or ice cream)
  • Lots of people, and they’re better dressed than you are.
What's left of a blueberry muffin, sidewalk cafe, Berlin
If you want to go out on foot, you might need a little German vocabulary lesson. You might want to know the difference between spazieren (basically, going for a stroll) and wandern (hiking long distances)

 My books are mostly about wandern, longer distance hiking. While many Germans love to hike, virtually all Germans spazieren.

If you want a good German outdoor experience but don't want the jet lag, you can spazieren on the North Shore as well.

Where to stroll the North Shore, in style
One obvious place is the Downtown Lakewalk. You can put on your Sunday best, walk for a little while, stop at a sidewalk cafe for drinks or ice cream. Plenty of people, plenty of experience.

But wait, there’s more North Shore spazieren:

Head up the North Shore to Two Harbors and take a civilized stroll around Lighthouse Point. That’s Hike 14 in my book Hiking the North Shore. It’s a 3.4 mile loop that is two-thirds rocky Lake Superior shoreline and one-third city sidewalks. Throw in a lighthouse, a huge steam engine, and the Dairy Queen, and you’ve got a European-style hike experience.You can start this hike at Burlington Beach, just off Highway 61 at the city campground on the east edge of town.

For the ultimate German outdoor experience on the North Shore, head for Lutsen Mountains and take the gondola to the top of Moose Mountain. That’s where you start Hike 35 in my book, a 4.2 mile hike back down to the base along the Superior Hiking Trail. But you can totally just stroll along the ridgeline, enjoy the amazing views, then hang out at the mountain top chalet and enjoy the views some more...with a beverage.

Auf wiedersehen!