After nearly 800 kilometres of heavy traffic to reach our destination, we heard quiet murmuring around us: “What kind of mileage does it get?” “What the tolls must cost…!”
We parked on our spot for the next four days at the Park Grubhof campsite in Lofer, Austria. The first outdoor colleague sidled up to us and asked if he could take a look inside Marilyn: “Is it always so tidy in here?” Of course it is – we have an infinite number of cabinets to put everything in. Now you’ve got to be asking yourselves where the Stranddekos have ended up this time...
It’s early October and we’re at the Camper Van Summit Meeting, a wonderfully small and personal festival for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, VanLife fans and fun-loving individuals. There are sports offers for mountain biking, hiking and climbing. There are lots of talks from manufacturers and bloggers about near and faraway travels, photography, van DIY tips and cooking. Plus fun gatherings each evening with chili, a grill challenge, a campfire and music. In short, there’s something for both young and old; the main thing is to like being outdoors. So that includes us too, right? Even though we’re in the mountains this time. But we should take a look at them too :). We traded in fresh seaside air for mountain air. And we enjoyed it too.
We’re on the road for Stranddeko and Niesmann+Bischoff and simply wanted to explain why we don’t drive a campervan as open-air enthusiasts and outdoor athletes. Say what you will about clichés, they simply exist. And they exist on the one side just as much as they do on the other. Do we think that’s awful? Nope, somehow the opinions always show up collectively. But we also have lots of fun poking around in the matter.
We got a nice pitch for Marilyn that put us on show. We had two talks ahead of us on the agenda. We gave the first talk right in front of Marilyn followed by an inside tour for those who were interested. Everyone had to dutifully take their shoes off first!
We put together our water toys, which also attracted some interest. After all, that’s how we ended up with a motorhome in the first place: water sports are a motorsport. And at the end, we went to the impressively sized rear garage of the Arto where there’s room for everything.
We talked about all of Marilyn’s technical details, which especially had the guys’ eyes wide with excitement. It’s when we talk about mileage at the very latest that we hear the approving ohs and ahs. Frohmi is more in charge of the ladies and the spacious bathroom. Warning – cliché! But there are fortunately exceptions :)
We gave our second talk in a tent due to the bad weather. It included our retrospective of all the motorhomes we’ve been able to travel with until now and how we ended up with a Niesmann+Bischoff. After all, we started our motorhome career in a VW van fifteen years ago. And in the end, we also consistently heard from the audience that such a chic integrated motorhome also does make some real sense.
The evening program always started with an aperitif with the Hymer guys just across the way. It was always a fun get-together. One of the guys even got started with an apprenticeship at Niesmann+Bischoff. It’s a small world. We then went into the tent, for example for a travel talk from Pataschas World about the Danish islands in the Baltic Sea and then to a mass feeding of hungry fresh-air fanatics. It was, by the way, always super tasty!! We also sometimes had a great sun-and-cloud panoramic view during breakfast. That was just the way we like it. Okay, Frohmi was a bit more euphoric than Bo, who is an avowed flat country fan from Tirol.
But then... then it started raining. At first, it was just insanely cold. We fortunately always have our full winter gear with us in the depths of our cabinets for North Sea storms. And we really wore as much as possible. Going from the Rhineland’s twenty degrees to three degrees with the first snow on the mountain tops was a bit sudden. And then non-stop, hard rain poured down for twelve hours without even slightly letting up. And it accompanied us time and again right until the end. But that can’t scare off a couple of outdoor freaks. Everyone just kept on doing their thing. Being in a bad mood doesn’t change anything – it keeps raining anyway. Sun is easy. Our absolute favourite features were our awning and the shower, which was permanently occupied as our drying room. And at that point at the very latest, even the most staunch van driver peered over at Marilyn with a bit of envy.
The Park Grubhof campsite
The festival was held, as mentioned earlier, at the Park Grubhof campsite. It has won awards for pretty much everything possible and really is a top campsite that we can whole-heartedly recommend. If you drive a bit further on the A8 past Lake Chiemsee, you can easily reach the area without needing to buy a GoBox. Lofer is located in a broad valley, which gave us enough of a view in all directions. We really liked it! In the second photo, we were able to snatch a picture of the mountain top before landing in a cloud. The site is also very open and right beside a river for some welcome cooling-off in summer. The pitches are very generous and don’t have any hedges that make it feel cramped, which we really liked. The reception building has a small shop, a tasty restaurant that we thoroughly tested out on the last evening, a sauna and a fitness room. The bathroom facilities are spacious and very chic and modern. And the campsite also stays open the entire year. Skiing areas are nearby.
You can go on some fantastic hiking tours from the campsite. For a short trip, there’s a small ravine as an option with a waterfall that you can get to on a boardwalk. The walk was only a flop in terms of photography.
We took off on Sunday morning while there was a bit of sun to discover the Lofer Alpine world. After four days of festival life, we were in desperate need of some exercise.
Two gondolas take you right to the Alpine pasture. We really liked it there. And the passing Scottish clouds also make for a pretty picture, don’t you think?
Everyone will find a hiking trail that suits them up here. There are super easy roads and also some strenuous climbs. We climbed up to the first lookout tower, ate some Kaiserschmarrn (finally!!! sugared pancake bits), Bo inspected a snow gun and we decided to climb the roughly 1,700 m-high mountain Grubhörndl. That’s how we got the picture looking down on the valley and campsite. For the last part, you definitely need to have good hiking boots and be sure footed. It goes over hill and dale, and the rain made everything muddy and slippery. When we got to the top, we saw, as you can see: nothing. A sign fortunately let us know what we were missing. Well, it wasn’t the first time we ended up in fog on some mountain. Quite reminiscent of Scotland. But we still really had a great time that day. For the end, we recommend taking a look at the timetable ahead of time for the ride back down to the valley. We as naive tourists just assumed they would run until dusk. With scolding, admonishing words and scathing looks, we were taken back down nonetheless. It was two minutes after official working hours (on the clock in the office). Oops – you live and learn.
By the time we got back to the site, everyone was gone. The Hymer colleague next door had just recently switched from a van to an ML-T, and there’s already no going back for him. The two make a pretty picture in front of the mountains!
We luckily had another week off and could relax from all the excitement. We have a lot of fun at trade shows and events. Talking with such different people is great and we love it. But we also like to have our peace and quiet afterwards :)
We took off to explore a few Bavarian lakes. We spent one night on Lake Chiemsee while passing through. It’s somehow too idyllic for us, but showed us at least in the morning how it can look with sun.
We drove by Lake Kochel to Lake Walchen. With its crystal-clear, glass-like blue-green water and perfectly timed sunshine, it charmed us into taking an SUP tour. We were a bit surprised to see that all of the campsites in the area already close at the beginning of October. The season was over. We would have definitely headed for one or two of them considering they’re right by the water. The campsite on Lake Walchen is okay, but it’s surrounded by trees and doesn’t have a far-reaching view. Plus the day was still young, the sun was shining for a change and rain was forecasted for the next day. So we changed our plans again and drove 30 kilometres on the pretty German Alpine Road to Garmisch Partenkirchen (see cover picture). We nested there for two nights at the Camping Resort Zugspitze.
It was the most expensive campsite we’ve ever been to. But it also included a sauna, and with all the other extras, we think that put the price into perspective. We spent a cosy rainy day there with a view of the mountains – correction, clouds – warmed ourselves up in the sauna and Bo fried us up some tasty treats under the awning.
Frohmi really wanted to go up the Zugspitze the next day. But despite the clear blue sky, it was still stuck in the clouds, so there was no sense in that. We enjoyed the spectacular mountain view one last time instead and continued on to Lake Ammer.
The sun was shining and we were in a great mood as wind had been forecasted and we had a new wind toy on board that we urgently needed to try out.
We arrived at Lake Ammer – and it was raining. Really? A bank of clouds stubbornly settled right over us. So what. It didn’t matter! We had to test it!!! We fortunately found a layby right near the water. We had to learn that parking and water sports aren’t quite as compatible near Bavarian Lakes as they are by the sea. Which also makes sense somehow.
The new type of sport is called wing surfing. In short, it’s a combination of kite surfing and wind surfing. We’re quite happy with our first attempt. Even though there was hardly any wind. It all went well and doesn’t seem to be too hard. The board has what is known as a foil mounted underneath it. You can see it in the picture where Bo is taking it apart. And if you do it right, it’s almost like you’re floating above the water on a kind of wing. We’re curious to see how quickly we learn how to do it and you can be as well :).
Well, that’s it for our holiday as Mountaindekos. We really had so much fun. But – shhh – just between us, we’re sooooo excited to get back to the sea!!!
A bit of information to conclude:
The Camper Van Summit Meeting will be held three times annually as of next year in Austria and in the Ruhr Area of Germany.
The fantastic campsite in Austria:
And if you’d like to read more of our personal motorhome stories, click here: