Panoramic Viewpoint: Hilltop Near Wessobrunn, Upper Bavaria

In Upper Bavaria, you can find an endless number of panoramic viewpoints. Thus the choice might appear a bit arbitrary. There will be certainly more places to be portrayed in the future but recently I discovered a viewpoint I particularly liked because of the extraordinary setting. There is a village nearby, meadows and woods and there is a free sight of the whole chain of mountains in the south.

It is easily accessible because it is close to the famous Wessobrunn monastery, where there is also a parking space, approximately one kilometre from the viewpoint which is basically a small road and a hilltop leading towards Diessen am Ammersee.

I discovered this viewpoint when I did part of the “King Ludwig 2 Trail” between Diessen am Ammersee and Wessobrunn. The viewpoint is certainly the highlight of this section of the trail. It is possible to do this (not recommended if it gets too warm) but there is no restaurant or such thing between Diessen and Wessobrunn. Due to the length of this part, it might be most suitable for a bicycle tour.

Sunday, March 11, was the first really warm day (17 Celsius) after the period of the arctic cold (“Beast From The East”) in Southern Bavaria. This was mostly due to the Foehn-Effect, which happens often during the wintertime. Foehn leads to an unusual rise in the temperature. The air becomes very clear and there is a clear sight of the mountains with many details. This day, however, there was also a special phenomenon, the so-called “Föhnkante”. This is a distinct border between clouds and the clearer part of the sky. It appears when the Foehn-Effect starts to break down. Subsequently, the following days were much colder and more winter-like.

In March there is little green and if the sun is behind higher-clouds colour in the landscape isn’t much appealing. But this time of the year between winter and spring could be interesting to capture structures in photography. After some time where I played a bit around with the pictures, I decided to present it in black and white. Black and white is often an interesting option and could reveal much of the special atmosphere of a place. The trick is not just to switch to black and white but trying different things with the software. There are also very good black and white filters in the NIK-collection software.

The viewpoint can be reached easily: you can use the parking space at the “Tassiloweg” behind the monastery. From there a steep path leads to the “Schloßbergstr.” The “Schloßbergstraße” leads to a settlement called “Haid” but do not walk towards the settlement but straight. The street becomes a small single road (better not go by car there because it is really very narrow and there is no parking space). It is great for a walk. There is also a seat there near the viewpoint and its fantastic for a rest – and of course to take pictures.

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The viewpoint is also not so far from the Hohen Peissenberg. Both places are very suitable for weather-photography. The place near Wessobrunn could be also of particular interest for sunsets or sunrise. It presents a very typical Upper Bavaria landscape setting.

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The most dominant mountain in the silhouette in the south is the Zugspitze. Seen from the viewpoint near Wessobrunn you have the Hohen Peissenberg with the big antenna in the foreground before the Zugspitze. It is good to choose a day like this one with the Foehn-Effect or come very early to capture the whole dimension of the view. The lower hills and the bigger mountains in the background add to the depth of the scenery.

The picture above is taken from the viewpoint and shows the whole Hohen Peissenberg. In the middle, there is a church. On the right side, there is a small tower, which is part of the weather station of Deutsche Wetterdienst. On the left side and also in the picture below is the big antenna.

Weather Lookout Points: Solitüde, Flensburg Fjord

Between Germany and Denmark is the Flensburg Fjord (Flensburger Förde). This is a long stretched and curved bay similar to a Scandinavian fjord. It belongs to the Baltic Sea. The Fjord ends in the famous town of Flensburg, which was sometimes a Danish and sometimes a German town. There are also famous tourist spots there as Glücksburg, a small city, and Holnis, a peninsula.

The area is frequented by tourists and sailors a lot and is also a favorite place for painters. A lot of people come from Berlin in the summer. On the other side, in Denmark, there are three little islands, “The Ochseninseln”. Unlike the flat “Nordfriesland” on the west side, the surroundings of the Fjord make a more England-like landscape with its green hills and many woods.

The Fjord is also a great place for weather-watching and photography. There are many viewpoints in Flensburg, on the Danish Coastline or at the top end of the Holnis Peninsula where there is a steep bank (visitors be careful!). It’s also a great place for watching birds or sunsets.

The destinations on the German side along the Flensburg-Fjord are connected by a highway, the “Nordstraße”. There are more fantastic lookout points in Langballig and Habernis.

However it isn’t necessary to do a long car ride, there are also great places within the city-limits of Flensburg: One example is the “Solitüde”, a beach and a quarter of Mürwik on the north-east side of Flensburg. It’s very popular among the inhabitants of Flensburg. Since a long time, there is also a restaurant and a small shipping pear. It’s great for swimming as long as are not so many jellyfish around.

But even more, it’s a great place for photography. It’s worth to visit the place all time of the year. Particularly, if the tourists are gone there is a unique atmosphere.

The shore consists of a beach and some meadows. Since I can remember there is a group of trees standing there. They never grew very big. They remind me always of a certain Tarkovsky-Film.

The place is an example of something which had been mentioned before: If you do weather-photography or video it’s always good to have good lookout points in mind, perhaps do an inventory of interesting places in a notebook, with their specific conditions. The Solitüde-Beach in Flensburg is a good example. It is quickly accessible and its a great backdrop. When I was there I always had been watching “great dramas” in the sky. Mostly if the wind is coming in from the North-West, it can be an interesting place.

There is wind most of the time. Weather is often changing quickly here and you have often completely different conditions within a few hours. However, it’s less extreme as on the west side of Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein with the Northern-Sea.

Contrast and color are also different most of the time as on the west-coast but there are many variations in atmospheres. The color of the Fjord’s water also changes all the time.

Even there is no tide on the Baltic-Seaside, water levels are changing too since if there is the wind coming in from the east-side it presses the water into the Fjord. Sometimes there is even flooding in the harbor of Flensburg.

If you do weather-pictures, it is useful to keep a list of landmarks and significant objects like these trees. It adds to the pictures if it’s not only clouds and some meadow and you could do a series over the years. The images with the trees below are an example.





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The Oldest Mountain Weather Observatory Of The World And A Weather Trail

60 kilometres south-west of Bavarian’s capital Munich is not only one of the oldest observatories  but also one of the most important high-tech weather stations of our days. The Hohen Peissenberg is a nearly 1000 metres high mountain with a spectacular view. The mountain is situated in front of the Alps and many peaks could be seen from there. Furthermore there is a great view of the alpine upland with its lakes. On top of the mountain is the oldest mountain weather observatory of the world. There is a regular observation of temperature and other meteorological data continously since 1781. And long before this activity the monks of the monastery on Hohen Peissenberg began with scientifically measurements. Hohen Peissenberg is also a spiritual centre with a long tradition. The history of this observatory became very important in our days with an ongoing climate change: Unlike other old observatories Hohen Peissenbergs measurements of temperature weren’t compromised by modern civilisation. In Prag for example the growing city led to warmer temperatures. Here, in the clear and thin mountain air, there are no disturbing factors like urban heat islands. The measurements are a disconcerting proof and demonstration of ongoing climate change. There is no doubt that temperatures have risen over the last 100 years with records over the last 10 years. The obversatory’s measurements are also given proof to a significant change in weather patterns like heavy rain on one side and more dry periods on the other side. Today the observatory hosts the most modern technological research with top-notch equipment. An important field of research is the science of the atmosphere. For exampe ozone-concentratins are measured and other weather or atmospheric related phenomena. The observatory can do research about certain chemicals in the atmosphere and many other importants fields of current research. Its data are highly valued and are in use for the weather forecast. The observatory is affiliated with the German Weather Service (DWD). The area of the obvervatory is not open for the public but there are special guided tours and even more there is a big attraction for any visitor of the Hohen Peissenberg: there is a weather trail in the midst of the lovely landscape with woods and green meadows. Surrounding the peak of the mountain and the observatory there is a walkway with information tables. The information tables are particularly of interest for anybody who is interested in a good introduction to weather phenomena and meteorology. There is also an information center at the entrance of the observatory which gives you more information about the observatory. The weather trail can be combined with longer hiking tours from the train stations in Hohen Peissenberg and Peissenberg. You can also go to the top of the mountain by car. There is a huge parking space and a big restaurant. Furthermore there is an old church of interest.

Its a great place for weather-watching and learning about meteorology and a place which is easily accessible. Hohen Peissenberg is also close to the well known tourist area “Pfaffenwinkel”.