For our fifth day of cycling we expected to complete a 30km circular route around the circumference of the conservation area known as Murnauer Moos (Murnau Marsh). Our notes said it was a "generally flat and leisurely circuit" so that sounded good, and even better there was a Gästehaus on the route which the notes said served "wonderful" cakes.
Murnauer Moos is quite unique in Central Europe, both because of its size, unity and landscape as well as it's flora and fauna. Peat was extracted from the marshland until the middle of the twentieth century and in 1964 it was declared a conservation area. It's home to over 4000 difference species of fauna and 800 plants, which is quite a lot!
We cycled out of Murnau and the plan was to head towards Eschenlohe but as you can see from our route on the right we had a slight detour towards Ohlstadt first.
The views as we unknowingly cycled towards Ohlstadt were amazing and our detour was almost worth it for those alone. We reached the main road and checked the notes, when Ohlstadt wasn't mentioned at all we realised we'd missed a turning somewhere.
So back we went and tried a path alongside the railway line. We weren't sure, but carried on anyway and soon came out at that same main road just further down.
Ah well, let's just enjoy the views we weren't supposed to see. And I got my wood pile fix in early too, and with some farm equipment too.
We headed back the way we had come and back to the main road we'd left Murnau on. From here we retraced our tracks and realised we'd missed out an instruction, missing turning left before we turned right. Finally we were on the track that related to our notes, but not first without clocking up ten kilometres as our warm-up.
The route notes were fairly sparse and included "at the industrial zone turn left at the fence and follow the Radweg sign" - when we got to the fence it made perfect sense, but perhaps some more clues on how to reach the industrial zone might have helped!
Although it was threatening to rain as we approached the river, it never really managed it. And yes, the river really was that colour.
It wasn't long before we were heading towards the village of Eschenloe, and the only village of notable size since we left Murnau (despite our diversions). Two of the road tunnels to the south of the village were used during the Second World War in the production of the Messerschmitt. Tunnels were used as they weren't easily detected by airborne reconnaissance missions.
While looking for and failing to find toilets, as the Rathaus was shut on Saturdays we watched this farmer expertly reverse his tractor up a small slope into the barn - something he'd clearly done before!
Heading back towards the centre of town, past the highly decorated Rathaus and onto the Second World War Memorial.
Unsure of how much further along the village of Grafenaschau was we decided to stop by the side of the road to eat our lunch and watch the world go by. At the top of a smallish hill it was actually a great place to stop as we watched cyclists of all abilities tackle the hill.
Fed and ready to go again we went down the hill, around the corner and was almost upon the village and the cafe with the wonderful cakes. It'd be rude not to stop wouldn't it, so we did. We ordered a beer and followed that by a humongous slice of cake and a coffee. And sat and admired these views.
We could have sat here for much longer, and eaten more cake. And I think we would have done had it not been for the bikes and having to cycle back to the hotel. But as we did, it was time to go.
We cycled back through more of the marsh area alongside the Lindenbach stream on gravelly paths. It was warm by now and we decided to push hard to get back to the hotel. It turns out that doing this and upping the speed on winding, gravelly paths wasn't such a good idea. At one corner I was almost off my bike, but somehow I saved it at the last minute - and I'm glad I did.
Before much longer and after a few more hills we were back at the hotel, but not before clocking up 42.6km - not bad for a 30km cycling day!