Monday 4 July 2011

Down the Isar

This morning, on our cycling route, my husband and I ventured a bit further afield than we normally do.  The weather was perfect and there weren't too many people out on the bike trails.

After a bit of unwitting and harrowing mountain-biking (must remember not to take that stretch again), and a gorgeous path through a forest (a path that was steep enough for me to decide that my bike probably wanted a bit of a walk at that point), we ended up at an old Benedictine monastery called Kloster Schaeftlarn.  After a brief pause, we started our trip back.

The Isar is the river which runs through Munich, beginning in the Alps.  We headed South (up river) along one side of the river for the first part of the ride, and returned on the other side, heading North to Munich.

At one point, as we rode along with the river on our left hand side, we began to hear music.  Loud music.  Loud live music with instruments.  Like a tuba.  And an accordion.  Or two.  Even a drum kit.  It got louder and soon we could hear singing.  Then we saw it:  a log raft with about 30 people - including band - sitting on benches, drinking beer, singing traditional German songs, talking, and just hanging out as the river carried them toward Munich.

We've seen them before, in the city, as they approach their landing place at the end of their hours-long run.  But seeing them out there in nature, on a Monday morning, with a glimpse of the Alps craning over the masses of forest all around was surreal.

Though I wasn't really in the mood for taking pictures, this was too good to resist.

As they passed under the bridge we had stopped on, they waved, obviously all having a great time.  Our initial impression faded, and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world.  We waved back.  Their good mood was infectious.

Once they'd passed, we got back on our bikes and booted it for all we were worth.  As much fun as it might have been, the idea of sharing the next 23 km. with a floating Oompah band was not one either of us much relished.


  1. What a wonderful serendipity find, and you say they do this regularly? Sounds like these folks know how to party, all be it in a rather unsual way!

  2. The people here totally know how to party! (As witnessed by Oktoberfest.)

    Once the weather turns good, these rafts are a regular feature. The stretch of the river they travel is long, and they have to pass through a few mills. One afternoon, we watched a raft pass through one of the flues - which is basically a water slide - and the young fellow steering it did a one-handed handstand as the raft raced down. Amazing! That raft had a blues band, not the standard Oompah band. I do hope to see it again.

  3. Interesting Lynn ... thought about bikes and bike riding yesterday, but we only have one somewhat rusted by the rain gem chained to the entrance outside our apartment.

  4. We don't have a car, so our bikes get used constantly. Luckily Munich is a very bike friendly city. I didn't cycle nearly as much as I do now in Toronto - way too stressful!

  5. The scenery looks stunning and you can't beat a bike ride on a lovely day , but I know that feeling when you have perhaps done too much. You do feel a great sense of achievement when you arrive home. Good to see people having fun.
    We are off tomorrow , booked a couple of nights B&B, one mile from Whitby, looking forward to seeing it and the weather is looking good too for some nice walks.

  6. What an unusual way to have a party though I bet it is very relaxing to float down a river with a band and drinks and friends.. I too would think it was a strange sight and would take a picture.

  7. Hope you have a wonderful time, Milly - and glad that the tooth is better!

    It is a wonderful example of the hearty, Bavarian love of a good time, Donna. There is a certain "joie de vivre" here. Munich is often referred to as almost more Italian than German. It certainly has a very different feel to the North of Germany - (which I also really like, and would love to see more of.)