Escaping the heat in a cool Alpine lake

“You’re so embarrassing!” moaned my daughter F as I belted out a tune at the top of my voice, pitch perfect as usual! I looked all around me, from my vantage position at the helm of the boat we’d hired for the morning. There was the lake, framed by the spectacular rocky outcrops of the Bavarian Alps to the south. In the distance to the north, I could see attractive Alpine chalet-style houses climbing a small hillside from the water’s edge, making up the village of Hopfen-am-See. On the western shore, I could just make out the single track railway line on which we had arrived from Munich. But there were no people anywhere near and it was oh so quiet, now my dulcet tones had been rudely interrupted. “There’s no-one to embarrass you in front of!” I replied. F immediately retorted “there are the fish!” So there we have it. I am such an embarrassing Dad, that I can even make my daughter feel uncomfortable in front of fish swimming in a lake.

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The lake in question was Hopfensee, a few kilometres from the town of Fuessen, where we were staying. The day had started with a shopping expedition in Fuessen’s pretty old town, aiming to find appropriate footwear for walking and paddling on pebbly beaches. This was after my sensitive feet had got the better of me the previous day at another nearby lake – Forggensee. The mission was successful so we boarded a bus to Hopfen-am-See. We alighted at a lovely promenade running along the lakeshore. The views of the mountains were stunning. We’d only walked a short way when we stumbled across a cafe with a lakeview terrace. Clearly, it was time for a drink.

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Suitably refreshed, F and I proceeded to the boat hire kiosk to acquire an electric boat for the rest of the morning. My wife S decided to stay ashore and read her book, while soaking up the rays of the bright summer sun. Despite being just 8, F thought she should be ship’s captain. I let her steer most of the way and she amused herself immensely by turning in tight circles so she could ride the bow wave she’d just created. She then headed towards a fishing boat at which point I had to assume control, to avoid taking their line away with us. I steered into clear blue water where F couldn’t get us into any trouble. I again took over when it was time to guide the boat home towards the jetty. This proved to be a good idea, as F was convinced we’d come out from a completely different place. It was only when she spotted her mother waiting, that she realised maybe we were going the right way after all.

By the afternoon, the temperature had risen considerably. It was time to look for the beach club, or Strandbad as they’re called locally. The Strandbad was an enclosed area on the lakeshore. We paid to get in and then had use of all the facilities, which included changing rooms, a shower, WC, cafe, a recreation area, beach volleyball court, crazy golf and a children’s playground. There were also bathing platforms on the lake, with lifesaving equipment. As far as we could tell, we were the only non-German speakers in the complex. This added a little sense of adventure to our afternoon. When in Rome etc.

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Given the emerging heatwave, it was the lake that attracted us. The cool water was so refreshing on a hot afternoon, although we could feel warm currents here and there, which prevented us getting cold. F managed to pull a toddler slide into the water, with the help of a little boy. They had lots of fun using it as a waterslide, F communicating in English and the boy in German, seemingly oblivious to the fact they didn’t speak each other’s language. When she’d bored of the slide, it was onto the jetty from where she jumped into the lake – again and again and again! By this time, I had tired and was ready for a drink, but F couldn’t get enough of the water.

Eventually, it was time to go. I enticed her to shore with an ice cream. On the bus back to Fuessen, F finally ran out of energy and fell asleep. I could relax in the knowledge that no matter what I did, she wouldn’t be complaining about her embarrassing Dad!

 

Factfile:

Location

Hopfen-am-See is in Bavaria, Germany. It is on the north shore of Hopfensee, about 6 kms from Fussen (Fuessen) and 125 kms south west of Munich.

Transport

There is a regular bus service from Fuessen train station.

Accommodation

There are hotels, guesthouses and a couple of campsites in Hopfen. More accommodation is available in Fuessen. We stayed at the City Aparthotel Fussen, which has family suites as well as standard rooms and is close to the train and bus station.

For more on Fuessen, click here

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