G3VGR LECHWEG     Reutte - Füssen      

To make the most of my last day on the Lechweg (which means having enough time to enjoy the Altstadt in Füssen), I caught the 05:47 bus from Holzgau to Reutte. I arrived at the terminus much too early for the local buses to Wängle. From what I saw of the area yesterday, I decided it would be of no hardship or regret to miss out the section between Wängle and Pflach. Accordingly, I caught a train to Pflach, a nondescript village just outside Reutte. However, it did have a baker's shop that was open at 7AM, so I was able to get a breakfast prior to starting the day's walk. From Pflach, the Lechweg started out tamely, crossing more farmer's meadows along a gravel lane. This wasn't too interesting as it continued alongside then under the main road near Pinswang. The trail turned away from the road and led up into a forest This was a great improvement and I carried on in this vein until reaching the ruins of Sternschanze, a fortification associated with Schloss Ehrenburg at Reutte. There was a fine view of Oberpinswang from here. The trail went down through the trees from Sternschanze to meet a forest road. From here, a long climb wound it's way upwards through a forest which had many moss covered boulders on each side. Somewhere on this climb, I crossed from Austria into Germany. I saw no official border marker, but noticed the change in style of the destination signposts. When I reached the summit of this road, a signpost pointed me to the Alpsee and Königschlosser (King Ludwig's castles). This quickened my pulse as I realized I was getting near the finish of the Lechweg.

After reaching the summit of the forestry road, I started down what I believe is the most impressive forest path of the Lechweg. The Kitzbergweg descended through a beautiful beech forest. The path was covered in dead leaves. Many of the rocks were covered in moss that seemed iridescent. I passed an enormous overhanging boulder, known as the "Israelit". Not long afterwards, I caught glimpses between the trees of the dark green waters of the Alpsee. Further down, I also caught glimpses of the unmistakable ochre coloured structure of Hohenschwangau Castle. Soon, I reached the lakeside and started walking along the Alpsee Rundweg, heading clockwise towards Hohenschwangau. Nobody else was around and the lake area was very tranquil. The only sounds were from some squabbling coots and a few grebes that were fishing. As I circled the lake, I caught my first glimpses of Schloss Neuschwanstein, perched high on a rocky plateau. I've visited the castles a few times, but never viewed them from this perspective. It looked most impressive. Soon, I passed the Marienmonument, commissioned by King Ludwig II on memory of his mother, then took a detour to the gates of Schloss Hohenschwangau. Instead of backtracking, I found a narrow path through the forest to rejoin the Lechweg on the Alpenrosenweg. This was another excellent path which wound it's way through the forest on narrow alpine paths. I passed the Schwansee and had intermittent glimpses of it's iridescent green waters.

At the end of the Alpenrosenweg, I reached the last climb of the Lechweg, a very steep path up the Kalvarienberg. At the summit was the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Inside the chapel were depictions of the last 3 Stations of the Way of the Cross and scenes of ancient Jerusalem. Outside, steps led to a platform on top of the chapel. Here were erected 3 crosses. The views from this platform are impressive. In one direction is the Schwansee, Schloss Neuschwanstein and the Tirolean Alps. From the other side one can overlook Füssen and far into the Allgäu with it's many lakes glistening in the sunlight.  As I made my way down from the chapel, I passed other smaller chapels, each depicting one of the Stations. In a tranquil forest clearing at the bottom of this Germanic Via Dolorosa was Saint Mary's Chapel. It was a short walk downhill from here to the Lechfall and end of the Lechweg. Crossing over the bridge at the falls, I followed the Lech along to the Marienbrücke where we parted company. I headed into the Altstadt to find a restaurant and the Lech carried on its way northwards to join the Danube and eventually to flow into the Black Sea.


View over Pflach

Sternschanze

Heading uphill to Germany

Towards the Kitzbergweg

Along the Kitzbergweg

The Israelit

The Alpsee

Alpsee, Alpenrose Restaurant and Schloss Neuschwanstein

Entrance to Schloss Hohenschwangau

View down to the Schwannsee from Alpenrosenweg

Along the Alpenrosenweg

Steep path up the Kalvarienberg

View over Füssen from Kalvarienberg

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Kalvarienberg
Saint Mary's Chapel

The Lechfall - end of the Lechweg

Lechweg Marker

Job done. Time for a beer

The Marienbrücke, Füssen

Füssen Altstadt


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