Southern Germany’s patchwork landscape, dotted with orderly squares of emerald and mustard, plays peek-a-boo with me through the clouds. Below, the familiar Bavarian charm of Rosenheim acts magnetic, pulling me closer. I depart from the airport on an express train, which snakes through alternating stretches of countryside and city. Mountain chains, winding rivers, and restless towns fly by, as if I am blazing through different worlds. An insistent whistle screeches, signaling the beginning of my yearly venture, and allowing me to notice a waving figure on the platform: my Oma.
“Oma” is the German word for grandmother. She has indulged me in cultural explorations since I was a tike, and helped me establish a strong link with Rosenheim, and my German heritage itself. Thanks to her, I uncovered some of the city’s most enjoyable and fascinating activities, ranging from hiking to exploring castles to sunbathing. For instance, Lokschuppen, a renowned museum with exhibits that change seasonally, constantly has something new to see, whether it be artifacts pertaining to Alexander the Great or deep sea mysteries. Tourists are spellbound by the historical nature of Rosenheim, which began forming in 15 AD, and is captured in the exceptionally well-preserved architecture. The “Mittertor” and “Rathaus” are two examples of such structures, as the latter was built in the 14th century, while the former was constructed in 1858. After absorbing the city’s history, shopping and eating are two of the most popular pastimes for visitors. Local boutiques and bakeries offer goodies specific to southern Germany, and antique or flower markets are held at least one Sunday each month. Small restaurants offer local delicacies, like currywurst and schnitzel, which are a must-try for visitors. Festivals commence throughout the year, usually honoring folk traditions, like my favorite dance: “schubladdeln.” Following a few days within the heart of Rosenheim, many tourists venture into the suburbs, or “landkreis,” where the options for adventure expand tremendously.
In the land surrounding Rosenheim, small suburban communities are sprinkled between farms and at the bases of mountains. Rosenheim is recognized as a “Gate to the Alps,” and provides many wintery peaks to explore on foot, by lift, or on skis, like Wendelstein. No need to worry if heights are not a visitor’s forte; several lakes lie within a few miles of the inner-city, beckoning to locals and tourists alike with promises of sunshine and tranquil swims. Chiemsee, one of the largest lakes in Germany, proffers rental boats, steamboat rides, and voyages to two historic islands: Fraueninsel and Herreninsel, which house castles and specialty shops. Even for those not interested in spending a lot of time outdoors, King Ludwig’s Castles, which served as the inspiration for Disneyworld’s Sleeping Beauty castle, are nearby. Beautiful cathedrals and clock towers are scattered not only in the suburbs, but in the city center, as well. If a journeyer still thirsts for something else to do, tours of factories that produce chocolate, shoes, and other Bavarian products occur often, and sporting events, like ice hockey, basketball, and soccer matches are held in stadiums throughout Rosenheim.
The bustle of Rosenheim is enchanting, even for me, and I have been visiting annually for 17 years. Everything is easily accessible, and it is actually possible to travel among snowy mountains, warm lakes, and majestic castles within one day. Vacation in Rosenheim is a magical, dizzying dream, alternating between cultural explosion and relaxation. Whether tourists participate in a local festival or enjoy breathtaking natural wonders, I am certain they will find themselves purchasing lederhosen or humming Bavarian folk music — Rosenheim will kidnap their heart, just as it captivates mine.
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