I don't know the Berchtesgaden area particularly well, but here's some general advice:
The amount of equipment you need depends a lot on the weather conditions. Sometimes in December there's very little snow (especially if you're not aiming to climb very high), and it is possible to go with normal hiking boots without snowshoes, skis or other special equipment. Warm enough clothes for temperatures below zero are necessary, as well as a good map, a compass and ability to use them. In addition to weather forecasts it's a good idea to take a look at webcams to get an idea of the snow conditions.
When there's more snow, then it's usually necessary to have snowshoes or skis. However, even more important is to get informed about safety. Avalanches are common in winter and especially steep slopes with a lot of snow are dangerous. You should either have someone in the group who has winter hiking experience or get detailed advice which routes are safe to go.
A few of the huts in the Berchtesgadener area are open and staffed also during the winter season. These are of course the easiest possibility, because you can call the personnel, ask for advice about routes and be sure to have a place to sleep and everything you need up on the mountain.
For huts which are closed, look for the following words: "Winterraum vorhanden". That means that there is a winter room. "Schlüssel für Winterraum: offen" means that the room is open and no key is needed. "Schlüssel für Winterraum: AV-Schloß" means that the room is locked and you need a key to open the door. Normally the same key is valid for all German and Austrian huts. Alpine club members can borrow the key in exchange for a money deposit. I'm not sure if it's possible to get the key without being a member.
When using a winter room, you'll need to bring your own food. Normally there's always a possibility to cook either with gas or wood, and a couple of pots, pans, plates and cups provided. I have stayed about 10-15 times in different winter rooms. One time there were no pots (but still a pan) and one time very little firewood, otherwise the facilities have been at least adequate. If you want to be 100% sure, you can of course take your own cooker.
Both when staying in a staffed mountain hut or when staying in a winter room, you should take your own travel bed sheet ("Hüttenschlafsack" in German) with you. For a winter room stay, a sleeping bag may be more comfortable. There is usually always an oven to heat up the room in the evening, but during the night after the fire is out the temperature drops down quite a bit. All of the winter rooms I've been in have had blankets, but if many people come there's a small risk that there are too few blankets to keep everyone warm.
Alpine Club members have a discounted price when staying in mountain huts. Generally members pay about 7-10 euros per night per person and non-members about double. Winter room prices are usually 5-10 euros per night per person, with sometimes a separate fee for firewood or gas. Payment is in cash into a locked box (good to take some small banknotes with you) or by bank transfer. I would recommend you to visit the German Alpine Club Berlin office (http://www.dav-berlin.de/) to take a look - you can then make the decision yourselves if it's worthwhile to join or not.
Great article. I am an exchange student studying this semester in Berlin. I want to take a trip to Berchtesgaden for a weekend hike during the winter. I see the pictures of this place and it amazes me every time. I would like to stay in huts the two nights I am there. I want to know what the possibilities are like. Is it worth it for me to join the alp club? Can I go with minimalist gear or do I need to hit the outdoors store? I see the huts are closed using http://www.dav-huettensuche.de but I would love to take advantage of the winter stay option. I am looking to be there during december.
It was nice to hear from you. Sounds like you have settled in your new home and the view is gourgeous!
We just celebrated Midsummer. Sinikka (Ilkka's wife) turned 60 and Saana and Henkka got engaged. Sampo and Justus were not able to come but Dad was there and Kikka and Ismo, Lasse and I plus Ilkka'a family. It was a very nice party. The weather could have been warmer but at least it didn't rain.
You said that you are coming to Finland in July. Lasse and I are going to California July 15th and we'll be back on the 31st. Hopefully we get to meet you!
Hey Arto, that sounds like a magical idea. Living in such a sweet spot and now with the whole freedom to start new. I am sure you will be involved in super cool and interesting things. Enjoy your new beginning.
Hey, guys! I need a book, article or research about problems of Bulgaria and Romania before joining EU. If they were not fulfilling criteria, why they were accepted? I need to evaluate the challenges of the enlargement policy of the EU and base on 2007 integration case.
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Thank you for your comment. I also visited Anjuna but stayed only one night there so I cannot make a detailed comparison. Club Paradiso in Anjuna was interesting and had a cool location by the sea, but somehow Arambol had a more cozy atmosphere. People were friendly in both places.
I didn't get the impression of the beach at Arambol being too dirty, but perhaps it is during peak season when there are more people. I was there off-season (in mid April) so also night-life was relatively quiet, but it seemed that there had been plenty of offerings until the end of March.
If you're curious about Arambol I would encourage you to try staying there - that's the only way to know if you like it. :) In case you don't, it's quite easy to move to Anjuna as they are not far away from each other.
Nice post must say. I am an Indian & stay in the city of Mumbai & ensure that i visit Goa atleast once in a year, have been doing this for the last 5 years atleast & i usually stay in Anjuna for around 10 days & then move around on a rented mobike in North Goa. I had visited Arambol once & didnt find the beach much attractive.. very unclean beach to put it so. but many that i've spoken & who have stayed in Arambol talk good about their stay in arambol. This year i m planning to stay a couple of nites at arambol. wanted to know a bit more about the night life their as i am used to stayig out all nite wid parties happening on one shack or the other at Anjuna every nite. Will it be worth a stay at aramol. I stay alone, are the tourists friendly their to give company over a drink. They are in Anjuna for sure & have made lot of friends every year that i visit. Kindly advise.
It was nice to hear you. If everything is going well, perhaps I can come to visit in Muningen on summer. I hope you know a lot of old book stores, wherefrom I can find a lot of old Donald Duck books and magazines in germany-lanqueges. I would like to taste some wines and beer too.
Keitarō Arima is really very well respected in the anime circles. I like his work, notably Tsukuyomi -Moon Phase. I am biased because I have a predisposition to vampire lore, maybe that's why I like it.
I saw my first tiger in the wild at Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Park. It was an unforgettable sight, magnificent in every way it even gave us a little roar. It is unfortunate that you did not get to see one on this journey. Maybe on the next one. Good luck.
I was searching something else on google.. found your blog accidently!
I am a local resident of jaipur. sorry to know about your experience. It seems you got a bad company here..
Anyway, did you visit Amer fort, City Palace, Albert hall?
This is totally awesome. I love the concept of "now the clay has turned back to earth" as it's a very intriguing way of looking at art. I'm into theatre, so fleeting art is paramount in my tastes! Keep up the great work :)
Hey Arto. Nice entries. it seems that you had the most amazing time crossing the beautiful alps. wonderful.
I too did a bit of walking in the last weeks, did 8 days in the santiago path in spain. Quite crowded with people and left me with the personal ambition to do a long hike like this one you just did. well done.
un saludo grande
Thank you for your comment. I spent 3.5 months in India during my trip and greatly enjoyed my stay. Many wonderful people were so kind, honest and hospitable that I could only be amazed and grateful for having the chance to meet them.
However, in my case Jaipur was the city where things didn't go so nicely. It doesn't mean that everybody in Jaipur would be corrupt and I'm sure many visitors have had and will have a great time there. Still, what I wrote was a honest account of my own experience, and I think it's also important to write about these less pleasant moments.
Please see the India category in this blog to get a more balanced view of how my overall experience was in the country.
Finally, I would like to say a few words about trusting people on the street. I believe there are so many friendly people out there to meet and so much to learn from them, that I want to be open and receptive instead of being scared and turning them away. I try to avoid obvious scams (usually they are easy to detect) and step back if things seem to go wrong, but otherwise the default for me is to trust, and not trusting is an exception. Perhaps it sounds naive, but this approach has really made my life better and helped me to see how much good there is in the world.
I don't know how much time you have spent in India, but I feel that your judgement towards it is narrow. You criticize Jaipur for having a wealthy (albeit corrupt) contingent while also having a population of impoverished, yet you criticize them for making tourist attractions into profitable exercises. Furthermore, this phenomena is not specifically found in Jaipur. Most everywhere you go in India, you will find the absurdly rich as well as the absurdly poor. In reference to your comment on people whom you can trust in Jaipur, I have a question for you: who can you trust on the streets in any city in this whole world? Due to the fact that you are a foreigner, untrustworthy people or shady characters will seek you out because they think you are a.) absurdly rich (like the jewelry mafia nightclubbers) and b.) highly gullible/trusting. Jaipur is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I'm sorry you didn't have the foresight to see beyond its corruption and the opportunity to meet more of the honest and hospitable locals.
Sincerely and Disappointed,