One Day Camping Trip to the Alps – Don’t Forget Your Tent!

Two weeks ago or so my husband took out a tent he had found somewhere, and he and our son started cleaning it. My son was super excited to use it at a sleepover, even though this was an indoor sleepover. Seeing his excitement about camping, even if it was indoors, I suggested that we would go camping for real, you know outdoors. The boys had spring break coming up anyways, so my husband took leave for the same time and our plans were made. The last time I went camping was around eight years ago in Spain and during the summer month.  It was definitely not summer yet, on the contrary, even though spring had arrived it was still quite chilly, especially during the nights. We had decided to camp somewhere in Austria or close to it, which meant we were going to encounter even colder weather in between all those beautiful mountains.

We started packing, and the more we packed the less fun it became. I was getting the feeling that we were taking our entire household with us. Mind you we were only planning to camp one night. This can definitely kill the fun and spontaneity of camping. I still remember that one trip I took with my husband years ago to somewhat the same location, and all we brought was what we were wearing. It was a spontaneous trip, completely unprepared, playing it by ear.  Of course we had two children now; however, that didn’t mean we had to pack every single thing we owned.

Finally the car was packed, and we started driving south. It was only a 3 ½ hour drive to Schwangau, which was our planned first location. The Neuschwanstein castle is located in Schwangau, and though I didn’t want to go into the castle, I wanted to take some pictures from outside. Nevertheless, our plans were a bit altered when we saw the big traffic jam on our route. We chose an alternate route, and my husband informed me that it was taking us through the town which had the Lichtenstein castle, a castle I have wanted to visit for months. So our first stop was at the Lichtenstein castle.

After stretching our legs, taking great pictures, and walking through the castle court yard, we proceeded driving further south. As we were driving we were in conversation on where to camp and what we had brought, when our son asked my husband, “did you bring the tent cover?” My husband’s answer was, “yes, wait no, it’s in the other car, oh with the tent!” So apparently we had brought almost all our household goods, but forgot the most important part, the tent! I was mad, frustrated, and just mad! How could we forget the tent, I mean we were going to camp and we forget the tent?! We were also two hours into our trip; no way would we turn around now to get the tent. So after my husband was done laughing his butt off and I was done being frustrated, we started looking for camping stores on our route.

It didn’t take us long to reach the Alps. It’s pretty amazing when you are driving, and all of a sudden you start seeing these huge beautiful mountains whose tips are still covered in snow, just breathtaking. By the time we reached the Neuschwanstein castle in Schwangau, it was late afternoon. We parked, prayed, reflected, and took some beautiful pictures. We had bought a tent in the last major city we passed, and now were looking for a camping ground. My husband had found one in Austria; however, that was still one hour away from Schwangau, and we weren’t sure if we really wanted to drive another hour. It was beautiful at Schwangau, and we figured that the camping ground in Austria, since it was closer to the Zugsspitze (tallest mountain in Germany), was probably going to be much colder at night than this location. So we found two camping places in the Schwangau location and went to look at one of them, which is the one we stayed in.

That camping ground was right next to the Brannwaldsee, a huge lake that was not only beautiful and super clear during the day, but mesmerizing during the sunset. Our intention was to look at it first and then make a decision. Although I was not very comfortable camping right next to water, I went out of my comfort zone, and we chose a slot where the lake was about ten to fifteen steps behind our tent. Leaving ones comfort zone really pays out. We positioned our tent to where the opening was pointing towards the mountains, as to have that view be the first thing we would see when we got out of the tent. Not to mention it made for a great picture as well.

The camp ground was great for kids. Our sons got to ride peddle cars, and right before the sunset we strolled over to the playground to play on the zip lines, yes even us adults! Hey who says we have to grow up lol. After it was getting too dark we walked back to the tent and prepared to go to sleep. We had bought insolated mats for the ground, and we had three sleeping bags with us. I was using a fleece blanket, which I thought would suffice, it didn’t! We also thought we had put the tent on a leveled ground, until we actually laid down and noticed the incline. We had to rearrange our sleeping positions. Long story short, my husband and I only got like three hours of sleep. I kept waking up, and at around four in the morning we were done sleeping.

The camp ground was extremely quiet and peaceful at such and early hour. We knew we were going to feel the after effects of sleep deprivation later in the day on our drive home, but for now we just couldn’t sleep.  I am not sure if it was the excitement of camping, the harder ground compared to my mattress at home, or the fact that I was quite cold, since the fleece blanket wasn’t doing much to keep the chill out, thus I had slept with my winter jacket on. This night was definitely a lesson of appreciation for all the blessings that we had in life. It also gave us a chance to reflect on the beautiful creation around us.


Schwangau, Germany
Schwangau, Germany
Schwangau, Germany
Lichtenstein Castle in Reutlingen, Germany


To see more pictures of our adventure to Bavaria go to Gallery.

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