Trip Report: 14 Days Alone in an Airbnb
This is a travel story. A trip report. Not of an epic adventure or a life-changing cross-continent tale of wonders. Nope. This is just a simple story about a simple travel.
Why this story? Because it offers a different perspective. Because it asked me to slow down and look inwards. And sometimes, that can make all the difference.
15 days. Including travel time.
Fall. End of October.
The most beautiful little town near the Austrian border.
The east side of Mittenwald ends in a towering mountain that can be seen from anywhere in the area. In the evening, this mountain lights up with a red glow as the last thing illuminated by the setting sun. The other side of town leads to a more accessible mountain with a small ski resort, two beautiful mountain lakes, a waterfall, and plenty of easy hiking routes.
Airbnb close to town centre.
I could walk from the apartment to the town centre in a few minutes. And similar for the closest hiking routes.
I picked the apartment because it was cheap (helped by off-season prices) and because of the location. It was located in what I believe is the old part of town—near the church and the cobblestone streets. Despite being in the middle of town it was still quiet and calm. I attribute this to the complex infrastructure with tiny roads and no straight lines so few cars ventured into this old town maze.
The easy access to hiking routes was great too. Most days I hiked straight from my front door.
I had picked this place because I wanted to hike and I was not let down.
I went on three beautiful full-day hikes.
The remaining days I went on smaller hikes/walks/runs. The nearby area had plenty to offer and I only saw a small part of it—despite being there for 14 days.
Time of year played a role when I picked southern Germany as my location. I didn’t want high altitude due to potential weather conditions. And I could confirm this when I took a cable car ride up the higher mountain near town one day. Above 1700-ish meters it was all snow. Which I did not have the hiking gear for. But it was beautiful.
Reading. Writing. Thinking
On rest days I read a lot. From the comfort of my rental apartment. The neighbourhood was cozy and quiet. Except for church bells once in a while—but they just added to the atmosphere.
I also wrote a letter with things I want to focus on in life right now.
I experienced a great freedom and calm on these rest days. With nothing planned I could just walk out the door and do whatever I wanted. Mostly what I wanted was a short hike past a waterfall to a nearby mountain lake where I could sit and take it all in.
What Went Right
I stayed in the same location the entire time
I had booked the same small Airbnb for 14 days. And I’m glad I did. I had considered staying more open and only booking the first week or so. But because I had locked myself for the entire stay I didn’t have to think about accommodation. And I didn’t have to spend a day moving to a new location.
Instead I was calm knowing that I had to stay for two weeks. And I think there is something to be said for that. Going places and seeing lots of things is great. But it is a different experience. Here I had time to slow down.
I saw the sun pretty much every day. I had expected—and packed for—rain and wind so this was way above my expectations. I was lucky.
I had seen some comments online noting that it would be too late in Fall to go hike mountains like this. My anecdotal evidence says otherwise. At least if you stay in lower elevations.
Mittenwald looked like a cozy town. And the surrounding area looked like a nice hiking area in Fall. That was more or less the planning that went into my trip and all I knew before I arrived. And I think that was just fine.
I didn’t look up tourist attractions nearby or plan out a ton of stuff to do and see. And so I just went with what was outside my door. That way I reduced my FOMO and instead enjoyed slowing down.
(I couldn’t completely eliminate my FOMO though. I enjoyed the nearby area so much that I hiked it a lot. But at some point I also started to feel like I should go elsewhere and see other sights. I planned and schemed a bit but didn’t make too much of it.)
What Went Wrong
I’m grateful that so much went right on this trip. Few things could have been better.
Everything is closed Sundays
I’m used to always having shopping options. Even on Sundays. That was not the case here. Which caught me by surprise. So my Sunday hike was fueled by cake from the local bakery—the only thing open Sunday morning. Not the worst incident but I was pretty hungry come evening.
Rental car was an expensive luxury
I only used my rental car three times to go on full day hikes. Not a lot for two weeks.
I’m new to solo travel so having a car is a security blanket for me. It made the trip easy and made me feel less anxious. So in that regard it was probably worth it. But as I become more experienced I would like to try travelling without such an expensive luxury.
Stay a while
Sure, you can see the “Top 5 Things” in a few days but I had a great time staying longer than that. And even then I probably missed an item or two on that top 5 list but have no regrets. This may be personal preference as I can easily entertain myself with reading and small walks.
If you only have a few days I would go hike the two mountain lakes Lautersee and Ferchensee. And maybe also Hoher Kranzberg (1391 m) for a view of the town from above while in that area. The lakes are very accessible—you can even take a bus up there. Then I’d consider the Karwendel Bahn cable car ride. An easy way to get up high and have an alpine mountain experience (2244 m). If you go in the snow season, please consider your footwear before doing the panoramaweg up there. It is a short but slippery route.
I had a great time in Mittenwald. Lots of hiking to do and a lovely town to stay in. But my biggest personal lesson was the travel format. Staying in the same place for a while. I enjoyed that and it is not the last time I will go on such a trip alone.