Looking over Lake Tegernsee from up high.

Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle, Oktoberfest and beer — these are the things the region of Bavaria is most famous for. And I, for one, had never really thought to dig deeper into what else the destination has to offer. So when I found myself exploring Bavaria, I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Thankfully, I was in for a pleasant surprise. From going on a unique behind-the-scenes tour where I watched a master craftsman at work to taking in scenic sights atop a mountain and, not to forget, feasting on yummy food, these hidden gems of Bavaria thoroughly impressed me. Follow me as I recap the highlights of my journey!

Off to a delish start. I love it when the guides show us their favourite local eateries — this quaint little one was hidden amongst some fashion boutiques, and produces all their freshly baked goods with flour from their own mill next door.

Our guide jokingly claimed that Indian summers were not exclusive to the Northern Hemisphere. We had the privilege to catch the end of the dry spell and enjoyed beautiful blue skies and perfect weather at Marienplatz before the drizzles came.

This was one of the best desserts I had on the trip, the Kaiserschmarrn. There is an interesting story behind its name: the dessert was originally declared “nonsensical” (Schmarrn) by the Austrian Emperor (Kaiser), Franz Joseph I. My favourite version is the one that consists of a light, fluffy pancake made from sweet batter baked in butter, which is then fried, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served warm with applesauce.

Went on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory, whose handmade pieces have been renowned for its quality since the 18th century. The brainchild of the Wittelsbach royal family, Nymphenburg is one of the rare few that still creates its own porcelain paste, paints and colours. We had the opportunity to speak to artisans who are all masters of their craft. Here is a master showing the ropes to his young apprentice (not pictured).

We continued on to a quiet little village near the Lake Tegernsee area. They have two papermaking machines here that have been in operation since 1886 and 1979 respectively. As the saying goes, old is gold! It was an eye-opening experience that reminded me of the expertise, dedication and innovation that goes behind something most of us take for granted — paper.

Again, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour. We got to see the entire process from the moment the paper pulp is fed into the system to special textualising and cutting before each sheet is checked individually by hand. The scientist in me got excited when I saw the amount of “science” that goes into the process, from laboratory setups to tensile and burn tests used to determine the purity and quality of the paper produced. The giant reams of paper were half as tall as I am!

After all the mental stimulation and excellent learning opportunities, we rounded up the trip with a funicular ride up to Mount Wallberg whilst enjoying an aerial view of Lake Tegernsee. We were lucky to have visited on a clear day and could see as far as Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak.

Of course, a trip to the Lake Tegernsee area wouldn’t be complete without a relaxing cruise on the lake itself. One can even enjoy wellness facilities such as iodine sulphur springs and saunas here! It is obvious that Bavaria has lots to offer beyond beer :D

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