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June 1996

Summer Sports: What to do in the Air, on Wheels, on Land, on Water

Munich's many summer offerings

So it's finally summer. Time for lounging in beer gardens, sunbathing, eating ice-cream cones, reading good books and basking in waves of heat. Yawn. Soon you're getting restless, and you find yourself waiting for something to happen. You need something to do. Alright. Get up and get going, because in the air, on wheels, on land or on water, Munich and Bavaria overflow with cool things to do on hot summer days. Air Dares FLY LIKE AN EAGLE You may have gazed up at the tall peaks of the Bavarian Alps in wonder. Maybe you've hiked up one of its mountains. Or maybe you've skied down. How about a bird's eye view from above? Hang gliding (Drachenfliegen or Hängegleiten) and paragliding (Gleitschirmfliegen) are popular sports in Bavaria, thanks to the proximity of so many awesome take-off points. Learning to fly is, of course, a basic prerequisite, and a flock of flight schools can teach you the secrets of taming the wild blue yonder. Feel the wind on your face with the help of the Münchner Drachenflugschule, Balanstr. 13, tel. 4 48 68 48. Try their weekend of hang gliding basics for DM 250, including equipment rental. You'll find yourself soaring over tall blades of grass in no time. With Schloß Neuschwanstein as its neighbor, the DAEC Gleit-schirmschule, tel. (08362) 3 70 38, is located in Rieden bei Füssen. For the uninitiated, the school offers tandem paragliding flights for DM 200, where you fly as a "piggyback" passenger. A free paragliding Schnupperkurs (trial class) from the Bavarian School of Paragliding and Hanggliding, tel. 48 21 41, takes place every Sunday at 10:00. Still can't choose which form of flight? Their week-long combination course teaches you the basics of both sports, and you can practice on their illuminated training grounds in Garmisch and Penzberg from 19-23:30. DOWN TO EARTH Always been curious about skydiving? No problem. You, too, can experience the thrill of bailing out of an airplane. For DM 270, experienced skydiver Falko Hub of the LSV Kaufbeuren will accompany you from leap to landing at Kaufbeuren's military training grounds; he can be reached at tel. 21 21 28 20 or (08341) 8 21 72. FULL OF HOT AIR Colorful, exhilarating and fun, hot air ballooning lofts you smoothly into the blue and white Bavarian sky. Langstettner Ballonfahrten, tel. (08157) 9104 or (0172) 4088 444, carries you up in a large wicker basket for DM 350 per person. The uplifting excursions are also perfect for groups: four or more cost DM 320 each; eight or more float for DM 300 apiece. Year-round flights are promised by Feuer Vogel Hot Air Balloon Team, Schleißheimer Str. 392, tel. 351 39 12, for DM 350 per person on weekends, DM 320 on weekdays. Take-offs are hindered only by inclement weather and you'll get a free certificate if it's too stormy to start. Tradition has it that landings are celebrated with champagne (Sekt); first-timers will also receive a certificate of achievement. FAST FORWARD FREE FALL What is it like to free fall 150 feet? Your blood rushes, your adrenaline pumps and your lungs scream out. If this sounds good, then bungee jumping is for you. At the Olympic regatta grounds in Oberschleißheim, Jochen Schweizer and his team, tel. 60 60 89 21, dare you to take the plunge any weekend you choose. You can have one last wish: you can opt for the normal jump (DM 150), a tandem leap (DM 100 each), or go for the "Hot Rocket Bungee," a catapult launch from the ground, for DM 150. And on weekends in Bavarian Oberstdorf, Eurobungy, 72108 Rottenburg, tel. (07472) 27108, lets bungee lovers hop off a 70-m high ski jump for DM 110, or do flying loops strapped in a giant swing for DM 80. Roll on IT'S THE WHEEL THING With over 1,000 km of bike paths, Munich is a great place for cycling; most of the city is flat, so it's easy to get around. Start by getting the free Münchner Radlstadtplan, (available at the Umweltladen, Rindermarkt 10), which shows all of the bike paths in detail. You can rent a two-wheeler from Radius Bike Rental at the Hauptbahnhof, tel. 59 61 13. New in town? The German Cycling Organization, ADFC, Platenstr. 4, tel. 77 34 29, leads evening, weekend and day tours through Munich and its suburbs. From June 6 until 9, they will be holding a historical bike exhibition at the Deutsches Museum, followed by a bike ride along the Isar to the Hellabrunn Zoo. In cooperation with the Bayerischer Rundfunk, they are also putting on a seven-day bike tour, from August 3 through 9, beginning at Fürstenbruck near Munich; every year, 1,200 bicyclists pedal up to 80 km a day to the city of Hof near the state border. Information and brochures are available at all Sparkasse banks; June 17 is the sign-up deadline. Escaping city life by bike is also a wonderful way to see the Bavarian countryside. Try taking the S-Bahn to outlying towns; then you can either cycle back home or to another S-Bahn station. Radeln mit der S-Bahn, by Hans Ullrich and the free brochure Radeln mit der Bahn, by the Deutsche Bundesbahn, clue you in on rail and bike tours. Maps from the Bayerisches Landesvermessungsamt (State Topographic Office) show contour lines, which is important if you want to avoid or head for the hills. If it's a wild ride you crave, some of the best mountain biking areas in the state are not far away. The whole region from Garmisch to the Schliersee, and beyond, offers excellent off-road cycling and can be reached by train. If you don't have a bike of your own, you can rent one inexpensively. Doctor Bike, Schellingstr. 58, tel. 2718143, rents new mountain bikes for DM 40 per day or DM 85 per week. And who says doctors don't make house calls? Doctor Bike even comes to your home to perform minor repairs. The Moser Bike Guide is a good guide book in German, containing 50 detailed mountain bike tour descriptions for DM 49.80. Finally, when you're ready to purchase your own two wheels, knowledgeable bike shops around town include Fertl, (Marschallstr. 3) and Alpha, (Klopstockstr. 4). Karstadt department store also has an excellent bike department. BLADE MANIA Faster than feet and smooth as sailing, inline skating is the hottest thing to hit city streets since skateboards. Speed demons, daredevil tricksters and graceful rollerbladers glide by with effortless strokes. Head for the Olympic Park, with its long stretches of smooth walkways, outdoor half-pipes and, in summer, an Action Arena in the Eissporthalle. There, you can try out jumps, tricks and suave moves with other bladers. It's open daily, and admission is DM 5; skate rentals cost DM 5 (an ID or deposit is necessary). On June 22, check out live inline skating performances at the mall area near Münchener Freiheit, with free skate rentals; the event is organized by the German-Canadian Club. In addition, you can rent skates that sizzle along city sidewalks at Skate Attack, (Siegfriedstr. 9, tel. 33 33 66) for DM 20 per day, or at Werner's Surf, Skate & Snowboard Shop, (85774 Unterföhring, tel. 950 47 00) for DM 15 per day on weekdays and DM 25 on weekends. Land Lovers HOT ROCKIN' If you prefer to use all four limbs, maybe you're made for rock climbing. Whether climbing (Klettern), mountaineering (Trekking) or free climbing (Soloklettern), clinging to craggy peaks promises an invigorating adventure. To help you learn the ropes, the Rotpunkt-schule, Zugspitzstr. 14, tel. 6 97 13 80, satisfies your Alpine urges with six-day courses held near Nürnberg for all skill levels; prices start at DM 540. Get the hang of free climbing on seven-meter-high walls at Climb In in Gilching, Carl-Benz-Str. 5, tel. (08105)238 38, where an all-day session is DM 18. Seasoned mountain goats can rent climbing gear for DM 30 to DM 50 at Da' Bergbaron, Fürstenriederstr. 206, tel. 714 75 20. GOOD JOG If you feel that "fun run," is a oxymoron, the Münchner Stadtlauf on June 30, may be the thing to change your mind. Both a 10 km run and a half-marathon (21 km) start on the Sendlinger Str. at 8:00 in front of Sport Scheck, go past Odeonsplatz and pass through the shady Englischer Garten. Despite the early start, rows of spectators traditionally cheer on the more than 8,000 sweating fun-seekers. A registration desk is open from May 25 through June 29 during store hours at Sport Scheck, Sendlinger Str. 6. For a DM 16 registration fee, each participant gets a T-shirt and goodie bag before the race, as well as free food and drink samples afterward. To document completion of the early morning trot, all finishers also receive certificates recording their personal course times. HOOP-HOOP-HOORAY For sports fans bitten by the basketball bug sweeping the globe, Adidas is coming to Munich's Olympic Park with its three-on-three traveling Streetball Tournament on July 6 and 7. The competition is open to anyone at least 10-years-old. Four people comprise a team and registration costs DM 100 per team. As a participant, you get a T-shirt, refreshments and other assorted give-aways; registration forms can be picked up at Sport Scheck, until July 4. Each team is guaranteed to play at least three games and division winners can compete in the national streetball finals happening in Berlin this August. Last year's German tournament tour attracted over 50,000 players and nearly half a million basketball-smitten spectators. WET FEET, WIND-BLOWN HAIR Summer means sun and surf, even in Bavaria. Why not escape to the countryside for some funky water sports? If you're keen to spend some time wetfooted, wetsuited and clutching a sail, you can skim across any one of a smattering of lakes in the region. For absolute beginners who want to try windsurfing for the first time, the best lake is probably Starnbergersee. Renting a board there costs around DM 20 per hour. The Munich Wind Surfing School, tel. 141 31 55, provides "dry" training in town, with lake work in Starnberg. A two-day, 12-hour beginner's course costs DM 190, including equipment. However, more experienced windsurfers may find the conditions at Starnberg, Ammersee and even Chiemsee a little tame. If you are prepared to go further afield for better conditions, you will find more consistent wind near Bad Tölz, at Sylvensteinsee or Walchensee. For really dedicated board bunnies, Gardasee in northern Italy, one of the trendiest spots for traveling wind surfers, renowned for its excellent wind, is a mere five- or six-hour-drive away. RAFT AND DRAFT (BEER) For an adventure truly unique to Munich, Isar river rafting is the ultimate Gaudi (a good time). There are no challenging whitewater thrills floating from Wolfrats-hausen to Thalkirchen, but for DM 215 per person, you do get rousing Bavarian music, a hearty Brotzeit, plenty of keg beer and lunch once you've docked. You can also book an entire raft for your club or group; reservations and information are available at abr travel agency, tel. 1 20 42 37. Water way to go UNDER THE SURFACE For those of you tired of messing about above the water, why not go below it? Scuba diving takes you under the surface and into the peaceful, otherworldly realm of fish. The friendly staff of Fin Up Diver's School, Englschalkinger Str. 196, tel. 930 42 65, offer certified PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) courses. Appropriately, an Australian instructor conducts courses in English for down under-water scuba students. Beginner's courses costs DM 595, including equipment. Advanced courses cost DM 395, and involve five dives per weekend and generally take place in a nearby or Alpine lake. SPORTS ROUNDUP If all of these outrageous sports have whetted your athletic appetite, but you don't know where to begin, Active Sport & Leisure, 87645 Schwangau, tel. (08362) 983450, introduces you to mountain biking, hiking, river boat rafting, canyoning and rock climbing, all in one action-packed week for DM 890. What, you're still reading? Summer won't last forever, you know. Get up, grab your chute, oxygen tanks, wetsuit, basketball, wheels, wings or shoes-maybe take a friend along-and brave the elements. Just go for it.

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