We are people who love to travel but hate crowds. Of course, now and again, we will find ourselves in the midst of a horde, when a destination or, local attraction is too good to pass up. We’ve found though, that no matter how busy a place is, there is always a path that veers away from the main road. These paths usually require a little more effort then the carefully crafted board walks and stairs, but the trade off is worth it. On these secondary trails there are far less people, usually only locals, which results in less safety barriers and restrictions separating you from the surrounding nature.
Last year we spent a weekend in Jasper, and though it was the off season, we still felt the need to get off the main path while walking the Maligne Canyon trail. The main ‘trail’ was nice but the moment we climbed off it and onto the non-engineered, unplanned foot path of the locals, we felt free and that we were really experiencing what Jasper had to offer.
While in Fussen, Germany, we visited Neuschwanstein Castle. The roads and walkways were packed full of tourists. A brochure stated that over one and half million people visit this castle every year! We made our way through the castle amongst the crowds and the followed a road up a hill where there was a bridge with a beautiful view of the castle.
It is hard to enjoy a view though when you’re fighting for space and if this bridge had a max capacity, the number of people on it at that moment would have well exceeded it.
Just past the bridge, where few ventured, a path continued up into the hills behind the castle. We hiked up and in not even 5 minutes came across a spectacular view of the castle with almost no one around. We followed the path further up a steep slope and came across another even more amazing view. It’s surprising that 1.5 million people stand on that bridge every year and few ever cross it…..their loss.