Munich to Venice (München – Venedig) long distance hiking trail

The long distance hiking trail from munich to venice is not as well known as for example the E5, and it’s much more demanding. The highest point of the trails is at nearly 3000m and even in august and september, there is usually snow and storms can always surprise you in that altitude, so waterproof and technical clothing is essential. Moreover, if you want to do the traditional route a via ferrata is but one of the challenges.

IMG_0075_2But if you have some basic understanding of mountaineering and some experience with long distance hiking, there’s no excuses! It’s a beautiful trail, passing some of the most beautiful places in the alps, challanging but rewarding with breathtaking views, diverse landscapes and many unique lodges with great food!

IMG_0138_2The trail is 550km and about 22.000 altimeters, going through Bavaria, austria, South Tyrol and Italy from the Marienplatz in Munich to the Piazza San Marco in Venice. That should take you about 30 days. I used a german guide, published by “Rother”, but I am not sure there’s a guide in English. But you can find GPS tracks online, so if you have a GPS, you should be fine.
If you want to do the trail and haven’t done any long distance hiking trails before you should be ready to drop quite a few bucks on equipment! There are a few essentials you will need, like a waterproof, breathable jacket and a good backpack. For me, priority number one is always function, than weight. So if you have the money, really focus on lightness. I managed to do the trail with a backpack that weighed about 4 kg (base weight, without water and food) and saw people that had backpacks as heavy as 20kg! If you want to enjoy the trail and don’t want to make rest days every week, shedding weight is key. This could mean some sacrifices, you might have to leave some things at home, but ultimately, the trip will be so much more relaxed and enjoyable!

So here’s a list of the essentials, that I had with me on the trail:

  • Backpack, about 35l (depending on the load, the heavier you pack, the heavier the backpack has to be (more cushion,…), but it shouldn’t weigh more than 1kg)
  • Waterproof Stuffbag, if your Backpack isn’t waterproof
  • Trekking Boots, above all: comfortable, wear them in before, I prefer full leather boots, e.g. the HanWag Tatra or Yukon, I didn’t get a single blister over the whole trek with these!
  • Guide, GPS, Mobile, Headlamp, Chargers, First Aid Kit, Sunglasses, ID, Alpine Club Card, Money, Ziplock Bags to put it in
  • Waterbottles, 3×1 Liter, I use Platypus, they are very light and foldable when empty
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste (Travelsize), Bodywash (Travelsize), Traveltowel, Sunscreen (Travelsize), Painkillers, Ziplock Bag to put it in
  • Rain Jacket (Gore-Tex or something alike, waterproof and breathable, I prefer Gore Tex Active because it’s light, breathable and still pretty durable, but Paclite is also fine, best option would be the Arcteryx Alpha FL Jacket)
  • Zip-off pants or shorts and long pants
  • 2 Baselayers, preferably Merino, because it doesn’t smell
  • 3 Underpants, Merino obligatory
  • 2 Pairs of socks, preferably Merino
  • Insulation Layer, down or synthetic down, e.g. Primaloft One
  • Hat, Cap, against sun and cold
  • Light gloves against the cold
  • Buff, multipurpose
  • Second pair of shoes, light, I love Vibram Fivefingers (e.g. TrekSport)
  • Trekking Poles, preferably foldable and light, I used the Black Diamond Ultra Distance Pole

Optional:

  • Vest (e.g. Softshell), Protection against the wind, comfortable, light
  • Rain Pants
  • Camera (if your Mobile isn’t enogh)
  • You can rent the equipment you need for the via ferrata in the lodge before, if you don’t want to do that: Helmet, Harness, Via Ferrata Set

 

How to Run Barefoot

Barefoot running is great fun, but starting is not so easy. Here are a few tips that I wish I got when I started:

  • Start with short runs! Don’t run for more than 5-10 minutes for the first few times, and don’t run much longer too quickly. Your calfes will thank you!
  • You don’t have to run barefoot all the time to enjoy the benefits!
  • Transitioning from a full-on technical running shoe to barefoot is not a good idea! Better buy running shoes with a lower drop, 6mm or 4mm, than after a while 0mm. Merrell and Inov8 have some great transition shoes!
  • Don’t overdo the forefoot running! Many barefoot beginners -including myself- make the mistake of running on the forefoot too much. Your forefoot touches the ground first but your heel still touches the ground. Don’t try to absorb all the weight with your calf muscles, that’s impossible!
  • Shorten your stride! Try to take 180 steps per minute. Music with 180 bpm can help you get the rhytm, if that doesn’t work, many sportswatches have a cadence-function!
  • Buy some casual barefoot shoes! Try to be barefoot at least 80% of the time, your feet will thank you.

After a while, your calfes will get acustomed to barefoot running and you will be able to run longer distances and get used to running with a higher cadence! Barefoot running is much more fun, especially trail running, where feeling the ground gives you much more control, and you can focus on nature because it’s nearly impossible to sprain your ankle when you are that close to the ground!

If you want learn more about barefoot running, there’s tons of videos on youtube and vivobarefoot has a great educational website (http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/learn).