The campsite in Rottenbuch has turned 50 years old: Iris Echtler, Franziska Echtler, Pascal Voit and Christoph Echtler are happy about this (from left). © Rafael Sala
There was reason to celebrate at the "Am Richterbichl" campsite in Rottenbuch: the facility on the B 50 has existed for 23 years. An extensive supporting program with a raffle and plenty of food awaited the visitors.
Rottenbuch – The geographical location is almost ideal: "We are right in the middle," says Franziska Echtler. "It's the same distance to Munich, Füssen and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and our customers appreciate that." The co-owner of the 4-star campsite "Am Richterbichl" in Rottenbuch has reason to celebrate: the facility in the heart of the Pfaffenwinkel has been around for 50 years.
The anniversary celebrations kicked off with a serenade by the Rottenbuch band at the site's own pond. The following day, several guided tours followed, including at the Echelsbacher Bridge and in the former monastery and current parish church in Rottenbuch. The actual feast day, however, was reserved for last Pentecost Sunday – with a morning pint and lots of musical accompaniment.
Campsite "Am Richterbichel" celebrates its 50th anniversary – hundreds of visitors flocked to the site
Hundreds of visitors flocked to the site for two days and were shown what makes the facility so special as part of a guided tour. Echtler's fiancé, Pascal Voit, speaks of "romantic charm". The fact that famous excursion destinations such as Neuschwanstein Castle, the Wieskirche and the mountains around the Zugspitze are just around the corner. And, of course, from the plant itself.
Annual pitches for permanent campers, sleeping huts and barrels, a cooking area with sanitary facilities and lounge, plus plenty of parking spaces and an idyllic pond with recently built playground equipment: "We don't lack anything," says Echtler proudly.
Visitors come from large parts of Germany, and the campsite is also known in other European countries, and the Dutch in particular appreciate it. "Many of them are already regular customers," says Christoph Echtler, who took over the business from his father and founder Karl Echtler in 1994 and has since passed it on to the next generation.
The initial period was not easy - half of the authorities spoke out against the project
It all started 50 years ago, in the summer of 1973. The first permanent campers arrived just a few months after the construction of the facility, and from then on it went steadily uphill. "Very good years came, we were able to cope with all the financial burdens," says Echtler. You have met many nice people over the decades, friendships have developed. "We experienced a lot of helpfulness," says Christoph Echtler happily in an interview.
However, it didn't look like that in the planning phase, the proverbial "bankruptcy vulture" hovered over the project, the Rottenbucher recalls. Although the municipal council had given the green light for the construction in the early 70s, the authorities then intervened, including the district office, the monument and road construction office, the farmers' association and numerous other co-decision-makers.
The time was not easy. The "biggest hammer" came from the government of Upper Bavaria, Echtler describes. An employee of the authority was on site for only five minutes and immediately drew a devastating conclusion: He is said to have said harshly that they did not want to see a "gypsy camp" built in front of the "beautiful Rottenbuch".
Spring and summer 1972: Start of construction of the outdoor area and house
A statement that the man later had to retract. About half of the authorities were against it, but the then district administrator Manfred Blaschke ultimately endorsed the plans. The Weilheim road construction office demanded the construction of a left-turn lane, a condition that – in conjunction with others – almost meant the "end" of the project, as it alone cost around 110,000 marks.
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Although the amount was reduced by about half after tough negotiations, there was still a considerable sum to be raised. One that, in Echtler's words, far exceeded the idea of what it would all cost. There was still time to "blow everything off", but thanks to generous financing offers from Raiffeisenbank Rottenbuch and a loan from the state from the "Leisure and Recreation" programme, everything was soon wrapped up and the excavators rolled in.
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In the spring and summer of 1972, the construction of the outdoor facilities and the house could begin. From then on, it went on the road to success: Today, apart from a few ups and downs, the company is solid. "We are optimistic about the future," says Echtler.
The owners would like to pass on their thanks and experienced support: It is planned to donate the proceeds from a raffle during the festive season to the Allgäu children's hospice.