Germany: Day Seven

Kehlsteinhaus, “The Eagle’s Nest”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 7: Off for a day-trip toward Obersalzberg, the site of Hitler’s mountain-side compound, including his mountain residence “Berghof” and the hilltop retreat, Kehlsteinhaus or the “Eagle’s Nest.” Kehlsteinhaus was a gift to Hitler from the Nazi party secretary Martin Bormann for his 50th birthday. Apparently, he was afraid of heights and rarely visited. (What a wuss – I handled it just fine.) We payed 30€ ($40) each to ride the bus 10 minutes up a super windy road, got off in a parking lot, walked up a long tunnel INTO the mountain and rode a massive lush elevator (think: polished brass) up to the retreat house. The house is now used primarily as a restaurant. The views were fantastic! You could see for miles in every direction. After we took it all in, we rode back down the mountain to the site of Hitler’s vacation home, Berghof.  During World War II, he spent more time here than anywhere else.  It, along with all of the other buildings on the site were destroyed by allied bombs in April of 1945. The area was occupied by US troops until 1996 when they transferred control to the local government. In 1999 the Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg, a museum outlining how the local area was used by the Nazis. All of the information was in German, but we did get to wander a bit through some extensive network of the underground bunkers. All in all, a full day packed with tons of historical information.

Kehlsteinhaus, Obersalzberg, Germany
Kehlsteinhaus, Obersalzberg, Germany

Germany: Day Four


IMG_8605Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 4: The weather has improved so today we headed for Zugspitze, the tallest peak in Germany that lies in the Alps straddling the Germany-Austria border. First a short drive to the station and then a ride on the gondola straight up to the top! (2960m/9718 ft.) Yesterday’s rain brought a nice dusting of snow that left me completely unprepared in the clothing department. The truly awesome views outweighed my fear of heights. We took another gondola down into the glacier and then a less than exciting cog-wheel train that cut THROUGH the mountain back to the starting point. After our mountain adventure we drove into the small town of Oberammergau, best known for skilled woodcarvers and their decennial (every ten years) Passion Play (a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death). The townspeople have been performing the play since 1634 in gratitude for being spared from the bubonic plague. We used the bathroom in the theater and had gelato. Almost everything was closed for Sunday Family Day. We continued on to Linderhof Palace, a stunning estate with a dazzling Rococo-style palace built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria beginning in 1869. From there we hopped on the autobahn to jump up to Munich. There was more spatzle and beer for dinner. Tonight, Kai had schnitzel. After dinner, we walked up to Hirschgarten, Europe’s largest biergarten. I had a crepe with apfel zucker und zimt (apple and cinnamon sugar). Prost!

Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace

Germany: Day Three


Wino Training
Wino Training
Kai's Snails. (She loved them!)
Kai’s Snails. (She loved them!)

Friday, August, 26, 2011

Day 3: 35 degree temperature drop from yesterday. Raining and 48 today. Bad weather has derailed plans to visit Zugspitze, the tallest peak in Germany. Instead, we explored by car down into Austria. Seems everyone else decided to do the same thing. 😦 It took us two hours to go 16 km. Finally made it through traffic and passed through Reutte and Innsbruck (site of 1964 & 1976 Winter Olympics). Stopped at “SPAR” market and filled the cooler with local foods (although we couldn’t find the ice). Ate lunch in the car as we continued on to Mittenwald, Germany (famous for world-class violin, viola and cello makers). Explored Mittenwald (the highlight was the ReWe grocery store because it was after 6pm and everything else was closed). Finished our journey in Garmisch, a mountain resort town. After settling in to our hotel we headed to the restaurant for another delicious meal (salad, spatzle, schnitzel, potato croquettes, white wine). Kai even had some snails! We’re closing up the long day with one if our pirated DVDs from China (our American ones don’t work here). Gute nacht!