Post 256: 12 May 2018, The top of Zugspitze – Germany’s Highest Mountain, A Walk around Lake Eibsee and a Walk around Mittenwald.
I was somewhat surprised when Victoria said we would leave for the top of Germany early in the morning at about 8am. Clearly my ‘training’ of her during her 10 Days in the Yorkshire last September was paying off when much to her horror we would leave at 7.30am in the morning and not return to 9.45pm in order to explore Yorkshire! Given that she was on holiday from work for 9 1/2 days to guide me around, I was impressed she would miss a few lie ins, which is what most young people crave for when working. She always said she could get up early if she had to – a big mistake saying that to me. On this bright sunny day with the top of Germany our destination she simply had to.
‘It’s the early bird that catches the worm’ we say in Yorkshire and in Bavaria they have a similar expression and of course it means you avoid the traffic too. Also as it was Mothers’s Day soon (13th May 2018) and so we had some flowers to drop off. The location where Victoria left the flowers had amazing views of the Alpspitze mountain at 2628 metres (8,622 feet).We passed through Garmisch -Partenkirchen,which became known around the world when the Winter Olympics were held there in 1936. There was still relatively little traffic at just before 10.00am on a Saturday.
Other mountain scenery appeared as we drove further towards Zugspitze.
We continued our drive to the cable car park, near the Eibsee Lake, to look up to the cable car and summit at 2,962 metres (9718 feet).
It was going to be an interesting ride as the cable car broke 3 world records! I had already been on Europe’s steepest cablecar ride at Mount Loen in Norway but this looked steep too! Each car holds up to 150 people. Cosy! Having beaten the crowds that would later appear later we were soon off – only 10 minutes to the top. The views of Lake Eibsee (the green lake) were stunning. The views either side and up were also breathtaking. Going over the huge single tower caused some wobble and I had to grab onto a support.
Finally, the summit was reached and the views were all expansive, 400 mountain tops and 4 countries, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. At some point we went for a coffee in the cafe/restuarant. Children were playing in the snow and people were having photos taken on the summit, which was starting to get enveloped in mist.
We then crossed a few borders, including passing into Austria, with no signs of border control!I was glad to be descending as I was starting to feel light headed due to altitude sickness – the first time in my life. Or was it due to the beer and gin and tonic the night before?
We then had to descend to the glacier on another cable car. There was lots of fun going on and loud music!
There was also a chapel.
Finally, we did some photograph posing amongst the glorious mountains and scenery.
It was then a train ride through a mountain tunnel back to the car. A simply stunning trip and at 45 Euros superb value (prices may go up in the peak season). I got my Zuspritze mug to remind me when back at home when drinking tea of this super trip. We had avoided the worst of the crowds and now Victoria had a quiet walk around Lake Eibsee planned for me. Not much time to catch my breathe.
Towards the end of the holiday I said to Victoria:
“Where had the time gone?”
She said “We left it on the street”.
I think with hindsight:
“We may have left it on the cable car!”
We had our packed lunch on a beach on the lake looking towards the mountains. It was as though we had been transported to Canada on a time machine! Simply idyllic. Pollen on the lake caused mustard coloured effects against the backdrop of the greenness of the lake.
The day was not over and we headed to the village of Mittenwald, which used to have a trade route from Italy passing through it since Roman times. It is surrounded by the Karwendal range of mountains which is part of the northern, calcareous Alps. It consists of several chains of mountains characterised by precipitous, steeply soaring, bare rock walls and peaks most of which reach a height between 2,000 and 2,800 metres ( 6562 and 9183 feet).
Lets now take a walk through this village of great art and colour – quite unbelievable when I think how I used to hate painting the outside of my house before PVC windows arrived. The beginnings of the local violin-making trade can traced back to the 17th century and Matthew Klutz (1653-1743), a pupil of the famous Nicola Amati. A violin school was founded in 1853.
A traditional wedding passed us by.
The interior of churches are opulent and this St-Peter-und-Paul-Kirche with its Gothic Tower is no exception:
The painted houses were staggering in their detail.
After leaving Mittenwald we then had some more fine scenery.
What a way to finish a day that had touched all the senses. It was time to head back to ‘base’ with my trusted driver, guide and friend for a few beers and gin and tonics.
When in Rome do as the Romans do and when in Bavaria do as the Bavarians do.
Miles Walked 12