Post 257: 13th May 2018, The Eagles Nest, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg.
It was an early start for a Sunday as we left ‘base’ at just after 8am with the main aim of visiting Adolf Hitler’s retreat at The Eagle’s Nest. As a child I had seen footage on TV and photographs in my Dad’s war book collection of this dramatic location where Hitler had planned the ‘holocaust’ with his generals and also where he had socialised with Eva Braun. I never thought I would eventually get to visit this location when, as a child, apart from a school trip to Holland, I never went out of the UK. My first trip abroad independently was with the British Universities America Club (BUNAC) to New York at the age of 20, which involved getting a job for 6 weeks in New York and staying with my Aunt during my summer vacation.
I had also read stories of the Allied Forces wanting to get to Eagle’s Nest first towards the end of the Second World War in 1945. Its historical connotations are huge.
The roads were quiet and I noticed interestingly that lorries are not allowed on the roads on Sundays and end up parked up. How good is that.
We starting driving past wonderful mountain scenery at just after 9.30am in fine weather.
We started climbing just before 10am towards the car park, where we were due to catch a bus to The Eagle’s Nest with the scenery becoming increasingly dramatic. The excitement of the day was building gradually.
We parked up at the Berghgasthof car park and got on one of three buses which would take us in convoy up a long and winding road to The Eagle’s Nest. There were exhilarating and tantalizing views from the bus.
The buses arrived at a turning circle quite high up and there was chance to take photographs of the Untersberg mountain range in the far distance at 1972 metres (6470 feet).
We then paid for our ticket and entered a tunnel and the waiting area for an elevator. It was quite cold and eerie in the tunnel. Quite scary for any actual visitors to see Hitler.
We emerged onto the top with fabulous 360 degree views. Lake Konigssee can be seen below and just to its right Germany’s second highest mountain Wartzman at 8900 feet(2713 metres)There was then time in bright warm sunshine to explore The Eagle’s Nest with snow still about.
There are some photographs and information about The Eagle’s Nest in the restaurant building.
As Hitler was no longer about I decided to have a cup of coffee and cake to celebrate (any excuse). It always comes with cream in Bavaria. Shortly afterwards we had our packed lunch with this view! I was definitely feeling light headed through the altitude and we decided to descend on the bus with yet more fine views. My ambitions to climb Everest are on hold!
The Eagles Nest was an unforgettable experience and again we had been lucky with the weather, although my trusted guide takes much credit as she had made the effort to take me to these places whilst the weather was holding.
There was no time to reflect as we headed towards Berchtesgaden, renown for being a good base for hiking.
I decided it should become renown for its ice-cream cafes. It was a lovely mid-afternoon stop in warm weather and a chance to recharge batteries in what had already been an awesome day. The biggest problem was choosing which ice-cream to have.
Victoria then broke the news that we had time to head for Austria and Salzburg!!!! She had warned me to take my passport as there are occasional checks since the migration issues. The thought of ending up as an illegal entrant whilst on holiday concentrated the mind. We arrived in Salzburg at 4.15pm.
The Hohensalzburg Castle dominates the city and is one of the largest in Europe. Salzburg is the fourth largest city in Austria. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1996). The architecture is baroque. It was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was the setting for the musical play and film The Sound of Music, which when I sang to Victoria, ‘The hills are alike with the sound of music”, she didn’t recognise it. Must be her age or mine or my singing!
In front of the castle we found a bench to listen to a concert in warming sun. It was very atmospheric with horses passing by. What a finish to the day!
I could have lingered there for hours but we had a long journey back to Tegernsee and I started to think of food. I asked Victoria if she knew of any restaurants she could recommend on the way back. Needless to say she came up with the goods! We found a picturesque walk back to the car.
We left Salzburg at about 5.30pm.
What I hadn’t anticipated was that Jesus would need to help us find the restaurant. We had been going along some winding roads in the country in the middle of nowhere and to be honest I wondered whether we were going to find the restaurant. Victoria suddenly brought the car to a screeching halt in front of Jesus. With no sat nav this was the next best thing. I think Jesus pointed to the map and told her where to go!!!
It was a fabulous choice of restaurant in the middle of nowhere and of course I had to have traditional soup, wiener schnitzel (breaded veal cutlet) followed by pancakes and ice-cream. Not forgetting the beer of course. Victoria is very cheap to run as unlike me she rarely has a pudding. It was she who said I am not allowed to diet in Bavaria! I would never be able to find the restaurant again. A fabulous end to a fabulous day.
Miles Walked 6