Originally published 19 March 2012
Our hotel, Berchtesgaden
"My God! It's full of stars!"- Bowman, 2001 a space odyssey
It's the only line I can think of that can actually describe what we saw today. When he was taken into the alien monolith, these were his last words, and they express the wonder he saw. I understand. What amazing, breathtaking views we saw today. The mountains were beyond description.....looking like they weren't really real, but a Hollywood trick on the eyes.
Breakfast room, our hotel
We woke up in our wonderful hotel in Berchtesgaden. The hotel we stayed in was simply divine. A fantastic breakfast with a huge selection, and amazing views from the dining room. What a great hotel! The region is known for salt bearing rocks and salt mines, and they think that some of the minerals in these rocks have properties for health and energy. Consequently, if you look at the pictures, you'll see one from breakfast with a carafe of rocks and water label "energy water" in German. This was by far the best place we stayed on our travels. It was not cheap (105 euros/140 dollars a night) but we truly got what we paid for. Two balconies, fantastic breakfast, wonderful innkeeper, great location. If you don't like staying here, you're just too bitchy!
Energy water at breakfast. The rocks supposedly add energy....
We left our hotel and walked around the town. It looks like a movie set, very Bavarian. We walked through the town cemetery, which had memorials to the war dead lining the walls on the perimeter. One must remember that even though Germany wasn't fighting the good fight, they buried their children too.
Berchtesgaden is gorgeous
After wandering the town and having a latte, we headed towards the documentation center. This is the only record of the third reich in Germany. It's illegal to display it's symbols and it's obviously a very big wound in this country even 67 years later. The center explains the rise of the third reich, the players in the reich, and the evil they did. It minces no points and presents everything very matter of fact. At the end of the center, you visit the bunker complex that the reich's high officials and Hitler used. It was built by a German company using 3000 slave laborers. The bunker is noticeably devoid of anything symbolically tied to the reich. The entrance of the bunker had even had the plaques with swastikas and such torn off and chipped away.
Gorgeous alpine scenery
Laurie did not want her picture taken here. She didn't want a picture of her associated with it. I told her about Patton, and that when he crossed the Rhine, he stopped in the middle of the bridge, with a crew of photographers in tow, and took a piss in the river. I told her that if I were her, I would most certainly would want a picture there, taking a piss on it with a T shirt that says "Fuck you. I'm still here." The master race is gone and the Jew remains.
Wonderful German Baked Goods!
Eagle's nest was not yet open. The snow pack is so heavy that it doesn't melt off enough for passage until May. We shot pictures as best we could from below. We then visited Konigsee and started our scenic drive through the Alps.
What amazing scenery! Mountain vistas that you wonder if they are real because they are so visually intense. Laurie says she has heard that the Tetons are like these mountains. Neither of us have been to the Tetons so we can't really say....but if they are, we really need to visit them.
Spring in Austria
We continued zipping along through the alps in our Audi, driving through all these little towns. We would stop from time to time and take pictures and we stopped and wandered around in a town called Reit Im Winkl. So pretty it just doesn't seem real. We cut across Austria again so we can rightfully claim we have been to Austria as well! We got back on the Autobahn and I finally got to see what the Audi would do.
I only got the Audi up to 119 today. It wasn't because I didn't want to go faster, and it wasn't because the Audi didn't have the legs for it. It had a sticker on the dash saying "please stay under 240 kph" (150 mph). And if I could have found a stretch that I didn't run into traffic...yeah...it would have done it. It was a damn good car. Laurie sat nervously in the passenger seat while i was flying down the highway. We got to Munich to turn in the car....and let me tell you......119 on the autobahn is easy. Munich city traffic is a brass plated bitch!
Frozen lake, Austria
We got the car turned in at the Munich central train station. We put on our packs and humped the two blocks to our hotel...passing a strip club and two sex shops along the way. The area is not really what I'd call seedy. It seems safe enough....and it's half a block from the train station. It is just a big city and it has what big cities have. The hotels is ok. It's nothing fancy...more like a German Motel 6. It has working internet, a fairly large room with a view of the "everything is one euro" store and a betting parlor, it is conveniently located for our train trip day after tomorrow, and it's clean.
Tomorrow we go to Dachau. It will be an emotional day for Laurie but she feels the need to go.
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.