My GPS does not distinguish between the two towns of Obersalzburg and Berchtesgaden, but combines them as if they are the same town. Well, they are not. The GPS also did not list any streets or other distinguishing features of the area so I could punch in some specifics, so as we approached the area I got to an intersection, one that pointed to Obersalzburg and the other that pointed to Berchtesgaden
. I asked in a restaurant, and they pointed vaguely in a direction back down the mountain. They could not, or would not, give me details of any kind, probably because we spoke vastly different languages. Over the next hour I lived in a livid fog of frustration, as every little (and I mean little) road that was marked with something promising pointed me down to a dead end with no room to turn around without running over a chicken, or flower bed or vegetable garden. I think I did all three over the course of this hour. Finally I found a sign that pointed up onto a mountain slope that indicated that at the end of this drive there would be a snack bar. Perhaps there they would know, if they were open, and if the proprieter spoke some non-Slavic language, and if they cared to help me out. This time I lucked out. There was a woman walking down the road, all red cheeked and with cheerfulness spilling out of her. She spoke the Queen's English and wanted to help. She looked at the hotel name and pointed down the road, saying "yes, you just park here down the road, and enter the reception area". I was ecstatic. I drove down the road, parked in the lot that I thought she indicated, and then spent ten minutes walking around looking for a hotel, ANY hotel, but there were nothing but stacks upon stacks of Tyrolean style apartments. Perhaps we misheard, I thought. I asked Estela, and she told me that she heard the same thing. Luckily, the lady was returning from whatever misfortune she was casting to another member of our breed, and I asked her, fully taking the na´ve approach, letting her know that I must have misheard her and needed some assistance once again
. That’s when she told me, “Gosh, there is a little old lady who runs that house, but I’m sure she isn’t having guests any longer. Yes, you go to the end of this road, well, it’s actually quite a way down the mountain, and make a turn at the first right, then the first left, then go into a roundabout, exit at the first exit and if you find signs pointing to the Hotel Intercontinental, you are going in the right direction”. Well, gosh, that sounded a bit different than what you said the last time, thinks me, but I repeated it back to her. We followed her directions, and found a huge parking lot at the base of Hitler’s Eagle’s nest, which would be our destination the following day. There was no Hotel Zum Turken anywhere to be seen, even though the street signs pointed at the parking lot and said it was there. I calmly got out of the car and calmly entered a bar to calmly ask the woman at the bar where in the hell is this damned hotel. She gave me directions that eventually got us there.
The place looked abandoned, and I was ready to have it out with the person there, if there was a person there, about the lack of directions on their website (directions- nonexistent, none on any search engine, etc.) when a little old lady answered the door. She must have stood about four foot two and had the kindest eyes that were ever created, she looked at me so lovingly that all of my frustrations melted away. She welcomed me to her hotel and explained that they never take more than ten people here because it is just her, and she has been running this hotel for the last 17 years since her husband passed away, and it is quite a busy job. She took me inside, giving me precise directions on always locking the door, and showed me around. She took me to the kitchen, which was well stocked with refreshments (I mean really well stocked, all the way to the front). She told me that she has so many guests that come from so many parts of the world and count on her to have her hotel available to them that she doesn’t have the heart to ever stop letting guests come in. The hotel was large, three stories with maybe forty rooms, but she only has three rooms occupied. At the time we arrived, we were the only car in the parking lot. I was good with the world again, and this lady, Frau Scharfenberg, made it all better, God bless her. The following day I was to learn of her dark and colorful past, and why the signs all pointed in the wrong directions.
We had a continental breakfast at the hotel and then walked downtown to do a tad of shopping and to get some lunch before hitting the road once again. Innsbruck is a very pleasant city to wander around, if you can steer clear of those massive tour groups. I bought a cable lock so I will be able to lock the steering wheel to the center console of the car to keep the car from being stolen in Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. Estela bought a cross, she collects them, just outside the cathedral. We had a quick lunch and then got in the car and headed east in the direction of Salzburg.