BERCHTESGADEN & HITLER'S LAIR, GERMANY

Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
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Trip End Oct 14, 2009


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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Saturday, September 19, 2009



We took a bus from Salzburg over to Berchtesgaden, Germany which is only about 45 minutes. It's nestled in the Bavarian Alps. We stayed on the outside of the city in a little Bed and Breakfast. It is usually cheaper to stay in a B&B then in a hostel (if the town has a hostel). We thought it would be much easier to find cheap hostels here but in Austria and Germany we're finding it harder and harder. But this place was great. Very cozy and German. Because it is surrounded by mountains we went for a long hike the first day. There is a lot to see in this area. Lots of little villages off the beaten path and the highlight is the Eagle's Nest.

Hitler spent a third of his time in Berchtesgaden. He had a small compound made here and it became the second seat of government next to Berlin. It was called the Bergoh and was his home. All the buildings were up in the mountains and on his 50th birthday the Nazi gave him the Eagle's Nest as a present. It was a retreat for him and was built on the peak of one of the highest mountains. To get there we had to take a special bus up a one lane road straight up the side of the mountain. When we got to the top we walked through a tunnel that went straight into the side of the mountain for 124 meters (406 feet) then we came to a huge brass elevator the took us right up through the mountain to the top. An elevator in the middle of the mountain! It was made of such good brass and the engineering was so good, it has ever been serviced. But it also caused the deaths of 12 construction workers when it was made. Or thats what we were told. After the war, the UK and USA blew up most of his buildings in this area but Germany managed to save the Eagle's Nest because it was so amazing and actually had little attachment with Hitler (he only visited it maybe 10 times).

We went on a sunny day but at the top it was cloudy. It was like we were in a cloud, everything was white all around us. We could only see a few meters ahead of us at some points. Too bad because there are usually unbelievable views at the peak of this mountain. The Eagle's Nest is now a restaurant but there is an interesting trail you can hike. Its a big loop but takes you to another peak and it is all on the top edge of the mountain. We went on part of it, but it was pretty dangerous. We stayed up there as long as we could and the clouds parted a few times but still not much for the views. It was really great to see this though, its amazing how they built this, the elevator, and the access road (which is famous on its own) in only 13 months! Hitler only went to the top of the Eagle's Nest a couple of times because he was afraid of heights.

Our last day in Berchtesgaden was beautiful so we went to the nearby lake Konigssee. It is a little too touristy for us but good to see. We hiked up part of the mountain and looked back down on the lake. They have lots of boat rides on the lake but all our electric boats so it was very quite and peaceful.

Overall we really enjoyed being in the mountains and staying at our B&B, although the lady running it was kind of strange. She did let us use their grill though and gave us good breakfasts. And when we left she gave us a big bag of salt. There is a huge salt mine right down the road, so we are guessing it has something to do with that. We met a nice older couple from England while we were here and they even gave us a ride to the train station when we left. The good comes with the bad usually.
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