One of the prized features of Hitler's Eagles Nest house was a huge picture window which could be lowered into the floor for an uninterrupted view to the north. The window is gone, but in 1950, we could see the same view as when the picture window was lowered.
In silhouette is the American Army Colonel who drove us up to the site on the left, my mother, my sister, and on the right edge - me
The Ramsau parish church with the Reiteralpe mountains in the background is a much photographed scene and I confess I found its attraction quite magnetic as you can clearly see in pics 1,2 & 5.
Josef Mohr, the man who penned the lyrics to Silent Night, preached here.
Fondest memory: Walking up the hill to get a better shot of the church I received a surprise when I came across this ordered cemetery (1 & 5) whose recently lit candles and well tended graves with flowers, many of them live, came as a surprise.
It was some time before we reached Ramsau. The trail meanders a little but you'll never get lost and the main road is always nearby.
The rippling river (5) is always audible and that lovely light green colour due to the limestone.
Fondest memory: It's always the thought of what might be around the corner that drives the traveller on though, and this walk won't disappoint.
The water cascading off the sluice was one big surprise. It was an aqueduct that serves a small industry on the other side of the river and, since it was the weekend and nothing was happening, it was obviously closed and the water had to go somewhere.
In pic 4 there is a sculpted bird. It was in some industrial backyard and, particularly due to its size, it was hard not to notice.
Pic 3 shows some historical relics, particularly from grain mills that would have been driven by the stream while in pic 2 Rosemarie has her hands out feeling the snow. Now, for those millions of you for whom it is an annual occurance, it would mean nothing. For Rosemarie, it was only the second time in her whole life that she had stood out in the open while it was snowing. See, it means different things for different people.
If you're looking for something to do, i.e., as in exercise, as in walking, you could do worse than catch a bus out to Hintersee and start walking back to Berchtesgaden, as we did.
Fondest memory: What this does is give you a bit of everything. There are places where you're following the stream, parts where you're in the forest and other sections where you'll find yourself cruising through a village.
All the time there is the sound of rushing water and a backdrop of snowcapped mountains. If you get lucky you'll get a still day and a mesmerising mirror shot of the peaks reflected in Hintersee. Me, I'm still waiting for the right day.
That won't stop you having a thoroughly enjoyable experience however. With the gravel crunching beneath your feet you'll round Hintersee and hit the trail/road/trail on your way back. Initially you'll find yourself in a national park following a path beside the stream but they've had to change the route somewhat since the violent storm in 2007 uprooted many of the waterside trees.
You'll then walk past a hotel before the track cuts across to the other side and then slowly loops back around to the stream again.
It wasn't though as I was trying to avoid it. Nay, I had really wanted to see it. However, poor weather added to a dose of uncertainty (about how far it was) had conspired to deprive me of the experience of the so-called "painters' corner".
Called the Malerwinkel, after a famous brushman, it was deservedly popular in the 19th century with landscape painters.
Fondest memory: I'd found out that it was listed as a 90 minute loop walk and you can start either at the ferry wharf or Jennerbaum, the cable car base.
We chose the boathouse start and commenced the climb into the spruce forest. There used to be many beech, sycamore and fir trees here as well but forestry practices have altered the landscape forever.
The trail eventually arrives at a point that, to the unknowing observer, must be the famed Malerwinkel. It is here that you can choose to continue the loop walk or head off to the Koenigsbachfall, a waterfall originating at 1,600 metres about 2 kms further around Koenigsee.
It is not the best view though. No, another five minutes further along there is another gap, then a third, that offer better panoramas down this fabled fiord like landscape. It is easy to understand why a painter or photographer would desire to make this excursion. It's definitely a special place.
The track then continues further up before cresting over a small hill and then descending till you walk beneath the Jennerbahn and back to the carpark or, in my case, the bus stop.
The Eiskapelle refers to an area where avalanche snow from the Watzmann's east face is partially washed out with the melt. It leaves a cave that can be extremely dangerous but is a magnet for the adventurous tourist.
It was very early spring when I tried to find it, along with another three groups who were on the trail at the same time.
The departure point is where you are dropped off at St. Bartholomew's.
Fondest memory: The bottom line is that we never found it. The good news was that the walk was well worthwhile for different reasons. First up there was this charmer called the St. John and St. Paul Chapel that dates back to 1620 and is believed to have replaced a former pagan shrine.
We then started ascending (pic 3), first through the thaw and then (pic 2) up into the snow proper.
As you move ever upward the mountains start to emerge from the foliage (pic 4) until, the magnificent spectre of one of the many faces of Watzmann (pic 5) is achieved.
This was as far as we, or any one else on the day, achieved. The snow cave remained elusive and it was pretty obvious from what we saw that you really do have to water until later in the spring or summer until the chapel is attainable as it requires the melt to have taken place before it actually happens.
Like any good jewel, there are many facets to Koenigsee.
One of those is the deer feeding station. This is maintained by the national parks because man has usurped much of the deer's natural feeding area so a station at Reitl (shown here) and one at St. Bartholomew's are stocked to keep the herd viable.
As one would expect in a mountainous area with water, there are waterfalls. The most obvious one is Koenigsbachfall which is located on the southern side of the lake and starts at around 1,600 metres.
At Kessel (pic 3) there is a small wharf that is active in summer as hikers alight to ascend to Gotzenalm, a mountain meadow with one of the best views over the lake.
Fondest memory: A DEADLY PLACE:
There are two things I was told when I was younger - "Never turn your back on the surf or the mountains". This sage advice I never forgot and perhaps it would have aided some of those who have ventured here in the past.
There's a red cross (right hand side, base of cliff) that marks the spot where 70 pilgrims drowned in 1688 when their boat shattered on the rocks of Falkensteiner Wand in a storm; then, while you're gazing at the splendour of the soaring striated cliffs of Watzmann Ostwand, you might also reflect that, since the mountain was first climbed in 1881, over 90 people have perished here.
I'd vaguely read that you could get some dried fish out there somewhere.
It turns out that there's actually a viable industry fishing this lake that's only 8 kilometres long, one kilometre wide (on average). Extraordinary! The sole licence has been in the same family's hands for decades.
The sea saibling found in Koenigsee lives on tiny animals and it's an eye opener to see some of the trophy fish on display in the restaurant (as distinct from the fish shack where you can also eat).
One weighed well over 20 kilos! (see opening pic).
Don't bother getting excited about bringing your line though, not only is it a national park but to get a fishing licence in Germany costs an arm and a leg and you have to do a special test as well.
Fondest memory: The fisherman's family shack where you can dine on the famous smoked fish is a small atmospheric affair. It must also be said that you shouldn't expect service like you'd get in a top class restaurant. No, this is very rustic. They throw the fish on a wooden slab with a handle, chuck a tomato or such on it, extract your money and send you on your way. Finesse is not a word I would use to describe their manner.
Frankly, the restaurant at the back of the church, where we ended up eating, isn't much better. The fare is basic, as you'd have to expect in this remote location, and the waiters fairly abrupt as they have a horde of tourists to get through and only limited time. It's not on my all-time favourite eating places' list.
It was my third trip to Berchtesgaden. I still hadn't done the famous scenic drive, hadn't seen the overall view from Jenner (it was obscured by cloud) and, worst of all, hadn't been in the battery boats.
The second trip I tried but the last ticket had been sold for one hour so I went and jumped off the mountain in a parachute instead (as you do) but this time I was determined and had time up my sleeve.
We picked our day, having allocated 5 nights for Berchtesgaden this trip, because I'd hate to do the trip in crap weather. Though it was chilly, inside the boat was nice and warm except for the fact that tourists continually open the windows to get photos........can't imagine I'd ever do that!
Fondest memory: It promised much and it delivers. Rosemarie had been to the Canadian Rockies and said this was better than anything she'd seen there which, I have to say, shocked me.
It costs around 12 euros per adult and, depending on the season, up to 18 boats can be running at a time which, on a lake only 8 kilometres long, gives you some idea of how popular this activity is.
Personally, I'm pleased I visited in very early spring when the snow was still present and only 4 boats were working. It must be nightmarish on a warm summer's day around St. Bartholomew's, the pictuesque little church where you can leave the boat for a while.
Around half way down the lake the boat stops, out comes a horn and the guide starts playing a tune, a few bars at a time. He then waits for the echo to return and it's pretty impressive I have to say. When he's finished he does a quick trip around the boat for tips and, if my trip was any guide, does pretty well.
I actually gave him nothing because (a) I didn't have a clue what was going on; (b) his playing wasn't all that good and (c) the talk is all in German so I understood none of it.
The church surprised me. From all the shots I'd seen I thought it was alone but, no, there are a few other buildings which I will explain in the next tip. Meantime, enjoy my shots.
Berchtesgaden is a wonderful place for a vacation and I hope to be there again in 2007. For the Olympic Games in 2014 Berchtesgaden is applying togeather with the City of Salzburg, that is just in a short distance from there - the bus takes about 1 hour and by car it is best to drive in direction of Hallein and take the small road at Anif.
Another possibility is driving to Bad Reichenhall and from there to berchtesgaden !
Fondest memory: I will add some links here for my future travels, they might also be helpful for you :
the nationalpark of Berchtesgaden
Tourism in Berchtesgaden
Wetter in Berchtesgaden
Favorite thing: I must admit... I was at my Olympic skiing best when I was standing still... and that wasn't easy! But the skis stayed on much better this way... I think I had two left skis... Yeah, that must have been what happened!
Favorite thing: There is nothing quite like being made to look and feel stupid by a four year old! But she obviously knows something I don't... Children can be so brutally honest! She was so cute... and mean! ;-)
Favorite thing: Me taking a picture of you taking a picture of me taking a picture of you taking a picture of me taking a picture of you taking a picture of me... I could go on, but why? Hey! I have an idea! Let's swap pictures so I can torture these poor folks some more! ;-)
Well, we were there to ski so ski we did! At least we tried... It was my first and only attempt and though I considered myself pretty athletic and did quite a bit of water skiing before, this was a beast of a different nature! But still it was most enjoyable and I would like to think that I improved some during the two days we had there...
Unfortunately, I had a pretty severe knee injury just 3 weeks before leaving Germany for my return to the U.S. (it didn't happen here!). Two years later it required major knee surgery and I have never attempted to ski again though there are slopes only one hour away from my home... So, this makes the memory even more special for me!
Favorite thing: The town centre is quite lively with shops and cafes with delicious cakes. Its pedestrianised so you can enjoy the pastel coloured buildings ornately decorated with frescoes, without dodging any traffic. I loved the turret on this building too.