Thursday, May 19, 2011

Munich Day Trip to Obersalzberg

We got up early today and drove to the Obersalzberg (near Berchtesgaden), the home of Hitler's Eagle's Nest, and a documentation center that tells the story of what Hitler and his henchmen did here. In the mid-1930s Hitler and his top guys decided they liked the area and confiscated land to build second homes for themselves and eventually a meeting center and many other buildings to support their takeover of the area. Martin Bormann had decided that it would be good to have an impressive place for meetings with other world leaders, so he had the Eagle's nest built at the very top of a mountain there. Ironically, Hitler is said to have suffered from vertigo and never used it. At the lower level is the documentation center, restaurant, and entrance into the bunkers that were built in 1943. The bunker system is huge.
This is the walkway into one of the bunker complexes.

Bormann also had a 4 mile road with a 25% grade built up to the top of the mountain. They drilled an elevator shaft through the rock 400 feet high to get to the site of the Eagle's Nest. It's now a restaurant with an amazing view. Hitler's Berghof and the homes of his henchmen were destroyed late in the war and are now gone. In 1952 there was discussion of dynamiting the Eagle's Nest, but they decided to keep it and make it a tourist area.

This is the current restaurant. There is a trail behind it you can hike up to see the surrounding mountains.

The Alps and a lake.

More Alps and the trail.

It's more of a drive from Munich than we thought it would be, in large part due to construction. Going out the GPS took us off the freeway and through the country side to avoid a huge backup. We saw part of it crossing the freeway and were pretty danged happy not to be in it. The museum is good, there are a lot of words, but it's good. Taking the bus up to the Eagle's Nest was unbelievable. The road is really steep. The elevator up is lined in brass and is original. It's a surreal experience, but I am glad we went.

Being American and somewhat sheltered, I never really knew what a Biergarten was. I thought it was an outdoor area where beer is served. No, it's so much more. They're huge. They're an urban oasis with trees, and flowers and food and beer. I took this picture out of our hotel window at the one across the street. I believe the tall structure is a May pole, they appear to be common to all of the biergartens we have seen to date. The heavy equipment in the background is demolishing something and is not common to the biergarten.

After returning to the garage, we walked over to the grocery store to obtain dinner. There was a Japanese woman with her 3 year old son, who was having a tantrum of epic proportions. She was speaking to him in low tones in Japanese and he was just wailing "Nein, nein". It was an impressive bilingual tantrum at such a young age.

Tomorrow is probably another day trip. Then it's on to Garmish with a side trip to a church in Wies I want to see.

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