The forecast weather for today is partly cloudy, with possible showers later in the day over Berchtesgaden. So, we ate a really nice breakfast from a wide variety of choices--the advantage of staying in a larger hotel with more staff--and then were on our way by 0800. We drove in some fog and low clouds toward Salzburg, and the traffic was fairly heavy. By the time we turned off the Autobahn to head toward Berchtesgaden, the clouds started to lift and the skies opened up. It looked good for the visit to the Eagle's Nest. By the way, what we routinely call the Eagle's Nest is called the Kehlstein (name of the mountain on which it sits), so I'll refer to it hereafter as Kehlstein.
We found our way through the small town of Berchtesgaden, and followed the signs to the Obersalzberg to buy our bus passes to the Kehlstein. Linda and I did a ski week at the Obersalzberg in the early 1980s when it was part of the US military's R&R facilities in Germany. It has been really modernized since the Germans took over.
We boarded our bus punctually--would you expect anything less of the Germans--and drove through clouds (missed most of the spectacular view from the road into the valley and toward the Koenigsee), but finally broke out of the clouds near the bus stop. When you get off the bus, you proceed through a long tunnel (finished very nicely inside--not rough) to an elevator. It is modern equipment now, but is the same shaft that Albert Speer had installed for Hitler's mountain top "cabin". When you got off the elevator, the view was grand, and the clouds were clearing, so we had hopes for some good views. (When I figure out how to add photos, you'll see.)OK, I figured out how to add photos, and believe me, the view IS spectacular when there is no undercast. Rather than take my word for it, go see it yourself. MARILYN ADDS: "I really wanted to go to the Eaglesnest. I hadn’t said that until I got on the trip and I wanted to go because Paul had a picture of him sitting at Eagle's Nest and I wanted to do the same picture. It was more than amazing. I couldn’t believe the amount and I couldn’t get enough all I wanted to do was ride through the mountains. So you have to take this bus after you drive up to the place and then you get to go through a tunnel into the mountain and take an elevator to the top and then you walk up further than that and you can see the Alps. Wow!"
Marilyn and I took off up the well-used trail that runs up the spine of the ridge, and Marsha and Linda found us a table on the deck of the building. Where we walked, we could get great photo positions to include the building in the shots of the beautiful views. We each got some very pretty pictures which I'll include later. We rejoined Marsha and Linda, and had a pastry and coffee. Then back down the elevator to the bus parking lot to catch our designated bus to our car. The trip only takes about 15 minutes and the buses are excellent. We all agreed that if your travels take you to this part of Europe, the trip to the Kehlstein in good weather is worth it. If we had been undercast or there had been lightning storms (forecast for the following four days), then it would be a bust.
We loaded up the car, and began our drive to Innsbruck, Austria. The second goal for today was to find and visit the Swarovski Kristal Weltin, or crystal world. We had been told it was a huge display of Swarovski crystal, and was in Innsbruck. It turns out neither claim was accurate. More on that below. We drove across the southernmost part of Germany, and then into Austria. We drove through the famous FIS ski venue of Kitzbuehl, where Marilyn talked me into lowering my standards in Europe by stopping at the local McDonald's. She treated to drinks, and she and Marsha had cheeseburgers and fries.
As we drove into Innsbruck, we kept looking for signs about Kristal Weltin. We had trusted it was "easy to find", and had not brought along the address--bad mistake. The GPS was very helpful in getting us into and around Innsbruck, but we could not find the Kristal Weltin. Finally, Linda asked a woman on the street, and she said it was in a town east of Innsbruck--Wettens. So off to Wettens we drove and spent 20-30 minutes looking around before we finally saw a prominent sign directing us to the site. While the women went off to pay 20 Euros to enter, I chose to stay in the car and take a nap. M&M each got things they wanted, but all three ladies agreed that it was a venue for big spenders, and the entertainment they paid for was not worth the expense.
We still faced a two-hour drive back to the hotel in Munich and it was now 1900. I gassed up and we took an alternate route home. It was just getting into twilight, but we could see how beautiful the route was. On the Austrian side was the Achensee or Achen Lake district, and then in Germany, the Tegernsee or Tegern Lake area, and both were really pretty. It looks like they are popular with tourists who spend a week or more, and do lots of outdoor things, like hiking or sailing. We rejoined the Autobahn about 40 kilometers southeast of Munich, and were at the hotel a few minutes after 2100. We bid each other good night, and were in bed by 2200. It had been a long day with one success and one less success, but lots of pretty driving.