Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hitler's Eagle's Nest, or the view the Clouds missed because they were in a cloud

The adorable couple we met.
We headed out of Austria for a day trip into Germany the next day. Our first stop was Hitler's Eagle's Nest, which he built and used for conferences. He also had a summer home built below, but it was destroyed by Allied bombs. The only reason the Eagle's Nest survived the bombings was due to the fact that it was cloudy that day and they missed it.

It was probably in a cloud, like the day that the Cloud family went to the top of the mountain and were literally in a cloud and couldn't see 5 feet in front of them. That was extremely unfortunate for them, considering that it was unbelievably beautiful up there.

The tunnel leading to the elevator and the elevator are the originals that Hitler built.

The couple in the tunnel above were this incredibly cute and kind couple we met. They were from Scotland and had been married 59 years. She was afraid of heights and was not happy about going to the top of a mountain, but braved the situation. She actually hiked a bit up the mountain despite her fear and was proud of herself. They were extremely agile and energetic. It was inspiring to see. They hiked with the best of them and very quickly. And they were so nice!

The ride up the mountain to the tunnel starts with a very fast bus ride in buses that can handle the steep hills because they have special engines.

It was a one lane road and it was windy and terrifying. It did not help that we were sitting backwards on the bus and it felt like I was sliding forward out of my seat. My leg muscles were sore the next day from trying to hold myself in my seat.

The view was beautiful and totally worth the terror of getting there.

We then smashed our way into the large elevator and headed to the top of the mountain.

It was amazing. There was not a cloud in the sky and you could see for miles around.

The poor Cloud family...

Adrienne and I took a lot of pictures of each other enjoying the fabulous view from different angles.

 Zooming in to the town far below us.

Here is the view from one angle, with some plant life sneaking in.

This is the view in the other direction. You can see a lake there and more mountains, of course.

Adrienne needs to practice getting more of the background into her pictures,
 The valley below us.

 It was a little hazy but you could still see everything.

This was the view looking away from the actual Eagle's nest building. You could hike along a small ridge, that made me a bit nervous, but I managed to do it without breaking my leg or falling off the mountain

 This was part of the walk down to a path, which, again, involved miraculous intervention for me to not break my ankle.

 Adrienne bravely continuing further down the path.
Me clutching the side of the mountain to make sure I don't fall.
I managed to venture a bit, but Adrienne was definitely braver.

There's the Eagle's Nest. We went inside briefly, where they had various pictures of the time period when it was used.

It's really a strange feeling being somewhere that Hitler was, standing somewhere that he stood. It's not necessarily a good feeling either. But it's important to remember.

 A less blurry photo of the tunnel, but without the cute couple in it.
 The entrance to the tunnel.

We continued our journey in Germany back down the treacherous hill into the town of Berchtesgaden, a small Bavarian town of 8000 people.
We ate lunch (schnitzel of course, which, again, Adrienne has ruined for me by saying it tastes like a giant chicken nugget) and wandered around for a bit.

 This was the cute restaurant we ate at before walking around.

One thing I love about towns in Bavaria (and possibly other parts of Germany that I haven't been to) are the decorations on the buildings. The paintings are always beautiful.

They had banners up for some sort of festival. What that festival was I have no idea.

 A lovely fountain.

 Here I am with the fountain.
Me with my awkward hand next to the fountain with the lovely painted building behind me.


We sprinted back to the bus and were almost late, but we managed to make it.

I had taken a tour with the same company in 2009 and knew that they leave people behind, so we definitely ran.

Our next stop was the salt mines, which were really cool.

They made us wear these ridiculous jumpsuits throughout the tour. It was mildly ridiculous and embarrassing.

Here is Adrienne in her suit, looking slightly alarmed.
 Adrienne modeling.
 My hair looks so blonde!
Of course pictures of the mine were not allowed, but here was the entrance. But, they put us all on a little train, except there weren't seats like a normal train. Instead you slid yourself onto a bench, straddling it, with people lining up behind you, touching you. It was a bit weird.

Very narrow ski slopes!
The train took us into the mountain and then we walked the rest of the way, except for the part which involved a very fast slide. And then the other part that involved an even faster slide which made our buttocks very hot. They had pictures we could buy later that we didn't because I looked very alarmed in the picture. Now I kind of wish I had the picture, looking back, but it was about 20 dollars and didn't seem worth it.

Needless to say, Adrienne and I quoted Lord of the Rings a lot, saying "Into the mines!" and "They call it a mine. A MINE!" frequently to each other.

The best part of the mines was definitely looking at the different types of salt...

Just kidding. Even I cannot make that interesting. The best part was definitely the mirror lake. I wasn't brave enough to take a picture of it, but it was really beautiful. The water was so still and reflective.

Our next stop was Koenigsee, or King's Lake, for a lovely view of the mountains and a large lake. We had enough time to walk up to the viewpoint and look at the lake for a while.

And there is the lake!
We had another shadow incident where we had pictures of us either in shadow or looking photoshopped into the picture.

Adrienne is here in shadow.
 Sweaty photoshop.
Oh look, it looks like Adrienne has actually been to Koenigsee!

We asked a woman to take our picture. She was quite dramatic about her stance in taking the picture, squatting and looking quite professional.

That is, until I got my camera back and had 4 pictures of Adrienne and I and basically no background.

We wanted our picture to show where we've been!
So we awkwardly lingered around the viewpoint until she left and we could ask another person to take our picture.
I mean really. And there's somebody's feet in our picture!
 And now instead of feet there's a telescope.
The lake, taken while lingering.

There! Much better. We actually talked to the person who took this picture and his family for the rest of the trip. They were very nice people and we enjoyed hanging out with them. We actually ran into them again in Vienna a couple days later and wandered around together a bit again.

And photoshop...
 We then walked back to this area to put our feet in the water.
The water was really cold and it felt wonderful on our very tired feet.
 More ducks! and other birds!

We headed back into Berchtesgaden again and walked around, actually going inside the church this time.

Also we bought ice cream because it was necessary to buy ice cream every day of our trip.

 I have no idea what this creepy set up was.
We headed back into Salzburg feeling quite happy but exhausted. We got dinner in the old town. Adrienne ate an entire pizza. She then proceeded to burp and blow it into my face repeatedly.

Also a "Where the Wild Things are" parade came by while we were eating dinner.

We decided to sleep in a little bit the next morning because we were feeling a bit travel worn. It was quite unsuccessful due to the fact that two of the girls in our room decided to start packing at 4 AM for TWO HOURS! I am not even joking! They were banging around for what felt like forever, so I did not manage to sleep well. But I survived the next day. But this blog is long enough and I will have to write about that day at another time!

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