DAY 10 – Tuesday, July 2, 2019 – Golling >> Kellhein >> Eagle’s Nest >> Kongsee >> Golling
Breakfast was another delicious Hotel Adler buffet.
We drove to Kehlsteinhaus (Eagles Nest).
This Third Reich building erected atop the summit of the Kehlstein, a 6,017 foot high rocky outcrop, was completed in 1938 after less than two years of construction. It was used exclusively by members of the Nazi Party for government and social meetings. It was presented to Adolf Hitler by the National Socialist Party as a gift for his 50th birthday. It was only visited 14 times by Hitler, who actually disliked the location due to his fear of heights, the risk of bad weather, and the thin mountain air. Hitler’s home – the Berghof – was located in Obersalzberg, at the foot of the Eagles Nest mountain. The building was named “Eagles Nest” by American soldiers because it exemplified the “great pretense of the Third Reich” whose monstrous crimes were intended to remain hidden behind the beauty of the mountains.
There was a fancy reception area to wait for brass lined elevators to take us up 406 feet in 41 seconds to Hitler’s mountaintop chalet. The views at the top were breathtakingly beautiful. We wandered around the ridge, and Vladya showed Barbara and I a cool lookout through a narrow passage. It seems weird to feel so close to God when you know this is a place where Hitler was. We stopped back in the chalet to see the fireplace that was supposedly given to Hitler from Mussolini, including the chipped stone revealing where victorious Allied soldiers removed souvenirs in 1945. Barbara and I hurried down the path and made it back to the bus zone before our bus arrived.
We drove to Berechtesgaden.
Berechtesgaden is a German town in the Bavarian Alps near the border of Austria, about 19 miles south of Salzburg and 10 miles southeast of Munich.
Our first stop was Enzianbrennerei Grassl, a distillery/liquor store where we sampled and purchased German liqueurs. Afterwards, Barbara and I wandered around town and took photos. I bought Ibuprofen and herbal water pills from the Apotheteke; I had a small panic attack trying to find Barbara in the shop-lined streets. After reuniting, she took me into the grocery store to buy some nuts and dried fruit, and then we hurried back to the bus.
The bus drove us to a dock where we boarded a boat to take us to St. Bartholomew Church. The view was magnificent. Partway through the trip, one of the boatmen stood in the doorway and played a bugle towards the cliff; we were able to hear the “Echo of Konigssee.” While leaning out over the side of the boat to get a good photo of the church, I dropped my phone over the side of the boat – “SHIT!” I said . . . and not in my inside voice. Oops. I apologized to a boatful of people for my language and then looked over the edge expecting to see my phone sinking to the bottom – or that it would already have disappeared. But to my amazement, there was my phone laying on a six-inch ledge a foot or so below the edge of the boat. I reached down and picked it up and lifted it above my head to the cheers of the passengers on the crowded boat. That’s good living!
On the church grounds, Vladya stripped down to his underwear and went out for a swim in the crystal clear lake (so clean you can drink it). Konigssee (King’s Lake) is a deep, glacial lake that is very cold – “You jump in like a king, come out like a queen.”
I’m not exactly sure of the timing, perhaps on the busride back to the Hotel Adler – or maybe a day before or after this – Jimmy mentioned that he had 3 bings. What does that even mean?
We had dinner at the Hotel Adler – potato dumplings stuffed with meat, and sauerkraut on the side, and ice cream with berries for dessert. After dinner a brass band was playing down the street from our hotel. Barbara and I listened with our group for a while and then took a walk with Cecelia, Jan, and Ceil. When we came back, Barbara and I found a seat (at the same place we drank at the night before) next to an Austrial couple, Marrion and Montford. Their son is normally in the band, but he had to work today. After inquiring about Zwettler beer, I learned that Marrion and Montford’s massage therapist’s last name is Zwettler – the same as my family name. Montford spoke perfect English, but for some reason, Barbara was unable to understand a word her said and I had to translate/repeat everything for her. After Marrion and Montford left, Doug and Rita came and had a small beer with us. Before heading back to our hotel, we went inside and said “good-bye” to our waiter, Otto.
I was SO lucky! Have you ever “lost” your phone or camera on vacation?