After singing the Sound of Music in Salzburg, we back tracked into Germany to visit Berchtesgaden and the Eagle’s Nest. As we arrived at the Intercontinental Berchtesgaden for check in, I was glad to be back in Bavaria. Although I felt the views were better in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the valleys and mountains around the Intercontinental were beautiful in their own right. After checking in, Jess took a nap and I took M out for a walk. As we were walking, the rain clouds rolled in – and they didn’t leave Berchtesgaden until 20 minutes before we did.
Like the Intercontinental Thalasso in Bora Bora, the Intercontinental Berchtesgaden seems to be designed to be an idyllic retreat. It’s located up on the mountain which means the main town is a 15 minute drive away. It’s a little tougher to get there than you think since the road is one of the steepest in Germany. Unfortunately, bad weather takes away a lot of the hotel’s charm – we would have been happy staying there and hiking nearby if the weather had been good – but the bad weather forced us to explore the area in our car more.
It wasn’t Garmisch-y bad weather either. In Berchtesgaden the weather ranged from light drizzle to all out downpour. The first night we just stayed at the hotel and ate the most expensive meal of our entire trip. On the second day, we visited the Dokumentation Center, a World War II museum. We drove through rain instead of taking a nice little 15 minute hike.
It was a well put together museum, although you need to buy an audioguide in English since everything is in German. That’s no big deal since altogether it only costs 5 Euros. My problem with the museum is that it’s a bit of a downer – I mean, World War II wasn’t happy times. I respect the matter of fact way the information is presented and it left me wondering how Germans today feel about everything that went down back then.
Then again, it wasn’t too much of a downer because I spent 10 minutes walking around the museum and an hour plus entertaining M. Museums + awake toddlers don’t really mix too well. I do recommend a visit and wish I had been able to concentrate more (oh, she stole my audioguide too).
We decided not to visit the Eagle’s Nest that day due to weather, which turned out to be a mistake in the end. The next day we spent the bulk of our time at Konigsee, a beautiful lake 10 minutes from the main town of Berchtesgaden. We took a slow but scenic boat ride, again through a ton of rain, and ate some freshly caught smoked trout.
The lake was beautiful even in the fog and rain, and halfway through the boat ride they stopped the boat to show off the mountains’ echo via trumpet blast. M was a big fan and led the applause.
She also spent 15 minutes yelling at ducks in Chinese, which was entertaining. It also gave Jess and me a nice window to eat some gelato when she wasn’t paying attention.
That night we had our last dinner in Bavaria and it turned out to be our best. I’m going to do a “food” post (so people who hate that kind of stuff can skip it), but this restaurant deserves special mention. We actually just stumbled upon it – the Gastof zum Neuhaus. Even the dreary weather couldn’t dampen that experience.
On our last day in Berchestgaden (our travel day to Vienna), we made our way up to the Eagle’s Nest. Let’s just say visibility was poor. Also, being a genius, I forgot that when you go up a mountain it gets cold. I spent most of my time in the restaurant, although we did venture out a little bit. I wish I could say we had some amazing views, but alas we did not. Still, Bavaria left me with enough amazing views that I didn’t mind too much. After that, it was on to Vienna!
Berchtesgaden was the place I was looking forward to the most before we came to Europe, but the weather really hurt the experience. It’s like, I could tell how beautiful the place is and can be – but we only caught glimpses. It’s too bad, but that’s what happens sometimes. I think in our five years of travel together this is the first time Jess and I have really had weather ruin an entire destination. OK, ruin is a bit strong, but you get the drift. Oh well, we still love Bavaria anyway!
Other Posts in this Series