Published: September 20th 2009September 17th 2009
Yesterday when we were looking to buy a few potatoes to keep us fed for the 3 further nights we have here we couldn't find any loose ones and ended up buying a 2 kilo bag.However,the good side to that is today we have enough potatoes from last night left over to have chipped up with our bacon and eggs,just like home!!
A look out the skylight window in our attic bedroom and the day has started out overcast and a bit of cloud starting to gather over the tops of the mountains that surround B-G.
We are behind in our washing and another advantage of this apartment is that there is a full laundry downstairs so this morning will be catch up time on our dirty washing and we should be able to leave here with a clean suitcase of clothes each.
What we didn't take into account though was just how long a wash and dry would take.Give us F&P products made in NZ anytime.The front load washing machines here take an absolute age for some reason.
So the better part of the morning had passed before we got on the road having to wait for the dryer to
finish on the clothes we had washed.
Plan today is to go to Berchtesgaden(I am not going to spell that again either so it will become BGaden,if I have to use it again)and check out the tour to Eagles Nest,the mountain home gifted to Hitler as a present for his 50th birthday.We understand that at the very least you have to catch a bus up the last section of the mountain as the road is closed to public traffic as it is very steep and presumably therefore dangerous.
BGaden is only 20km away in this little bubble of Germany surrounded by Austria.Its an odd shape piece of the country and it would be interesting to know how it came into being when the borders were drawn up or last altered which is probably more the case.
The information centre was right before us as we entered the town and so we went in to get the information we needed to decide what to do.A sign giving the price of the 4 hour guided bus tour at€48 each!! put us off that idea straight away.A bus up the mountain road would cost €15 each from Obersalzberg which was also where the
Documentation Centre is located.We wanted to look through the centre as it gives a background to how the Nazi party wormed its way into German life and had such an effect on world history during the 30's and 40's.
So we will drive up to Obersalzberg and take it from there as to whether we go up further to Eagles Nest.
As we came out of the information centre a couple walked over to us and asked if we were from NZ.I suppose my NZ shirt that I was wearing today gave it away.They were from Auckland and here in Germany,Austria and Switzerland for a month staying in timeshares.We spent a half hour or so talking to them and sharing stories of our adventures.They were taking the €48 Eagles Nest tour and when their bus driver arrived to give them earphones for the tour commentary we headed off top buy some lunch and drive up to Obersalzberg.
The Documentation Centre is a relatively new building and is on the site of Hitlers second seat of power or Fuhrersperrgebiet(and I am NOT spelling that again either!!)translated it means 'the Fuehrers off-limits area' and it was where important polictical decisions were proposed and made including the 'Final Solution'.Hitler started coming to the area in 1928,before the Nazi party came to power,and in 1933 he had the compound of dozens of building constructed.Each of his henchmen had their own homes here but all of the buildings including Hitlers own home,the Berghof,were destroyed by the American and British bombers in April 1945.
The Centre has its exhibition laid out in chronological order but all in German so we paid €2 each for a headset in English and immersed ourselves in the life of Hitler and the Nazi party.
So involved is the information that it took us 2 hours to get around all the exhibition and it was now nearly 4pm leaving us insufficient time to catch the bus up to Eagles Nest even if we wanted to.By now anyway the cloud had come down even further meaning that the view wouldn't have been that great so we would have been beaten by the weather too.
before we left the Centre we had one more place to visit,Hitlers bunker complex.
The bunker,and actually there were 3 built,was supposed to withstand any amount of overhead bombing and was designed so that the Nazi party could continue to run the country even from underground.The complex was built back into the rock mountain side and has been retained as part of the Centre.
It was an amazing place that travelled back well into the hillside.The thing that hit you as you entered was the sudden change in temperature yet how dry the place seemed to be.Most of the bunker that is split into various passageways with rooms leading off them,is lined with concrete.However there is also an area that was still under construction when the war ended that has walls that are just bare rock.One scary part was what seemed to be a bottomless huge concrete shaft that apparently being built for lifts and stairwells to and from the main building complex above.
Although we spent longer at the Centre than we anticipated we came away feeling we have an even better understanding of this part of history and had been time well spent.
Nearby to B-Gaden is Lake Konigssee so we drove back down the 24% grades to the valley floor and headed off for a quick look at the lake.It would have to be a quick visit as we have a roast chicken for dinner tonight!!
Entry to the lake area is tacky with shops and stalls lining what would otherwise be a short peaceful walk to the lakes edge.The place is given over to tourists who flock here in large bus loads and we should have realised that when we arrived at the area by the huge car parks available.
At the lakes edge sightseeing boats carrying 100 or so passengers kept arriving and departing the short time we were there.Unfortunately the only way to see the whole lake is to take a boat ride or walk the track around for the bay were we entered and we didn't have time for either option.The cliff walls above the bay and the mountains in the distance peeking above a small hill in the way still make a grand sight and it would be good to come back here on a sunny day when there were less tourists around.The Kiwis we had met earlier in the day did warn us of the number of people here as they experienced it themselves yesterday when they visited.
So with the time well after 5pm it was back on the road home to cook the roast chicken......yum!!
And it was a feed and a half as well with roast potatoes and tasty brown gravy(the packet we purchased all written in German did turn out to be gravy thank goodness!!)
It had been an interesting day learning about the history of Germany and its people during the 30's and 40's for which we feel we are now more learned and also the experience of Hitlers bunker and compound at Obersalzberg.
Tomorrow it is to be Salzberg and the BBA version of The Sound of Music tour!!