Our Route Along the Deutsches AlpenstrasseOur plans for the day were somewhat flexible in case of bad weather, but the Master Plan would take us from Oberammergau, through Garmisch, onto the German Alpine Road through the lake district and then down into Austria. From there we would go past a number of Austrian ski resorts and then through Lofer into Berchtesgaden. Planned itinerary would take over 4 hours. If weather went bad we could take the Autobahn and get there in a little over one hour.
Our time in Oberammergau would end this morning. I think we could easily find a week's worth of things to do if we stayed in this area: the Royal Castles, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Zugspitze, Oberammergau itself, Wieskirche, Steingaden, Landsberg, Fussen and the country roads leading in and out of Austria. That retirement trip through all the places we want to visit again in Europe might take years to finish.
I was up again at 7 am. Why does my Mommy get to sleep longer than me? Once I was finsihed she hopped into the shower while I tried to squeeze everything back into my suitcase. At 8 am we headed down to meet Gail and her mother in the breakfast room.
After breakfast it was my duty to load the bags into the car. We had since acquired two 5 liter beer kegs, Swarovski jewels, assorted souvenirs and food items from Lidl. Fitting everything in the trunk was like doing one of those sliding number puzzles where one piece is missing and you need to keep sliding the other numbers all around to finally get them in order. When I eventually solved the puzzle I went back into Dedlerhaus.
Breakfast of ChampionsWhat you see is pretty much what I ate each morning at each of the establishments we stayed at. Even though there was plenty of cereal, fresh fruit, coffee, yogurt and jams, I went for the Cholesterol Special of ham, Prosciutto, cheese, butter and hard rolls every morning. Topped off with a soft-boiled egg and orange juice.
Gail was paying Birgitta for the rooms. Her command of English was excellent. Our rooms cost less than $80 per room per night even with tax. The girls went into the adjacent shop looking over the woodcrafts and souvenirs. Of course Gail's Mom got her handful of postcards while Gail and my mother looked at cuckoo clocks. We had talked about getting a new one to replace the 5 year old one that broke two years ago. We've never had much luck with keeping these things running, but while they last they are a nice reminder of our trips to Germany.
Gail asked my opinion on the clocks. Mrs, Haertle overheard us and came over to help. We said we were interested in those that had music and the cuckoo. That eliminated half the 30 or more clocks on display. Birgitta pointed out the cuckoos with huge pine cone weights only needed to be wound every 8 days. That's what we wanted. That brought the eligible choices down to less than 10. We further limited the field by deciding we wanted one that was painted. But the most important consideration was price and even the cheapest of the remaining
First Stop: Olympic Ski Jump in GarmischLeaving Oberammergau we again headed South through Garmisch. It was already a bright sunny day. The heat of the sun forced me to remove my coat and give it to my backseat passengers as a blanket. Just before leaving the city limits of Garmisch I veered to the right just to see if anything was happening on the massive ski jumps built by Hitler for the 1936 Winter Olympics.
clocks was way over our budget. Birgitta told us that we would get 10% off as hotel guests. And if we shipped the clock home we could save another 19% on the Value Added Tax. To reduce shipping costs she suggested we take the metal pine cone weights in our luggage. By the time she did her calculations on the new price we were buyers. Now I had to fit those weights and a few other items Gail found into our packed trunk.
This time we had no trouble backing out of the icy parking spot. Those pine cone weights probably added traction in the back.
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My wife and I met thirty-five years ago when we both worked for the airlines. We got out of the business when deregulation "ruined" it. Now she takes me with her students on her educational trips abroad.
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Beemer PosingThere was nothing happening on the jumps but the adjacent hillsides had plenty of skiers schussing downhill. The slopes here looked much steeper than those back in the Poconos. I hopped out into the balmy 45 degree weather to try to get a unique shot of Bessie in the Olympic venue.
Some Serious Snow HereIt had to be pretty warm and comfortable if Gail was willing to join me without her coat. We thought about going into the stadium seating area but with so much ground to cover and with a chance to see some scenery we had never driven through before, we opted to move along.
The 125 Meter HillThis is the big hill. I'd be nervous about just riding up to the top let alone skiing down and leaping. Under the snow is a special green carpet for summer jumping.
Weekend SkiiersIt was the start of the Mardi Gras weekend and the weather was unseasonably warm. The slopes were crowded here and everywhere else we passed that Saturday. Germans have to be the most physically fit people in the World. Everywhere you go you see them doing some sort of outdoor activity. even the senior citizens are out walking with their ski poles. We saw one guy out in a distant field walking with a four-legged walker to support him.
I Know a ShortcutAfter taking the preceding pictures I found myself on a narrow snow-covered one lane road with nowhere to turn around. In a true test of the 128i's abilities on snow we continued up this path.
Maybe We Better Turn AroundThe GPS was still directing me toward the Walchensee on the Alpenstrasse when it told me to continue on this road. When it told me to turn right onto an even narrower hiking trail I decided it was best to reverse our path.
Proof That the Olympics Really Were HereGail made me hop out of the car to take this picture. The lot I had to drive into was full of skiers tailgating before hitting the slopes. I guess they needed to fortify themselves with Schnapps to handle those steep hillsides.
WallgauI never heard of this little town and there is nothing interesting on the internet either but driving into this little town square with the sun shining brightly made these beautiful buildings draped with snow look absolutely gorgeous. The mountains in the background add to the ambiance.
More of WallgauThis was taken from the same vantage point. It looks like the kind of place we should spend a night in. It's claim to fame is that it's the home of ten time biathlon champion Magdalena Neuner.
What's Real?The icicles are genuine as are the windows, but all the trim around them are Lüftmalerei.
Sunbathing on the Banks of the WalchenseeOnce again Gail and I hopped out of the car minus our coats to take a few pictures of the snowy countryside. This time we were at the Walchensee, no doubt a place much more popular in the Summer months. A funny thing happened while Gail and I got out to take our pictures: for the second time I used the key fob to lock the doors even though your mothers were still inside. The burglar alarm went off when we walked away and our mothers were left deaf and feeling like criminals.
Ain't She a Beaut?Already I was thinking that we should find a way to keep this car after the lease. But if we did that there'd be no European Delivery for us in 2015. By then BMW will have the cars driving on their own - all I'd have to do is program the GPS.
I Wonder What Our Mothers Are Thinking?They remained in the car most of the time when we were jumping in and out to take pictures of our car. We probably took more photos of the car than both our kids when they were babies. Of course, we didn't take them to Europe and pose them in snowbanks and in front of castles all over Bavaria.
One of the Prettiest Spots of the DayJust a few more miles up the B11 and we came to the Kochelsee. It's a rarity to be able to see the mountains so clearly in Winter. Somewhere over there was the Zugspitze according to an information board. It took us quite awhile to get a picture with no other cars or people passing by.
Epic FailWe badly wanted another nifty 128i pose with the mountains as a backdrop but the empty parking lot we parked in suddenly became a flurry of activity. This charisma that draws everyone toward me can be a curse. I should've told them they had to move on. Germans like taking orders.
Benediktbeuren AbbeyThis huge monastery/abbey came out of nowhere as we sped along toward Bad Tolz. According to Wikipedia it's a Salesian monastery now and was a Benedictine Abbey in early days. It was packed with cars near the area posted with signs for a brewery. Had we time it might have made for a fun afternoon.