Monday, 10 September 2012

Germany - Berchtesgaden(2)

When visiting the Obersalzberg area there are two distinct parts to see, more so if you visit from a historical perspective. That which is on the ground just above the town of Berchtesgaden and that which is some 1800 metres high perched on a mountain top, with only a small plateau to one side. On this our second full day in Berchtesgaden, we visited the Kehlstein (Eagle's nest), the building used by Adolf Hitler to impress people with its views and location, and where meetings were held at times. It was built as a present to him for his 50th birthday and after restoration was converted into a restaurant and cafe with an outside terrace. Some of the original fixtures and fittings have been retained and can still be seen.
Going by shuttle bus is the only way to get there, taking you up a one way narrow road to the tunnel and lift for the last 100 metres to the top. The ride on the bus is an experience in itself with sheer drops to one side, albeit on a very good road. Walking takes you about 2 hours.

Shuttle bus to the top

Views over Berchtesgaden

Upon reaching the upper bus park you get your ticket stamped with your preferred return time, last bus at 17:00. The visit will take you at least two hours at a leisuely pace and longer if you have a meal and really want to soak in the views - they are splendid on a clear day! Go early in the morning if you can and take the first shuttle at 09:00, this means an uncrowded visit and certainly adds to the value of the experience - we did!

Tunnel leading to the lift and the Eagle's nest on the top

Near the lift looking back to the entrance

The lift taking you to the building and restaurant is all in polished solid brass with mirrors, original fittings I believe. Once at restaurant level and being there so early, we got to see the original fire place in solid marble and oak beamed ceilings. There are pictures showing the interior as it was in its heyday, meaning comparisons with today is easy.

On the terrace of the Eagle's nest

Outside on the terrace there are 360` views with Salzburg in Austria clearly visible. There are many benches dotted around the plateau so finding a quiet spot to enjoy views and silence is not difficult early in the day.

Looking south to Lake Konigsee

Kehlstein house and cafe from the plateau

Campanula Alpina

Visiting the Obersalzberg, as in 1981, you are in some ways overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and the setting, surrounded as it is by mountains on all sides. To have visited the area for four days with mainly blue skies and sunny weather in 25C was just stunning.
We decided to not take the lift down, but to walk down to the shuttle bus drop off point, outside the tunnel entrance. A 30 minute walk down a level pathway and you are there, then shuttle bus back to the bottom of the mountain, concludes the visit.

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