I had most of the route we were going to travel on our trip months beforehand, but Berchtesgaden was a last minute place I found that looked to have some promising hiking and sights. It had quick access to Hitler’s mountaintop house known as the Eagles Nest, which was our plan to stop at anyway.
Our hostel was 50 meters from the train station, and located above a Burger King. Check in was at a side counter of the Burger King. The hostel messed up the booking I did, from what looked like computer problems. And so rather than a 3 person room for us, they threw us into a 8 person room, with a family that looked like they had been screwed over as well, and were now even less happy to be sharing a room with 3 unknown grad students.
The next day we hiked down 5KM or so to Lake Kosignee, situated between the mountains, and then took a ferry ride to the other side. Our tour guide gave us quick facts, and played a tune on the trumpet outside the small boat to showcase the echo effect off the mountains into the lake.
On the other side of the long lake, you hike to a smaller lake called lake onsee. The visual from the base of that lake is almost too picturesque to believe. It was the most pristine lake with a beautiful aqua color. The mountains collapse on all sides above, and to the end of the lake you see Germany’s largest waterfall. Situated on either side was a quaint boat storage structure. Hiking on the path hugging the mountain, you come to a farm on the other side of the lake, surrounded by happy cows. Here they served fresh milk and beer. Hiking to the waterfall was equally picturesque, and Steve and I pushed the boundaries of the beaten path and did some semi-dangerous hiking further to push to the very highest one could possibly stand up on the waterfall without being on the mountain itself. Completely worth getting soaked from the mist, and dirtied from the way up and down.
We ate dinner at a restaurant on the first lake we took to get here. Food and beer in Germany still not getting old. Then we walked from the ferry landing along a path parallel with the river back to our hostel in Berchtesgaden.
The next day we took the buses up to the eagles nest at the restaurant which has replaced nazi gatherings. Being a WWII geek, walking in and around the building was a treat. Steve and I did some hiking on a path leading from the Eagles nest into the mountains, but after lunch we took the long scenic trail from the Eagles Nest to Uber Salsburg, where the buses were based, rather than wait for our buses.
Here we toured a well put together museum sitting over what used to be the head point of a series of vacation homes for nazi leaders, sitting above an enormous bunker system which we toured a little bit of.
It felt great to be back in the Alps, my favorite place in Europe.