Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bavaria Beckoned

My final time in the Alps has been spent in the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The town park is beautiful in Spring. I had visited for the day in 1974 and spent a few hours there in 2000 and these samplings created a dream to stay several days. Perhaps the town itself was a bit disappointing after my time spent at Hallstatt and Appenzell which are not yet as spoilt by tourists. However the surrounding snow covered mountains and houses with painted pictures are still worth the visit. My feet are telling me they want to go home but my eyes want to keep going to see more and more. The first afternoon I just spent in the square with apple strudel and hot chocolate but the next day I headed for the Partnachklamm Gorge. This is a narrow gorge filled with rushing water and the path often tunnels into the cliff in order to get through.
I then climbed above the gorge to return by the top path and found a farm house with a cafe attached. Could not resist a coffee in these surroundings. Back into town and after eating some fruit in the park (I have to make up for the strudel, sausages and beer which are undoing any good achieved from all the walking), I headed for a cable car which goes up Wank Berg or Mountain (Don't laugh). Great views of the town and across to the highest German peak, the Zugspitze which was on my itinerary for the next day.
To get up the Zugspitze (2962 metres) you go by a rack railway which was built in 1930 and for the last 4 and half kilometres travels up in a tunnel under the mountain. A cable car is used to reach the final summit.
A view of the Eibsee from the summit. The round trip should involve a quick trip back down in another very high cable car but it was closed for maintenance so I had to return by the train.
After lunch I again set off walking mainly at the valley level to a lake called Riessersee and my legs were glad that I caught a bus back to town and my hotel.
Today I have returned to Munich and spent the afternoon in the Englischer Garten, the largest city park in Europe, 5km long and, no, I did not walk the full length but spent some time sitting and listening to a typical German band. Some people were sunbaking completely naked. I would have turned blue as the wind was a bit brisk for my liking. Finally I spent a little more than an hour at the Neue Pinakothek which has paintings and sculpture from 18th and 19th centuries. I have just returned from dinner with my host Rodney and must now prepare to travel north to Berlin.


Alcibiades said...

Absolutely beautiful pics, and they bring back untold happy memories. Thanks so much for these, and glad to hear you're having a great time.

Boaz said...

Nice photos Brian

Actually photos 1,3,and 5 blow up magnificently when you click on them.

The clock in the garden says 5 minutes to 1 pm is that right?

Doorman-Priest said...

You won't want to go home you know.

June Butler said...

The Alps are gorgeous. I went up in the cable cars to the top of Mont Blanc. The cable cars were a little scary. Once the cars arrive as far as they will go, there is a climb up inside steps to get to the observation point at the very top. That was fine. No panic. No problem.

The steps to descend from the the tower were on the OUTSIDE and the steps were made of grated metal, meaning that you could see down through the steps. Panic set in. How in the hell was I ever to get down? I solved my problem by scooting down the steps on my bum, in a most humiliating manner, without looking down. At least I got down.

But it was worth it to stand on the top of Mont Blanc and look down at the rest of the Alps.

Brian R said...

Thanks for the warning Mimi. I have not been to Mont Blanc. Believe it or not I do suffer from height sickness and it does require some willpower to visit some of the Alpine sites. Like you I am better if I do not look down.