Saturday, 16 February 2013
Day 280 – A failed attempt at visiting the Eagle’s Nest. (Austria, Germany)
After Christmas in Budapest our plan was to head to Prague for New Year, stopping in Vienna on the way where we would spend Denner’s birthday. Having failed at obtaining Ukrainian visas in Budapest we were hoping that the embassy in Vienna may be able to help, but the whole saga of getting a Ukrainian visa will follow.
From Vienna we had intended to pass through Cesky Krumlov, a famous medieval town in the Southern part of Czech Republic, but at the last minute we decided to take a slightly wider detour and visit the Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgarden, Germany. Perched atop one of the jagged mountains surrounding Berchtesgarden, the Eagle’s Nest was Hitler’s summer residence and the location of many noteworthy agreements, meetings and signings. There are photos of Hitler with Ava Brown enjoying the sun on the decking and having meals together in the dining hall at the Eagle’s Nest.
The road up the side of the hill was extremely steep, but of course now that we were in Germany roads weren’t a problem. We zigzagged up the slope and found ourselves at a toll booth and a boom gate. Of course – it’s closed in winter. Of course it’s closed in winter. Highly disappointed that we didn’t get the chance to see the huge marble fireplace inside the house and the gold-encrusted lift, luxuriously spacious for the sake of Hitler’s claustrophobia, we observed from a distance and enjoyed the snow-covered Bavarian hills anyway. It really does look incredible though, set right on top of a rugged rocky peak, completely open to the elements but with a perfect view of the mountains and valleys all around.
Being Saturday afternoon everything in town seemed to be closed (of course) and we had almost given up on finding somewhere to eat lunch when we stumbled across the much livelier town centre. A small Christmas market was still operating in the square surrounded by traditional Bavarian buildings. Keen to eat some true Bavarian food we found an amusingly stereo-typically Bavarian restaurant where we feasted on pork knuckle, sausages, bread dumplings and sauerkraut.
Our short, sweet, but frustrating visit to Bavaria was topped off with a night camping in the forest before heading to Prague the following day.