Day 11 - The Eagles Nest

Monday 7th July 2014

7am and time for Brötchen & butter from the camp shop.
By 9am we have the panniers and luggage off the bikes, suspension adjusted to compensate, and then it is off to the Kehlsteinhaus.

Misty morning in Berchtesgaden
This chalet-style building was commissioned in 1937 by leading Nazi Martin Bormann and presented to Adolf Hitler as a 50th birthday present in 1939. It stands 1800 metres above sea level. Old Adolf didn't like it much though and only visited 14 times. He had a fear of heights, didn't like the cold and wouldn't use the lift for fear of lightning strikes
.
The chalet and terrace
 We park at the foot of the mountain and join the queue to buy combined bus and visitor tickets. Private vehicles are no longer permitted to drive up the winding road to the summit but the fleet of buses here provide a spectacular scenic drive up the side of the mountain.

Amazing views

We disembark at the bus park 160m below the house and walk through a chilly tunnel to the brass plated lift in the heart of the mountain. I find it awesome to think of the Nazi party and world diplomatic leaders who must have travelled up this way to meet with Adolf Hitler. Mick wonders aloud whether Hitler ever farted in the lift and whether anyone would dare to say anything.

The house is now a restaurant and the famous terrace where old newsreel films showed Hitler and his cronies enjoying the summer weather is now an open-air cafe and gift shop.

The views up here are amazing. Mountain peaks surround us. It's a little misty still but clearing slowly. To the north we can see Salzburg. Thousands of feet below us is Berchtesgaden and to the south the shimmering surface of the Königssee lies in the mist.
Up on the viewpoint

We make the obligatory scramble up the rocky slope to the final summit above the house and take in the view.

After an hour or so it's time to catch our return bus. This time we walk down the winding path to the bus stop, passing sweating fellow pilgrims who have chosen to walk up.

July is a wonderful time to see all the delicate flowers that spring up magically in the High Alps.
Alpine blooms on Kehlstein

Back down to the bikes we are off next to the Roßfeldringstrasse, a small toll road that winds it's way up and around the neighbouring mountain peak. Half way up is a restaurant I remember from a trip here with the MFU back in 2008. The same old cook and his wife are still there. He serves and she makes the most amazing Bavarian white sausage served with potato salad and sauerkraut. For afters you can choose between some wonderful home baked desserts including a memorable Apfelstrudel.

In gathering cloud we ride on a short circular tour of the area. The roads are quite empty and there's a million twisties. Suddenly as we ride into Reit Im Winkl - and what a great name for a village is that? - it's like night has suddenly fallen.

We spot a likely hotel, umbrella-shaded tables and chairs outside, and quickly park up as the first huge raindrops start to fall. At first we sit outside but as the storm gets really going the waitress pretty much demands that we come into the hotel. She tells us that in the last big storm the umbrellas were uprooted from their fixings and migrated across the road.
This video gives you an idea of what occurred next.


Half an hour later the sun reappears and all is well with the world. We head back to the Campingplatz for a dinner of Schnitzel and Weißbier.

Tomorrow we head south into Austria to ride the best biking road in Europe. 

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