Overlooking Berchtesgaden

What do Cream Puffs, Hitler, and Salt Have in Common? Berchtesgaden, Germany.

Julie Germany 8 Comments

Berchtesgaden, Germany…a small corner in southern Germany, tucked away in the Alps, is surrounded on three sides by Austria. This is the land of wiener schnitzel, lederhosen, and beer. We spent three wonderful days here touring all of the big sites and taking a day trip just over the border to Salzburg, Austria.

We traveled by train from Bolzano, Italy to Rosenheim, Germany, arriving on the evening of July 25. After spending the night in Rosenheim, we rented a car and made the drive southeast to Berchtesgaden. It was a Saturday and the autobahn was moving slower than we anticipated…apparently there were a lot of other people with the same idea as us.

As we neared Berchtesgaden, the flat countryside almost immediately met the large mountains of the Alps. Along with the mountains come lots of clouds and rain, something we would end up dealing with during our entire stay in Bavaria.

Trying Windbeutels

One thing Berchtesgaden is famous for are its windbeutels, large cream puffs that come with flavored syrup and ice cream. We ate a late lunch at Windbeutel Baron, a restaurant very well known for constructing these cream puffs. Talk about sugar overload!! These cream puffs look much better than they really taste, but they did make for a nice afternoon treat.

Windbeutel

Tim Tyler Kara Germany

Touring the Eagle’s Nest

On a less sweeter note, Berchtesgaden is also famous as being the place where Adolf Hitler built his command post and underground bunkers during World War II. There are two places to tour, the Documentation Center and the Eagle’s Nest, both of which we saw.

The Documentation Center is a museum, designed primarily for Germans wanting to learn their history, with some translations in English and other languages for tourists passing through. We got an overview of Hitler’s life, vision, and eventual outcome, which turned out to be a good history lesson for Tyler and Kara. 

The highlight of the Documentation Center is the tour of the underground bunker system and air raid chambers. This is where Hitler ran his side of the war, a collection of offices and living quarters.

This was Hitler’s ying to Churchill’s yang, Churchill’s underground bunkers in London that we toured two years ago. Hitler’s bunkers were raided after the war so all we could walk through were barren tunnels and empty rooms. In London, the Churchill War Rooms still contain all of the original furniture, maps, telephones, etc. It has been eye-opening to see these locations that were so important during WWII.

Bunker

From the Documentation Center it is a twenty minute bus ride up Germany’s highest road to the Eagle’s Nest, another building belonging to Hitler. The Eagle’s Nest was given to Hitler as a gift to be used as a chalet. He rarely used it because of his fear of heights.

The Eagle’s Nest, now used as a restaurant, has almost 360掳 views over Berchtesgaden, Germany and Austria. Salzburg can be seen nearby. The views were nice, even with the overcast skies.

Eagles Nest

Berchtesgaden

Day Trip to Salzburg

While in Berchtesgaden we spent a day touring Salzburg, Austria, located just 45 minutes away by car.

If you are driving on the highways in Austria, it is absolutely necessary to purchase the Vignette, or sticker, that allows you to travel without paying outrageous fines (we are talking a minimum of 400 euros!). This is Austria’s version of paying tolls. There are cameras set up along the highway checking everyone’s windshields for these little stickers, so make sure your car has one or you will be out a lot of money.

The Salt Mines

On our last day in Berchtesgaden, we toured the local salt mines. “Salz” means “salt” in German and this is how Salzburg got its name. This area of southern Germany and Austria have large underground salt deposits. These have been mined for hundreds of years and we had the pleasure of touring one of the largest mines.

In order to do this we had to put on miner’s outfits (to keep us warm since temperatures are much cooler deep underground) and board a train that took us underground. We toured the underground tunnels, listening to the English audio tour, occasionally sliding down ramps or riding in funiculars, getting a science lesson in Germany. Do we still have to do homeschooling today? This was a great mix of fun and education for all four of us.

Salt mines

Julie Tyler Kara

Konigsee

Before leaving Berchtesgaden we visited Konigsee, or “King’s Lake,” a large lake sitting at the foothills of the mountains. The water here is a deep blue-green color that looks more like the Caribbean than lake water. 

Our time spent in Berchtesgaden was a great three days.  We learned a lot, ate lots of German food and beer, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Our German adventure continues as we travel onto Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  Say that three times fast!

Bavarian House


 

Berchtesgaden

Comments 8

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      Author
  1. I just wanted to say thank you for putting your life and heart out there to create this blog. I am currently using it constantly as we are having a 1 year sabbatical in Europe. This is a first for me. I never leave a comment on anything. I’m grateful for those that do but it’s just not me. I avoid social media as much as humanly possible except for maybe a biannual facebook post to appease my mom 馃檪 This will sound very cliche but your blog completly changed my perspective about our time here and I’ve gone from enduring it to absolutely enjoying our time away from home. We decided to take this journey once our youngest was in his 2nd year of college and we were offically empty nesters. We were in that space of “now what” so we decided to leave home for a year and try to figure out our lives and ourselves and how to move forward. Upon arrival here I began by looking to “replace” the comforts of home. In doing that I was setting myself up for dissapointment and had a rough first couple of weeks. I’ve changed my attitude and I now look to find new and interesting things and expereinces. In changing my attitude I’m finding some absolutely wonderful new things that I wasn’t looking for. We are both working remotely which in the beginning I felt very grateful to be able to continue my job but now I’m not so sure if that was a good idea or not? However we are still still able to roam and explore new places, see new things and talk to lots of interesting people. We plan at least one big trip somewhere in Europe at least once a month. I really look forward to each new destination and with each new plan I say, “lets see what earthtrekkers has for us”. 馃檪 I may or may not leave a comment again on a website but I felt I needed to say thank you!!

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      Author

      Hello Michelle. You just put a huge smile on my face. I love to hear that we are able to inspire you. And I love to hear people’s stories about how travel can change not only how you view the world but how you view yourself. I love your quote “I’m finding some absolutely wonderful new things that I wasn’t looking for.” That’s what life and travel is all about. Enjoy the journey and have a great time exploring Europe (and wherever else your travels take you). Cheers, Julie

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      Author

      You can definitely do the salt mines, the Eagle’s Nest, the Documentation Center, and see Lake Konigsee in one day, if you have a full day. Salzburg really needs its own full day. I guess, if you were doing extremely well on time, you could go to Salzburg for dinner and stroll the town at night, without doing any sightseeing. It takes about 45 minutes to get there, so it’s not too far to go. Cheers, Julie

  2. I want to go and see and do everything you did in Germany, it looks beautiful. Maybe you can set up a tour for us when you come home. I’m probably not having as much fun as all of you, but I am having a great time following along. Hi Tim, Tyler and Kara.

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      Author

      Hello! We’d love to set up a tour for you. Maybe you can be the first customers of Earth Trekkers Travel, if we start a travel planning company.

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