It’s never fun to leave places as beautiful as Munich…
However, due to newfound freedom with our rental car and the promise of mountain views, we survived the disappointment of another adventure over.
Driving in Germany proved pretty simple, and upon leaving Munich we were pushed into a sea of mountains. We drove east and made our first stop in Ramsau, just north of Berchtesgaden National Park. (We didn’t take photos of the drive, but if you use Google and drop the little yellow man along Route 8 near Chiemsee, you can see some views. It’s crazy beautiful!)
Ramsau is a quaint little town with mountains surrounding it. Idyllic, what you would expect to see in Germany, and the exact place one would want to make a stop for a stretch and a snack.
We hiked around the town via walking paths, wandered for a bit, and ate at the cafe for Second Breakfast.
Fun fact: there is a webcam on one of the bridges, so if you’re a visitor you can let your family know when you’re there and they can spy! (Or you can Facetime. But the webcam sounds like much more fun. Our family in the US were all asleep when we were there, so we didn’t get to try…)
On our hike, a man was outside his beautiful little home and attempted to speak with us. He told us, in his broken English, that next time we are there we should stop and come by for coffee. We loved his eagerness to connect with us despite the language barrier, and felt like this was a piece of German culture that pushes against some stereotypes.
From Ramsau, we drove to the Eagle’s Nest. The history is awful, but your money for the visit will be put to charitable purposes. This beautiful building was built for Hitler during the war and was infrequently used by him (but was used, nonetheless). People died while building it, as it is built into the side of a mountain. The views are breathtaking and the inside definitely awe-inspiring. The initial walk leading toward the golden brass elevator feels like walking through a villain’s chamber. (Essentially, you are).
We parked outside of the bus station – Hintereck Car Park – and took the last bus up to the Eagle’s Nest. (The road is closed to outside cars – the bus, or a hike, is the only way up!)
There is a restaurant up top, and tours are offered. It is a beautiful place, and we enjoyed our time there but felt at the end that it was very matter-of-fact about its history. But we didn’t get tours, so perhaps tours offer more of a remorseful experience than we felt.
In our photos below, you can see the drinks we had outside along the edge of the outdoor seating, with this stunning view…
As noted earlier, we took an elevator up to the restaurant of the Eagle’s Nest. We decided to hike down (see the last photo of Matt!) and the hike was quick, painless, a bit steep, and all around stunning. I’d recommend this to people who will need their energy for a drive but who wish to be in the mountains a bit. If you’re able, hike up instead of taking the elevator! (I wasn’t having it.)
We arrived in Mittenwald a couple hours after our gorgeous hike and return bus ride.
We didn’t see much of Mittenwald since it was dark after dinner (we were kind of lucky to find dinner at the time we arrived – it was late, even by European dinner standards!), but we took a nighttime stroll after, and I got my first (dark) glimpse of a maypole:
And in the morning, we wandered the right way. This little town is stunning – the buildings have fairy tale-esque paintings all over them, there are mountains in the background, and if you’re there on a Sunday like we were, you can sit on a bench outside the church to hear the choir and organ. It felt like a movie set; I was in my happy place there, for sure.
Another defining point to the town, in addition to the paintings on the buildings, is that there is a large instrument in the center of the square. (I say instrument without a name because this area is known for its violin making, but I hesitate to say it is a violin due to its obvious large size. Perhaps a large-scale violin…:)
On our way out we stopped for coffee and loaded up the car, ready for our next stop, and a much-anticipated day ahead: Neuschwanstein Castle, and the Romantic Road.
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