Journey to Eagle’s Nest

The coach picks up from several hotels.

Makes it a longer day, but what can you do?

Interesting, at least, to see where else we might have stayed.

All the options look acceptable and pretty.

At last we’re on our way!

Unfortunately the same road as from the airport.

But I can bear to look at the same mountain more than once.

The tour guide informs us when we have crossed over from Austria to Germany.

Yellow road signs.

Not much else different.

Beautiful mountain properties, sloping rooves and shutters.

Barns and log piles.

Geraniums everywhere, in tubs and window boxes.

Sunflowers in the fields, pale coloured cows in the meadows.

The road winds through woodland and alongside streams.

I scour the hillsides for deer but don’t get lucky.

Once we pass under a chairlift.

I would love to go up every chairlift and cable car in the Alps!

I notice someone is videoing the view from the coach window.

I find this extreme.

Much as I am enjoying the journey and appreciating the mountain scenery –

Well, is he ever really going to run that video again?

I concentrate on living in the now and look at everything we pass with interest.

Now we can see more mountains, higher ones.

The coach begins to climb, the road twists even more.

We pass the town of Berchtesgaden.

We will stop there on the way back, to eat white sausage and buy souvenirs.

But now we climb up even higher into the mountains.

Along roads built for German soldiers during the war.

The place we are headed was their stronghold, a military base.

Subsequently destroyed, except for –

Eagle’s Nest.

An amazing retreat built for Hitler, perched high on a rocky crag.

We catch glimpses of it and marvel at where we are soon to be.

Eventually the coach pulls in to a specially built tourist station.

Car parks, restaurants, shops, toilets.

Large coaches can’t proceed any further.

We are to be transferred to a special service of smaller vehicles.

Everything is well organised, in true German fashion.

We have half an hour to wait.

I look round the shops and eat an ice cream.

Presently, we get aboard one of the small coaches and set off.

They travel in convoy up the winding single track road.

Half way up there is a passing place.

We sit and wait for the convoy on its way down again.

Up, up, higher, climbing all the time.

Through an amazing road tunnel, round tight bends.

The scenery becomes ever more spectacular.

Huge mountains, sweeping valleys.

I take loads of photos, every turn revealing a new vista.

At last we arrive.

It’s cool, it has that high mountain stillness.

We stand and listen to a specialist tour guide doing his stuff.

I take a photo of my companion sitting on a bench, the mountains behind him.

Caught unawares, speaking to some other tourists.

It is to become one of my favourites.

Then we head for the entrance to the tunnel.

Long and spooky, built by slave labour.

Hitler would be driven along it in a jeep.

Strange to be in an actual place he would definitely have been.

Very historic.

We reach the amazing elevator which rises up through the rock.

We are told how Hitler was claustrophobic and hated it.

It is ornate, decorated with mirrors and lamps.

Quite fascinating.

We emerge at Eagle’s Nest.

A further lecture from the tour guide ensues.

Interesting, but too long when we have limited time.

Free to explore eventually, we set off to a higher viewpoint.

The views all around are spectacular.

There is snow!

I can’t make it right up the hill to the highest point.

So hate having limited time – would love to have done it without having to rush.

I sit on a bench and photograph jackdaws.

We marvel at the views, taking everything in, enjoying every minute.

No time to relax and sit in the nice café, unfortunately.

Soon have to start queuing to get the lift down through the rock again.

A unique place!

A wonderful day!

No eagles, though.

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