Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Gute Fahrt!


Hello, Berchtesgaden...we’ve missed you!

Greetings from the gateway to the Berchtesgadnerland National Park, the home of the Watzmann, and the land from where, for the first time in three days, the sun has come out.  In fact, it’s expected to stay out for the rest of our little adventure, and for that, we say “thanks”.

We also say “thanks” for this—

That was something we managed to accomplish in a little under two hours of free time today, stopping at three of our favorites stores, and carefully perusing the stock.  We didn’t get everything we wanted, nor everything we needed, but there’s always tomorrow for that, right?


We left Austria this morning and made the trek to Berchtesgaden, a place where we’ve visited three times but a place to which our parents have never been.  Our first stop?  The Documentation Center at Obersalzberg, where Tony the Tour Guide took us through some of the old Nazi tunnels he guided people through when he first started working here over two decades ago, and where I managed to snap a picture of our intrepid little group outside—

Obersalzberg was the place where Adolf Hitler had his “summer” home, a place where he could look out over the mountains into his native Austria, and a place where, high atop a mountain, sits his famous Eagle’s Nest.  We’ll be visiting that tomorrow, when the skies should have cleared completely.  After all, it’s 7,000 feet up with a view you can’t beat, so why go there when there are still a few clouds around, right?  But because Tony spent several years working here as a tour guide, he knows this place inside and out, backwards and forwards, and was able to drive us around, showing us things that few people even know existed.  And even though we’ve been here before, it was cool to see the looks on our parents’ faces as they made all these discoveries.

That was neat.

Like I mentioned, this is the fourth time we’ve been here, so we’re pretty familiar with what to look forward to in the area.  And if you know what to look for, there are a few rather interesting things you can see.  For instance, they have a mural in a castle square that shows German people throughout the ages.  And if you look at the farmer from 1945, it kinda looks like he’s waving, right?

The only thing is, he’s not waving.  He’s giving the Nazi salute, a gesture now outlawed in Germany.  Yet for all these years, it’s kind of gone unnoticed, at least officially.  It’s just been left there, for whatever reason.

Go figure.

Right below the “waving” farmer sits Berchtesgaden’s memorial to the town’s war dead. 

Three of the panels commemorate the town’s World War I dead, while the rest—and that’s what, nine more panels?—list every single individual who died in World War II.  In all honesty, it wouldn’t surprise me if a third of the town’s entire population, including most of the able bodied men, died for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

I don’t get war.  Never have, never will.

A few other things to mention?  Well, my mom is thinking of taking a souvenir home with her.  A lot of women here have dyed their hair red, like this woman—

So if, when we get back, you see her walking around with a look that vaguely resembles that of a punk rocker, you’ll know why!

Also, I haven’t had the chance to take many animal pictures and share them, so here’s one I was able to get—

Okay, so it’s made of stone, which means it’s technically not an animal, and it’s a fish, which also technically means it isn’t an animal, but I’m working with limited resources here, so bear with me, okay?


Finally, to explain today’s blog title, I present this picture—

Everywhere you go in Germany you see the words “Gute Fahrt” on signs, and being an 11-year old at heart, I have to snicker every time I see the words “Gute Fahrt” on a sign.  However, I really shouldn’t snicker when I see those words, as they’re actually saying (loosely translated) “Have a good trip”!  It does not mean that you should eat a can of beans and then wait to see what happens, no matter what the mind of an 11-year old at heart happens to think.

Sigh.  Sometimes, I really wonder about myself.

Tomorrow, like I said, we head to the Eagles’ Nest.  And one of our sets of parents celebrates an anniversary.  Find out which one next time!

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