Chris and I have been subsisting on pork and beer for the last couple of days, which means we must be in our favorite place to travel: Germany. We are here for Oktoberfest, but needed a few days to acclimate and rest before heading to the Munich craziness. After landing in Frankfurt, we hopped on the autobahn and sped for Bavaria. Our stop on the first night was Murnau, south of Munich almost to the Austrian borderThere are two breweries in Murnau, including the Hotel Griesbrau, our lodging for the night.
The first brewery we tried was Brauerei Karg, where we braved sitting outside despite the chilly temperatures. The waitress thought we were crazy, especially since Chris had shorts on, but the dining area was crowded and after our long journey we needed the fresh air.
We then went back up the street to our brewery hotel for a dinner of pork knuckle and my favorite beer, Helles. Chris paired his portion of the knuckle with a Helles, Dunkel and Weissbier.
The highlight of the evening was the large table that ordered a whole roast pig. Called the ‘Spanferkelspektakel’, the pig, complete with sparklers, is wheeled through the braustubel on a cart accompanied by the blaring sound of the James Bond theme. It looked delicious, but unfortunately the party of about 15 wasn’t sharing. I’m not quite sure why they used James Bond… maybe Rocky would have been better.
Wednesday, we continued on the Deutches Alpenstrasse to Berchtesgaden. On the way, we tried to get two more breweries in Oberaudorf, but it was mid-day and midweek so most places were closed, including the two breweries we were hoping to visit. Hungry, but undaunted, we pressed on to Berchtesgaden, arriving late in the afternoon after stopping in Bad Reichenhall for lunch.
We were last in Berchtesgaden in December 2007 and it felt like we had the town to ourselves. On this visit, despite being almost Fall, the town was still full of tourists and the restaurants packed. We went to the Hofbrauhaus Berchtesgaden on Wednesday night and got put at a table in a backroom because all the tables were full. We thought maybe they were trying to hide the Americans, but Germans ended up with us, too.
Thursday, Chris and I did something that we have been talking about since our last visit to Berchtesgaden, hike to the Eagles Nest. Since we arrived, the weather has been somewhat chilly-mid 50s- and we could see snow up on the mountain. There have also been clouds in the sky, which has obscured our view of the Eagle’s Nest from our hotel room.
But much to our delight, Thursday dawned sunny and clear and we hiked from the Obersalzberg to the Eagle’s Nest. It wasn’t the longest hike we have done in the Alps, but it was a quick 2,300 foot elevation gain. The last part was a series of very steep switchbacks. There was snow on the ground, but you know who still had shorts on.
We survived the climb to witness the magnificent view. Even though Hitler spent very little time there, the fact that we were enjoying the beautiful view dedicated to such an evil man was not lost on us. However, everyone else simply enjoyed it, Germans and Americans alike. I guess that’s what I get for being married to a history major.
Chris had bratwurst for lunch, but feeling like I deserved it, I chose a yummy chocolate cake. And of course we both had beer. The sun was shining and there were few clouds. We even saw the Konigsee from up there. Hiking the Konigsee in 2001, it was the first time we discovered the mountain huts, so it’s a sentimental spot for us. While we could have opted for a bus ride down, we decided to continue the torture and hike back down the mountain, as well.
Our dogs were pretty tired and our muscles a little achy, but nothing that a beer couldn’t cure. So we headed back out again to get some dinner. And more beer. Friday, it’s off to Rosenheim.