Berchtesgaden is an area we stumbled on entirely by accident in the sense that we came across it while looking for Eagle’s Nest the first time we came to Salzburg. The reason we were “looking” for it was that our hotel didn’t seem to be quite useful in helping us find it.
We came down in the morning, map in hand and keys to our Fiat Punto rent-a-car in hand asking the way to Eagle’s Nest. Blank stares. Mind you, Eagle’s Nest is probably no more than half an hour away and frankly, rather infamous for obvious reasons. So we ask again, nothing. We describe it. Nothing. We describe it again…Nothing. Finally the doorman says “Ohhhh…you vant Kehlsteinhaus”. Yes, apparently we “vant” Kehlsteinhaus. I can’t tell if it was our use of English that threw him off, or a general aloofness that one finds in general for visiting relics of a shadier Austrian time.
In any case, Eagle’s Nest (Kehlsteinhaus) is very much worth a visit – though it’s only open May through October because of the altitude. Also worth a visit is the Dokumentation Obersalzburg where you’ll find a complete history of the area as it relates to WWII – they keep that information out of the site itself to avoid any unsavory commemoration. And both of these locations are in Germany and not in Austria, and it’s where the Von Trapp family would have ended up had they actually walked across the mountains like in the movie, as opposed to absconded on the first train to Switzerland in the night.
When not at Kiehlsteinhaus though, the Berchtesgaden, which is the actual resort town that was there way before there were any nests of any kind, is a very quaint resort town that’s trying to pretty much just be a quaint resort town. There is a small town center and great hiking, and we’re big fans of the Intercontinental property there. Arguably one of the best spas we know, outdoor pool that’s open year round with a great mountain panorama, and a fireplace dead center of “Rocks American Bar” where we usually end the day with a ceasar salad and a few glasses of wine.
For our fellow bureaucrats and diplomat’s out there, book via this link to get the government rate option in the drop down menu, though they will tell you there are no government rates available if you ask in person. And in the meantime, enjoy these winter shots of the property – as it was snowing most of this trip, we didn’t get much for mountain views but we did get some very Ansel Adams like trees. Not that I am Ansel Adams.
Photography by The New Diplomat’s Wife.