On August 2nd, 2017; I had the opportunity to explore Berchtesgaden, Germany.
Put simply, the Berchtesgaden Land in the Bavarian Alps has it all—stunning alpine peaks, emerald-green lakes, splendid hiking trails, magnificent ski slopes, and a fascinating history.
Much of this area, including Germany’s second-highest peak, Mount Watzmann, was designated a national park, (pictured below).
The park has a mixture of rugged, glaciated, alpine scenery and mixed woodlands of spruce, beech fir, and conifers.
The Berchtesgaden stretches from southeastern Germany into Austria. The Berchtesgaden is known to have been Hitler’s playground—his “Eagles Lair” was built here. I took a bus and elevator to Hitler’s, “Eagles Lair” to give me the picture taken below.
The name “Eagle’s Nest” was adopted by the Allies, but it was known throughout Germany as the “Kehlsteinhaus.” It was situated atop the Obersalzberg mountains in one of the most beautiful parts of Bavaria, overlooking the small town of Berchtesgaden.
The Eagle’s Nest was designed as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler. Commissioned and overseen by Martin Bormann, the home remains an impressive feat of engineering even today. It was reached by what is still today Germany’s steepest road. Bormann recruited Italian engineers and road makers, experts in carving thoroughfares through the Alps.
The steep mountain road ended in a tunnel that was dug into the mountainside, at the end of which was, as there still is today, a gleaming brass elevator. With reserve power still supplied by a U-Boat engine, the elevator would carry guests and its infamous owner to the final summit. The house itself was fairly modest, but luxuriously decorated (the red marble fireplace was a gift from Mussolini), and the views over Germany and Austria were spectacular.