We drove to this town on
June 21 with our nephew Jonathon Steen and some of his family. We knew we would be back as our friends that we met in Japan, Ruby and son Will own a home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and were arriving in early July.
Here is how this relationship evolved. It seems that everything starts with our Beacon Hill neighbor and dear friend Peggy Scott, who during our first stay in London introduced us to her friends Sigi and Paul who in turn introduced us to Sigi’s BAA flight attendant colleague/friend Michiko, a Japanese woman living in Japan who then introduced us to Ruby and Will who are Canadians that she met when they were passengers on her flight from London to Tokyo. It was the only time in Michiko’s history as a flight attendant that she gave a passenger her contact info which speaks volumes of how cool they are. Ruby and Will have a home in Hiratsuka Japan, Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany and a home base in Calgary Canada.
On July 13th our plan was to take the train to Garmish to see our friends Ruby and Will.
Our connection from Munich to Garmisch was suppose to be in Tutzing however recent storms had caused downed trees on tracks and flooding so all trains to Garmisch and Tutzing were cancelled. We met a young Austrian girl on the track who was also trying to get to Garmisch. She told us if we took the Ubahn to Starnberg we could get to Tutzing from there so we followed her.
When we got to Starnberg we found out there was no bus or trains going further south to either Tutzing or Garmisch-Partenkirken. At this point a decision had to be made to either go back to Munich and take a bus from there or take a taxi to Garmisch from Starnberg. We opted for a taxi to the tune of €180 and treated the Austrian girl to a free ride as she was young, probably underfunded and had been up all night stranded in Munich.
On the ride we could see these storm clouds which completely obscured the Alps.
Desiree fell asleep on the ride. The driver was nice enough to drop her off at the train station to go home to Austria before taking us to our hotel in Garmisch.
Jim booked this quaint hotel in Garmisch for a two night stay.
We loved the old fashion brass room keys.
The housekeeper was the only one at the desk and she did not speak English but through Google translate we understood that we were too early to check in so we left our back packs and said we would return later to check in.
We met up with our friends and reconnected.They had planned a hike to a gorge when we arrived but due to rain we changed plans and decided just to tour Garmisch and the partner town of Partenkirchen.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen were two separate towns until the 1936 Winter Olympics which were held here. Hitler forced them to become one town. As is often the case there seems to be a lot of underlying tension between the residents of the two towns. The town lies near the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, with a 2,962 meter summit accessed by cogwheel train and cable car. Garmisch is considered the more fashionable section, while Partenkirchen’s cobblestone streets retain a traditional Bavarian feel.
This home is in Garmisch.
8th century St Martin’s church, Garmisch.
Beautiful gothic vaulted ceiling.
Passion Cycle mural (circa 1400).
A storefront in Partenkirchen.
Partenkirchen Town Hall.
The following photos are all buildings in Partenkirchen.
We stayed in this hotel our second night. We had the top corner room.
This is the most incredible chocolate store we have ever been in. It is family owned. Of course we sampled and bought some.
This is such a unique auto repair shop called Flo’s, specializing in antique cars and scooters.
This is the front counter of the garage.
This present day disco club was the Nazi Headquarters in Garmisch.
Will cooked a delicious meal for us at their home in Garmisch.
Fresh water trout cooked in parchment paper, boiled white potatoes and lovely garden salad. We added some Indian Dahl that Jim had made.
A toast to the chef.
We returned to the hotel to check in and found out that we had booked the wrong dates of our visit. Fortunately they had one room left for only that night. This was our view from our private balcony.
This was the view the next morning.
Breakfast on the front porch the next morning was amazing. check out the adorable pink ski cap on the hard boiled egg.
There was also table seating on the lawn
Garmisch has an amazing market on Saturday morning.
While waiting for Ruby and Will to arrive Jim took a nap while Sandy browsed the shops. Two of our favorite ways to pass the time.
Today our first adventure with Ruby and Will is to walk to the site of the 1936 Olympic Ski Jumping Stadium which today is famous for the traditional New Years ski jumping competition.
Above is where the judges and news media sit.
Here Ruby is pointing out on the map the trail we will hike up to the Gorge. It is about a 30 minute walk.
Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm in Deutsch). was formed several million years ago when meltwater and debris hollowed out the rock leaving a narrow gorge.
The moment you enter the gorge you find yourself surrounded by massive rock faces, loud rushing water and the temperature drops significantly; natural air conditioning.
You hear the water rushing through the gorge beneath you. Wild and boisterous.
One can only imagine the enormous amounts of water that have hollowed out the mountain over the centuries.
This is truly a magical experience in a unique natural setting and yet the engineering feats that have made this not only possible but very safely possible are also marvelous.
In 1912 the gorge was declared a natural landmark, but it hasn’t always been as tame and approachable as it is today.
Once upon a time, visitors trying to walk through the gore risked their lives, nowadays there are two safe trails to chose from.
The wild waterfalls, rapids and tranquil water basins were truly enchanting. We were also told you can visit these gorges in winter when they are frozen.
We did a short but steep hike through the woods after the gorge.
Our treat after was an amazing dessert called Kaiserschmarnn (scrambled pancake).This is an Austrian dessert very popular in Bavaria.
It is a sweet fluffy pancake made with rum soaked raisins which is torn into bite size pieces, caramelized, and served sprinkled with powdered sugar and applesauce. We ate it appropriately at Kaiserschmarnn Alp.
While we were eating, this butterfly landed on Will’s sunglass frame. It stayed there the whole time as we ate our dessert and made its way across the top of his cap. When we got up and left the table it crawled under his cap and down his neck. Will did not like that at all as you can see in these photos.
Eventually it flew away. Butterflies apparently like human skin and suck sodium sweat with their proboscis. This behavior is known as puddling and is more common in male butterflies. It has been shown that higher sodium content in the male’s body enhances his mating success and fitness. Way to go Will you have made a very horny and happy butterfly with your sweat.
We took this death trap unmaned cable car down from the mountain top.
Will assured us “what could possibly go wrong” just get in and it will eventually take us down the mountain.
And thankfully he was right, although there was such a time delay after entering the death trap we almost opened the door to get off just before it started to move down the mountain.
We spent our second night in this wonderful hotel in Partenkirchen.
This is the view from our bedroom window.
On our last day there it was really hot so Will and Ruby took us to the Wank
We saw these lovely homes walking to the cable car
The Wank is a mountain in southern Germany situated in the Loisach valley close to the Austrian border in the southwestern Ester Mountain range.
It was like being in a sauna for twenty minutes on the ride up.
The Wankbahn cable car takes you to the summit.
It rises from about 700 meters above sea level up to 1,780 meters at the summit.
It boasts unique scenic views
This is the ramp that the paragliders run off of.
Kind of scary when not attached to your paraglider.
It is a bit spine chilling standing on this edge.
We had lunch at the summit while watching real gliders fly by.
The Wank is one of the most thermally active mountains in Germany and offers particularly long and enjoyable flights.
Of course it is all about the beer in Germany.
We “Wanked” our way down the mountain, picked up our backpacks at the hotel, walked to the train station, hugged good bye then boarded the very crowded train back to Munich. Sorry no photos of goodbyes as we had to get swiftly on the departing train. Thank you Will and Ruby for an amazing weekend. You are the ultimate fun tourist guides and fortunately now dear friends. We are sure there will be more memories to share with you before our time in Germany is over.