During our tour of Europe we have spent a lot of time digging into WWII History, partly because it interests the boys and partly because I’ve always been interested in it. I remember watching Schindler’s List in high school AP History and being disgusted yet fascinated by the things that humans can do to one another.
Now, living in the area where so much of this history actually unfolded, we’ve traveled to many notable sites. We only have a few left we really want to see: Berlin and Normandy being the top two.
While in Garmisch last week we decided a trip to the Eagle’s Nest was in order. It’s about two and a half hours from where we were so we loaded up the car with food, iPods, Dave Ramsey podcasts, and sun screen.
We arrived at the Documentation Center to find zero parking spaces. ZERO. We ended up driving onto the curb and parking (quite illegally, I’m sure) on the grass. We were not the first to do so, and we were glad we weren’t ticketed for it.
We had seen much of the history presented in the Documentation Center so we literally entered the building and went straight for the bunkers.
The boys enjoyed walking through the dank, damp hallways. It was hard to imagine life when these were utilized.
After we had seen all we wanted to see at the Documentation Center we walked to the ticket office for the bus ride up the mountain to the Eagle’s Nest. We considered eating at the restaurant we passed as we were walking to the ticket office but decided against it. We knew there was a restaurant at the top of the mountain in the Eagle’s Nest and thought it would be more interesting to eat there.
The buses that take tourists from the Documentation Center to the top are specially designed to handle the steep road and carry many tourists. I was happy to see that there was room for Parker to stay in his stroller while we rode up. In fact, he fell asleep and didn’t wake up until after we had all eaten lunch!
The bus ride gave us so many gorgeous views and was, itself, worth the cost of our tickets up to the mountain house.
Once we arrived we were told go to another ticket office to select our return bus time. After a 15 minute wait in that line we entered the tunnel that led to the elevator.
Here is a video of the entrance to the tunnel. You walk into this tunnel to an elevator that takes you up into the Eagle’s Nest, which you can also see in the video.
While inside the tunnel we waited in another 15 minute line to get on the elevator. Parker slept through all of this. As soon as we arrived inside the house we saw the door to the restaurant. We made a quick decision, one that turned out to be very wise… to eat right then. We walked in the door and were surprised to see a table just the right size for our family. As is customary in Germany we walked right over to it and sat down, making ourselves quite at home in our little corner of the room. (Matt was standing sort of near the door we walked through when he took the following picture. You can see Parker’s little head as he slept lunch-time away.)
(I shared my excitement over this meal when I talked about our Minication in my series on Made to Crave.)
After we ate, which happened to be in the room that was originally the dining room, we paid and walked down a short stairway into the octagonal room located on the front of the house. Inside this room we saw the fireplace given to Hitler by Mussolini.
The views from this room are what dreams are made of.
We walked out of the Octagonal room into a sun room, which then led to a sun terrace.
There used to be lounge chairs inside the terrace and I found a picture (on Third Reich Ruins) of Hitler resting on one of them. While we were on the sun terrace we “squished” a 5 euro cent piece for Maria, Olivia, and Logan. I sent them an email showing them the picture of Hitler sitting there… in the same terrace where we got their squished coin. At the end of the terrace were a few steps that led out onto a beer garden, which was added after Hitler’s time there. I bought a post card and took a few pictures while the boys and Matt climbed to a peak nearby. They spent about thirty minutes exploring and got to see some incredible views.
Here is a picture of a walking trail that led from the Eagle’s Nest to the parking lot. Look how sharp the hair-pin turns are! I was leaning over a rail and the drop was straight down. Seeing this drop made me appreciate the location of this house even more!
When we returned to the entrance of the tunnel I turned around and took one last picture of the Eagle’s Nest.
Then and Now photos: Third Reich Ruins (Really amazing photos!)
Tomorrow’s post will share what turned out to be an even more special memory than the ones we made on this date!