If yesterday was great… today was the best! Recall that our hotel was tucked up into the mountains. I woke up to high winds and my thought was that it would blow away and the clouds. It was true! We had an amazing day of clear blue skies and sunshine! And the weatherman must have read my agenda because today was the day that we needed it!
Our drive was about 30 minutes up and over the mountains. A mix of majestic mountains and pastoral scenes of Alpine houses and those darling cows sporting oversized bells. Our destination was The Eagle’s Nest. We arrived just in time to purchase tickets for the next bus and before we knew it we were winding up another steep, twisting, mountain road – this time in a large bus. Yikes! There was snow at the top and it was very slippery but we climbed up and enjoyed every amazing view. It is hard to describe and was actually rather exhausting. Like our minds cannot process all that we are seeing.
The Eagle’s Nest itself is now a restaurant. We didn’t eat (remember we spent our euros) but we weren’t hungry anyway. We had a look around inside. The marble fireplace is quite chipped from the liberating US Army. It would be cool to have a piece of that. Actually the whole place kind of gave me a strange feeling. If anyone is unfamiliar, it was a gift to Adolph Hitler. An engineering wonder for sure. You first have to go down a very long tunnel which leads you to a little domed antechamber. Then up a golden elevator before stepping out onto the top of the world. They said it was all choreographed for effect. I loved the nature aspect but didn’t love the human aspect. The town below had been taken over by the Nazis and all their important people had homes and a tunnel system wherein they could hide for years. The British Air Force did well to destroy the place toward the end of the year. The Germans took the rest of it down a few years later and nothing remains but a retaining wall here or there in the forest. (I saw that on documentaries, not in person.). So the building is incredible up there on top of a mountain and the inside is tastefully done – I almost liked the views out the windows more than in person because it wasn’t as overwhelming. But I preferred breathing outside. I also liked knowing that Hitler was afraid of heights and only visited The Eagle’s Nest about 10 or 11 times.
Back down the mountain and over the pass. Near our hotel is a place called Lammerklamm Gorge. It is a stunning hike along a river gorge – mostly on wooden planks. Our weather was still beautiful and the leaves are changing and the air was crisp. This is exactly how I like to spend my days. Beautiful Austria – I am quite taken!
I’ve added a few food photos – the ice cream bar in the hotel room because we couldn’t find a good dessert and we have had enough apple strudel. Why is it that we think we need dessert every night on vacation? I will need a seatbelt extender on the flight home! We also bought a bag of cookies before I noticed they were flavored with almond. I love almonds and really wish I could like almond flavoring – but I think it is terrible. If I ever get to live in Europe I will make an effort to learn to eat it before I arrive. The plate of goulash with white bread dumplings and pickle. Surprisingly a little slice of pickle was exactly what those flavors needed. As we walked to our car we passed this vending machine – I was surprised to see mustard and pickles and as option until I noticed the sausage on the top row… brilliant.