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Can We Talk?

The Eagle’s Nest

September 4/08 Thursday
Last night I fell fast asleep and had a real sound sleep. Woke up at 4:30, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Charlie woke at 7 and got dressed. I have to say this, the breakfast buffet was excellent and the coffee was exquisite. We left out baggage in the baggage room and headed for the market where we bought the tour tickets. I won’t say any more about the entire Eagle’s Nest experience except to say it was worth every penny and more.

They have between 250,000 and 300,000 visitors each season. To keep the record straight, Hitler never spent a night here. It was strictly for meetings and to be somewhere quiet. It was given to him as a present on his 50th birthday by the party. Geez, I even saw one guy in a wheelchair. Smacked of a pilgrimage. It was wonderful to say the very least. It’s way up there in the clouds. The changing of buses was my first clue. They are state of the art and everybody is talking on a cell so as to avoid each other on the way up. The buses are equipped with special brakes due to the steepness and the ess curves.

After getting off bus number two, we are escorted through a long tunnel, then into a brass-surround elevator. When you get off, you have arrived. You walk through a dining room and then outside. The view is breathtaking. The walk up to the cross is tough – straight uphill. I had an asthma attack and had to stop and use my puffer. After a few moments, I was OK to proceed. Charlie who had been smoking since the age of 14 and only quit a few short years ago, is like a mountain goat. He wasn’t even breathing heavily. Goes to show you, if you’re going to get it you will. If not, you won’t. End of story.

The worst thing I could say about the tour – it was nowhere near long enough. I could have spent all day at the Eagle’s Nest. Instead, we were only given 30 minutes. Then we had to leave to let the other tours through. After we came back down to Berchesgaden, we had lunch. We also bought a book on the Eagle’s Nest and then it was time to leave.  Total length – 4 1/2 hours.

A word to the wise, if you’re going to visit the Eagle’s Nest, be prepared to be soaked. OK the cost isn’t bad – €50/person but the accommodations are expensive. I mean, this is the city of tours, besides Eagle’s Nest, there is the Sound of Music Tour, the Salt mines Tour, the Kőnigsee Tour, to name a few. All the tour guides speak perfect English along with several other languages.

When we were back in Salzburg, we got our luggage from the luggage room and walked to the train station where I bought 2 first-class tickets to Graz. 1st class is definitely better. Much bigger seats and not so many people. I bought a cheap telephone to use in Austria from T-Mobile. I called Fritz to say we’re on the train.

What a great country. You can smoke in most places. If not, there is a sign to say so. I guess they figure people are responsible enough to make their own choices. They do not have a Nanny government. That’s what I call a democracy. It’s more than a one vote thing – it’s a whole philosophy of personal choices. It works for them. Hell, in Slovenia, the gas station beside our hotel had a lovely cafέ with a bar. You could have a drink if you wanted. I never saw anyone drunk – that would show a weak character and they would not tolerate that. Personal choices, that’s what democracy should be.

September 30th, 2008 Posted by | Adventures | no comments

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