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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kaminoge's most excellent Bavarian adventure, Part II: Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The rooftop of Germany

If the name Garmisch-Partenkirchen immediately brings to mind "host city of the 1936 Winter Olympics", then you know way more about some subjects than is healthy...or you're German. Once the winter hangout of aristocrats, the towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen offer some of the best skiing opportunities in the country in the winter, as well as a base for hiking excursions into the Bavarian Alps during the warmer months. For us, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was an opportunity to make our first day trip out of Munich, which we did on that most American of holidays, the Fourth of July. We caught a train from the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) at around 8:30 on Monday morning:

For a city with a population of 1.4 million, it surprisingly doesn't take long on the train to find yourself in the green German countryside. And in less than 90 minutes you are deposited at the foot of the Alps:

From the train station at Garmisch, we bought tickets for the Zahnradbahn (cogwheel train) at the small station behind the Hauptbahnhof. The train chugged along through the countryside...:

...and then through a long, dark mountain tunnel (though we did have to change trains beforehand) up to the Schneeferner Glacier, at 2600 meters (8530 feet) above sea level:

At this point, we were all feeling pretty hungry, so we broke for lunch at a restaurant on the glacier. Behind us loomed the Zugspitze, Germany's highest point at 2964 meters (9724 feet): 

After lunch it was time to explore our surroundings:

Looking up at the Zugspitze, which we would later reach by the Gletscherbahn cable car:

The weather at the glacier alternated between sunny and warm and cloudy and chilly. I was fine with a shorts-and-sweater combination, but we did need to buy a pullover from the gift shop in order to keep my daughter warm. In the photos below you can see the ski lifts, as well as people sledding on the glacier:

Amber hones her hiking skills:

A last look at the Schneeferner Glacier before taking the cable car up to the summit:

Atop the Zugspitze, Germany's rooftop:

A cross has stood on the summit since 1851 (the current one has been in place since 2009):

Wherever you find people and snack foods, you will find birds looking for handouts:

The view from whence we had come:

As the sign says, 2950 meters (9678 feet):

Looking down into Austria:

Having scaled the heights of Germany (albeit in very comfortable ways), we descended from the Zugspitze via the rather steep Eibsee-Seilbahn cable car, which took us down to the Eibsee, a forest lake. We started the descent in thick cloud cover, but soon returned to partially-clear skies and sunshine:

Taking a well-earned beer break along the shores of the Eibsee: 

From the Eibsee, it was back on the Zahnradbahn for the return trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

With a couple of ours to kill before catching the train back to Munich, we wandered the streets of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Were I German, I think this would be the place where I belonged:

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