Bavaria: bittersweet end to time in Germany

Berteschgarten, DE

Bavaria, Germany might be the most beautiful, refreshing place I’ve visited, from lemon-flavored Radler in Munich to panoramic views from The Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden to the countryside ride home.

München

Classic German architecture mixes with modern buildings in downtown Munich, and it’s a symbolic clash of old and new German culture. Businessmen stroll the sidewalk in line with people donning traditional lederhosen. According to my favorite biographical text, My Father’s Keeper, many children of infamous Nazi leaders still live here. Be sure to stop by the original Hofbräuhaus, where beer has been brewed since 1592!

Dachau

It’s difficult to believe that terror of World War II occurred in such a beautiful place, yet Dachau concentration camp memorial and remnants of Nazi barracks in Obersalzberg stand as reminders.

Berteschgarten

The Eagle’s Nest was designed by Martin Bormann to be Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday present. Hitler visited only a few times, but this architectural masterpiece symbolizes power of the Nazi Party. Campgrounds at the base of the mountain offer a nice view of The Nest from below, and a breathtaking panoramic view is found at the peak.

Oberammergau

Famous for deep-rooted traditions, this picturesque town is well-worth a stop. Hand-carved wooden crucifixes, trinkets and cuckoo clocks have been crafted her since the 1600’s. In the 1630’s the villagers vowed to perform The Passion Play every ten years if their town survived the bubonic plague, and locals still fulfill the promise.

When my family stayed in Oberammergau’s Hotel Wolf in 2001, we spent a day bicycling from one small town, through the Black Forrest, to another. I sailed through the breeze, scent of pine and flowers whirling about, and imagined we were riding through the woods to Grandma’s house like Red Riding Hood. This was one of many instances when I would have gladly traded a modern lifestyle and its technology for a more simple existence.

The road home

Driving through the Bavarian countryside, windows down, I’m thinking once again: would I be happier to lose sight of a metropolitan future in favor of a more simple life?

Driving home is always bittersweet.

 

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