It was 9am on Sunday 5th July 2009 and I was on my way to the nearby railway station to catch the S 7 to Hauptbahnhof Central Station and my main line train to Garmisch- Partenkirchen. I caught the 10.32am train and was in the town at 12.05pm (trains run on time in Germany and this form of travel is very enjoyable) and a five minute walk took me to the Hotel Roter Hahn where I was to be resident for the next three nights. Julie and Stephan Emslander were the owners (Julie was born in Vancouver, Canada) who were extremely helpful and I did enjoy my stay at the hotel with excellent breakfasts, a lovely indoor swimming pool and sauna. The town itself and surrounding countryside is beautiful. People are ever so nice and all speak good English.
By 12.30pm I was out of the hotel and as it was a sunny day but alas heavy clouds were also to be seen, I was on my way to try to get to the top of The Wank at 1,780m. The paths up to the top and at the top were excellent. I had hoped to do a lot of walking at the top but this was not possible as heavy cloud descended and it began to rain. I took shelter in the Café at the top of the mountain and enjoyed two beers as I studied all the great mountains and valleys all around me. It was a beautiful sight and Garmisch-Partenkirchen could be clearly seen below.
Looking across to The Zugspitze, Massif, 2,964m (Germany's highest mountain) I was totally amazed at the sheer bulk of this mountain. To get to its top was my target and I had only Monday and Tuesday to do this. Another target was Scheinbergspitze at 1,926m but this would be a bonus.
Bus services in the town were free to visitors and in the evening I did explore the town with its many lovely shops and restaurants/bars. I was away to bed early after preparing my clothes and walking kit for Monday.
I was wakened by the noise of heavy rain and on drawing back the curtains I saw heavy cloud on The Zugspitze and all other surrounding mountains. Alas it was not going to be a day to walk. I finished writing my post cards and did further reading as to the best way to get to the top of the two mountains. I also went to the Tourist Information Centre and enquired as to groups going up The Zugspitze the next day and I was advised this was not happening. Previous enquires revealed a cost of E284 for a mountain guide and you would also have to pay the costs of any mountain train or cable car needed to come down. No way was I going to pay such an amount.
I went to Maronis Café Bar Restaurant and had a vegetarian lunch and two glasses of Hacker-Pschorr beer. I went for a swim and sauna at the hotel and had an early night as a hard day lay ahead.
It was dry but there was cloud high up on the mountains on Tuesday morning so after breakfast at 7.30am I was away to The Zugspitze and I enjoyed the lovely scenery. The way up is along the Rein valley going through the Partnach gorge and at its exit you continue on the right side up to the Bock hut. Cloud came and went and near the top of the mountain with lots of ski runs were the restaurant Sonn-Alpin and a lovely small church which I took a photograph of and this is included in the slide show. Here you have an option to take the cable car (Gletscherbahn) to the top. This is the Zugspitzplatt at 2,600m and this is where the cogwheel train terminates. Getting a train to this height is a marvelous achievement of engineering.
The cloud alas prevented photographs from being taken and at the top it was dense cloud with some rain and it was very cold. Free internet access (Germany’s highest internet terminal) at the top permitted me to update my blog. I visited the HIGHEST Beer Garden in Germany – “The Gipfelalm” and had soup (Festtagssuppe, Maultaschen, GriebkloBchen, MarkkloBchen) and two small glasses of Lowenbrau Dunkel.
I could get the cable car to Zugspitzplatt and then the mountain cogwheel train down or an almost vertical drop by another cable car to Eibsee. Feeling very brave I opted for the cable car to Eibsee and this took all of 12 minutes to get to the bottom. A lot of the way down was in cloud which was a shame for all who had been to the top and also saw nothing. At Eibsee there was a short wait for a train and this took me along the valley floor back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I had a meal at the Siagoon Express with a couple of Aktienbrauerel Kaufbeyren Helles beers and this was so enjoyable. I had a swim and sauna and got to bed by midnight. My dream of walking on the top of The Zugspitze had been accomplished. Tomorrow, Wednesday at 9.10am I would be on the train back to Munich and then on my flight back to Stansted in the UK.
8th July 2009