Friday, August 19, 2011

Germany Part One - the Partnach Gorge

We stayed in the town of Garmisch, in the Bavarian Alps, south of Munich. And hey, fellow FS bloggers, here's a tip: the military maintains a hotel in Garmisch, and we are authorized to use it while on government orders. Which means if you have travel orders stating that you're on home leave or R&R, you can get in. It's a nice facility - nothing fancy, but also not too expensive, which is important for families like ours, with too many kids to fit in just one hotel room.

(Caveat: they told us to reserve trips and massages and such things after we arrived. BAD idea, as everything was booked when we got there. We only got into one tour the entire ten days we were there, and there wasn't a single day in which we could enroll the kids in their Kids Club and go out together. Disappointing. Had I known, I would've reserved everything just as soon as we had our reservations.)

But the good part: Here's the view from our hotel room as the sun was setting. That's the Zugspitze up there - the highest peak in all of Germany.

Garmisch is a cute little town, looking just exactly like you picture Germany ought to look. Every time a cab driver picked us up wearing a funny hat and suspenders, I had to stifle a giggle. People were friendly, and many of them spoke decent English. The town was green, green, green - especially after a year in Jordan, the fourth poorest country in the world in terms of water.

Of course, it's only green because it rains so damn much, and rain it did. We don't own rain coats, and so we found ourselves frequently damp those first few days.

The first day we were there, it rained pretty hard. The hotel staff recommended that we go to the Partnach Gorge, because, as they said, you'd get wet there even on a clear day.

When we arrived at the entrance to the gorge, it was pretty much pouring. But we'd just paid two separate cab drivers a whopping $50 to get us there, so there was no turning back. We bought some trash bag type rain coats from a kiosk just outside the ticket counter (Shay was not thrilled to be wearing a trash bag), and off we went.

A couple of the kids were, to put it mildly, terrified. The river was a chocolate milk brown, frothy and furious. The walls of the gorge were actual waterwalls - just streams of water pouring sideways. I'm not sure if it's this dramatic on a clear day, but it was really crazy.

The path above the gorge was narrow and slick, with just a wire rope blocking you from slipping off. Occasionally, the path cut though pitch-black tunnels, inside of which the roar of the water was deafening. (well, it would've been deafening, if I weren't already... oh, never mind.)

We managed to convince the kids to go all the way to the end and back. By the time we got back to the beginning of the gorge, the rain had mostly stopped and we were rewarded with a view of the ski jumping slope and the surrounding mountains.

And that's day one! After that we had to bus back to the hotel and run every last stitch of clothing - including our shoes - through the dryer. But it was so, so worth it. The pictures don't really do the place justice: the noise of the water was overwhelming, and the air was so clean and damp that you could taste it - "...and not in a Beijing way," as Shay pointed out.

Stay tuned for more fascinating vacation pictures, coming your way soon.


Hannah Marie said... [Reply]

It sounds like you guys had fun! We're all glad you're back though.

Betsy said... [Reply]

My old stomping grounds! I love Garmisch! Glad you had a good time there.

Connie said... [Reply]

Beautiful! I remember how wonderful the fresh air was... I spent several weeks in the area and never once rode a taxi or bus. I'd step out the door, head to a bus stop... and it would be so nice that I'd just keep walking. :) So glad you and your family were able to visit. It's a lovely town!

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