Entrance to The Eagle's Nest
Alex at the top
That's Band of Brother's on the Zune, paused at the part that was shot in this hall
View from the top, from the bus on the way up
View from the bus to the Eagle's Nest
Inside the tunnels/bunker
The French Army leaves its mark
The inn that is still run by the decendants who refused to sell to the Nazis
Snarky Waitress Here!
Our second day in Salzburg was spent touring the Obersalzburg and the Berchtesgaden. If you saw Band of Brothers, there was a whole episode dedicated to the 101st Airborne taking this area. This was Hitler's 2nd home...like Nixon's Western Whitehouse. Before becoming Chancellor of Germany he lived in this area. He liked it so much that he purchased the home he was renting. There is much to like, you are at the foot of the Alps, ready to ascend. We took a bus to the main station and had a lunch on an outdoor patio while we waited for our tour guide to arrive. Oh, did we have the snarkest waitress. We don't expect American service here and in most cases, we have been treated very well, but this girl was having a really bad day.
Frederick had booked a 1/2 day tour with a professional guide. This was one of those areas that where I wanted to understand and absorb the history. Simply beautiful scenery was not enough.
We proceeded to board a large comfy motorcoach for the trip up the mountain to our first destination Hitler's bunkers. Turns out they were mainly built to provide a secure location for the many workers of the local hotel and other homes on the Berchtesgaden. By the end of the war, there were no private homes left in this area. All the homes were purchased by the Nazi party. Those who wouldn't sell were sent to work camps. They sold. There is a small inn that is still in operation by the family of the original owner. The owner would not sell to Hitler and he was one of those sent to the work camps and then later sold his inn. After the war, since the family could prove they resisted Hitler, they were allowed to have they inn back, once they repaid the money they were given. The others were not so lucky.
The bunkers are a massive structure. Deep underground they are a constant temperature, I guess around 60 degrees, a welcome respite from the 90+ degree heat. At one time they were lavish. Everything you could want, save sunlight. They are fairly barren now, as after the war the local population was allowed to strip the bunkers of materials to repair their own war damaged homes.
From the bunkers, we board specially equipped busses. These have more powerful motors and stronger brakes, AND hopefully extremely skilled drivers. Alex and I were in the front seat and had a first hand few of the death that would await us if the bus veered off the tiny mountain ,one way, switchback laden, road to the top. The Eagle's Nest was build as a teahouse and a gift for Hitler's 50th birthday. He only visited the Eagle's Nest a few times. It's now a restaurant. The views from the very top of this mountain are spectacular. The Nazi's had abandoned the location when the French and Americans first took the Eagle's Nest. You can still see the massive fireplace, a gift from Mussolini, with it's chipped corners. Americans shot at the fireplace to dislodge pieces as souvenirs.
We sat outside and snacked on some ice cream. So ironic for Americans be eating sundaes in Hitler's lair. Take that Furer! Quite creepy to walk where he walked. Bastard. After spending time at Terezin and Mauthausen, I found myself full of rage. How could people be so stupid? (Hum, I guess this blog isn't the best place to rant about the dangers of charismatic leaders...as Emily says, nevermind) Oh and on a separate note, Hitler was Austrian....Beethoven was German, not the other way around.