Sunday and my birthday dawned bright and sunny in Berchtesgaden. We opted to drive down on Saturday and spend the night so as to get a nice and early start on Sunday. We stayed in Bad Reichenhall for the night, and had just the relaxing morning we wanted… much better than sitting in a traffic jam of holiday travelers on the Autobahn! First off, I got my birthday present, and I’ll tell you what it was, if you promise not to laugh. Although, we are on the internetz, so I can’t enforce this policy. Honor system kids….
Damn right, those are the pictures that spawned my whole “10 Reasons I Love the German Mountains” post. And let me tell you, I love them even more hanging on the wall in BV’s house. This is completely weird, and even BV was nervous if I’d be happy about them as a birthday present. Apparently his mom made a few other suggestions in an attempt to deter him, but he needn’t have been worried. Again, I know it’s weird, but I LOVE THEM. I’m looking at them right now on the wall, and couldn’t be happier.
After breakfast and presents, we packed our things and headed for the Königsee. I’ve been there once before, but it was very brief so I was eager to get back. We planned on taking the boat ride down the lake, where we’d have lunch and do a bit of sightseeing before hiking up to the Hütte where we had reserved places for the night.
As it’s August, it was very busy at the Königsee, and so we had to do a bit of waiting. Waiting for the ticket line, waiting for the boat, and the same on the way back. It was all worth it though, to sink our feet into the blue-green waters of Germany’s “cleanest lake” on what was a very warm day.
We had time to enjoy an ice cream cone and cool our toes off before boarding our boat for the 30-minute ride to St. Bartholomä, which has to be one of the most-photographed places in Germany. There are two options for the lake tour: the first takes you only to St. Bartholomä and back, and costs €13.50/person. The second goes to Salet at the end of the lake, where you can hike across to another smaller lake, and there is another small restaurant or two. That ride is a little bit more expensive at €16.50 and takes about an hour each way.
The ride is really gorgeous, with the mountains rising dramatically on all sides. People can rent rowboats, so you can watch people working much harder than you are to get down the lake. Only approved boats are allowed on the lake, which keeps it nice and clean. It’s ice-cold all year round, and very deep. Some people were swimming very far out in the lake, but they’re much braver than I am.
Partway down the lake, the boat kills the engines and the guide starts talking about the famous echos you can hear there. This is due to a huge rock wall that rises almost straight out of the lake on the right-hand side. Then the guide pulls out a trumpet, and gives a demonstration, playing a couple of different things for a few seconds and then allowing the echo to come back. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a boat be so quiet… even the dogs were lying contentedly on the floor, and the babies that fussed the whole way were silent for a few minutes. It was really lovely.
Shortly after that, we arrived at St. Bartholomä. Here’s the view on the way in…
After we jumped off the boat we were nice and toasty again, so we took a little walk to get our feet wet. There were all manner of people there, clad in all manner of clothing. On one side of the path were some old women in Dirndln, and on the other side were a bunch of guys in Speedos sunning themselves with their feet in the water. It was quite the cross-section, I have to say. I kept my clothes on, (you’re welcome), but here are some more shots…
The restaurant at St. Bartholomä is well-known for its fish, what with being on a lake and all. That was our destination for lunch, and it did not disappoint. BV ordered something from the “for small hunger” menu, and this is what showed up…
Ah yes, Germany. Only here would “for small hunger” equate to an entire smoked trout. I can’t do fish with the bones and all, but I did try a small piece and it was delicious.
I opted for a filet of trout-salmon, and I’m still not too sure how that works, but this is what I got…
Do any of you see a difference between the size of the “for small hunger” meal and the normal meal? If so, please let me know. Mine was also very good, and we both had some iced coffee/iced chocolate for dessert.
We ate in the beergarden, and got to do some solid people-watching. Lots of Dirndln, Lederhosen, as well as an elusive unicorn known as the Asian couples set. I first heard of that from my friend Katie who taught in Korea. If you don’t know what it is, go to Google and enjoy. Inside the restaurant though, there is also something interesting; the biggest fish ever caught in the lake.
That’s a big-ass fish, gotta say.
After lunch, we rejoined the line for our ride back up the lake to our car and hiking gear.
This was definitely the relaxing part of the birthday weekend. The rest of it was slightly less relaxing, so stay tuned for the parts that darn near killed me….