The View from the Eagles Nest
Bavaria and the Eagles Nest
The border with the south German province of Bavaria is less that 10 miles from
our palace. It’s a scenic drive, dotted with romantic farmhouses, along the
Königsee River Valley and through the Bavarian mountains to Obersalzberg.
Once there, we’ve arranged a visit to the Eagle’s Nest, high above the valley
floor. This charming villa with incredible views was a birthday present to Hitler
from his subordinates. The Fuehrer never spent a night there. (He was afraid of
heights). But after driving up to 7,000 feet we will take the gilded and mirrored
elevator up the final 425 feet, to enjoy one of the world’s great views.
Afterwards, we will visit the nearby old town of Berchtesgaden, located at the
southern tip of Germany, less than 30 minutes from Salzburg. Steeped in myth
and legend, Berchtesgad enjoys a natural beauty so abundant that it’s almost
preternatural. A tale has it that angels, charged with handing out the Earth’s
wonders, were startled by God’s order to hurry up and dropped them all here. It
is framed by six stunning mountain ranges and its fir-lined valleys are filled with
gurgling streams and peaceful Alpine meadows.
In Berchtesgaden we will take our lunch at one of the oldest breweries in
Europe. The authentic Hofbrauhaus here has been serving up the “liquid bread"
as the Bavarians often lovingly refer to it, since the early 1600s.
The entrance to the tunnel that leads to the 425-foot
elevator shaft up to the Eagles Nest, pictured above. All the
materials to build the villa were carried up with donkies and
both the tunnel and the elevator shaft were dug by hand.
Berchtesgaten where we will have lunch at the
Hofbrauhaus just next to the church steeples.
In talking to people, we kept hearing about the beauty of the high alpine
lakes that surround Salzburg. One of these lake villages is where they filmed
the wedding scene for The Sound of Music, so we went out to take a look.
The village is picture book perfect, and the village church, where Maria
married Captain von Trapp, is a magnificent example of the high baroque.
We immediately decided that this should be included in our adventures. We
found a delightful skipper of a small excursion boat who will take us out on
the lake. We then set out to find a place for the group to take lunch and
found a charming little inn that looked like an illustration from a children’s
fairy story. Lunch was spectacular! (Fresh fish from the lake, with locally
grown veggies). The innkeeper showed us a private room where our group
could take lunch. We loved it. It was perfect. We booked it for the group.
As we were leaving, the innkeeper told us in passing (no big deal, she just
thought we might find it interesting) that the room we had just reserved was
the one where Mozart’s sister had held her wedding reception. Yes, the
whole family, Leopold, Wolfgang, mom, the cousins, aunts and uncles,
everybody was there. She told us as if it happened last month.
Mondsee in winter with its steeple
The Interior of the Mondsee Church. This is where Maria married Captain von Trapp both in real life and in the movie.
A visit to Old-Town and the Rezidenz Palace,the Mirabell Palace and an Organ Concert
For more than a thousand years, a line of Prince
Archbishops ruled the rich lands around Salzburg as a
sovereign principate, much like Monaco or Lichtenstein
today. In the old town are abbeys, churches and civic
buildings that date back to the 800’s. The greatest building
boom was in the Baroque period (1600 – 1750). As an
Archbishop, most of the rulers could not marry and produce
an heir, so the succession was often the source of political
intrigue and even murder. In the early 1600’s Prince
Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau built the Mirabell
Palace and gardens (pictured at right) for his mistress and their
fifteen children. It was here on the steps in front of the
gates to the gardens that Maria sang Do-Re-Mi with the von
The Palace and Gardens of Mirabell.
Today we will visit two of these grand Baroque monuments
and then have a private half-hour concert on the great
Baroque organ that was played often by Mozart. We’ll then
take lunch in a lovely small restaurant that has been
serving since the 1600’s. After lunch you can continue
with the guide for the rest of the afternoon or wander off to
explore on your own.
The Salzburg Cathedral Organ where Mozart played many times.
Night falls on the city of Salzburg.