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Friday, October 26, 2007

Off to visit Berchtesgaden...

It's 6:30 a.m. and we're off to visit Germany for the weekend. Noah has been off school all week (the first of several week vacations throughout the year) and I took a vacation day. We are going to Berchtesgaden, in the alps along the Austrian border. Berchtesgaden is probably best known for the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's wartime retreat. It's about a 5 1/2 to 6 hour drive, but I have already loaded the route into the Garmin so I am confident that we will get there directly and without incident.

From Wikipedia:

The Kehlsteinhaus (or Eagle's Nest) was built as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler. The Eagle's Nest was meant to be a retreat for Hitler and a place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries. It was commissioned by Martin Bormann, with construction proceeding over a 13-month period prior to its formal presentation to Hitler in 1939. It is situated on a ridge at the top of the Kehlstein mountain (1834 m), reached by a spectacular 6.5 km (3.9 mile) road which cost 30 million Reichsmark to build (~ 150 million euros). The last 124 metres up to the Kehlsteinhaus are served by an elevator bored inside the mountain, reached via a granite tunnel; the elevator itself is surfaced with polished brass. Construction of the mountain elevator system was had at the cost of the lives of 12 construction workers [1]. The main reception room is dominated by a fireplace of red Italian marble, presented by Mussolini. Much of the furniture was designed by Paul Laszlo.

Although the site is on the same mountain as the Berghof, Hitler rarely visited the property. It has been suggested he only visited the Kehlsteinhaus around 10 times, and most times for no more than 30 minutes. It was perhaps because of this lack of close association with Hitler, the property was saved from demolition at the end of the war. It was subsequently used by the Allies as a military command post until 1960, when it was handed back to the State of Bavaria.

We have an apartment in a family run resort called the Alpenhotel Weiherbach. It has an indoor pool and a scented hot tub (?). Noah loves the thought of playing in a pool, so we will use that as a bribe to first make him do some of the things we want. The resort also supposedly has free wi-fi (oh, what an age we live in) so I will bring the laptop and may do some blogging if the mood strikes me.

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