Friday, November 9, 2012

Garmish-Partenkirchen: The Top of Germany

Andrew and I both got up at about the same time and he went again for his run. While I waited, I had breakfast and took a shower and before I knew it, he returned. We sat together and talked and hung out for a while but again he had to work at 1PM and I was going to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. There was a train station nearly next to his house so I left just before the train would and was on my way the station. We said our goodbyes and I hopped on a train.

I had a change to make on the way but finally I arrived and my host Cori was waiting for me at the train station. I enjoy meeting at the station rather than having to mind my way to someone since I don't usually bring a map and there's times when my phone just refuses to work.

We went home first to drop off my bag and have a drink but then we drove around a bit and she showed me some of the city and he typical Bavarian building paintings. 

We then drove up to the panorama and took some photos and saw a view of the city from above before we went to her favorite restaurant and had dinner. I felt bad ordering a hamburger and fries as that's so typically American but it was just too good. I don't feel bad about that decision.

After dinner we again drove around a bit then went home to relax. Cori went to a sauna but in Europe nearly every sauna is bathing suit free and yes that means nude. As the "prude" American I am, I wasn't comfortable with going so she set up her computer and I was able to check my e-mail, Facebook, CouchSurfing, etc.

When she came home around 11:30 PM we relaxed on the couch and talked before retiring for the night.

Cori and I got up and had breakfast then went into the mountains for a coffee but she had to work around 1 PM so she dropped me at the train station.

For 44 Euros I went on a train to the top of Germany the highest mountain in Germany that is. I had to take a train then a lift up and it was clear and beautiful there! From the top it is possible to see four countries while there and my cell phone even went into roaming at one point telling me I was in a different country.
The Zugspitze, at 2,962 metres above sea level, is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains as well as the highest mountain in Germany. It lies south of the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and the border between Germany and Austria runs over its western summit. South of the mountain is the Zugspitzplatt, a high karst plateau with numerous caves. On the flanks of the Zugspitze are three glaciers, including the two largest in Germany: the Northern Schneeferner with an area of 30.7 hectares and the Höllentalferner with an area of 24.7 hectares. The third is the Southern Schneeferner which covers 8.4 hectares.

The Zugspitze was first conquered on 27 August 1820 by Josef Naus, his survey assistant, Maier, and mountain guide, Johann Georg Tauschl. Today there are three normal routes to the summit: one from the Höllental valley to the northeast; another out of the Reintal valley to the southeast; and the third from the west over the Austrian Cirque (Österreichische Schneekar). One of the best known ridge routes in the Eastern Alps runs along the knife-edged Jubilee Ridge (Jubiläumsgrat) to the summit, linking the Zugspitze, the Hochblassen and the Alpspitze. For mountaineers there is plenty of accommodation in the vicinity. On the western summit of the Zugspitze itself is the Münchner Haus and on the western slopes is the Wiener-Neustädter Hut.

Three cable cars run to the top of the Zugspitze. The first, the Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car, was built in 1926 and terminated on an arête below the summit before the terminus was moved to the actual summit in 1991. A rack railway, the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway, runs inside the northern flank of the mountain and ends on the Zugspitzplatt, from where a second cable car takes passengers to the top. The rack railway and the Eibsee Cable Car, the third cableway, transport an average of 500,000 people to the summit each year. In winter, nine ski lifts cover the ski area on the Zugspitzplatt. The weather station, opened in 1900, and the research station in the Schneefernerhaus are mainly used to conduct climate research.
At the top, I went into the museum and just wandered some then I sat down in the highest beer garden in Germany and had a Zugspitze coffee (with alcohol) and an apple strudel. Mmm, traditional German life.

I eventually went down on another lift that took me to the Ebisee and hopped on a train back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Once there I wanted to sit down so I walked back in the direction on Cori's house but stopped and walked through downtown Partenkirchen. Because the city is surrounded by mountains, there was a perfect twilight and I got some really good pictures of the downtown. Of course, I got a bit lost on the way back and since it was a public holiday nothing was open but eventually I found Cori's house and went in.

I sat down but immediately wanted to go again. I left and walked to downtown Garmish where I looked inside a church and the shops while also looking at the building paintings and went home. Not too eventful really. 

I arrived at Cori's house and showered and waited for her to arrive from work, at about 9:30 PM she was home. She got ready and we talked then we went to her friend Fin's house and had a drink and waited for her other friends to arrive.

Once everyone was there we went to Peaches, a bar that had a karaoke night, where we listened to the horrible singing of the Germans while also having some tequila shots and beer. We then walked to another bar so cleverly named "Bar 2.0" and danced for a while.

There's an American army base in town so I met some interesting army brats and an over active African American boy who wouldn't take no for an answer when it came to dancing with me.

Finally we left around 2 AM and Cori was our DD and drove us all home. When we arrived at Cori's house we talked a bit and then went to bed, when I'm tired my German gets worse and when I'm drunk it gets weird. Good things to know.

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