The One with Zugspitze, Germany

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunday morning we woke up to a gloriously blue sky! Perfect weather for going up to the tallest mountain in Germany - the Zugspitze (TSOOG-shpit-seh). We purchased what are essentially ski lift tickets for the day at the hotel and then were on our way.
 We tried to get breakfast at McDonald's but it wasn't open until 8. We're 0 for 2 trying to get McDonald's! Guess we're not meant to eat it. We tried to get gas but it wasn't open yet either. Not our most successful morning so far! So we just drove straight to the lift and ate our snacks we brought from home for breakfast. We drove through the small town of Grainau and then to the base of Eibsee Lake to take the cable car up.
 First ones there! Even with the extra hour of sleep we gained from Daylight Savings, because, yes, they do Daylight Savings a week earlier here. Why? I have no idear. 
At the base of Zugspitze, just about to get on the cable car.
Waiting to go up and up and up! 
Here we are, on the cable car, about to embark on a daring adventure!
 At exactly 8:30, right on time, we headed on up along with a couple other families and a few Zugspitze employees.
"Look Mom, I'm a monkey!" says Fox. Looking back down after we crossed the first tower which literally made me scream out loud. I was not expecting to be so jostled!
 Starting to get amazing views! You can see the small town of Grainau and Garmisch.
Towards the end of the journey we were going straight up. I. Was. Terrified. Like actually scared. It was a weird sensation and the thought of plummeting to my death below occupied my every thought. Me no likey.
 Sharp, jaggedy mountain ridges.
If you fall down, you ain't coming back up!
 We made it to the top! Hallelujah!
 We weaved our way through the building, up a couple floors, and then out onto the deck.
This golden cross marks the top of the Zugspitze! A priest and his friends hauled it up in 1851. The historic original was shot up by American soldiers using it for target practice in the late 1940s (that wasn't very nice of us...) so what you see today is a modern replacement. 
The views to the south were, I can't even think of a word to describe. It felt like we were high up in heaven looking down on the beautiful world below!
The Zugspitze, at 9,718 feet 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
Down below is the Zugspitzlpatt glacier. Each summer a 65,000-square-foot reflector is spread over the ice to try to slow the shrinking. Since metal ski-lift towers collect heat, they too are wrapped to try to save the glacier. In the winter, nine ski lifts cover the ski area on the Zugspitzplatt. Chris would be in heaven skiing here I bet!
Chris discovered an automatic camera.
Here we are, on top of the world! Or at least the top of Germany :)
It was mighty windy and cold! But I bet it gets MUCH colder!

The two terraces - Bavarian (Germany) and Tirolean (Austria) - are connected by a narrow walkway which was the border station before Germany and Austria opened their borders. The Austrian side was higher until the Germans blew its top off in World War II to make a flak tower. The narrow passage connecting the two terraces used to be a big deal - you'd show your passport here and shift from Austrian shillings to German marks.

Some of the telescopes tell you exactly how far and in which direction to look to see some points of interest such as the Matterhorn and the leaning tower of Pisa.
Top of the world!
Here's the picture I 'grammed from on top of the Zugspitze.
We waved goodbye then ran inside to get warm.
Inside we meandered through a little history exhibit.

Snapping a photo from inside the restaurant.

We wanted to take the train back down and through (yes, THROUGH!) the mountain which required getting onto a different cable car and going down to the glacier.
Down down down we went! 
This cable car had a much less steep incline so I wasn't nearly as frightened.
A fun place to dine after a fun day of skiing. At least I think it would be!
Left picture (right picture description is below): The Schneefernerhaus was built in 1930 as the station of the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway. In June 1931 the attached hotel was opened. After the war, US Forces commandeered the house as a "recreation facility". Room rates, including meals, were $1 per day. Ski lessons were available, taught by Austrians and Germans, at a cost of $0.25 per hour. It was not released until 1952 and was then renovated, opening in December that same year. On 15 May 1965 it was hit by a serious avalanche. The avalanche had been triggered above the house and swept over the sun terrace. Ten people lost their lives and 21 were seriously injured. At the end of the 1980s the station was moved and, in January 1992, the hotel and restaurant closed. It was then converted into a research station that opened in 1996.
Right picture: In 1981 a chapel was founded on the Zugspitze, which was consecrated by the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Joseph Ratzinger, in October on the feast of Visitation.

Wooden animals of some sort for kids to ride. More mountain views. Snow machines. The ski lodge/restaurant/visitor's center/etc.
Fox isn't too familiar with snow in his short three-year lifespan, but we're counting on Germany to fix that!
Jane snoozing. What an amazing view to see when basking in these lounge chairs.

Oh yes we did!
That restaurant again. Even the top of the Zugspitze has a Maypole! Here's Chris checking it out.
All aboard!
The train took about 45 minutes to get from the top of the mountain down to Eibsee below.
Suckers and a new stuffed animal = happy kids! Sometimes we give in...
The train was inside the mountain for about a half hour. It was dark and cramped and I tried to keep my mind off of what would happen if there was an earthquake... I'm such a worrywart! Then we emerged into daylight again and all was well.
Enjoying the views.
I'm glad we went up as early as we did because by the time we were done and reached the bottom the top was covered in clouds!
What a fun adventure. Loving living here!


  1. Man, that view at the top was one of the best views I've seen in my life. Up there with the Na Pali coast on Kauai. Pretty amazing. That was a fun trip up to the tippy top of Germany!

  2. Another MAGNIFICENT post, Paige! What awe-inspiring views! I know these trips will be memorable treasures in years to come! I love traveling through your eyes! Danke danke!

  3. WOW! Gotta add this place to our list of things to do in April. Absolutely amazing!

  4. I think I would have just waited to see some online photos for this one, cause there's no way I would be getting on that ski lift!! HA! Too terrified of moving heights!! But it is so pretty! Hate that the cross was destroyed by the soldiers, but the replacement is beautiful.

  5. Ohhhhhh I would have been freaked out too!!!! I am deathly afraid of heights!!! LOL!!

  6. Such beautiful views! Sigh. And it is so interesting how they are trying to minimize melting of that glacier. Thanks for sharing all your fabulous photos!

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