Eagle’s Nest – where Europe was planned

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Eagle's Nest

 

 

 

 

Do you want to hike in the beautiful Bavarian Alps? Explore the history and secrets behind the Nazi regime? Do you want to walk through a huge bunker and take a lift inside a mountain? All of these and more await you in Berchtesgaden, Germany.

Eagle's NestEver since I was little, I would watch National Geographic, Discovery and other documentary channels.

I would watch TV shows about the history of the Second World War. The names “Berchtesgaden” and “Obersalzberg” as well as “the Führer’s summer residence” and “Eagle’s Nest” were always mentioned. All of these hid somewhere deep inside my brain and I forgot them for years on end.

At least until the summer of 2019, when I’ve traveled on my own to Salzburg, Austria. Like any other random person, I googled what I could visit. Among others, searching through a few pages, “Kehlsteinhaus” pops up. It was none other than Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s villa in the Alps. Only 30 minutes away by bus from Salzburg. I had to go.

So, one morning, me and my pals went to Hauptbahnhof (the main train station) and took bus 840 towards Berchtesgaden. As soon as you head towards Berchtesgaden, the depression and the surrounding peaks amaze you. We’re talking about steep cliffs sitting at 1800-2000 meters (6000-6500 feet) in some places. There are few places in Europe that are so breathtaking.

From the communal train station, bus 838 takes you to Dokumentation Obersalzberg, where you can find the Nazi Museum, and from where the long climb to Hitler’s house begins, which sits at 1834 meters (6017 feet).

Eagle's Nest

The museum, if you’re at least a little interested in the history of the place, is fantastic.

The price is only 2 or 3 euros, and it’s free for students. To be fair, the museum is in German, but for 2 euros you get an audio station in English. You can admire very detailed maps about the war fronts, the deportation camps, and the countries.

An interactive model with the villages allows you to push buttons to highlight the house that the audio guide wants you to focus on. There are several Nazi objects on display, from passports to engraved SS daggers. The walls are filled with text about everything that the Third Reich meant. Equally, something similar to its theme can be found in Sighetu Marmației, Romania, at the Memorial of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance.

Eagle's NestThe cherry on top is Hitler’s bunker, which is accessible for hundreds of meters, at no additional cost.

The ventilation systems, the machine gun emplacements, the pipes, even the soldier’s carvings on the walls can be seen. The bunker is so cold in terms of temperature, that it literally takes your breath away, just like in a cave.

After we were finished with the museum, we were too lazy to hike for a few hours to the top (shame on us), so we took the tourist buses up to the very top. The bus has a serpentine filled route, where every wrong turn could throw you into the abyss. Have no fear, adventurers! You can climb on foot, for free, on specially designed paths, because there is no tax at Eagle’s Nest. Only the bus has a paid ticket.

The bus stop is right at the door of the lift. Yep, exactly! Hitler built himself a lift that would take him through the mountain right to his house. The lift sits exactly where he would park his car.

Eagle's Nest - where Europe was plannedHis plan was to build a complex transport system underground, from the base of the mountain to the top.

The lift is polished with gold and bronze, and it reminds you of the luxury hotels in the US or other places. It takes you right to the main hall of the villa, which is now a restaurant. And here you have the highlight of the attraction. You’re met with a 360° of the Bavarian Alps.

During sunny days (like we enjoyed until an ugly rain happened) you can even see Salzburg, 30 kilometers away in the valley. On another side, you can see Königsee, one of the most beautiful and deep glacial lakes in Germany. There are benches on the rocks around the villa, so you can take in the view.

What do you say? A Bavarian trip sounds good to you? I’ll surely revisit. And this time, I promise to climb on foot! You don’t need to believe me that it’s worth visiting. See for yourself!

Auf Wiederhören!

 

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