Bertesgaden, is the main transport hub so a lot of tourists enter here. Tourists mainly from German speaking countries and of course, the plentiful and adventurous far east Asian’s. Is there any part of the World they don’t visit!? I must say that this area is probably the least English spoken area I’ve been to in a while. Still, this wouldn’t deter me from the wanting to explore the few other popular attractions I’d read up on before hand.
First up was Konigssee Lake. Actually, this is the lake you could see from images in yesterday’s Eagle’s Nest post. The lake is within the boundary of the National Park and is Germany’s third deepest lake. Interestingly, it was formed from the glaciers during the last ice-age.
Now, I’ve seen and enjoyed many a lake in these last three months so I was initially sceptical about my enjoyment factor of today and even more so when I handed over nearly 14 euros. I paid considerably less for a very special journey back in Shkoder, Albania with some wonderful travel-friends.
To summarise the next 2.5 hours, I caught a really slow moving vessel (as you can’t really walk the lake from what I understand) to a stop off point. Here I would wonder around for an hour or so before taking the same slow moving vessel back. The surrounding scenery was of course, humbling but of course similar to what I have seen before. What I didn’t get previously though was half way in all engines cut power and things go silent on the boat. The captain’s second in command stands up and starts speaking in German for a couple of minutes (no translation) before pulling out a trumpet from a cupboard and starts playing! Most of you will be able to picture my very confused face at this point 🙂
The echo was impressive so I was thinking this what the demonstration was about. This went on for a couple of minutes before he then went round collecting money from people using his hat as the receptacle. This whole experience was probably not weird if you’re German and could understand what was going on but super-weird if you were English. It certainly wasn’t the National Anthem he was playing and if I had to guess, it might have had something to do with the military or the war. The tune had that kinda sad sound to it if that makes sense…
So as ever, my gut was right and I could have done without parting with that amount of cash but by the same token, I past a few hours and was able to take some half- decent photos that I hope you’ll like:
Next up and in the same afternoon was the Bertesgaden Salt Mine, in operation since 1517! This is a family-friendly tour that lasts about an hour. I was intrigued by this attraction as this was the first salt mine I’d visited. I was further intrigued when I was instructed to don this outfit:
So, dressed as a miner, this experience provides mini train-travel through the underground Salt Mine network, a raft and slides deep into the Salt Mine. This experience was surprisingly cool in both senses of the word! (It might have 30+ degrees at ground level but 100 meters below ground it was around 10).
You could tell proper thought had gone into this tourist attraction as there were impressive lazer shows and a mechanically operated vessel that pulled us 50 meters or so on top of a similarly sized body of salt water shown above. We got to sample some of this water at the other end which had salt content of around 28%. I understand ocean water to be roughly less than 5%. Now imagine that taste! Yuk.
I walked to the Salt Mine from the where I was staying in Bertesgaden and it took about 25 minutes each way. I did at least get to have some further really pleasing views of and over the city:
Now, don’t be fooled by the images of and around the lake. If your budget only allows one of these two experiences, choose the Salt Mine option unless your primary interest is specifically to do a little hike in the National Park. The Salt Mine was 16 euros and similar to the price of the lake at 14 euros. Really expensive day with food, drink and accommodation on top.
Thirdly, there is also a long and high cable car ride at Jennerbahn which I would have loved to have done but at 22 euros, I sadly had to decline.
So as you can see from all of the above including the Eagle’s Nest, surprisingly there was really a lot to do in this small part of the World so if you ever find yourself in or around here, refer back to this blog if you need or want to.
So folks, its time to place your bets. Where am I heading next? North, East, South or West?