Bhaiyya's (Varun Chawla) message was already on our WhatsApp group when we got up on our 6th day of trip. His train was running late by 1 hour which gave us enough time to get ready. After two days of cold and clouds we were treated to speckless blue skies with brilliant summer sun. Bhaiyya met us outside the train station as coordinated on WhatsApp. Quickly putting his luggage in the boot of our VW we scooted off to our first destination of the day; the eagles nest.
One good thing of Sid joining the trip was we had almost inexhaustable supplies of gujju 'theplas'. We gorged on them enroute as breakfast. It was our first time with the car on the highways. We soon crossed into the Bavarian province of Germany seamlessly. I may have used this proverb many times but today it truly captured it's meaning; 'Raste makkhan mafak hai'. The roads are not too wide like Dubai but the quality is the best. Add the green scenery it passes through and all the Ferraris for company; it's a pleasure to drive on these. Soon our navigator guided us to leave the highway for a smaller interior road which was even prettier if that was possible.
Eagles nest is a sprawling mansion atop a mountain with 360 panaromic view of the Alps. It was gifted to Hitler on his 50 th birthday meant to be his summer retreat. The last 100 meters to the place is accessible only by the elevator which is build within the hard Rock of the mountain. To reach there we got off at the pretty town of Bertsgarten and waited for our bus to take us there as that's the only mode of transport allowed. Here mid way up the mountain we had lunch at one of the open air restaurants. It was the perfect setting on a summers day. The waitresses were in their typical traditional Bavarian dresses which you may have seen during the Oktoberfest, we had some local beer and food. This is life; was the collective sigh! After the heavenly lunch, we got in the line for the elevator which would take us to the eagles nest. It was a long line as witnessed at every touristy place, since August is the month of vacation in Europe. But the wait was completely worth the efforts because beyond those elevator doors lay one of the best views in Germany. Standing atop there I understood why the place was named eagles nest. The place was the highest point amongst all the peaks it was surrounded by. On a distance was a pristine lake above which paragliders were flying. We were lucky to have a sunny day as we could see right till the horizon over Salzburg in Austria.
An hour and many photos later we were back in our VW heading to our stop over point for tonight in a small village close to chiemsee lake. As we were cruising on the mountain roads admiring the beauty of the place we suddenly saw these beautiful wooden articles displayed for sale. The VW screeched to a halt as we decided to explore this place right in the wilderness of Bavaria. It was 1900 hrs when we took this unplanned break which was supposed to be just a stop over of few minutes but it turned out to be a 2 hrs of souvenir shopping spree which would also be the main reason for our biggest adventure till date for which I have decided to dedicate a sperate blog altogether following this one. Back on the souvenir shop then;
it was run by a elderly German couple named Han and Uta. They had created masterpieces from wood and wooden fragments. There were seven dwarves made out of coniferous cones, drunken owls, real looking cats with rabbit fur, cutest of bird houses, squirrels from bark of a tree, drunk slumped beer glasses, wind mills and the list is endless and the best thing was every product had a Bavarian heart to it. We bought mostly everything described above as souvenirs, the reader of this blog might be the lucky person to receive some of them.
By the time we had finished shopping it was 2100 hrs and everything was shutting in that remote place. Then Uta called up a restaurant close by to inform that we would be coming and not to close, it was the warmest gesture in a perceived cold country. Furthermore to save time Han asked us to go ahead to the restaurant while he would bubble wrap our things and get it over there. The restaurant served us from the very limited vegetarian menu they had. Happy that we got such good articles and service we completely forgot to inform our hotel of the late arrival. Raj called up the hotel by 2130 hrs and informed that we would reach in an hours time. The hotel reception and main door closes by 2200 hrs and we were told we would have to virtually play a treasure hunt if we get late, we all hurried to the VW and drove in the direction the navigator was guiding us on a pitch dark night that would prove to be more exciting than had ever imagined.......