Monday, May 25, 2015

Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest), Germany

On our way back from Salzburg, (May 2014) we stopped off in Berchtesgaden for one reason, the Eagle's Nest. The name Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" came from a description of the place by the French ambassador in 1938. The Germans called it the "D-House" (for diplomatic) or the Kehlsteinhaus, from its location on the Kehlstein mountain. Hitler's Eagles' Nest was used primarily to entertain visiting dignitaries. This was not where Hitler lived when he was in Berchtesgaden.
Because of it's location (atop the summit of the Kehlstein, rocky outcrop that rises above the Obersalzberg) dunner the winter months the Eagle's Nest is closed. Since it had been a mild winter in 2013, by April 2014 the Eagle's Nest had opened and we picked the perfect day to go!
Sidles' @ Kehlsteinhaus

It was a symbol of the power of the NS regime even though decisions were made at the Eagle's Nest, it still stands for the insanity of Hitlers regime. It stands for his world on the Obersalzberg, where plans for war and mass murder were formed there. The Eagle's Nest was a present to Hitler from the political party, who, without any free will, surrendered to the man who was going to bring down the world. In defiance, the building stands perched over a sheer rock wall. 
A road was cut into the mountain through the previously impassable terrain. Although an architectural master piece, it was still an act of waste on nature and other resources. To reach it, there is a golden brass elevator buried in the heart of the mountain, through which one can reach "the summit of power" - all this is created with the sole purpose to impress and dazzle people. It's said that Hitler barley visited because he was scared of heights and it was on top of a mountain.

Check out these views!

It's easy enough to get to Kehlsteinhaus. I had to look up an address and our handy GPS found the location of the parking lot. Parking isn't free. I want to say it was about 2-3 euros to park there. We followed the crowds to the ticket booth. At the parking lot you are paying for the shuttle bus to take you up the mountain, and the elevator that will take you through the mountain to the actual house! It's pretty cool if you ask me. We were even able to take Seamus & Rylie on the bus with us, it was a little crowded, but they did very well. You also have the option of not paying for the shuttle bus and climbing up the mountain by yourself, it's only 4 m (13 ft) wide approach road climbs 800 m (2,600 ft) over 6.5 km (4.0 mi). You couldn't pay me enough money to hike up the mountain! haha. Make sure when you get off the bus you schedule your return trip. All you have to do is tell the ticket agent what time you want to go back, when you've reached the top. They suggest giving your self 2 hours up there. We gave ourselves about 2.5 hours just to be safe.
Tunnel to the elevator

Drew, Rylie & Seamus in the tunnel

Built in 1938!

Waiting for the elevator

Can you see it on the top??
The tunnel to get to the elevator

If you want a tour of the inside of the Eagle's Nest, it is about 22 euros per person and you have to either be a part of a group of 20 or have booked a private tour. It wasn't worth it for us. So we just decided to go up and walk around. The Eagle's nest remains in its original state. In 1960, on the occasion of the 150th celebration Berchtesgaden’s incorporation into Bavaria, the Bavarian government relinquished its control of the building to a trust that ensures that the proceeds are used for charitable purposes. Today it is a restaurant! You don't need a reservation, you can just find an open table and sit down.

Drew & Seamus

Eagle's Nest, it looks smaller in this picture

Check out that view!

Before sitting down for lunch, we walked around the Eagle's Nest and did all the touristy things. But since it is just a restaurant on top there wasn't much to do. Especially since there was still snow on the ground! So while Drew and Rylie checked out things, Seamus and I found a bench and sat down while I took pictures of him. :)

Mommy & Seamus <3

At first we were not going to sit and eat at the restaurant, it was crowded and a little chilly, but before we headed down we saw some empty seat and snatched them up. The food was alright, it was a little pricey and the portions weren't generous. While we were sitting and waiting for out food Drew and I started talking about how Hitler probably stood in the exact spot we were sitting in. 

All the way on the top!

The Eagle's Nest wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I think that had more to do with the fact that you have to go through so much to get a tour inside (maybe it's changed? This was 2014). But it definitely was a once in a life time experience. This history behind it is fascinating. And years down the road I'll be able to tell my kids and grandkids about "When I was in Germany..." Also how many people can actually say that they've been to the Eagle's Nest?