We spent Valentine’s Day weekend in Garmisch, in the Bavarian region of Germany. Actually, it’s Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in case you’re trying to find it in your GPS. (History lesson: Hitler forced the two towns to combine to accommodate the 1936 Winter Olympics. Garmisch and Partenkirchen were (and still are) rivals, and when Hitler asked the respective mayors to combine their towns the answer was a resounding no. Hitler’s response was that they could think about their decision in Dachau, the nearby concentration camp. Needless to say, the two towns became one.)
For those of you who haven’t been, the drive from Vicenza is about 4 hours. Not bad, except that you’re going to pay around €68 in transportation costs there and back, not including gas. The toll in Italy came to €20,90 and there’s that lovely €9 toll near Innsbruck. And let’s not forget that you have to purchase a vignette just to drive through Austria (€8), but luckily that’s a one-time cost. Anyway, with the tolls even a “cheap” trip isn’t cheap.
We got to the Edelweiss Resort in the afternoon and promptly signed up to do the brewery tour offered by the hotel that night. We left on a tiny bus a little after 6pm and drove to the neighboring town of Murnau, to the Griesbräu (greece-brew) brewery. I won’t say too much about it except that Wolfgang, the master brewer and guide, is pretty great, and the beer is even better. It was fun and interesting, but I certainly can’t say it was worth $41 each. I’ve had friends take the same tour and they had a different experience – for them, Wolfgang was heavy-handed with the beer. For us, not so much. We got to try 4 beers and a beer liqueur. Maybe it would have been worth it if the food had been included (oh yeah, by the way, its not).
The next day was Saturday and we decided to investigate Garmisch by foot. Walking from the hotel, it’s nearly 2 miles to the pedestrian area downtown. It sounds far, but it’s really not because Garmisch is adorable and you’ll enjoy every minute. I spent the entire day staring around at the quaint, painted, oh-so-Bavarian architecture.
On the main street (Zugspitzstraße) you’ll pass a store called Orterer, also known as the Promised Land of Beer. Here you can buy real, amazingly delicious Bavarian beers in bulk. A case (20 bottles) averages €15, with a €3 deposit for the crate and bottles. They’re closed Sundays, so we had to go get the car and stock up while we could.
For 5 cases of beer, I think we paid €87. Happy Valentines, Husband! And in the pedestrian area we did a little window shopping and I came across this:
I wanted it. Badly. Unfortunately it was €159, so if any of you has some cash to spare, please feel free to spend it on me.
That night we ate at the hotel and then of course we had to go to an Irish pub. Wherever we go, we seem to find a pub whether we mean to or not. But the Husband actually searched for this one, called The Irish Pub. Perhaps Germans are not known for their creativity…. Anyway, we had a couple beers and (I) enjoyed the brogue of the guys behind the bar. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed that accent.
We hurried back to the hotel to get some time in the hot tub before it closed. Grown-ups: the “adults only” hours of the hot tub are 8:30-10:00pm. Not nearly long enough, in my opinion, but we got about 20 minutes to enjoy it and it was lovely.
Sunday morning dawned but it was hard to tell because of all the fog. But it was our last morning and therefore our last chance to get up to Zugspitze (zoog-spits), the highest peak in Germany. It’s a short drive to Eibsee, where you can hop on a gondola to the summit for the meager price of €42,50. That probably strikes you as sarcastic, but I’m not even kidding. I would have paid more for the view from the top. If you go, go early and be prepared to fight for your place in line for the gondola. Ski poles and backpacks will take you down if you let them. Anyway, take a look at these pictures. If you go to Garmisch, don’t leave without visiting the Top of Germany.
We spent about 3 hours enjoying the top of Zugspitze, but could easily have spent longer if we’d had more money to blow. There’s a cafe and restaurant, as well as some museumy areas. The husband got to enjoy a beer in the frigid biergarten while we watched teeny tiny skiers on the slopes below (you can spot the chair lifts in the picture to the left), but the only other thing we bought was a magnet.
Then we were off home to snuggle our stinky, hairy hound dogs. It was a great way to spend a weekend and we can’t wait to go back. Garmisch has been a favorite for sure, and there’s still a ton left to see and do. Enjoy the rest of the view from our pictures – the best part is that you have no chance of getting frostbite through a computer screen.