After a long 7 months of repeated lockdowns, in May, the government finally permitted us to travel overnight. We could see more than what is just in our backyard — which, let’s be honest, is pretty neat, but when you have all of Europe at your fingertips… Travel was the #1 reason we chose to move to Germany, so we were ecstatic to finally be able to explore! So for Memorial Day weekend, we packed our bags and headed out of town.
Since Andy’s unit did not want him to cross international borders quite yet, we chose to visit the German resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps. Most American military families are familiar with Garmisch, as it’s home to the military-only Edelweiss Lodge & Resort. We had hoped to stay there; however, every other military family had the same idea, as they were completely booked. (In fact, they’re completely booked every weekend for the next few months!) Instead, we used Booking.com to find a quaint little German hotel called Hotel Alpenhof in nearby Oberau.
The drive down took much longer than we had anticipated, as it seemed all of Germany was headed to spend the weekend in Garmisch as well. We also had a tiny fender bender when a German lady rear-ended us. Praise the Lord, it didn’t leave a scratch on our car – in fact, Drew didn’t even wake up, which was surprising since he doesn’t sleep very well in the car! – so we didn’t call it in or anything.
Our first activity was visiting the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze. There are 3 options to get to the top of the Zugspitze: a cogwheel train, a cable car, and hiking it. I had heard the cable car has the prettiest views, so I unanimously decided we’d do that. ~Somebody~ was very hesitant to get on it. I won’t name names, though 😉
The Zugspitze cable car currently holds the world record for the longest free-span in a cable car at 3,213 meters (10,541 ft), as well as the tallest lattice steel aerial tramway support tower in the world at 127 meters (417 ft.) Good thing we didn’t know those fun facts before our ride, or there’s no way I could have convinced my travel partner to get on board!
Drew was NOT a fan of the cable car ride to the top of the Zugspitze. Andy wore him in the baby carrier, but he still clung to me. He even signed the “all done!” sign halfway up the mountain. It appears he’s inherited his fear of heights from one of his parents.
Once at the top, we enjoyed a pizza lunch from the on-site restaurant. At that time, virus restrictions only permitted outdoor dining, but we didn’t mind because of the gorgeous views!
Then, we took a few minutes to walk around and snap a few photos. The golden cross pictured is the official summit of the Zugspitze. Normally you can hike up it (using the attached rope,) but as you can see, it was just a little snowy. Unfortunately, Drew decided to throw a tantrum because it was way past his naptime, and he was a little chilly, so we descended sooner than we would have liked.
Upon reaching the ground, we decided to put Drew in his stroller and walk around Lake Eibsee for a few minutes, tantrum be darned. We were so glad that we did! Walking around calmed Drew down, and we had a lovely walk.
View of Lake Eibsee from the cable car
The turquoise water, while beautiful, is also deceptively cold – it was only 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) on our visit. A few brave souls were on the lake in paddle boats and on SUP boards, but we preferred staying warm and dry on shore 😉
Drew had his first ice cream cone at Lake Eibsee. He was a sticky, chocolatey mess, but he made everyone laugh and smile as we walked past. Of course, we paid for it that evening when he refused to go to sleep, but it was worth it.
And that recaps day 1 of our #GarmiParty!