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Posted:  Tuesday 11 July 2017

A holiday in southern Germany for
South East Associates

- May 13th to May 18th -

In mid-May, twenty-five Associates flew to Munich to explore the Bavarian Alpine region.

We stayed in a very friendly four-star hotel, the Atlas Grand Hotel, which is situated in the Partenkirchen end of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a beautiful town in an idyllic mountain setting.

The Atlas Grand Hotel

This traditional hotel was chosen for its Bavarian hospitality and its rooms with verandas that have impressive mountain views - and it even offers Prosecco for breakfast!  The staff went out of their way to welcome us and to make sure that our stay was memorable.

We had a busy itinerary as this area has so much to offer.  After arrival at Munich airport we made the short journey into the city for a walking tour led by a local guide.  There was a vibrant atmosphere in the city with marching bands, and lots of Lederhosen, as it was the hundred year anniversary of Mary Mother of Jesus being selected as Bavaria’s patroness.
Before we left the stunning city architecture and headed south to the mountains we had time for free exploration and many of us enjoyed the beer gardens.

For the next two days we explored locally on foot.  The Garmisch area has 300km of well-marked and maintained walking paths with stunning views.

We chose a guided walk around the old town of Garmisch with its colourful frescoed buildings, a walk through the impressive deep and narrow Partnachklamm - this gorge is one of the most beautiful natural features in Bavaria - and a hike along the Philosophenweg walking trail.

Ladies on the Zugspitze

Some of the party explored alternative transport – a horse and carriage ride to the Partnachklamm and a train ride to Mittenwald which included a short trip to Austria on the wrong train!
Bavaria is renowned for its impressive castles and palaces.  On a bright sunny day we visited Linderhof Palace, the only one of King Ludwig’s royal palaces that he actually lived in.  He modelled it on Versailles with its own hall of mirrors and a fantastically ornate interior.

Schloss Linderhof

Later in the day we went to Oberammergau – the village made famous by the Passion Play that has been performed by local inhabitants every ten years since 1634 to honour a vow they made after plague ravaged the village.  We visited the open-air theatre and had a backstage tour.

Tickets for 2020 are going on sale early next year and half a million people from all over the world are expected to go to the 102 performances - an impressive achievement for a small town!  We finished off the day with a visit to nearby Ettal, a picturesque monastery with a brewery.

Kloster Ettal

That evening we held a fun series of slot car races at a nearby venue organised by local enthusiasts on their 32 metre, 6 lane track.  It was a close competition finally won by Terry Lifford.

The highlight of the holiday for many was the trip on a cog mountain railway and cable car to the snowy peak of the Zugspitze - the highest mountain in Germany.  The clear blue skies gave us breathtaking panoramic views of Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, as well as giving us spectacular views of local features such as Eibsee, the lake below.

We then had lunch overlooking the lake and a local walk before returning to the hotel.

In the evening Jane Shott organised a fun quiz for us, testing our knowledge of the local area and of each other!

In the past Garmisch and Partenkirchen were two separate towns but they were joined in order to secure the 1936 Winter Olympics.  On our final morning a group of us went to the Olympic ski-jump to find out more about the sport.  We sat in the judges’ rooms and then the braver members of the group ventured up the top, a further 332 steps, where they rapidly decided that this sport is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
We all had a fantastic stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and found, as the tourist leaflets claim, that Bavaria is a land rich in natural beauty and traditions.

Many of the party are keen to return and explore further.

Anne & Steve Hartley

(fd  28/06/2017)

(ph  11/07/2017)

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