Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Zugspitze, top of Germany

I’ve forgot how many times I’ve visited Garmish - Partenkirchen or Oberammergau but I couldn’t get a chance to visit Zugspitze before. My first visit this area goes back to my youth. We went to Oberemmargau related with  my Father’s job in my teen years, our stay there was an amazing experience for me. Especially in those days, 1975, those areas were not so popular as they are today. So unbelievable clean air, clear sky, whisper of the pine trees, voice of tintinabula from far valleys, lovely small  wooden village houses, good food, friendly people, long walks, unbelievable sun-rise and sun-set views....I wish we could have our digicams several decades ago, too. I have just a few photos from those days, it is so sad, indeed.
Glad that we went to Oberrammegau twice in the summer and  before Christmas, last year. I sighed once again when looking at the awesome Zugspitze peaks.
As of first week of May, my husband said that we were going to Germany in a few weeks of time. It was his surprise for me, we were going to Zugspitze peaks at our 33th anniversary! I hope you all understand my happiness!
I’ll just share small details about our other stops sat Meersburg and Bregenz and surroundings. I must indicate that Meersburg is one of our favorite place, we like to visit it frequently. As I always say so, we like to see different season’s of our favorite places.
Now, let me try to tell about Zugspitze!  

The Zugspitze, at 2,962 m above sea level, is the highest peak of the Wetterstein Mountains as well as the highest mountain in Germany and called top of Germany!  Also called Zugspitz in the area, Zugspitze is part of Wettersteingebirge, a small but important group of limestone mountains on the Austro-German border, immediately South of the ski resort of Garmish-Partenkirchen.
We were checking weather forecast several times a day because it wasn’t so good for the day we were planning to go there...
                                                                 But, when  we reached to Eibsee we found  an almost-cloudless,  sky with amazing views all around with clear view . For the day we visited was not too cold although snow still on the ground in late spring time, and it was our luck that it heavily snowed just a few days before we arrived there. 
There are a lot of routes on the mountain, there are some roads that are really fine, especially from Hamersbach. The easiest route leads through the Reintal but the nicest one is the way through the Höllental.  But the Zugspitze is the Germany's highest mountain and the way up through the Höllental is beautiful until 50 meters under the summit.
There are a lot of exciting different areas at the top where you can look around, see different views, climb a little and rest at the restaurant to have something eat & drink with a wonderful panoramic view.
The whole experience was amazing helped along by the fantastic weather. I would  definitely recommend waiting for a clear day before journeying up.

We arrived to Eibsee and we took cable car  from Eibsee up to the Zugspitze summit, it is faster than the train and you will see much more, but it is crowded.

By the way, the Zugspitze also marks the border between Germany and Austria. Cable cars from both countries meet at the top of this awesome mountain.  As far as I know both countries paid special attention to build these mentioned cable car systems to their Zugspitze station, circa 30s.                                           
If you’re lucky you catch a window side to take photos, otherwise no way to move in that crowded cabin!   
So, here our fantastic journey starts, we go to top pf Germany in a few minutes!

I was lucky to find a place at window side that I got chance to take photos, I must admit that I've used my shorty lady advantage to move easily to window side:))
Eibsee stays behind of us, we climb to high peaks!
It was fantastic feeling when we reached to snowy parts,
We are almost arrived!
And, Zugspitze Summit, top of Germany.

We were so lucky that it was snowed there prior our visit in May, 2016,  it was lovely to see peaks under the  white blanket that was a super chance for us at the end of May, the weather was windy, sky was so clear to see wonderful view.  
If you're a mountain and peaks lover like me you'll understand my feelings, what I've felt when I reached to top and saw this amazing view.
One of my favorite places to be in Europe is a top the Alpine and Tyrol mountains, all those highest points  in Germany and Austria gives me totally a different feeling,  it is a loneliness, it is a freedom, in another word,  marvel at the thought that you are above everything  else in the entire world. I’ve had that strange feeling when we were at the GrossGlockner last year, I’ll share its amazing photos as well.  When at the peak, facing south, a different feeling surrounded me  all those snow-capped peaks as the mighty Alps stretch seemingly forever to the right and left, there was nothing other than awesome mountains. 
Today, whether you decide to ascend Zugspitze whether  from the Austrian or German side, you can straddle the border between two different countries while enjoying an breath taking, incredible view. At the summit there are two separate terraces for  Bavarian and Tirolian sections they are connected by a narrow walk which was the border station.  PhotoStop with auto shutter release  there to capture uplifting moments  on the Zugspitze. Just pose and press the button to use the PhotoStop with auto shutter release on the summit terrace to perpetuate this awesome moment with the summit cross in the background. You can then acquire the image either as a postcard in ShopAlpin on the ground floor of the summit building, or send it here free as an e-card to beloved ones.

The views are equally breathtaking and increadible  on either side of the border.  When you look at the German side, you see the Zugspitzplatt Glacier. 
Recently I’ve read an article that there are several studies related with global warming. According to the article, all those metal ski lift towers absorb heat and they are wrapped in reflective material to try to save the ice and each summer, workers spread out a reflector over the glacier to try to slow its global-warming-caused shrinking.
We do every possible thing to create new technologies but we still keep ruin our wonderful world nature.
We enjoyed our time at the restaurant which has awesome view, speedy service with friendly staff, prices were reasonable. 
I would like to share another old thing related with the German side. That side  still features a golden cross that indicates the highest point in the country, but according to old sayings, its historic original was shot up by Americans soldiers who used it for target practice in the late 1940s during World War II. But today, there is a new one there. It is so hard to believe there is a mark  from WWII on the Zugspitze peak, too! World War II left its mark on the summit, too!

Crossing  between countries on top of both countries are another interesting activity, you get  stamped on your hand. There is no  German or Austrian national banners grace the summit, only regional ones for “Freistaat Bayern” and “Land Tirol”. We were  two couples there and, we all got stamped! 
There are many antennas beyond terrace.  Both countries,  Germany and Austria use  Zugspitze summit for their communication purposes, too. A square box on the Tirolean Terrace provides data for Innsbruck Airport’s air traffic control system. A tower nearby is for the Katastrophenfunk (civil defense network), harkening back to the stressful years of the Cold War.
When you go to below you reach to, in the snow, the Hochzeitskapelle,  

it is known as wedding chapel, which was consecrated in 1981 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as I learned there.
It is the oldest building of the German side there,  a lovely rustic building constructed as of 1900. 

                                                            Icecles in May, 2016 and blast on the snow peak! All people were looking so happy there, enjoying their time.
Upon the announcements, we took the Zugspitzbahn train down,  because cable-car ques are always so crowded
From the top of Germany coming back to Eibsee, was another  nice experience by an nostalgic gear train, through the long and dark  tunnel and afterwords a breathtaking view of Eibsee.
According to my observations the Germans glory in the Zugspitze top of the Germany, their nation’s highest point, their neighbors Austria doesn’t care about it that much as they do  because here are many higher mountains in Austria...I’ll keep continue to share our Austrian mountain experiences too.

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