29th September 2016. Oberau, Germany.

We set off early this morning because we were going to Berchtesgaden and we were worried the stëllplatz would be full.

Our SAT NAV decided that we didn’t want to go along the Deutsche Alpenstraße at one point, we only noticed as we saw the coach in front of us and the motorhome behind us turn right and around the same time caught sight of the little brown sign as we sailed past it.  We ended up driving along some very hairy roads and into a huge town that we could have bypassed, thanks SAT NAV!

We drove uphill along single track lanes to get to Berchtesgaden stëllplatz (which isn’t at Berchtesgaden) which was very well signposted luckily.

We were amazed to find we actually arrived at the stëllplatz (which was 2 ½ hours away) before the time we would normally just be thinking of leaving so we were very pleased.

There was loads of space for us to park but the best view of the mountains was on the front row and there was a sort of space on the end so I went over to speak to the people parked next to the space (their van was a Frankia too) to ask whether they’d mind us squeezing in next to them.  They were more than happy and said we should put our chairs by their van so we could sit in the sun, such a kind and generous suggestion.

It was wonderful sitting looking over at the mountains but it got even better when the van next to our neighbours left and we were able to move to a pitch without shrubbery in the way.  We learnt a new lesson today, as we saw two more vans leave, apparently there is such a thing as getting somewhere too early!

It was a baking hot day so we ended up sitting in the shade of the van.  I heard a bird of prey above us and when I looked up a golden eagle soared overhead, typically as soon as I picked up my camera he’d disappeared behind the trees mocking me with his cry!

In the afternoon we walked down to the village.  The houses were very pretty.  Unsurprisingly there were a lot of alpine chalets and they all had brightly coloured flowers tumbling over the edge of the window boxes that hung on the ornate wooden balconies.  Quite a few houses had murals painted on the walls too.

We walked down to the Tourist Information Bureau but unfortunately it was closed.

However, it turned out to be well worth the walk, at that moment, on the other side of the road, we heard cow bells in the distance and noticed a couple of people walking across a field.  They were carrying what we assume was a bucket of feed for the cows.  It seems we weren’t the only ones to assume that, the cows appeared to have the same idea.  The resulting scenario gave us 10 minutes of unexpected entertainment!  The cows looked so comical as they suddenly got very excited and started prancing around and galloping (or lolloping) after the food.  I’ve never seen cows move so fast.  The girl they were following suddenly stopped and from where we were standing it looked like she told them to go away.  They stopped and stood there for a short while and then it gradually dawned on them that they were getting nothing and one by one they turned around and wandered off.  They were so cute.

Our next stop was the village shop where we tried to ask the man behind the counter whether there was a bus that went into Berchtesgaden as we thought that might be a good way to get there.  He couldn’t understand Darren’s way of saying “buss” it turns out it’s pronounced boose (like goose).  He eventually understood when I drew an upper case ‘H’ in the air, which is the sign for bus stop.  He pointed to the bus stop across the road and we went over to look at the timetable then decided it will be easier if we just drive there in the van and after we’ve seen everything we want to see in the area move on to another stëllplatz over that way.

Luckily we happened to spy a biergarten up some steps behind us.

We felt a bit awkward as we were the only customers, the other two ladies there were staff having their tea break.  One of the ladies rushed out with some cushions and a tablecloth for our table and they both tried to chat to us but as they didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak German it wasn’t too successful!  One of the ladies said it was warm, (it sounded like she said ‘varm’ in her sentence and I hoped I’d understood what she was saying) it was sweltering and she gestured that we should come and sit at the table she was using because it was in the shade.  We were both pleased about that because we were melting at our table.

My observant husband (his friend Brendan calls him ‘Eagle Eye’) noticed a building at the top of one of the mountains and guessed that it might be Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, I zoomed in with my camera and it was.  It was very exciting to see it from the village as we are hoping to go there tomorrow.

We puffed and panted our way back up hill to the van and sat and watched the sun setting behind the mountains.

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