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Today we left Munich, having rented a car at the train station.
Of course, the cars aren’t parked at the rail station, they’re parked in a six story garage three blocks away. We’ve picked up cars here before and knew the down ramps are extremely narrow.The good news is in order to avoid a drop-off charge if we were to drop the car in Salzburg (20 minutes away from where we’re staying), we’d pay a fee that’s 2 1/2 times the cost of the rental, so I get to drive 2 hours back to Munich and drive back up those narrow ramps.
The drive from Munich to Berchtesgadenland (a region, not a city) was 2 hours. We had no problem navigating out of the city and once on the A8 (equivalent of an Interstate highway), it was pretty much a straight shot to our exit. The legal speed limit on this highway maxes out at 120 km/h or about 72 mph. but there were a few Porsches or Mercedes that zoomed by.
The farmland gradually gives way to views of mountains in the distance.
About an hour out, we passed by the Chiemsee (see = lake). There’s an island on this lake where we visited one of “Mad” King Ludwig’s many castles (Herrenchiemsee) . Today, lots of sailboats and the edge of the lake comes right up to the highway. To get to the castle from Munich you take a train to Prien and then a ferry to the lake. It can be a beautiful place to visit.
Traffic was really slow at one point and we came to a crawl until we passed the major accident on the other side of the road, where traffic had come to a complete stop for miles. Then again at the Austrian border it slowed as trucks had to go through “der Zoll” (customs, not sure why, thought this had been eliminated ). We drove a little further on the A10 into Austria as we’re actually staying in a small village here not too far from Berchtesgaden (small town in Germany, population around 5,000), where we wanted to be, but the hotel we wanted was booked. This is a very popular summer vacation area, so I wasn’t terribly surprised. The road from Berchtesgaden to Salzburg (20 miles?) goes directly through our little village so it’s easy to get around.
The winding drive back to our village passes through even smaller villages and parallels a small river. In the spring, the river is a torrent of snow melt, rushing down from the mountains. There’s a spot along the road on the other side of the river where there was a major landslide from the mountains above that washed across the river and took out part of this road (we were here shortly after the landslide). The road has been fixed of course, but you can still see the big blank spot on the side of the mountains where there are no trees. Today the river is mild mannered, exposing the riverbed of large rocks and boulders washed down from above and there are a few brave souls wading in the waters (which have to be pretty cold). Along the roadside, cyclists pedal along under the shadows of the tree lined road and the fields where farmers are cutting their hay.
If the weather is good tomorrow, we plan to visit a national park.