Zugspitze: Germany's Tallest Mountain

When I was younger, my Mom's brother Jim and his family lived in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen at the U.S. Army Garrison. I think it's safe to say that for my cousins, Garmisch was probably their favorite place that they lived in all of their many U.S. Air Force globetrotting years. Because of their stay there, I think Germany was probably the first foreign country that I ever had knowledge of. As a kid, I loved hearing stories from their time there and I used to pour over postcards that my aunt & uncle sent my maternal grandparents. One postcard that always stood out to me more than the others was a close up of an alpine peak just south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen: the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. When Emmett and I spent a week in Bavaria on our 2014 Europe trip, I knew that we'd not only have to check out Garmisch but also make a trip up the formidable Zugspitze.

 A very Bavarian scene: a pretzel on the cogwheel train up to the plateau, the Zugspitzplatt.

A very Bavarian scene: a pretzel on the cogwheel train up to the plateau, the Zugspitzplatt.

 Lake Eibsee as seen from the cogwheel train.

Lake Eibsee as seen from the cogwheel train.

 Somewhat blurry view of the cogwheel train after our arrival at the Zugspitzplatt.

Somewhat blurry view of the cogwheel train after our arrival at the Zugspitzplatt.

 The plateau was totally consumed by a snow cloud.

The plateau was totally consumed by a snow cloud.

 But that was fine with us because the conditions were perfect for using the free sleds!

But that was fine with us because the conditions were perfect for using the free sleds!

   

  

 After sledding and getting some ice cream cones (why not?), we got on the funicular that would take us to the summit.

After sledding and getting some ice cream cones (why not?), we got on the funicular that would take us to the summit.

 Our cable car rose out of the snow cloud and we got our first view of the snowy limestone summit.

Our cable car rose out of the snow cloud and we got our first view of the snowy limestone summit.

 Out on the viewing platform, we got a pretty good glimpse of the same funicular descending back down into the cloudy abyss.

Out on the viewing platform, we got a pretty good glimpse of the same funicular descending back down into the cloudy abyss.

 Along the platform's edge was an image that explained which peaks were which beyond the platform. But that darned cloud cover had other ideas.

Along the platform's edge was an image that explained which peaks were which beyond the platform. But that darned cloud cover had other ideas.

 Emmett and me in front of the Eastern Summit and it's gilded cross.

Emmett and me in front of the Eastern Summit and it's gilded cross.

 The cloud cover beyond the platform made everything seem otherworldly.

The cloud cover beyond the platform made everything seem otherworldly.

 Were we somewhere in the remote arctic? It felt like we could have been.

Were we somewhere in the remote arctic? It felt like we could have been.

   

  

 ...On a distant ice-planet.

...On a distant ice-planet.

 We briefly entered Tyrol, Austria! The Zugspitze straddles the border and even used to be the site of a border crossing station in pre-Schengen Europe.

We briefly entered Tyrol, Austria! The Zugspitze straddles the border and even used to be the site of a border crossing station in pre-Schengen Europe.

   

  

 A nearby peak that  peek ed through the clouds.

A nearby peak that peeked through the clouds.

 One last look at the snowy limestone of the Zugspitze as we left the summit on the Eibsee funicular.

One last look at the snowy limestone of the Zugspitze as we left the summit on the Eibsee funicular.

 The cable car broke through the cloud cover and we finally got to see more of the Alps.

The cable car broke through the cloud cover and we finally got to see more of the Alps.

 Eibsee and the Alps.

Eibsee and the Alps.

 The view back up the mountain from the funicular. Farewell, clouds!

The view back up the mountain from the funicular. Farewell, clouds!

 Last mountain shot from the rack rail station near Lake Eibsee.

Last mountain shot from the rack rail station near Lake Eibsee.

Despite the less than ideal viewing weather, we really enjoyed the Zugspitze. In fact, it was really exciting to be somewhere so beautifully snowy. I imagine that it would be quite an awesome hike up to the summit in the summertime; maybe someday?


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