Day 11 - 7/20/13 - Zugspitze

At 9,718 feet above sea level, the Zugspitze is home to three of Germany’s five glaciers: the Höllentalferner, the Southern Schneeferner, and the Northern Schneeferner. This is quite unique considering the country’s overall temperate climate.

The Mirabell Guest House was the perfect B&B. Our family suite was in the basement of a converted residence. At this point in our travels we needed laundry done and our kind hostess offered to do the laundry for us. We gathered everything from everyone that needed it and filled a laundry basket for her. The next day, everything was returned clean and folded in the basket and I remember being a little embarrassed that a stranger folded our underwear!

Upstairs was a small breakfast room with a built-in bench all around a table with charming wooden carvings and decorations. They were well-equipped to guide tourists with maps and instructions. I think this is how we learned about the Zugspitze - Which if I had done better homework, we would have known about and planned for! In every sense of the word, it was Pinnacle Experience for me personally (RK). What an adventure we had discovering every step and wonder!

It is not PhotoShop, these stunning peaks are in almost every direction you look.

From Parten Kirchen, we took a regular train to the base of the mountain where we switched to an adhesion railway with rack assistance. See details on Day 10. At the other end, was the base of a huge Cable Car that went practically straight up and into the clouds. The ride is not for those who are uncomfortable with heights unless they have a good grasp on composure and maybe stay away from the windows.

The Zugspitze tram, also known as the Zugspitze Cable Car, is a marvel of engineering. It whisks passengers up to Germany’s highest peak at 2,962 meters, offering breathtaking panoramic views. The modern, spacious cabins ensure a comfortable journey, while the large windows provide unobstructed views of the stunning alpine landscape. It’s a thrilling ride to the top.

At the top, the cable comes up through the floor of a building to disembark. There were a couple of restaurants, restrooms, and maybe tables and chairs to rest. Elevation 9740 ft. I don’t remember feeling sick with the altitude but maybe a little shortness of breath. Everyone seemed healthy and we drank extra water. At the top, we were glad for our sunglasses and jackets because we were surrounded by snow and standing on a glacier!

There was an automated photo box with the cross in the background. Instructions were in many languages including English. Not only was it another interesting family selfie, but this one has prospects for our Christmas card this year!

You can’t dive up here so they must have used a helicopter.

The weather was perfect for us, and an ideal place to have a bite and visit with friends.

The views of the surrounding area were - sorry for the pun- Breathtaking! Atop a peak a little ways away was a truly beautiful gold cross. Tourists could pay a fee, I think to do the little hike and climb (including a ladder that we could see) to take their picture up close with it.

The mountain was first climbed on 27 August 1820 by Josef Naus, his survey assistant, Maier, and mountain guide, Johann Georg Tauschl. Today, there are three normal routes to the summit and three cable cars that transport an average of 500,000 people to the summit each year.

Did we see this in a James Bond movie?


Two other memories from the Zugspitze include a visit to a stone hut where Pope John Paul had visited and performed mass and the sledding!. God bless the people who decided to install those toys with instructions for people to play with. It was pure joy.

We were happy to get back to the RV we keep in Europe, ready to whisk us away to our next destination, just kidding.

Reverse the gondola, tram, and train and we are back to G-PK.

Tomorrow we are off to Vienna, home of Motzart, Vienna Technical Museum, and St. Stephens Church.