14 June 2008

Partenkirchen, The Little Sister

Everyone knows families that have two sisters in them. Invariably one is prettier and more popular, you have to be reminded of the other ones name. Before I travelled there, that was the case with Partenkirchen. Hell, I speak German and always mumbled the city as Garmisch-somethingsomething. But no more. It is Garmisch-Partenkirchen .

Getting there was supposed to be so easy. A quick flight from Zurich, using a standby ticket on Swiss International. Heck, I even got a seat when I checked in, which if you travel standby means the Gods are smiling upon you. Hah!! Boarding card in hand I waited for my gate to be announced, noticing that MANY flights were cancelling that day. Then the words of terror appeared on the departure monitor 'annuliert'. Cancelled . Crap!!! The weather meant that nothing was getting to Munich that day by air, flights were being sent to Frankfurt .After a quick retrieval of my luggage ( thank the Swiss for their efficiency in returning my luggage, my carrier would have laughed or snarled if I requested this as a standby) I headed down to the bahnhof in the airports basement.

Train ticket in hand, and one hundred Euros lighter, I waited for my train to Munich. The train which broke down just over the border of Germany. 2 hours at one station while they repaired some engine part ( my German does not know mechanical words). Thank God for the paperback and iPod! At 9 pm, 12 hours after I arrived at the airport in Zurich and 2 train rides later, I was in Partenkirchen. Home for a week of snowboarding and airline employee partying and mingling.

Until 1936, Garmisch and Partenkirchen were merely towns that were side by side. Friendly neighbors perhaps but minding their own business. The 1936 Olympics required that towns that hosted events have a certain number of hotel rooms, Garmisch did not have enough.What to do? With the waive of his hand , Hitler put the towns together as the mouthful we know today, Garmisch- Partenkirchen. (Okay I took a little artistic license with the hand waiving, but he did put them together, Hitler seems like a hand waiver to me, in addition to a desk pounder).

Partenkirchen is definitely not the party nexus of the ski resort area, and that is fine with me. It is the quieter part, where you can walk down the middle of most streets,there are stores devoted to the selling of dirndl skirts ( closed for the winter in little Partenkirchen, but big sister keeps hers open), Marzipan shops and many a foot doctor. Germans are obsessed with foot health...Dr. Scholls, Birkenstocks,etc.

The pension we stayed in was the lovely Gasthof Fraundorfer, run by the inimitable Barbara. She is a lady that wears her dirndl while conversing in about half a dozen languages , all making her guests at home. The food here is I swear to God so good that I wanted to eat every meal there. Never have I felt this way about hotel food before. I am not the only one as the restaurant is JAMMED at dinner, even guests need to make reservations. The accordion and oompahpah dancing and singing really set the mood.The Gasthof is on the photo below, I heard a tour group stopping in front one morning and the guide explained that the hotel/restaurant was a place where newlyweds stopped off after their marriage and the art on the front of the building was in the plaster, put there while it was wet, so it does not chip or fade. So many of the buildings in the area had artwork, mostly of a religious nature, you can still see the staunch Catholicism here.

Below is a view from the hotel balcony. You cannot beat waking up to see the snowy Alps at your feet....and a telephoto lens.
The snow in these photos reveal that, yes, this holiday was in March.....
The little flag waiver below was above our room. The pilot staying above us hung one of our airlines baseball caps on him for much of the week.

Political correctness has not yet made its way to Southern Germany. The hairdressers shop with the limp wristed mascot, surprisingly employed no limp wristed men.....

The little Arabesque Sambo below advertised......ice cream.....Not sure how he effectively does that, but he does.
In spite of the cringe worthy advertising, the town is a real jewel. Walkable, delicious food wherever you go ( fast food lovers head to Garmisch for McDs and Pizza Hut) , friendly people including old timers that still wear the traditional dress and lots of snow!!
Coming up- the Zugspitze . Before next month I swear......


DUNCAN said...

Great pics, looks like a lovely place, and oh the fun of non-reving!

Anonymous said...

vielen dank für die schönen fotos, bitte mehr davon!
liebe grüße aus österreich!

Blondie said...

GREAT pictures! Looks like fun!