Obergerner Weg 7
83471 Berchtesgaden-Maria Gern
Tel - 8652/4598
1 EZ, 2 DZ, 1 MBZ, with toilet/shower in hall
964 mtrs altitude ~ Brunnerbrücke bus stop
Quiet location with beautiful view of the mountains. Friendly cozy atmosphere.
We continue along the river and make a left into the hills just as we pass the Salt Mine (Salzbergwerk) on our way up to Maria Gern. From that point it is about 2 km to the beautiful little Maria Gern chapel sitting on a knoll that almost juts out over the roadway that you are traveling.
About 1000 meters further up the road we turn left - then right and zig-zag our way up the mountain on a narrow one lane road until we arrive at our new home for the next two nights - the Steinbichllehen. Absolutely beautiful viewpoint of the surrounding mountains and valleys with the greenist greens you can imagine. If anyplace could ever make you want to yodel - this was it.
No sign of life at the farm when we arrive
but a lady soon approaches on foot from a nearby home. She turns out to be the daughter of Frau Schmidt who runs
this 200 year old farmstead by herself. We are shown to our rooms and become familiar with the layout as we await
the arrival of the owner. Shortly Frau Schmidt pulls up in her shiny little Mercedes wearing an elegant drindl
dress and all smiles. This land has been in her family for several centuries and she has apparently run the farm
by herself for the last 10 years since her husband died. I estimate Frau Schmidt to be in her early to mid seventies
but her energy seems endless and she moves with the grace of a much younger woman. Before we drive down to Berchtesgaden
she is out in the fields with one of those long, curved-blade scythes cutting, raking and drying feed for her 10
cows. This lovely lady was a pistol and I was very impressed with her skills. We leave her to her chores and are
off to shop in town. Before we reach the bottom of the mountain it is raining again but the girls are adept at
shopping in the rain. Kehlstein (Eagle's Nest) and the Königssee are definite no goes for this afternoon. The central shopping area
of Berchtesgaden is relatively small but there are plenty of shops to entertain my crew. Dee Dee decides she
can't live without hiking boots with embroidered edelweiss flowers and exercises her Visa card. On our way to the
wagon we take a drizzly stroll thru the picturesque little cemetary near the underground parking garage. Headstones,
monuments and memorials that are very moving tributes to the former citizens of this beautifully situated little
village. When there take a look at the plaques on the walls with pictures of former soldiers - most of whom died
Back at the farm Frau Schmidt has once again changed clothes and is sitting outside reading a magazine. I ask her to recommend a local restaurant and she directs us down the road indicating we can walk to it in 30 minutes. We take the wagon and are glad we did. We might have walked down in a half hour but we would have still been walking up that mountain the next morning coming back.
The Gaststätte Cafe Bachgütl turns out to be an excellent find just up the road from the Maria Gern chapel. Schnitzels for the girls (Kelli tries a Putenschnitzel - Turkey) and I go for the Spargel mit Rühreier (White asparagus with 3 scrambled eggs).
I talk Kelli into a Weißbier while I enjoy an export Dunkel. It is here that Kelli perfects the only German she says she will ever need to know - "Ein Bier bitte" :-) and she is carded for the first time (so to speak). The waitress asks us if she is at least 16 yrs old. Kelli gets a kick out of that. Can we imagine 16 yr old kids in Texas legally drinking beer? No way... We drive back up and enjoy our balcony for the rest of the evening while Kelli gets giddy with the beer she ordered to go. The mountain air is so clean, cool and crisp you just want to bottle it up and take it back home. Frau Schmidt has changed clothes again and is out with her cows. I'm loving this place.
Day 6 - The next morning I'm up taking pictures and movies as our hostess takes care of her animals. It's light outside at 0500 and she is already cleaning out the barn.
It's a beautiful morning and I make mental plans to catch Kehlstein early and possibly the Königssee boat ride by noon. We have some new German guests that arrived last night so I head in to beat everyone to the shower. If you have to have a private shower in your room - this is not the farm for you. There is only one shower and it is on the bottom floor and my girls are less than enthused. For the price and location - I have no problem with such a slight inconvenience. After a filling breakfast we are ready for a full day but in just a few hours the weather gods have completely changed my itinerary. The surrounding mountains are socked in and the rain is with us again. I quickly adjust our schedule to include an early trip to the Salt Mine (Salzbergwerk). Regardless of the weather this is the one tourist attraction you can count on. Dee Dee sits this one out as the mine train ride, underground lake crossing and funicular ride back up would ruin her day. Amy, Kelli and I enjoy the train ride and the banister slides and now that the tour includes English tapes even that is interesting.
We exit the mine to a steady downpour and the rest of our day is questionable at best. By the time we arrive at Ramsau the rain has stopped so we stroll the streets, check out the famous little church and it's cemetary and take the customary pictures of the church from near the footbridge.
After a light lunch we drive back towards the farm finally stopping by the little church at Maria Gern. Beautifully situated and the inside is lovely as well. Just next door to the chapel is the Hotel Maria Gern, a favorite choice of our friend Joan (RJKarr). If you are not into farms this would be an excellent choice while in this area.
Back at the farm we relax and even tho the rain has stopped I can see there is no way we will get in the Eagle's Nest or the Königssee this trip. We salvage the day with an excellent dinner at a nice little Gasthaus along the road near the parking lots for the Königssee boat rides. Dee Dee has become a Hungarian goulash lover and Kelli discovers an Almsschnitzel (breaded with grated almonds). Sehr gut! Amy orders a 'Daffy Duck' or 'Pluto' plate from the kids menu. :-) As we eat we can see the participants in a local Classic Car rally drive by. Neat old cars racing along these beautiful roads in and around Berchtesgaden. Excellent entertainment to bring this rainy day to a close. Could have been better - could have been worse. We're sitting in Germany enjoying life. Who can really complain? That night I scan 30 years of Steinbichllehen guestbooks and make the first English entry. Luv it!
Day 7 - Up and about at 0445 enjoying a cup of coffee already when Frau Schmidt begins her chores in the barn. In my snooping around I find a brand new cherry red motorcycle sitting in a corner and have visions of Frau Schmidt changing into her leathers and zooming up and down the mountain. :) Having watched her work for two days I have little doubt that she could. It's a busy morning with traffic on the mountain. First the local bread baker arrives with fresh Brot und Brötchen and a dog biscuit for the farm Hund. Then a tractor pulling a trailer arrives and Frau Schmidt tries to load up one of her cows that does not want to go. This Kuh must have known what fate lay in store for her because it took 3 people to get her in that trailer. After showers and Frühstück we say Auf Wiedersehen and are off and down the mountain for the final time this trip. Today's destination is Füssen and we are hoping for better weather on the other side of Munich.