Europe 2017: German Alps, day 1

We spent the last four days in the Bavarian Alps, mostly in the Berchtesgaden area. On our last day, we made a quick side trip to Salzburg, Austria. I took a lot of photos and will show you my favorites over the next four days.

Day 1 started out relatively cool, with often dramatic clouds and an occasional drizzle. Our first stop was the village of Ramsau, best known for its beautiful church:

Church in the village of Ramsau
The village is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and is located within Berchtesgaden National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. As you can see below, the word "scenic" was created for places like this:

White-water creek flowing through the village

I find the Alpine architecture irresistibly photogenic

Who wouldn't want to stay in this mountain inn?

Flower beds and even fountains made from logs are frequent sights in the Bavarian Alps

The Church of St Sebastian in Ramsau dates back to 1512. It has been a popular subject for landscape painters since the 1800s. Now virtually everybody driving through the village stops to take pictures.

It's easy to see why:

The small cemetery east of the church is just as photogenic. I spotted not only hardy succulents (sempervivum and sedum) but also edelweiss. (I'll have a separate post on the cemetery soon.)

Our next stop was the Wimbach Gorge (German: Wimbachklamm) not far from Ramsau. It was cut into the limestone rocks by the Wimbach, a narrow but surprisingly violent creek. A wooden boardwalk suspended above the water follows the most spectacular section of the gorge. I spent a good 30 minutes photographing the rocks and the creek and was surprised on the way back that the boardwalk is only 600 ft. long. This easy walk is a must if you're ever in the area.

To reach our destination for the night (the town of Hallein in Austria), we took the Rossfeld Panorama Road from Berchtesgarden. This windy 16-km (10-mile) toll road (fee: €8 per car) is the highest road in Germany, reaching 1,570 m (5,150 ft) at the top. It offers 180° views of the Berchtesgarden Alps on the German side and Hallein, Salzburg and nearby mountains on the Austrian side. With a surprising chill in the air even in the middle of summer, we were glad we had brought along sweaters and jackets.

Mountain inn along the Rossfeld Panorama Road

View of an Alm, an alpine pasture

Flowering thistle, genus and species unknown
Even after leaving the Rossfeld Panorama Road and dropping down into Austria, the views never stopped. For somebody who loves taking photos, it takes a lot of willpower not to pull over every five minutes.

Typical farmhouse

Flower boxes attached to porch and balcony railings are commonplace. Most sport geraniums but I also saw impatiens, petunias, begonias and dwarf dahlias.

I even saw some agaves (Agave americana)

On day 2, we visited one of the most beautiful spots in all of Germany, the fjord-like Königssee. Check back tomorrow to see photos.




  1. Rapturous images! Such beautiful place, I'd daydream all day gazing at that landscape. Thanks for sharing Gerhard!

    1. I know what you mean. I could easily have sat on bench and stared at those views for hours!

  2. Utterly gorgeous views. I think of creeks as slow moving trickles of water but these versions look much wilder and more treacherous. I wouldn't mind living in the "typical farmhouse" for the rest of my life.

    1. Those creeks are powerful. People get swept away by them occasionally if they're too careless.

  3. Thank your patient family so that I can see all your lovely photos!

  4. Same planet, different world. I guess California is pretty different to a German. Pelargoniums in window boxes seems to be world wide, though.

    1. LOL, if there's one thing that unites us all it's pelargoniums (which, out of habit, I still call geraniums).


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