Garmish-Partenkirche and the Zugspitze

Last week it was my turn to have family visit! On Friday the 5th, I spent the morning cleaning to prepare for my dad’s arrival.

It was a rather relaxed evening. We walked around a little, took him out to our favorite Döner restaurant (First Arena), before turning in early. Dad rested up and got on Europe time while we packed for our weekend away: on Saturday we were headed to Garmish-Partenkirche!

We took the long way there, stopping in Füssen to walk around a bit, seeing the town. William and I bought a big chocolate Schneebällchen (dough and chocolate all wrapped up together – yummy!) and we found a store filled with things made from sheep’s wool. We each got a pair of 100% sheep wool slippers. They are crazy warm and comfy!

We also took a detour through Austria. The Autobahn had a 2 hour delay, but we found a twisty road with no obvious border crossing and very little traffic. The scenery was absolutely beautiful as we drove alongside the water and through the Alps. In the back seat I got a little nauseous the road was so twisty at the end, but it was totally worth it.

Garmish-Partenkirche is a ski town in Bavaria, near the Austrian border. We stayed in a nice hotel, with kitchenettes in the rooms. We bought our lift tickets, rented our skies, picked up some breakfast things, and ate at a cozy little Italian place for dinner before turning in for another early night (this will become a theme of the weekend – we were all tired).

The next morning we headed out early to Garmish Classic, the ski hill just on the edge of town. We were very glad to already have our tickets and equipment – the lines to get up on the hill were quite long. The runs at the top were decent, which was good for William. It was his first time skiing in 13 years, and only his 3rd time ever! He did well, I think, and got better throughout the day. When we hit a harder run, an icy patch, or slushy snow he particularly fell a lot. The next morning he felt like the mountain had beat him up.

At lunch, we ate outside. The very small chalet was full and very warm. Thankfully the weather was warm enough to eat out – so different from skiing in Minnesota! There was also wait staff. We got goulash, lentil soup, and dumplings – quite the large and hearty meal compared to the burger and fries we’re used to while skiing.

When we were done for the day, we had a beer (dad) and pretzel (me) on the hill. It was a Sunday, so we hadn’t planned on shopping in town. We later learned that since Carnival is going on (so many floats, people in costume, and loud noises throughout town!), many shops actually were open. We walked through town in the evening and found a cozy German restaurant for yet another amazing meal. We had an even earlier night, knowing that we would be feeling the day of skiing the next day.

Monday we drove a few miles to the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in German, directly on the German-Austrian border. We rode up to the top and found some amazing skiing. There was fresh powder from the night before, and since we were so high up, the snow was high quality all day. It was quite windy, but we managed to stay warm.

The runs were all easy to intermediate, which made for some wonderful skiing. William only fell a few times – he looked great all day on the wonderful snow! By the end our legs were killing us, but it was totally worth it. I loved skiing in that snow. If you only have one day to ski, I would definitely recommend the Zugspitze. Plus there were much fewer people on this mountain farther outside of town.

Lunch once again had wait staff and was much more than we needed. It was just pizza and pasta (and half a liter of organic milk for just 3€ for William), but it was so much we didn’t need dinner that night back in Kaufbeuren.

The rest of my dad’s stay was a lot of “what should we do?” We showed him Kaufbeuren and drove around Allgäu a bit when I got out of my classes (William had the whole week off). Overall a very nice visit, and I will never forget those beautiful views of the snow covered alps, just before starting down a new ski slope.

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