My wife should be writing this travelogue on Garmisch-Partenkirchen because she actually lived there in 72-73. She worked as a member of the dining room staff at the General Patton Hotel (I assume a formerly German Hotel confiscated by the Army and used as an officer R&R. The rumor is that Patton planned his assualt on Bavaria in the back room). She caught the fish in the dining room fishtank for the patrons upon request. For years I envisioned her running out back of the hotel to some alpine stream, casting a flyrod, and running back to the kitchen with a 6 lb Trout! As an employee of the U.S. Army, she lived in the adjoining Kasserne. During off days, she and her friends would travel Europa, staying in Youth Hostels, and carrying everything in a backpack! Dressed in clogs, bell bottom jeans, Ts, and bandanas, they looked like the perfect ex-patriot college escapees, out to experience the real world, at a time when it seemed to some that the real world was going to Hell in a handbasket! I got to see the very site, outside the barracks, where the staff would sit in the sun and have their wine, bread and cheese; they were on the road to becomming real Europeans. The German manager gave us a tour and inquired with some of the current staff about some of Beverly's former German coemployees, but no one knew them. Sadly, it seemed to her, the hotel wasn't as nice as it had been (perhaps because now it was for enlisted men?).
No, I don't believe my father was ever in Garmisch, but who knows. I do belive there's a brief shot of it in a 1961 "TWENTIETH CENTURY" tv program narrated by Walter Cronkite (it shows the roads traveled by Patton when he crossed the Brenner Pass) in that stern, black and white manner, in which he discusses the father Jean's concept of the EEC, and the positive reaction of Europe's "New Wave"--the upcomming, post-war generation (I showed this on 16mm film to my junior college economic geography class in the 70s). The only other mass media mention I'm aware of was a fairly recent PBS tv show about Sonje Henie's still controversial WW2 activities. There is brief footage of the 1936 Winter Olympics and Sonje skating and then being friendly with "der Chef." Take notes; this will be on the test.
We arrived in Garmisch on a very beautiful, warm and sunny day. From the Bahnhof we made our way to the tourist info office where Beverly scoped out the local hotels while I got to sit by a fountain and marvel at the surrounding mountains. With all due respect to Salzburg, Garmisch is actually in the Alps. Of course, I had seen many pictures of and studied the geomorphology of this glaciated alpine terrain with its U-shaped valleys, but being there on this day was a spiritually rewarding experience! I grew up near Pike's Peak in the Rockies and spent many weekends on hikes there, but the Alps are, to me at least, much more spectacular. We must have walked 20 miles around Garmisch, including a hike in the rain to the 36 Olympic Ski jump site! My favorite Berg is the Alpspitze and I can't wait to see it again!
For me, Garmisch was the most relaxed and enjoyable place in Europe. Fortuitously, we found the Gastehause Kornmuller, a truly wunderbar place, although we had to settle for a room with shared toilette across the hall. (yes, I know I'm a spoiled American, but I did earn glowing praise from the proprietess for climbing up to fix a leaking WC valve--just like the one I had installed at home!). It was a real treat to walk several flights down to the basement to the shower room each morning--sort of like the shower room for the quonset hut barracks at Camp Pendleton--past the cases of Lowenbrau, and the food storage and prep areas. Like much else in Deutschland e.g., subway fare, you are on the honor system to ante up for showers and beer. I wish you could see the video I took off our balcony on a Sunday morning: all the church bells were ringing in the mist and canon were being fired in the hills somewhere. It was a truly ethereal experience. Seeing the flowers in front of the little fountain with the WW1 memorial plaque was very touching. Where do we find such behavior in America? In Garmisch we found great food and beer and very friendly people. Frau Kornmuller was an especially nice lady. It was like staying at Granny's. She tried to get us into one of their more modern, Americanized rooms, but the Italian people there had asked to extend because of illness, and since we experienced this situation in Amsterdam, we gladly kept our little antique room. Also, I want to thank our waitress and the other staff at the Konditori (I can't remember the name but a picture is shown) off the main Platz who took into consideration our ignorence that such establishments, unlike true restaurants, close early. They reopened their kitchen to prepare our food and did not rush us out eventhough they had obviously worked a long, hard day! Kudos also to the proprietor of the Flosser restaurant where we were treated like VIPs. I can tell you one thing for sure, you will enjoy this city. I hope to see you there for a grosse bier at one of the tables outside the Konditori!
MAIN, EUROPE, LONDON, BERLIN, PARIS, AMSTERDAM, BRUGES, MUNCHEN, NURNBERG, SALZBURG