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The Best-Kept Secret Of Garmisch, Germany

Nov 10, 2007
Attracting droves of tourists every year, Europe promises the ancient, the diverse, and the completely fascinating. Most travelers scurry past the major sites and cram in as much as possible in order to get through a list of 'must sees.' Unfortunately, much is overlooked due to lack of time and money while the infinite unique treasures sometimes hidden for the resourceful traveler remain undiscovered and unappreciated. Not that visits to the key attractions should be dissuaded!

On the contrary, I'm simply inviting the European travelers to dig a little deeper into their destination country and find the gems that will make them smile as they recall them even decades later. Remember and celebrate the taste of a fresh German pretzel, the sweet smell of the air in a Tuscan vineyard, or the baby soft petals in a colorful field of Dutch tulips. Savor an entire spectrum of sensory bliss as you skip from one country to the next, searching for that tiny unique detail that you will fondly relish for the rest of your life.


Garmisch, Germany boasts of many things - the breathtaking Bavarian Alps, perfectly-carved wooden houses with flowerboxes that spill over with color, the delicate edelweiss alpine blossoms, mouth-watering schnitzel, stout German beer, and a myriad of talented local craftsmen. But did you know that at the edge of this quaint, picture-perfect town lies a violent display of Mother Nature? Known in German as the 'Partnachklamm,' it hides behind the old Olympic Stadium and attracts hundreds of hikers each year.

So what exactly is the Partnachklamm? In a nutshell, it's a struggle to the death - a knock-down, drag-out brawl between the Partnach River and a limestone gorge. The river peacefully runs through the trees until it hits the 262-foot tall gorge. From there the river's personality turns to fury as it slams into the rock walls, throwing its temper tantrum for over 2,300 feet before calming down again and continuing to flow through the Bavarian countryside. Visitors follow a carved-out rock path from the entrance to the gorge and up a gradual incline to experience firsthand what nature is capable of. Don't forget your raincoat, though! You may be able to avoid the mist from the tumbling cascades but the spray from the waterfalls above will most definitely christen you!

There are several ways to experience the Partnachklamm, each holding its own delight for the visitor. Late spring through summer will provide a green backdrop on the limestone rocks while the chilly alpine waters almost deafen its company. In colder months, the gorge becomes an enchanting world of icicles and snow. Check first before showing up during the winter, though...too much snow and ice will force the gorge to close for safety reasons. It's also possible to visit during the day or the night - daytime offers better views while the warming sunbeams force their way through the foliage.

After dark, torch-lit tours are offered, giving the gorge a mystical quality. Regardless of season or time of day, once you've made your way through this hidden natural treasure, continue up the mountain for a robust hike and then relax at the Forsthaus Graseck's restaurant. The food is excellent and the views are breathtaking. While indulging in their cuisine, ponder how you'll get back down - take the same path through the gorge or a restful two-minute ride down in the cable car. Either way, a trip to the Partnachklamm is well worth it!
About the Author
Vicki Landes is the author and photographer of Europe for the Senses, a Photographic Journal. She has been soaking up Europe for the last six years and has visited 42 countries. Learn more at Europe for the Senses
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