Garmische in Spring: Picturesque getaway

The view from the Zugspitze summit in Germany. You can reach the Zugspitze summit by a combination of train and cable car or by taking one cable car ride to the top.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Kruse)

The view from the Zugspitze summit in Germany. You can reach the Zugspitze summit by a combination of train and cable car or by taking one cable car ride to the top. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Kruse)

A typical picturesque view in the small resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the springtime, the town offers breathtaking scenery, hiking, and mountain biking.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Kruse)

A typical picturesque view in the small resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the springtime, the town offers breathtaking scenery, hiking, and mountain biking. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Kruse)

A view of the Partnach Gorge in the small resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the springtime, the town offers breathtaking scenery, hiking, and mountain biking.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Kruse)

A view of the Partnach Gorge in the small resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the springtime, the town offers breathtaking scenery, hiking, and mountain biking. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ryan Kruse)

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany -- You know a vacation spot is great when your kids enjoy it just as much (if not more) than you do. Last year, less than five minutes after we checked out of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, my children were asking me when we were going to come back. I knew we'd return before we PCSed back to the states, but not because I wanted to drive 200 miles through the mountains to go swimming at the hotel and jump in the hot tub one last time.
In springtime, the small resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers breathtaking scenery, hiking, mountain biking and adequate varieties of my favorite fermented beverage. Since this was our last big trip before leaving Italy, we wanted to see what we missed the last time. Our first destination was the top of Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze.

You can reach the Zugspitze summit by a combination of train and cable car or by taking one cable car ride to the top. Against my wife's wishes, we traveled to the top via the lone cable car trip. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, about 25 people were packed into a cable car for the steep climb up that took about ten minutes. The look of terror on my wife's face at the halfway point told me that she was not doing this because it was something she had always dreamed of.

Once we finally arrived at the top, I walked briskly toward the stairs that led to the summit area. My eagerness and visions of award winning photographs were almost foiled as the quick change in altitude caused me to nearly pass out. It took my entire family a few minutes to adjust to the change, but soon we turned our attention to the amazing view surrounding us. The summit area also featured several fancy restaurants, souvenir shops and mountain related exhibits.

The next day, we rented mountain bikes and took a 10 minute ride to the Olympic Stadium. We then locked up our bikes and walked another 20 minutes to the Partnach Gorge. The narrow path through the gorge was another 15 minute walk, but the experience made every step worth it. We ate our lunch outside the exit of the gorge and returned the same way we arrived. I took a few pictures on the way out and managed to nearly lose my video camera in the ravine and bang my head in the process. We then returned to our hotel room to recuperate and get ready for our last stop.

I was looking forward to the Griesbräu Brewery tour from the moment we booked it. We were greeted by the Wolfgang, the brewmaster, who was sporting a fairly tight pair of lederhosen. He showed our small group how he turns barley, hops, water, and yeast into quality German beer. We even took a test in the art of beer making (everyone cheated) and received a diploma from Wolfgang. After we sampled a little of the brew (my kids drank coke), we ate and headed back to the hotel.

During the drive back to Italy, my wife and I agreed that this was our best trip yet. All my kids talked about was the swimming pool and hot tub.