Our next stop was Berchtesgaden, a spectacular small town nestled in the Bavarian Alps. The views here are stunning. This was one of the most beautiful locations we visited. As a happy accident, we were there during Spring Volksfest, the springtime and smaller scale version of Oktoberfest. We spent one evening in a traditional German Beer Garden - and yes I even tried the beer! There were rows and rows of picnic tables, German music and food, and plenty of mugs of ale. It was a fun peak into a traditional German festival and custom.
One of our day trips from Berchtesgaden, was Salzburg, Austria, just over the border. Salzburg is the home of Mozart and The Sound of Music. We wandered the city, taking in the architecture and sights. You feel a bit like you have stepped back in time here, there are still horse drawn carriage rides around the city and it is rich with history and culture. One of my favorite stops in the city was the garden of Mirabell Palace.
On another day trip we visited Lake Königssee. Wow, was this breathtaking. We took a boat tour of the lake, which is surrounded by steep mountain walls. It makes you feel tiny! The water and setting is pristine. This is actually one of the things that impressed me the most about this area of Germany. It is the cleanest place I have ever been. You don't see liter, nothing looks polluted, even stacks of wood outside homes and lumbar yards are precisely stacked - not a log out of alignment.
It was difficult to bring ourselves to leave, but our next destination was Italy.