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December 21, 2004

(written Jan. 22)


Dear Families and Friends,


This year, instead of jumping on planes to visit family in the States, we invited them to share an Alpine vacation with us. We spent most of two week in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a village pair made famous as the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics. It remains a favorite destination of skiers, snow boarders, and just regular vacationers -- like us.

Here are some of the tourist pictures to get a flavor of the place.


John and Marianne


This was the view that greeted us every morning. "Der Zugspitze" in the distance is the highest spot in Germany.

"Old" St Martin's church was just around the corner. It's a small jewel dating from the ninth or tenth Century when this was the center of the village that became Garmisch.
These were some of the other buildings in our neighborhood. The first is a restaurant, where we had a nice meal. The last is the "Kurhaus" ("cure house"?) whose mineral baths were the basis of the tourist trade centuries ago.
The current commercial downtown of Garmisch was in full Christmas dress. The streets were full of folks enjoying the season's first snow. I suppose these horses will shift to sleighs later in the Winter.
The side streets of Garmisch-Partenkirchen were filled with post-card scenes, especially with the snow and ice decorating everything.

On New Years weekend, there is a ski-jump contest at the site of the 1936 Olympics. We visited the stadium two days before the event and were impressed with the steepness of both the jumps and the downhill course alongside. We did manage to see a cross-country ski race, held on man-made snow, right down the main street.
For our trip up to the Zugspitze ski area, we split into a cable-car group and a train group. The cable-car had a better view.
All in all, this was a perfect place to get in the spirit of Winter and Christmas. Old churches, houses, and cures blended well with stylish shops and active ski and snowboard areas.



Garmisch-Partenkirchen Tourism: http://www.garmisch-partenkirchen.de

Vacation house rental: http://www.alpina-hausverwaltungen.de

Christmas decorations: http://www.wohlfahrt.com

Bavarian Castles: http://www.schloesser.bayern.de

Richard Straus Institute: http://www.richard-straus-institute.de

Edelweiss Lodge (for U.S. Government Personnel!) http://www.EdelweissLodgeandResort.com

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