Bavaria Road Trip of a Lifetime: 8 Must-See Places (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second part of the article about 8 places that you can't miss on your trip to Bavaria. I'll show you  Eibsee Lake that s...

This is the second part of the article about 8 places that you can't miss on your trip to Bavaria. I'll show you Eibsee Lake that sits at the foot of Zugspitze - the highest peak in Germany. We will visit some cute little towns where few tourists go, pay tribute to the victims of Holocaust at the Dachau concentration camp, and enjoy the views of the Bavarian Riviera, a medieval city of Lindau. The first part of the article can be found here - Part 1.

5. Eibsee Lake. 
While Bavaria's natural wonders can certainly take your breath away, people usually come to Bavaria for its man-made attractions: castles, medieval towns, cars, history, food - this list can go on and on. But make no mistake - devote at least one full day to enjoy great Bavarian outdoors. 
When picking a place to go, consider Eibsee Lake near the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. 
You can drive or bus there, but the most scenic way is to take a train called Bavarian Zugspitze Railway (Bayerische Zugspitzbahn). What's cool about this train is that it actually runs beyond Eibsee Lake and climbs almost all the way up to Zugspitze culminating at the elevation of 2,650 m / 8,695 ft above sea level. This makes this railway the highest one in Germany and the third highest in Europe after Jungfrau and Gornergrat in Switzerland. 
To be able to climb almost 2,000 m / 6,500 ft in just 19 km / 12 miles, the train uses ratchets installed beside each wheel and a cog rack that prevents the train from accidentally rolling back. A similar (but much more famous) railway climbs Mount Washington in New Hampshire, USA. 
I'm sure the views from Zugspitze (the highest peak in Germany) are stunning, but for some reason I often skip gondolas (too easy?) and instead hike my way up if time permits.  
Eibsee Lake is the quintessential alpine lake. Even the word "alpine" used everywhere else in the world is originating in the Alps. 
Emerald blue water, thick pine forest, towering granite peaks - you will love it! 
The full loop around the lake, which I certainly recommend doing, takes about two hours. It's suitable for all fitness levels as the elevation gain is negligible. You'll be rewarded with a few smaller lakes and an Instagram-worthy waterfall. 

6. Small Towns. 
Probably, one of my favourite days in Germany was the one which we spent driving around western Bavaria and eastern Baden-W├╝rttemberg. I had a few places I wanted to check off my list, but true best gems were discovered by accident. 
I know driving on an autobahn with no speed limit may seem like a great idea. And it is fun - don't get me wrong (although going faster than 175 km/h / 110 mph becomes a bit too dangerous). But to truly appreciate the real Germany, take a road less travelled, through rural towns and villages. 
It goes without saying - try to steer away from tourist hot spots. This will give you a high chance to see real people - humble, friendly and those that take joy in greeting you on a street.
Typical German towns are very old and usually predate any record-keeping. So people don't really know when precisely they were founded.
Most German towns are built around a market place with a rathaus (townhall) in the centre. I was fortunate to visit a typical farmer market in the town of Biberach an der Riss that usually happens on Saturdays. A great place for people watching and having a meal or a drink, too.  
Bavarian painted houses (see the first part of the article) that genuinely fascinated me can only be rivalled by baroque painted churches. I highly recommend visiting the pilgrimage church of St. Paul and Peter in Steinhausen even if you're not religious. Once inside, you'll be impressed how its paintings create a sense of motion. We happened to attend a musical performance, so that even added to the overall experience. Five stars.
A sleepy town of Riedlingen was a rare and unexpected find. It sits on the Danube river - yes, that second-longest river in Europe that cuts through 10 countries. In this place though, Danube looks more like a small creek or even, pardon, a drainage. 
Despite that we saw no other tourists and very few people, the town has its own castle and some of the prettiest houses I have seen in Germany. 

7. Dachau Death Camp. 
One of the Dachau camp's survivors, Eugen Kogon, said, 'Dachau - the meaning of this name cannot be erased from German history. It stands for concentration camps built by the nazis in their territory.'
Dachau was the first concentration camp of its kind (i.e. a death camp) that served as a model for all other camps in the nazi Germany. As soon as Adolf Hitler became a chancellor, he ordered to build a camp to detain and destroy his political prisoners. Soon after, Dachau evolved in a death camp where thousands of Jews died from starvation, extremely hard labour, diseases, medical experiments conducted on them, or were simply poisoned in a gas chamber. 
Besides Jews, other ethnic groups (Roma and Sinti), disabled, homosexual, Jehovah's Witnesses, non-conformists and other "unfit" for the new Germany people joined the camp. During its 12 years of existence, over 200,000 people were imprisoned and over 41,000 people died in Dachau. 
Although it's mentally hard to visit Dachau or similar sites (Auschwitz, Buchenwald, etc.), I believe everyone, and not just Germans and Jews, should visit them at least once. The goal is, obviously, to mourn those who suffered and died, but also to learn the history to ensure it will not be allowed again. 
It was particularly difficult for me to enter a gas chamber where mass murder was conducted. 'The room was disguised as "showers" and equipped with fake shower spouts to mislead the victims and prevent them from refusing to enter the room. During a period of 15 to 20 minutes up to 150 people at a time could be suffocated to death through prussic acid poison gas (Zyklon B),' the information sign says. 
The question so many people are asking: how was it possible that the entire German nation committed such an immense crime agains other human-beings? The simple answer is the "authority". This was later scientifically proven by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram. 
In Milgram's own words, "ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority." I highly recommend you read more about the Milgram experiment
Were Germans more obedient to authority comparing to other ethnic groups? Maybe. But, unfortunately, the rule universally applies to all humans no matter the nationality, race, ethnicity or belief system. Knowing we're all inherently flawed, I really hope we did learn our lesson, so this will never happen again.

8. Lindau Harbour. 
Lindau is the place where you want to slow down and live in the moment. 
Maybe we just got lucky and the weather was kind to us, but I have a feeling Lindau is called the "Bavarian Riviera" for a reason - thanks to its mild, sunny climate. 
Did you know that Germany, like France, Italy and Spain, also produces wine and the area around Lindau is one of the growing regions? 
Lindau, or rather its historic centre that sits on a small island, is best discovered by foot. 
While strolling the island, try to get lost - sooner or later you will face the lake anyway.
Ensure you end your day at the Lindau Harbour, not far from the lighthouse. A gentle breeze from Lake Constance (Bodensee) will make you feel you're sitting by the sea.
For those exploring the region, Lindau makes a great place to tour southern Bavaria as well as three other countries, all within less than one hour drive from Lindau: Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. 
The first part of the article can be found here - Part 1.

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