Thanksgiving in Garmisch

28 Nov

Well, I guess it’s safe to say that we all survived Thanksgiving! And judging from all the social media posts, it looks like everyone had a marvelous time. Even more than usual, I just loved seeing all the festive posts- of my own family celebrating, of friends with their families, of friends like us navigating uncharted holiday waters abroad, of board games and childhood homes and puzzles and full kitchen counters and leftovers and laughter…Those posts made our day all the more special and connected us to that feeling of home just a little bit more. So thank you ❤

Now on to our holiday getaway! Living here in Stuttgart, you hear alot about Garmisch-Partenkirchen, especially among the American community. The main reason for this is because there’s an American resort there- Edelweiss- owned by the Department of Defense and open only to our service members and government civilians stationed in the European theatre. It’s a huge resort with rooms, suites, cabins and camping grounds, along with restaurants, indoor and outdoor pool areas, onsite activities and excursions. For those of you with littles, it kinda reminds you of a Wolf Creek Lodge.

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So, we didn’t actually stay at Edelweiss. For a couple reasons. First, when we travel, it’s important to us to be part of the culture we’re visiting- to interact with the locals, to eat at their top recommended restaurants, to walk their streets in search of the perfect magnet for our collection…Second, we really wanted to take the pups with us for the festivities and wanted a hotel that really helped in that department. So we ended up with the best of both worlds- staying at the lovely Alpina Hotel downtown Garmisch (can’t say enough good things about this one, so if you’re researching lodging, look no further!) for a few nights, but eating a delicious Thanksgiving feast with our fellow Americans at Edelweiss. Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect blend!

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Let me back up and then we can work our way to the turkey…Garmisch-Partenkirchen is an Alpine mountain town on the German-Austrian border (as far south in Germany as you can get). (About an hour of our 2.5 hour drive was actually in Austria, then we crossed back over for the final few miles.) Its claims to fame are its lovely Bavarian hospitality, its marvelous winter sports offerings, being home to Germany’s two highest peaks- Zugspitz and Alpspitz- and the great outdoors. It was even home to the 1936 Winter Olympics, of which the stadium and the downhill jump still stands. More on that in a sec…

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We absolutely loved the feel of this town. You know, I say ‘town,’ but it’s definitely a city and way bigger than we expected. It’s a lovely mix of modern amenities and that Austrian Alpine village feel we’ve grown to adore. Main street is 4-6 lanes with North Face stores and banks, but then one turn and you’re on a quaint residential avenue with picket fences and (cold hardy??) flowers. Something else we loved? Being in Bavaria! Always our favorite neck of the German woods. And I know we’ve talked about Bavaria on here before, but just for any newbies- Bavaria is the southernmost region of Germany and it reminds us the most of home, the southeastern US. It’s known for having friendly people, great homestyle cooking, never ending beer, timbered buildings and celebrations galore! What’s not to love, right?!

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We arrived just after lunch on Wednesday and let Neve decide the afternoon’s plans. Can you guess what she chose? Um, how about the pool and spa?! And we had it all to ourselves! WINNING!

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Finishing Day 1 with one of the most delicious meals we’ve had since we moved to Germany! And look at those salad greens piled high- that’s saying ALOT!

Thanksgiving Day was definitely a very different bag for us from the moment our feet hit the floor. No getting up early to get cookin’, no rushing to my parents’ house to help with setup, no watching the Macy’s Parade or football (although John did stay up until after midnight watching his Cowboys win!), no hugging necks and catching up with friends and family that we don’t see as often as we’d like…So yeah, that meant we needed a plan for both relaxation and for staying busy. And yes, for getting some traditional grub in our bellies at some point! Well, I’m pleased to say that we did all of the above. We started our day with a relaxing sauna and swim, then headed to see the 1936 Olympic Stadium and downhill jump. Next, was the highlight of our entire trip- hiking the Partnach River Gorge, then a late lunch/early dinner reservation for Thanksgiving dinner. And after a sunset stroll- a hot chocolate pit stop- through downtown Garmisch, we finished our holiday just as it had began, with another swim and a sauna ❤

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It’s ridiculous how much I love saunas. The only thing that could’ve made this one, which I had all to myself this morning, better would’ve been having my Dad there to enjoy it with me. There’s no question that I come by it naturally 😉

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It’s like a small highschool football stadium…

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Standing inside Olympic Stadium looking up the downhill jump…

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Can’t you just imagine the Opening Ceremonies here nearly a century ago?

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Pictures can’t do this jump justice. It is HUGE. Like, you couldn’t pay me enough money to ski down it! John was in awe of the construction. (And yes, it’s still operational in the winter.)

To get to the Partnach Gorge, you park at Olympic Stadium and hike about 30 minutes to the gorge. The gorge is another 45 minute or so hike- then it spits you out in the most beautiful valley at the end. Then you hike back.

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The Partnach Gorge is a deep (nearly 300 feet) gorge that has been incised my the Partnach mountain stream, which is fed from the Schneeferner glacier on the Zugspitz plateau. Cool factoid: In the Triassic Era, about 240 million years ago, on the bed of a shallow sea, dark grey, relatively hard layers of Alpine stones were laid down in the area of the present day Partnach Gorge. On the bead-like strata of this rock, the traces of the burrowing and feeding of marine animals can still be seen. It was designated a national monument in 1912.

And two things I want to share before the good stuff (ie. the pictures!): 1. John and I have talked about our morning in this gorge several times over the last several days and both agree that it’s, hands down, one of the coolest things we’ve done. And y’all know we’ve sure done alot of stuff to compare it to! And 2. We are both so bummed with these pictures because they just don’t even begin to do it justice. The least I can do is set the scene for you a bit…You’re walking on a 2 foot wide gravel pathway just a few feet above the loud, roaring water and rocks below. The waterfalls from above not only add to the power and the noise, but they make it feel like there’s a constant misty drizzle. And as the path goes in and out of the side of the mountain, it’s as black as night. Y’all. WOW.

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Looking straight up from the water to the sky…

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Hundreds of these waterfalls…

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The valley at the end of the gorge…

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Edelweiss did a really great job with their Thanksgiving Feast. Seriously. We had no idea what to expect going into it. Was it a hotel restaurant? Would there be alot of people? Would the food be traditional? Or at least good? Well, they really came through. Not only did they use their restaurant, but they used all their conference rooms, too, including one dedicated just to the buffet! And I don’t even mean buffet in the traditional S&K Cafeteria sense- I’m talking lots of round tables set up all over the place! One with cheeses and breads. One with salads. One with side dishes. One with ‘kid-friendly’ dishes. One with chefs carving all the different meats. Desserts and froo-froo coffees even got their own ROOM! And the food was good and plenty varied, sure to give everyone at least 80% of the foods they’re hoping to see for the holiday. The only glaring food omission for us? Green beans! Who has a Thanksgiving feast without these staples?! Ha! Hundred of people, just like us, enjoying each other and feeling as close to home as we could. It was lovely.

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Headed into dinner…

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View from dinner…

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Full bellies, full hearts. Happy Thanksgiving.

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And y’all know we wouldn’t let our pups miss out on the holiday deliciousness! We took them home a perfect little doggy box with turkey, sweet potatoes, a small roll and one chicken nugget (thanks, Neve.)

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LOTS of beautifully painted buildings in Bavaria…

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Before heading home on Friday, we had one more place to visit…Mittenwald. Another smaller town about 30 km away. It’s known for two things: being the birthplace of violins and for being the prettiest place in Bavaria. We’d heard that it was well worth the drive out of the way, not just for the town itself, but for the drive to get there, too. Um…YES PLEASE. Let’s just say it was the perfect end to our Alpine Thanksgiving getaway ❤

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Throwing the ball for the girls…

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Trying to get a damn decent picture! Ha!

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Best I could do. I LOVE Meg’s side eye in this one.

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We hope you all had the most wonderful Thanksgiving and that your holiday season is gearing up to be a great one- ours sure is! We got home in time to spend the weekend decorating for Christmas and watching Christmas movies and snuggling while we watched it rain outside. And in less than 3 weeks, we’ll be Charleston-bound…HOME-bound. ❤ #IllbehomeforChristmas ❤

6 Responses to “Thanksgiving in Garmisch”

  1. Robin November 28, 2016 at 11:01 PM #

    WHAT A GREAT THANKSGIVING!! Y’all made the absolute best of your holiday being so far from home. What a beautiful place!! I think the gorge hike looked amazing – right up your alley. And at least you weren’t eating sausages for Thanksgiving dinner. HOWEVER…..you were certainly missed here at home. Christmas can’t come soon enough.

    • Erin T. November 29, 2016 at 9:57 AM #

      No, it sure can’t. ❤

  2. Kindal Boyle November 28, 2016 at 6:52 PM #

    Sounds like you guys had a great getaway! looks breathtaking! And believe it or not, i laughed out loud about your green beans because there werent any at my parents’ house either! When I got home I complained to Dan, “how could we not have green bean casserole!?” ha

    • Erin T. November 28, 2016 at 7:16 PM #

      Right?! I’m all for lots of different veggies- this feast had zucchini, squash, and an amazing Brussels sprouts/butternut squash/cranberry dish, but where the heck were the green beans?! Sheesh!

  3. Eleanor November 28, 2016 at 5:51 PM #

    Love this Blog and so happy your Thanksgiving was terrific. The pictures are unbelievable. I think you missed your calling…well maybe you are going into photography and have not told us yet. Can’t wait to see you! I know your holidays in SC will be the happiest ever! Love you three!

    • Erin T. November 28, 2016 at 7:16 PM #

      I tend to agree that this may be one of the most memorable to date 🙂 Love you!

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