A visit to Berchtesgaden

I had a fascinating visit to Berchtesgaden, home to Hitler’s Berghof as featured in A War of Flowers (The Scent of Secrets in the US). Though the Berghof itself is no more, many of the other sites on the Obersalzburg mountain, where Goering, Speer, Bormann and other high ranking Nazis had their houses, still remain. There is an astonishing tunnel system beneath the mountain – several miles of it containing bunkers where the Nazis expected to see out the final battle, all amazingly well preserved and horribly claustrophobic. Then, far above is the Eagle’s Nest, the tearoom built for Hitler in 1938 by thousands of workers in just six months. It’s a fifteen minute bus drive up from the Berghof and visitors are carried by lift a mile up through the rock to the eyrie above. When you come out there is the tearoom were Eva Braun spent so much time, a conference room and not much else. The American army who captured it in 1945 decided not to blow it up, which was, I feel sure, the right decision.