Now that SOFA restrictions have been lifted for Edelweiss Lodge and Resort usage, what a perfect time to share an Encore Presentation of the McCoys exploring the resort! This detailed trip adventure offers great insights, must-see tours and just a lot of great information!
Michael and Claudia McCoy Explore Edelweiss Lodge and Resort
I think it’s time to share with everyone our experience of staying at Germany’s jewel for US military families—the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort**. Located in southern Germany in the city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (for short, G-P), my wife and I stayed at the Lodge for 7 days/6 nights in August 2013. I was never stationed in Europe so it’s been on my list to visit Germany along with many European countries for many years. We didn’t take a military hop since I was traveling to Europe as part of my job (I work on a cruise line) so our airline travel was arranged.
Bottom line up front: the Lodge is superb. The service by the staff, tours provided through the Lodge, the physical structure of the Lodge, and location within Germany are just GREAT. I know you can get a local place for a lower price, but when you look at all you get for your money at the Lodge, it can’t be beat.
A particular bonus for our trip was the weather. We could not have picked a better week to be in the Bavarian region. Mid-August was perfect with sunny skies and no rain. This is not common throughout Germany so we know we were lucky. Even the weather on top of Zugspitze (top of Germany) was sunny and cool for a great visit. Again, we picked the right day to head up to the mountain when it was clear of the clouds.
Since we took a commercial flight, we flew into Munich to start our trip. The Edelweiss Lodge website, www.edelweisslodgeandresort.com, provides an excellent description of how to take the train from Munich out to their location. We took the taxi out to the Lodge for only 12 Euros. The Lodge is on the other side of town so if you’re carrying luggage, it’s best to spend the Euros.
We immediately felt right at home on our arrival to the base. Security is a bit more than what we experienced back at the San Antonio bases, but it didn’t take long to get through. The installation was spotless and had a German flavor to it. On seeing the Lodge, it was just like the photos on the website. We were given a very warm welcome starting with the check-in process. We were then given many of the details about the lodges and the services so we wouldn’t miss any opportunities. We later found out that most of the staff we encountered were actually US employees who came to Germany to work at the Lodge under a pretty nice arrangement that included their own lodging in town. Having a US staff made our stay very easy when it came to asking all the questions we had about the German countryside.
Our room had a superb view looking right out at the German Alps. We could see the peak of the Zugspitze. What better way to wake up and have coffee looking out from your balcony? There was plenty of space, a nice king-sized bed, a bathroom that was well laid out, a room safe and even an iron and ironing board. We had Wi-Fi so we started sending daily updates to our families and friends about our fabulous trip to Germany.
Our first mission after arriving was to follow-up on the tours we had signed up for months ago through emails to the Lodge’s Vacation Planner, which by the way, was very easy to do. All the information on the website is very clear and accurate to include the cost. We spoke to the staff at the Alpine Adventure counter located in the gift shop and confirmed the entire list of tours. They printed us a copy of all the tours and reviewed the highlights so we knew where to meet and the times we needed to be in the lobby. It couldn’t have been any simpler. We could even make changes if there were available spaces left.
We explored the rest of the Lodge to know the options for eating, activities and any other services. Starting with food, there are multiple options, all with a good selection to choose from. The prices offered good value and the dining was great. The Point is the physical fitness center. Like other Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) hotels it has a workout room, pool and hot tub; but this outdoor hot tub was the largest I’ve ever seen (more like a pool). It turns out to be a very popular spot, especially after the little ones went to bed. The Point also has a coffee bar and a good selection of snacks. And if you forgot your bathing suit or just want a new one, a selection was also available.
Now onto the tours we took. Again, the bottom line on this service: SUPERB. I don’t think you’ll find a better selection of tours, quality of tour guides, organization and, lastly, a better price than anywhere else. All tours depart from the front door of the Lodge and return to the same location. So, let me start out with tour one of four that were scheduled for the week.
Day 1—Berchtesgaden. The name Berchtesgaden may not sound familiar but it is better known as the home of the Eagle’s Nest. Our tour guide, Joseph, started us off on a long day with some funny jokes (I won’t tell any so you can hear them on your own trip). From there it was a nice comfortable ride to the Eagle’s Nest. It was unbelievably scenic countryside! The Eagles Nest is not a lavish estate but a simple, well thought-out building on a peak that has a view you can only believe with your own eyes. Being in a place where history was made is a feeling that is hard to describe. We had a chance to stop for coffee and, later, a woodcarving shop.
Day 2—Three Country Tour. With the help of our tour guide, Siv, we traveled not only through Germany but also Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Again, there were so many great countryside views. We also had an additional treat of a great lunch in Switzerland.
Day 3—Linderhof Castle. We spent another day with our guide, Joseph, showing us the countryside on our way to the very anticipated visit to one of the King Ludwig homes (also with a few more jokes). The castle was an amazing site to visit. The guided tour inside the castle gave us insight into a ruler that was well-liked by his people until he spent all their money building this home along with the other “small” castles in the country such as Neuschwanstein Castle. The gardens, fountains, and the underground stage where he held his musical events were all so beautiful! Again, it’s hard to believe how well preserved all these structures have been kept.
Day 4—Neuschwanstein Castle. With our guide, Ewan, (Scottish, with a great sense of humor), we made our way to one of the most visited sites in Bavaria – Neuschwanstein Castle. This sure is a long name for a castle but most of us know it as the “Disneyland Castle.” King Ludwig II really did a good job of planning this little home in the countryside. What a sight to behold! It’s just an amazing engineering feat that this could be built in 1886 in such a remote location.
Along with this visit, we had the chance to stop to see the church where a miracle took place in 1738. The church is known as the Pilgrimage Church of Wies. It’s a small church but is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. For more information, visit www.whc.unesco.org.
And no tour is complete without some shopping, and what better than a German woodcarving shop? There’s no place like it back in the US! There were so many carvings in so many sizes that it was hard to choose. For those who brought only one suitcase, shipping is available for the big items.
That was the end of our scheduled tours set up through the Lodge, but do not fear, there are more tours to choose from along with many other activities that span the full spectrum of physical activities to enjoy. For the winter buffs, this is the spot to be.
The last adventure we took was an independent tour to Zugspitze peak. The Alpine Adventure staff at the Lodge provided us with all the help we needed to make the trip as effortless as possible. In this case, the tour was very easy, since we could see the peak from our patio balcony. The start of the adventure was within walking distance, about 1 mile (a 25 minute, easy walk) to the small train station. From there, the choice was to take a gondola ride or an old train up the mountain. It was a little pricey, but it offers a once-in-a-lifetime view. Key to this trip is to pick a good day when it is clear on top of the mountain. Check out their live webcam based on top of the peak to stay informed about the weather conditions. The Lodge website has multiple views and weather conditions posted.
So, that was it for our whirlwind trip to the Lodge and to Germany. This was our first visit but not to be our last trip to Germany, that’s for sure. Again, I want to share with everyone our fabulous trip to Edelweiss Lodge and Resort and to let you know that it is a place to stay while in southern Germany. It’s truly a privilege to have a resort available to the military members in such a beautiful country.
I do want to mention an offer that has been recently made available for the retired military members. Since we already had made our reservations and a set flight schedule, we missed out on this GREAT offer. You can find all the details on the Lodges website under the “Retiree Vacations” section. There’s a short video link that tells you everything that is offered through this package. Watching the video took us back to many of the tours we took and our time at the lodge. Offering this fabulous package that takes you airport-to-airport is well worth the cost. You have all the same tours as we had experienced along with some additional ones that vary depending on the season you visit Germany. For us, we’re already thinking about how we’ll include the lodge into our return visit so I hope to see you in Germany.
Book your trip NOW!
LTC Michael McCoy, USA, (Ret).
and Claudia McCoy
Reprint from Mar–Apr 2014 • Volume 44, No. 2