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Pretty little Bavarian town, scary history.

We’re zigzagging between Austria and Bavaria as we enjoy the roads of the Alps and tonight our rest is in Garmisch, a picture-perfect Bavarian village nested in a valley between mountain ranges. It really is the Bavarian stereotype with flower boxes hanging from the windows of all the wooden chalets, and the locals riding their bicycles around the village, the men sporting the traditional Bavarian hat (the Hutmacher Zapf) and the ladies dressed in long skirts, white blouses and colourful aprons (the Dirndl).

We’re a bit relieved to be out of Switzerland and Liechtenstein where the prices of rooms, beers and meals are exorbitant – certainly unhinged from Spain and Portugal from where we’ve ridden. Germany it seems is a lot more sober, prices here are virtually half those in Switzerland so we’re more relaxed.

But this town has a history. It was the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics, a showcase for Hitler’s Nazi Germany and like the Summer Games held six months later, an attempt to demonstrate that Nazism was not as horrific as the world suspected. Indeed before the Games here all the “Jews not wanted here” signs and similar anti-Semitic displays were removed for the occasion of international visitation. Two years later the Jewish families of Garmisch were given a few hours to leave town.

So it’s under that shadow we enjoy Garmisch, nowadays a thriving destination still for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.

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