Easter found me on the trail of more Where Eagles Dare filming locations and, as I have now seen the easier places such as Werfen Castle and Railway Station, the cable-car at Ebensee and a hotel in Lofer, some of the places left are becoming a little less easy and more bizarre. Last year, I easily found an airfield Ė well, who couldnít? If I can, anyone can Ė but, in my article about that trip, I wrote that a bend in the road near Hallein beckoned. No longer...
My parents gallantly cope with the odd places that I holiday but, even by my standards, this trip wouldnít, I suspect, be everyoneís first choice. A bend along a fairly narrow piece of road overlooking a gorge and, the next day, traipsing through meadows and woods above Werfen. Iím told that itís good to have interests, however obscure, and these forays gave me plenty of good walking exercise, a few niggles after slipping in the woods and, at the end of the day, there was also a nice spa and sauna to go into.

I flew from Heathrow to Munich with Lufthansa and stayed in the spa town of Bad Reichenhall. I had read a guidebook which suggested that there was no enduring reason to stay there but I found it a very pleasant and attractive place. Bad meaning spa, it naturally featured grand and old spa places, attractive gardens and I stayed at another fin de siecle (19th!) hotel called the Axelmannstein. It reminded me of my favourite hotel, the Oberoi Maidens in Delhi, with its large rooms Ė mine was on the top floor with a balcony and sitting area Ė and wide corridors and high ceilings. Personally, I love such places and was very comfortable there. The restaurant was a grande salle with an impressive breakfast buffet and where some people even dressed up for the first meal of the day. The hotel has its own private gardens and a spa area which I made good use of.

Shops and restaurants are less readily open during Easter but I did enjoy a decent meal in the appropriately named Gasthof Schwarzer Adler ( Black Eagle) before venturing out to find the bend in the road the following day. If anyone is even half as fascinated by the film as I am, the place I was trying to find was, well, 47 minutes into the film when Burton and Eastwood, having surrendered themselves as the deserters to the Germans, are taken up to the Schloss Adler in a staff car. The German guard, for some bizarre reason, allows Eastwood to tie his shoe laces up, ends up being pushed out of the car, the other Germans are summarily killed whilst our two heroes naturally survive. The car is pushed down a ravine at the bend in the road. Armed with a compass and, yes, a pedestrian SatNav, I did indeed reach the spot an hour or so after leaving Oberalm Station which is on the Salzburg-Werfen line. It might have been easier to have gone on a bus but, being a Saturday, the buses were scarce and the times not especially convenient.
The Axelmannstein Hotel, Bad Reichenhall

Bad Reichenhall

The bend in the road...

And just to prove that I did reach the bend in the road.

I think that this was the meadow used in the early part of Where Eagles Dare

Schloss Hohenwerfen, used extensively in Where Eagles Dare

Werfen Bahnhof, used in Where Eagles Dare, with the castle in the background

Marienplatz, Munich

The latter part of the road, the Wiestal Landstrasse, does get narrower as one goes higher and it was a tad precarious at times. Anyway, I made it but had nothing to celebrate with! I probably made a bit of an odd sight with my camera on this obscure and narrow road but didnít care. Back mid-afternoon into Bad Reichenhall, I tried out the main spa centre, the Rupertus Therme. Itís pretty good, not desperately cheap although guests of the Axelmannstein do get a discount buying tickets at the hotel. I donít know what on earth I do wrong but these bracelets that such places give out for the lockers disagree with me thoroughly. I have come unstuck in Tallinn, Iceland and now Bad Reichenhall with these wretched keys and it ate into about fifteen minutes of my four hour ticket before I could lock my belongings away safely. The next day, at a different time with a different coloured bracelet, proved even worse and in the end I, like others I noticed, ended up taking my bag into the sauna room and plonking it in a place where I could keep my eyes on it.

The Rupertus Therme houses an impressive swimming pool and sauna area with three saunas of varying heat and arenít as dark as some others which I have been to. There is also an ice room and a restaurant. Popular too with young and young at heart also.

Werfen beckoned the next day in my quest to find the meadow where the commandoes are seen landing. The different areas used for the film, the number of doubles also used does make it a bit confusing at times but Iím pretty sure that I found the correct place, took a few photos but couldnít get quite as far as I would have liked as I was seen off by a St Bernard! I wondered if he knew what his area had been used for forty-six years ago but, whilst his bark probably was worse than his bite, I decided that it was wise to turn around, pretend I was taking photos and gingerly make my way back the same way whilst trying to portray to anyone who might have been watching that I wasnít really that nervous of this lovely breed of dog...

Next up were the woods behind Werfen Castle for a glimpse of the castle through the eyes of Richard Burton. I knew that I wasnít remotely high enough but did better than my last attempt around four years ago. Slipping around on the pines produced the later niggles which not even a further evening in the Rupertus Therme adequately eased. Werfen, though, and its castle, Schloss Hohenwerfen, is a pleasant town with the castle completely dominating the town. It was also, I believe, used in the filming of a somewhat different film: The Sound of Music.

Bad Reichenhallís weather was poor on the Friday yet wonderful on the Saturday and Sunday and glorious when I left early on Monday morning for my trip back to Munich. For once, I managed to have a little time in Munich and thoroughly enjoyed the Marienplatz before making my way back to the airport. Itís a fair way out of the city but is a decent airport even if I struggled to find the check-in area and then made a mess of the machine checking me in. It may be the way of the world but itís nice to see a human being occasionally. The Lufthansa flight back was decent and itís nice to have a snack and drink included but my nerves were a tad frayed towards the end after the interminable circling Ė sorry, holding pattern Ė around Heathrow in cloudy conditions which saw the plane being thrown about a bit more than usual.

So, the bend in the road has been conquered but I hate to distress my parents and readership. There's another bend in the road used in Where Eagles Dare and it's also in Austria in Bad Ischl. I'm going. In October. It's all booked.