Chiemsee Offers Lakeside Holiday
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
CHIEMSEE, Germany, Aug. 25, 1998 If you long for the mountains, but the rest of the family prefers a lakeside holiday, this is the place for you.
Armed Forces Recreation Center Chiemsee offers sailing, windsurfing and more water sports, plus there's hiking, hang gliding and more activities in the nearby Bavarian Alps.
Vacationing at AFRC Europe facilities in southern Bavaria is one of the benefits of duty in Europe. They are open to military, DoD civilians and family members assigned to European Command. Reserve component members assigned to Europe, NATO allies assigned to NATO or SHAPE headquarters and U.S. military retirees are also eligible.
At the Chiemsee recreation center, two hotels with 156 rooms and a 112-site campground serve as your base camp as you take advantage of the wealth of sights to see and things to do in the area. Lake Hotel actually sits on the edge of the 64-acre Lake Chiemsee -- its stone terraces touch the water. Park Hotel nestles in the woods a short distance away. The campground features bath houses, a shoppette, laundromat, playground and camp sites with or without electricity.
Along with offering affordable accommodations, the facilities provide a touch of home with an English-speaking staff, American- style dining rooms and disco and karaoke nights in their in-house pub. They also offer tours to local attractions such as Berchtesgaden and day trips to Munich, Germany; Salzburg and Vienna, Austria; and Budweis, Czech Republic.
The most popular outing is the "Sound of Music Tour," according to head tour guide Dave Shanes. Twice a week, visitors can see the abbey, gazebo, festhall and other Salzburg landmarks featured in the 1965 Julie Andrews film.
Many who take this Armed Forces Recreation Center tour remember the movie from childhood, he said. "Their parents come over to visit, and it's an excellent way for them all to reminisce. The parents often tell us they watched the film 35 years ago when their child was just born, and he's now a captain with his wife and children taking them on the tour."
One highlight of the Salzburg Orientation Tour is a stop at a site where a glockenspiel chimes Mozart's Requiem three times a day. For the hardy, "red-eye tours" -- so called because they leave at 6 a.m. and get back at about midnight -- go to the Czech Republic and Vienna.
World War II history buffs may want to visit Berchtesgaden to see Adolf Hitler's mountaintop retreat, "Eagle's Nest," now a restaurant. Shanes said a new World War II documentation center is slated to open at Eagle's Nest this fall.
Closer to Chiemsee, you can navigate the nearly 75-kilometer bike path surrounding the lake. Or you can go by boat to Chiemsee Island to see Bavarian King Ludwig II's Herrenchiemsee, a replica of the French palace at Versailles. From May through September, tour boats stop at Lake Hotel five times a day.
Frauen Island, the other of Lake Chiemsee's two inhabited islands, features an eighth century Benedictine convent, home to about 70 sequestered nuns. The convent is closed to the public, but you may visit the island's small fishing village and restaurants.
The Armed Forces Recreation Center tour office also provides information on scenic drives, mountain restaurants, cable cars, mountain ridge hiking trails, "fairy tale parks," natural history museums, tarpits and other area attractions. "You can hike Almbach Klamm, a canyon with 50 waterfalls and cascades," Shanes said. "It's a very nice way to spend an afternoon."
Spending a day at the hotels can also be rewarding. A newly remodeled fitness center, "The Point," recently opened and features 11 life-circuit fitness machines that work the body's major muscle groups. Staff members will show you how to work the machines or get you started on the bikes, runners and steppers. The center also features aerobics, a juice bar, changing rooms and saunas. Access for hotel guests is free.
And then there's always the lake. You can learn to sail, windsurf or scuba dive. Rental equipment is also available to certified sailors, windsurfers or divers. If a paddle or footpower is more your speed, you can rent a canoe, row boat or paddle boat. Or for a real treat, rent a sailboat and skipper to take you out for a leisurely sail.
"We're starting a sea kayak program this summer and we're looking into offering hot air balloon rides over the lake," said Al Warren, recreation director. To make full use of the new fitness center, he said, the Chiemsee recreation center is considering offering fitness weeks and tying the health feature in with conferences held here.
Warren, a former enlisted soldier, said he's worked with AFRC Europe for 18 years. "I love to take care of service members and their families.
"The best part of coming to Chiemsee is being able to see two worlds at one time," Warren said. "We have a beautiful lake on one side and we have the beauty of the Alps on the other side. There's not many places in the world where you can go where you have both at your doorstep."
To make a reservation at Chiemsee, call the Armed Forces Recreation Center Europe vacation planning center in Garmisch, Germany, at DSN 440-2575; civilian from outside Germany 49-8821- 72981; civilian from inside Germany 08821-72981; FAX 08821-3942.
Hotel rates are: Lake Hotel -- E-1 to E-5, $54; E-6 to O-3, GS-10 and below, retirees, $58; O-4 to O-6, GS-11 and up, $62; O-7, NATO, SES $66. At Park Hotel, the rates are, respectively, $50, $54, $58, $62. A small suite runs $77 and a large suite costs $92 at both hotels.
Rates are based on double occupancy. For more than two adults, add $9 per person. Children 15 and under are free in their parents' rooms. Added cots or sofa beds are $6 per night. Baby cribs are $3 per night. Pets are not permitted.
Camp sites range from $10 to $19 depending on site and camper's rank. Trailer sites range from $32 to $52. Monthly rates are also available. Extra adults cost $3.50 and $1.75 per child.
Tour prices are as follows: Herrenchiemsee Castle, $13 for an adult($10 for active duty) and $5 for a child; Munich City/Dachau, $25 adult, $17 child; Salzburg Orientation, $35 adult, $31 child; Berchtesgaden, $43 adult, $35 child; Sound of Music Tour, $30 adult, $30 child; Budweis, Czech Republic, adult $49, child $40; Vienna, $49 adult, $40 child.
Learning to sail or windsurf costs $35 for one day, $69 for two and $159 for five. Renting a skipper costs $35 a day. A day of white-water rafting costs $70. Five days of scuba diving lessons costs $425. Five days of hang gliding or paragliding cost $309. Just for Kids activities cost $19.50 a day.
Equipment rental are as follows: paddleboat or rowboat, $6 an hour; canoe, $4 an hour; bicycle, $5 for a half day and $10 for a full day; mountain bike,$12 per half day and $17 for a full day. Sailboats rent for $15, $25 and $60 a day depending on their size. Miniature golf costs $3 per game.
For information about the Armed Forces Recreation Center Europe facility at Chiemsee -- and all other Armed Forces Recreation Centers around the world -- point your Internet browser to http://trol.redstone.army.mil/mwr/afrcs/index.html.