Aug 15-23 2011
random trip report
The Brocken has cultural and metaphysical significance. It appears in Goethe's Faust - a meeting between Faust and Mephisto takes place on the mountaintop, and in fact there's a rock formation called the 'Devil's Chair'. It is reference in poems by Goethe and other romantic poets. And it's the annual meeting site of German's Witch community, which numbers in the tens of thousands.
Beate, an adminstrator at the institute where the workshop was held, graciously researched the hike and arranged the transportation, which consisted of a train and bus, ~1 hour total. She also joined us on the hike.
As a physical entity, the Brocken was underimpressive; more of a large hillock than a mountain, and reminiscent of the facetiously-named Mt. Lofty near Adelaide.
The first part of the trail when through a peat bog, which turned the water a wonderful ruby red color (not really evident in this picture).
There was a train, which produced clouds of sooty oil smoke.
We saw maybe a thousand other hikers. Germans like to get out on the weekends.
The Brocken is slightly on the eastern side of the old East/West Germany border.
At the summit there are couple of snack bars, which we partronized.
There are also a lot of radio antennas (some of them cold-war relics).
Afterward we went to a Bavarian-themed place where the specialty was 'Kuchen', a pizza-like dish.
The other specialty was beer.