If like me you are frequently accused of losing your marbles, fear not, I have a solution. Make your way to Marktschellenberg in the Berchtesgaden region of Bavaria, and here, amongst the typically stunning alpine scenery you will stumble across what has to be one of the world’s oldest actual ‘marble’ marble making mills – or a Kugelmühle in local sprecht…
Built in 1683 where the powerful raging waters from the nearby gorge would grind marble (and glass sometimes) to create the most beautiful shiny marbles of various sizes for use as toys, ships weights, probably weapons at some point, and sanity replacement objects. Actually, I shouldn’t say it “would, as it still produces them, and you can still see them being created today.
There’s also a shop, which we had to spend at least 17 hours perusing whilst the Small People deliberated over marbles of various sizes, colours and prices. I did enjoy the deliberating for the first 2 hours (OK, slight exaggeration) imagining where the biggest marble of the lot would go in our garden, wondering how heavy it was and whether the bonnet of our car would point skywards from the weight of it should we stick it in the boot, but the sibling arguments going on (about who wasn’t buying which marble if the other one was) got a bit boring, so I managed to persuade everyone that we should go for a walk before any stressful marble purchasing decisions were made. Just as well really, as it was a good excuse to explore the utterly glorious Almbachklamm River Gorge just behind the mill.
Leave no rubbish or the tree man will get you…
There is a small entrance fee to the gorge, and you should most definitely wear suitable footwear (forget your flip flops!) as this is proper hiking territory… Do you know, as much as I recommend you visit Garmisch’s Partnachklamm if you happen to be in the area, this place is equally as magnificent but just without the crowds.
hiking handbags mandatory for this one…
And whilst we leisurely hikers ambled, searching for elusive endemic lizard residents, making odd Macca Pacca inspired stone sculptures in shallow waters, and debated which marbles we would be buying (and what we would be having for lunch at the Kugelmühle Gasthoff – which is very good by the way!), we bade farewell to our expert professional hiking friends who ventured further afield to do a serious walk at the top of the gorge that lasted several hours. Something for everyone!
Bring your camera and explore the various walkways and narrow ledges where you get the best view of the vivid blue water pools and roaring water falls. As per my Venice advice, sling it all the way if you are visiting with a teeny person this is a place to leave any type of wheels firmly in the car park… Be aware that some walk ways can get a little slippery at times, and bring food and drink with you if you plan on a longer hike…
As an aside, if walking isn’t your thing, and you don’t need any marbles replacing, then you might want to pay homage to one particular Marktschellenberg alpine field (except you should completely get the owner’s permission before you trample all over it, as I believe it’s private property!), as it’s where they filmed the opening scenes of The Sound of Music, you know the one – just as Maria starts with “The Hills Are Alive”…. If that doesn’t tempt you to visit alone, I don’t know what will…
Königsseerstr. 2, 83471 Berchtesgaden
Tel +49 (0) 86 52-9 67-0, Fax:. +49 (0) 86 52-96 74 00
Entrance around €3
K.D. Jennings says
A marble making mill! How fantastic!
These marbles look gorgeous, and so does the place. xx
Thank you K, it was a really beautiful place! :) xx
What a beautiful place – my two would find it fascinating but I think I’d be too busy watching where they were walking on those paths ;-)
I know Cass, I have to hold my breath at some of the paths, but they are the norm for here! :D
Jen Walshaw says
What beautiful blue waters, oh and the Macca Paka sculptures, we do that when we visit anywhere with rocks – take a look at my post tomorrow!
I love the idea of something natural making marbles. I never thought where they can from before now.
Thanks so much Jen! :)
Erica Price says
Those marbles are amazingly beautiful. It looks like a wonderful place to explore.
Thanks Erica! (:
Laura Elizabeth says
What a beautiful place! It looks absolutely fantastic.
Thank you Laura! (:
Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me) says
I had no idea marbles could be produced naturally like this! Berchtesgaden has been on my travel hit-list for a long time. The gorge looks magnificent – scrambling down rocks is a humbling experience, and it’s been too long since I tried it.
Berchtesgaden in general is just stunning. Let me know when you come over Nell, I can do you a guided tour! (:
oh this looks great, I love walking by water and I love a bit of challenge and this looks to combine both. There is something fascinating about marbles, the roundness and the colour. I totally hear you on the shopping with small people thing “JUST MAKE A DECISION!!!” you don’t need to pick everything up and examine it, that’s not how shopping works! imagine applying the same to supermarket shopping?
There’s something so relaxing and grounding being out in nature. I am glad it’s not just my Small People. Mind you, their father is not that much better!! :D x
Coombe Mill says
It looks so wonderful down the Gorge. I’m not surprised there is a charge, though you would think it would buy them a hand rail too. No wonder your son is holding onto the cliff edge the other side! I’d love to see the marbles, what a fascinating place to visit.
No health and safety for such things here Fiona :D It’s very much your responsibility if you choose to walk in such an environment! Quite refreshing after home. My friend couldn’t go to the school firework night last year as they decided the bonfire was too dangerous! :D x
Trish @ Mum's Gone To says
Oh I love the look of this – reminds me of a gorge in Austria. So pretty but with the added attraction of marbles.
And odd lizards! Thanks Trish! :D x
Nikki Thomas says
That looks like such a fascinating place and what a wonderful place to explore. I loved marbles as a child, yet my children aren’t at all interested in them, I hope they won’t become a lost art.
We used to be obsessed with them as children too Nikki. Funny how these things go in phases isn’t it? :D
What a gorgeous place to visit, so peaceful and so much to see. I would have to buy a marble, but probably a small one.
Thankfully the ones we ended up with were not that huge in the end! :D Thanks Anne! (:
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
I love the look of those narrow walkways, just enough thrill without being too dangerous. I can just picture the marble squabbles, mine would have done that too!
We left our friends to explore the more dangerous bit in the end! :D Thanks Phoebe! :)
Eline @ Emmy + LIEN says
You know what, I really hope we make it to the marble mill and the gorge one day because they both look absolutely amazing. Though I think the marble shop experience would be similarly tedious – my 3yo has recently discovered marble runs and I’m not sure I’d ever get him out.
He would absolutely LOVE the marble shop here! Thank you! :) x
JuggleMum, Nadine Hill says
I think I’d love to visit a marble making mill! How cool! I have always wanted to see places where they filmed The Sound of Music too, my Mum and I used to watch it together when I was a kid and we always said we’d go!
It is prime Sound of Music territory in these parts! Thanks Nadine! (:
Liz Burton says
That reminds me of a beautiful gorge we visited in Spain a few years ago. Stunning but they don’t go much on health and safety on the continent do they – you know, fences and safety ropes?!!
Absolutely stunning, I’d love to go there. It never occurred to me until now that the original marbles may have been made from…um… marble!
Thanks Liz, I know what you mean about the health and safety! :D And me neither about the marble thing, I just thought it was a name!!