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Please advise on trip to Southern Germany

My wife and I will be celebrating our 15th anniversary in May 2011 (late May), and I'd like input on our itinerary. Note that we're leaning towards driving due to the flexibility, cost is less of an issue to us. Where I need help is: 1) Am I making any big mistakes with any cities planned? For example, is there nothing to see or are the driving distances too far? 2) Where I've listed two cities, I have done so because they are so close it seems we could sleep in either and visit both...please recommend which of the two you'd stay in and why Any "must see" items on this route? We're already planning Daschau, Neuschwanstein castle, Zugspitze cable car, wine tour in Worms, and the midieval arms display in Fussen. I'm not a huge art fan, so paintings may not interest me...more into scenery/architecture/nightlife. I'm an avid beer drinker and love German beers...can't wait for that part. :) Fly into Munich, stay about 3 days Drive to Garmisch/Partenkirchen/Fussen, stay there 2 days Drive to Meersburg, stay one night to break up the trip to Zurich (is there a better city than Meersburg, or perhaps we could easily drive all the way to Zurich in one day?) Spend 2 days in Zurich Drive to Freiburg/Triburg, spend 1 day Drive to Worms/Heidelburg, spend 2 days (wine tour for one day) Drive to Ulm/Nordlingen, spend 1 day Drive to Munich, spend 1-2 days
Fly home

Posted by
5266 posts

Worms' Romanesque cathedral is world-renowned. I wouldn't spend the time driving to Zurich, just to see Zurich, personally. You're driving so much already that I'd suggest moving on from Meersburg (oh yeah - stop in Lindau before Meersburg too) toward the Black Forest instead. Freiburg and Heidelberg are OK but I think I'd spend more time in the BF (Triberg is pretty touristy; shop around and you'll find towns like Schiltach, Calw, with wonderful half-timbered buildings, that are less cuckoo-oriented.) Tübingen is just outside the BF but is quite nice. Gengenbach is a great town to stay in on the west side of the BF. Check out the open-air farm museum in Gutach too: http://en.vogtsbauernhof.org/

Posted by
977 posts

We recently spent 3 days in Freiburg. One day is not long enough. It was one of my favourite places in Germany. I would recommend doing a day trip by train to Lake Titisee. In the centre of the town, there is a small tourist train. Treat yourself to a wonderful hour and a bit trip into the heart of the Black Forest. Don't worry that the commentary, naturally, is in German. The scenery is breathtaking. It was the best value for money tour we did on our whole vacation.

Posted by
1986 posts

Why do you include Zuruch? Not a City normally high on the tourist maps. Unless you have a reason, you may want instead to pop into Alsace wine route instead. Nordlingen is recommended by some on this site, but Dinkelsbuhl or Rothenburg are more scenic in my opinion. Rothenburg is good for overnight and restaurants, while Dinkelsbuhl during the day gets you away from Rothenburg tour busses- although theres lots to see in Rothenberg away from the center

Posted by
12040 posts

Other than a small area around the cathedral, I wouldn't go out of my way to spend the night in Worms. Nothing wrong with it (I was considering living there), but for the most part, it's a fairly typical, uninteresting city. For wine tours of the Deutsche Weinstraße, I would personally prefer to stay in Bad Dürkheim or Neustadt. For a wine tour of the Berstraße district, Heidelberg would be my choice for overnight lodging.

Posted by
1357 posts

Ooh, I'm just excited that someone mentioned Bad Durkheim here on the helpline! Go have some wine in the restaurant shaped like a big wine barrel!

Posted by
1589 posts

Going North up to Heidelberg, while a GREAT place, takes you a long way to later back track. Can you fly out of Frankfort?

Posted by
23 posts

Wow!! First off, let me say thank you very much to most of the comments...although clearly some things are judgmental (one of you loves Freiburg, one hates it lol). I suppose yes we could fly back out of Frankfort, we'll look at that option, but the loop we had planned takes us back near Munich, so not sure how we'd see things on both the north side and south side of Munich if we do that. As for Worms, thanks for the idea...the wine tour was the main reason and if there's a better one I'll investigate it. Lake Titisee...I'll do some research. Zurich, we'll cancel that based on your feedback...I've now heard many similar comments. We have two choices with the extra two days. 1) Visit more cities or just slow down and relax a bit more
2) Visit Innsbruck Won't go to France EVER again...had a horrible experience there on our honeymoon, they threw us off a train in the south of France because they said we tried to steal a train ride by not punching our own tickets...it was no use telling them that the person who sold us the tickets only spoke French and we don't speak any French...my wife was crying on our honeymoon and others on the train were throwing things at the ticket guy...it was the worst experience of my life. Thanks again everyone...we go to see a travel agent tomorrow, but likely won't make any firm reservations for another few weeks. I'll update in a month or so on what we eventually book. Dave

Posted by
23 posts

ok, let me ask more questions.... Let's assume we will drive from Freiburg up to Heidelburg. Obviously not an extremely long drive....looks to be 3-4 hours. However, if we didn't want to drive that long, is there a city right on the way we could stop in and stay overnight? Maybe Baden-Baden? I can't tell where the highways are. Thanks

Posted by
2158 posts

I hope you have a great trip to Germany. I've only been to a couple of the places you plan to go, so I don't have much to say about your itinerary. I just wanted to comment on your vow to never go to France again. You are writing off an entire country because of one nasty ticket collector? I'm stunned. Don't you think every country has at least one jerk? I really think you should give France another try.

Posted by
23 posts

More questions.... relevant to this comment one of you made.... Other than a small area around the cathedral, I wouldn't go out of my way to spend the night in Worms. Nothing wrong with it (I was considering living there), but for the most part, it's a fairly typical, uninteresting city. For wine tours of the Deutsche Weinstraße, I would personally prefer to stay in Bad Dürkheim or Neustadt. For a wine tour of the Berstraße district, Heidelberg would be my choice for overnight lodging. What is the difference between Berstrabe (how do you make that funny B letter?) and Weinstrabe? Can you translate those two words please? What are the pros and cons of each? Sorry for my ignorance

Posted by
23 posts

Carroll, Yes, I am writing it off for that one reason. That was only one example of the terrible treatment we received during our stay there. There were at least 4 other French people who were the rudest I'd ever seen. In addition, I work with people from many different countries...for a Fortune500 company...and the rudest and meanest of all are the French...all other people I get along with well. I'm sorry if some of you are French and I've offended anyone, but that has been my experience. There are too many wonderful places to go in this world before I'd want to go back there. By the way Carroll, we were in Pittsburgh just last weekend on a short vacation and had a very nice time. Dave

Posted by
18064 posts

Dave, are you any relation to Clark Griswold? That letter, ß, is a "sharf S. I think a similar character is used in our constitution. It's an 'S' sound as opposed to ss, which between syllables has a 'z' sound. You make it (on a PC) by holding down the <alt> key and typing 0223 on the numeric keypad. But you apparently got it right on Weinstraße. The word, Straße means street. Weinstraße is Wine Street, or Wine Road. I don't think "Ber" has any meaning, it's just a name. Ber street.

Posted by
23 posts

lol Lee, Clark Griswold. Thank you very much for the explanation! I tried the Alt 0223 and it worked! I do speak some Spanish, but no other languages. For our anniversary 15 years ago we travelled to Madrid Spain, Neice France, and Florence Italy. Florence was my favorite. We also did some side trips to Pisa, Monte Carlo, Cannes, and Venice. Other than the above, I've been to Mexico on business, and England...no other international travels. We'll be doing more of this, as the 12 years of college obtaining my 3 degrees has paid off, and for the past 10 years I've been making enough money that we can now afford to take these kinds of trips and see this wonderful world!

Posted by
12040 posts

Oops, sorry, I left that error uncorrected. It should read "Bergstraße". Both the Bergstraße and Deutsche Weinstraße are known for their vineyards. The Bergstraße runs along the foot of the Odenwald mountains on the east side of the Rhine and the Weinstraße runs on the Rhine's west bank along the mountains of the Pfaltzerwald (although the Rhine itself is several miles away from both roads). Each offers some nice scenery of the surrounding countryside and mountains. There are many castles along both routes. I would say the difference between the two is that the Bergstraße passes through the center of the towns along its route, whereas the Weinstraße runs along the outside of the towns. The Weinstraße offers better views of the mountains- on the Bergstraße, you're at the foot of the mountains, so you can't see them as well. The Weinstraße is more rural, whereas the Bergstaße traverses some heavily industrialized areas. For tourists on a wine tour, the Weinstraße is a little more user friendly.

Posted by
12040 posts

Oh, and the translations: "Deutsche Weinstraße" = "German Wine Road". "Bergstraße" = "Mountain Road". Like the better-known "Romastischestraße" in Bavaria, the Weinstraße was officially designated as such to increase tourism. The Bergstraße, though, has always been known by that name, but it is still included on the list of officially designated German tourist routes.

Posted by
2158 posts

Dave, It sounds like you had more than one bad experience in France, so I guess I can understand why you don't want to go back. But I still think it's a shame. I've only been to a few places in France, but I thought they were all wonderful, and I was surprised at how helpful and friendly the people were. In my two weeks last year and three days this year, I didn't meet a single rude person. My husband encountered one slightly snippy person in a bakery. I hope some day you decide to give it another try, but I agree with you that there are so many wonderful places to travel to, there is no reason you need to. (There was a long thread on this topic earlier this year.) Obviously you should go where you think you will have the best time. I'm so glad you liked Pittsburgh. It's not exactly a tourist hot spot, but the people who visit here seem surprised at how nice it is. Pittsburgh is known for it's friendly and down-to-earth people (I hope that was your experience), and it's a great place to live. I hope you have a great trip to Germany!

Posted by
813 posts

I agree to skip Zurich. See Lake Constance, Mainau, etc. more. From Freiberg or any where in the black forrest, you can drive through Stuttgart to Heidelberg, where you should stay in Stuttgart or Tubingen. Just watch the time of day, traffic can get backed (literally 5 miles stopped) up during rush hour. OR you can drive through Alsace. Yes, I read the part about France, but you're really missing out. Stay in the little towns of Riquewihr or Ribeauville, or the larger town of Strasbourg, than cut back east to Heidelberg. Wine is fantastic, scenery gorgeous, don't miss it. I also recommend flying out of Frankfurt. Take a cruise down the Rhine to see the vineyards.

Posted by
430 posts

if you are a car guy make a stop in stuttgart and visit the mercedes museum. its great.

Posted by
331 posts

At the risk of upsetting some people I would have to agree that as a 'culture' the French are not the most welcoming of people. I have lived in France and I know that some have a problem with the influx of Brits buying up property in many parts and raising the prices beyond the reach of locals, which I can understand. I feel that English speakers are bracketed together and in some cases reactions have been extreme. The same thing happened in Wales with English folk buying up cheaper Welsh property to use as holiday cottages or second homes, many of which were then targeted by locals and destroyed. There has been a long history (hundreds of years) of antagonism between England and France and I am not sure that the French can always tell the difference between the different English speaking visitors. Perhaps they thought you were a Brit! Don't take it too much to heart. I would suggest giving France the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by
258 posts

Dave, if you're looking for a hotel in Garmish, I have a great one to recommend. Gastehaus Hohe Tanen (http://www.hohe-tannen.de/index.php/en.html&#41;. A real find. Extremely comfortable and clean, fantastic breakfast each AM and my room was immaculate and welcoming. Very reasonbly priced, too, and the family that runs it could not be nicer/friendlier. It's in a quiet neighborhood, but a very easy walk to the cogwheel train (that takes you to the cablecar) for the trip to the Zugspitse. Using Hohe Tanen as your home-base, it will also be easy to drive to Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau (sp!) Another suggestion-I see you plan to spend 1 day in Freiburg/Triburg. What I did, and would suggest, is to spend the night in Baden-Baden in the Black Forest and use that as home-base for taking side trips to Freiburg and Triburg (in Triburg, don't miss the famous waterfall). The spa town of Baden-Baden is super relaxing and a visit to the Friedrishbad (sp!), the grand, old spa & mineral baths, is memorable. A great and affordable hotel option is Hotel Am Markt (http://www.hotel-am-markt-baden.de/en/index.html&#41;- nice rooms, good bfast and located on a quiet square right across from a church, and an easy walk to the Friedrishbad (and the more modern Caracalla Baths). For a luxurous treat in Baden-Baden, enjoy a beer in the bar of the legendary Brenner's Park Hotel (1 of the best/most famous in all of Europe). Prohibitively expensive hotel, but enjoying a beer in its grand lobby bar is a fun, affordable way to see how "the other 1/2" travel!

Posted by
41 posts

Carolyn, The last time we were in Germany, we were picking up my wife's new Mercedes from the factory in Sindelflingen. We opted not to take the tour, They couldn't believe it, but we were in a hurry to get in the new Benz and hit the Autobahn, a highlight to the trip. As for the OP, any time we get to Deutschland, we spend a day in Baden-Baden.
The baths are nothing short of a wonderful adult waterpark. The most relaxed picture I have of my wife, is after a morning in the baths there.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks again everyone! Unfortunately I cannot follow every recommendation, but here is where we ended up with bookings... Munich - 3 days on front end without a car Fussen - 2 days Konstanz - 1 day Freiburg - 2 days (want to see some castles) Neustadt - 2 days (wife is a wine lover) Rothenburg ob der Tauber - 2 days (side trips from here to Ulm and maybe Nordlingen or one castle) Munich - 3 days on back end with a car All hotels are booked. Plane tickets purchased. Still to do: Book rental car (have pricing, just checking insurance needs) Find boarding for our dog (a Sheltie)
Determine packing strategy to minimize luggage costs Thanks again everyone! I do have another question...I'll put it in a new post.

Posted by
23 posts

What about electricity converters? Does anyone have a link or picture to what I need? I may already have one, bought a kit at one time. What will I be using it for? Electric razor, laptop, camera batter recharger, cell phone recharger, etc. Also, I have a TomTom GPS and was planning to purchase the Germany map. HOwever, before I do...wanted to make sure I could plug my "thingie" into the cigarette lighter in a German car...are they the same? Or do I need a separate converter just for that? Thanks, Dave

Posted by
12040 posts

"What about electricity converters? Does anyone have a link or picture to what I need? I may already have one, bought a kit at one time. What will I be using it for? Electric razor, laptop, camera batter recharger, cell phone recharger, etc." Two separate issues- converters and plug adapters. Most electronics run on dual voltage, so all you'll need is an adapter to fit the socket. For simpler electric devices, you'll probably need a converter. Check the electric specs on each piece of equipment. If the input is listed as 100-240 V, all you need is a cheap adapter. Congrats on picking a non-obvious choice like Neustadt! Glad to see that someone is giving a chance to a city not on the Ricknik pilgrimage trail.

Posted by
961 posts

Yes, the TomTom plug works in rental car's cigarette lighter. And it's easy to pack using Rick's packing list, to which you add your electronics list ( camera + battery+ charger..... Cellphone + charger+ car charger......etc)
Have fun. Lindau is a lovely little town.

Posted by
813 posts

By Konstanz, go to the Meersburg castle. It's awesome!

Posted by
23 posts

Rick's packing list? I've not seen that...I'll look for it, but if anyone has a link that would be great! Thanks i.e. cig lighter, I'm good there now. I found a friend who has an extra plug adapter he'll loan me, so that's good. Now I just need to think if we'll be taking anything that requires a converter, such as a hair dryer.

Posted by
23 posts

I found Rick's packing list! I'll look it over this week. This forum is great! I guarantee a write up of our trip after I return...but you'll have to give me 1-2 weeks to get caught up at work, get pictures downloaded, etc...will be busy I'm sure.

Posted by
23 posts

The questions keep coming. This time on car rental. I read the FAQs and have read profusely through autoeurope.com, but there is some perplexing language. In the autoeurope terms and conditions it says...and I quote: "Your rental includes: Rental includes collision damage coverage. Rental limits potential vehicle damage liability to deductible of approximately EUR 800.00." Then, in the next section it says... "Rental does not include: Insurance coverage for personal injuries to driver or damages to vehicle. Optional coverage may be offered locally for an additional fee." SO which is it? Does the insurance cover the car or not? Am I reading it wrong, but it seems the first statement says it covers the car, and the second says it does not. If you want to see the actual document, you'll need to go here...
http://www.autoeurope.com/car.cfm Then put in a fake reservation, then click on "Terms and conditions" link.

Posted by
23 posts

Another thing. THe autoeurope details say the rental does not include a 20% surcharge if picked up on an airport's grounds. 20% on $500 can be quite a bit...would I be better taking the train into Munich and renting there? Or is that also expensive and too much of a hassle? Thanks, Dave

Posted by
101 posts

I know your tour is focused on Germany and a stay in Garmish Partenkirchen... I just want to throw this one into the works.. We stayed on the 'other side of Zugspitze Mountain' in the Austrian town of Ehrwald and also in Lermoos.. We absolutely loved it here, Lermoos didn't have the trappings of many a tourist trap... We didn't have the multi language menu's and trying to figure out what we were ordering was fun, we discovered that spoken English in this little town was limited... Garmish being a larger town and a US military base for many years even had a McDonalds! Ehrwald and Lermoos had Cafe Konditorei Simon with incredible views of the valley looking over to the imposing Zugspitz ..
It's 3 separate cable cars to the top on the Austrian side from Ehrwald, it even had a passport control when we were there in order to go to the German side..

Posted by
1631 posts

In ref to your most recent posting about a rental car, I thought you were going to rent the car after Munich? I would take the train down to Fuessen and rent the car there. Then, when you return the car to the airport in Munich, I don't believe you incur the surcharge (we didn't on our recent trip). There's one AutoEurope car rental agency in downtown Fuessen. Should be easy to locate and drive from. Fuessen is not a large city. In ref to the insurance, for us, there seemed to be several loopholes that we weren't sure about either. We've always rented cars from AutoEurope and used our credit card for CDW insurance. However, this time we bought travel insurance in order to have "complete" coverage. We went through our car insurance agency, USAA.

Posted by
12040 posts

Not to mention Burger King... what about Nordsee, Rickniks? Is that OK, being that its a German fast food chain?

Posted by
7979 posts

Let's add in KFC and Pizza Hut, as well as Subway, Starbucks and bringing up the rear, Dunkin Donuts. German teens love, love, love going to Subway and Starbucks, especially if they are from a smaller town that doesn't have these. The squeals of delight I hear from groups of them passing by when they see them, are kinda cute. I like Nordsea a lot. Beats the fish places in the States by a long shot, unless you consider the old Arthur Treachers, which had great fish and chips.

Posted by
12040 posts

I particularly like the Bismarck Baguette for a light but satisfying lunch.

Posted by
26448 posts

"This time on car rental. I read the FAQs and have read profusely through autoeurope.com, but there is some perplexing language." I suggest that if you are confused by legal language the best place to go is a lawyer's office. I'm not one, and I don't play one on TV. I only know of one person on this Helpline who tells us he's a lawyer, although there may be more keeping their light under a bushel. It seems to me that the legal advice from here, especially on something with potential to hurt you, is worth what you have paid for it. IMHO

Posted by
12400 posts

Picking on Nordsee and comparing it to Burger King and McDonald's...please. I always go to Nordsee. A pity it left Bahnhof Zoo, but surprisingly I found two of them in the centre in Vienna. You're right...the Rickniks won't be searching for a Nordsee.

Posted by
12040 posts

I like Nordsee. I wouldn't call it fancy dining, but it beats the hell out of Long John Silver's.

Posted by
2193 posts

But does Long John's beat out Captain D's? That's the real question. All the anti-Rick Steves military people on this board and nobody has mentioned Captain D's? Don't tell me they don't have one of these on a U.S. base somewhere in Germany. As for RS fans visiting these U.S. corporate fast food establishments when on vacation in Europe, the answer is that they should never be visited anywhere on Earth (with, perhaps, the exception of Starbuck's when in an emergency pinch for good coffee). :)

Posted by
12040 posts

I'm waiting for James to comment on that last post. For the record, I'm ex-military and not anti-Rick Steves at all. I like his show and his books (although they do have their weaknesses). I just find the messianic devotion of his flock very amusing.

Posted by
7979 posts

I'm ex-military too and also not anti-Rick. Why in the world would I hang out here on this board if I didn't like the man. Sometimes folks miscontrue advice that is given here, to go to different places or see different things that Rick leaves out of his books or puts down for no reason at all, but that isn't being anti-Rick. Face it, the guy leaves out an entire half of a country, except for Berlin! So, some us of ask what is up with that. Why tell people one city is too touristy and not to bother while telling them to go to another city that is even more touristy. Asking questions about why this is or offering suggestions to make the forum or the books better, is not being anti-anything. oh, and Captain D's and Long John Silvers both get low grades in my book. (I used to work for Arthur Treachers back in the day!)

Posted by
2193 posts

It's good to know there's no anti-RS sentiment from our current and former military folks living in Germany. Perhaps all of the recent activity in this vein has, indeed, been more along the lines of being critical (in a healthy way) versus being negative or anti-RS. Here's an interesting exercise: Having the benefit of being an American living right there, which one guidebook would you recommend to an American tourist who only has a week or two for a vacation in Germany, has never been there before, and wants to travel on his own? If not RS, which one book does a better job than RS at covering all of the tourist places that this traveler should visit but RS leaves out? Let's assume this tourist speaks no German and knows nothing about lodging or public transportation in Germany. He'll need information on these from the book. Who knows, perhaps we'll uncover a worthy replacement for the requisite blue and yellow manual. I have to agree on those two fast food fish joints...pretty bad...and smells bad from blocks away, too.

Posted by
26448 posts

For me, hands down, Michael, the best book for being comprehensive is the Green Michelin Guide. I always have a boot full of them as we head off on another adventure. They are way light on accommodation though, so even though he does boycott huge vast swathes of many countries, especially Germany, I also weigh myself down with a bunch of the Blue and Yellow books. I also always have Lonely Planet so that I can get another view of attractions that RS misses, and to get the best cheap restaurants. Now you guys know why I drive my car to Europe, eh? It is either great or a great pity that no one source is perfect.

Posted by
12040 posts

As Nigel mentioned, no one book is perfect. Rick Steves is good if you know you want to visit a certain location, but not very useful for deciding an overall itinerary. I also find his dining recommendations more safe than interesting. The most extensive coverage I've seen of Germany are the Michelin Green and Red guides, Fodor's 25 Great Drives in Germany and Eyewitness Travel Germany, but the last two are weak on lodging and dining options. Overall, perhaps Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide would be my recommendations for a first-timer who doesn't know exactly what they want to see or do. They offer pretty good surveys of the entire country, they have all of the same logistical information that Mr. Steves provides (and less of the preaching), and they also cover all of his highlighted destinations. They're also probably the best general travel books for outdoor activities (as opposed to books specifically designed for, let's say, cyclists.) The downsides to these two books is that their lodging recommendations are based more on budget than quality- I'll never forget the Lonely Planet recommended hotel in Antwerp that smelled like urine.

Posted by
12400 posts

How to advise that novice tourist who knows next to nothing about travelling, lodging, no language, public transportation in Germany and has 2-3 weeks: I tell him/her to get hold of Rough Guide: Germany, and Let's Go, Germany. Study them and get a map. especially a rail map, if he doesn't intend to rent a car, which I don't suggest unless you want to see some pretty esoteric sites. Pour over that map with the books. True, Let's Go does seem to give recommendations based more on one's budget or definition of luxury. That's where Rough Guide comes in since it is more comprehensive in its range of accomodations. You got to start somewhere...these two I find are the best, not just the easiest. Frommer's is too pricey. Michelin...I use as back up sometimes. I don't use RS books and don't recommend them,... especially for Germany. But, if the novice tourist reads them, then read something else in addition, just don't rely on RS, and especially if that novice tourist wants to do a lot more in depth travelling in Germany.

Posted by
1357 posts

Alright, people, the man has a question floating out there. As far as the insurance goes, I'm no lawyer, and I didn't check the link, but my understanding of rental car insurance is that the CDW will cover damage to your car, but the liability coverage has always been iffy. There may be others who have more information on this.

Posted by
23 posts

Wow! Not sure how we got off on the Rick Steve's topic or the fish restaurant topic, but thanks for the few comments on rental cars...I especially like the idea of getting the car in Fussen...I'll look into that.

Posted by
49 posts

I see that you have had several good replies. I agree with most others that you could skip Zurich. One big city and nothing much there. Hit the smaller towns or add those days to somewhere else.
Dean

Posted by
23 posts

Ok, we returned from our trip and I just wanted to thank everyone for the input....we had a great time. The first couple days were challenging due to language issues...things like trying to figure out which button to push on the subway train ticket machine, reading restaurant menus, and understanding the street signs....but once we figured out those things (hotel clerk helped explain train ticket thing, most restaurants offer English menus, and I studied the street signs for an hour later in the day), everything went well. Just so you don't have to read back....

Posted by
23 posts

Flew into Munich, spent 3 days there without a car. Picked up car and drove to Fussen, spent 2 days there From Fussen, side trips to Garmisch and to the two castles nearby, Schwangau and Neuschwanstein Drove to Konstanz, spent 1 day there Drove to Freiburg, spent 2 days there with side trip to Triberg Drove to Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, spent 2 days there Drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, spent 2 days there Drove to Munich, turned in car, and spent 2 more days there Total trip 15 days Things we saw and likeability score (10 is highest): Munich * Alstadt Munich (8) * Springfest Munich (8) - mini Oktoberfest * Walking tour of Munich on our own including Englisher Gardens - (7) * Beer & Brewery Tour (9) - I love German beer! * BMW museum/factory (5) - Even though I'm a car buff, not very interesting. I did not tour the factory, but did go into the showroom and museum. * Olympic park (7) - very pretty, and brought back memories of the hostage situation, which was very sad * Church steeple (8) - Can't remember which one, near Alstadt, but we paid a small fee to climb about 300 steps, great view of the city
* Munich beer garden (8) - cozy and great beer I'll continue in new post....

Posted by
23 posts

Fussen (this was my favorite city) * Anniversary package at Hirsch Hotel (10) - this was AWESOME...they gave us a deli tray, champagne, robes, roses on the bed, candlelight dinner with personalized menu with our names on it, written in Gothic script, with the date of our wedding called out, then the next night an included dinner in the less formal dining hall...best hotel I've ever stayed in both in terms of room decor, furnishings, service, location, etc. It was somewhat expensive, but the anniversary package only added $80 after I negotiated with them...so it saved us buying 2 meals. * Schwangau castle (7) * Neuschwanstein castle (9) - must go on Mary's bridge while you're up there...the photo op is great! * Zugspitze (10) - my favorite event of the whole trip...the views brought tears to my eyes...standing on a glacier above the clouds...WOW. Takes nearly an entire day with the drive from Fussen, but well worth it. * Walk of the town (8) - perfect town as far as size, busy-ness, easy to get around on foot, modest traffic, and from the balcony of our hotel, I could see the Swiss Alps behind my wife's head as I looked at her...just wonderful. * Could not find the knights museum, which I read about in a travel book...no one had heard of it...hmmm Konstanz
* Probably our least favorite city, but perhaps not fair since we got there at dinner time and left the next day at noon...we didn't plan it that way, but there were some scheduling reasons it happened

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Freiburg * Town walk (8) - Nice sized town of about 200,000 people, a bit bigger, making walking a bit harder, but we managed. Parking was difficult, lots of traffic. Old town was nice, and the channels of water in the street were a novelty I enjoyed (they were put there long time ago to provide water to fight fires...and they now give a calming effect everywhere you go) * Day trip to Triberg to see waterfall (8) * Drive through Black Forest (5) - I think I had my expectations too high...the Forest was little more than hills with trees...pretty to be sure, but no more than driving through Virginia in the US near Blue Ridge Parkway * Cuckoo clock museum seemed a bit of a tourist trap, so we didn't go inside Neustadt an der Weinstrasse * Setting of hotel (9) - we had a room with windows on two perpendicular walls. Open one window, and you see vineyards...starting only 6 feet from the window...wonderful. Open the other, you see a castle on a hill about 1/2 mile away...breathtaking. This city was the most "calm" of all we visited...not at all touristy...we had some issues finding English speaking people...but enjoyed the serenity of the place and the narrow brick streets were charming * Wine tasting (5) not what we expected...basically for the very wealthy, done in private rooms, 1-1, and the expectation is that you'll buy cases of expensive wine...we sensed this before actually entering the room with them, and politely bowed out.
* Drove to a few nearby towns (8) (took the bus also so that we could safely drink alcohol) they are dotted all along...just 1-2 miles from each other...each one charming

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber * Walking tour of town (7) - Nice, but very touristy...too much for my taste. The town is focused on selling wares to visitors...to the point where it's lost some of the historic charm * Walk around the fortified wall (9) - I really enjoyed this...pausing to close my eyes, and imagine I was here 500 years ago...guarding the city with a bow and arrow. We walked the entire wall, took about 70 minutes * Criminal museum (8) - Kind of spooky what they did with criminals way back when, shaming them with metal masks, and there were executioners tools, etc. there...and I'd heard of the music band called Iron Maiden...but I actually saw an Iron Maiden there...wow.
*Isortor (8) - Driving through (and we also walked through later) the gate was again interesting...imagining doing this on a horse, across the moat, hundreds of years ago.

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Munich * Back for the second time, after completing our circle of Bavaria, we did a few more things * Visited Freising (8) - Another charming town, and home to the Weinstephaner brewery, one of my favorite beers. It is a huge place, with botanical gardens, the old converted monastary, the brewery itself, and a wonderful beer garden Other observations * Food (8) - not much of a sausage fan, and they use it quite a bit...but we found other things we liked. Hated the potato dumpling, but loved the bread dumpling. Loved the pork knuckle, schnitzel was so-so, and the potatoes were probably the best food...they prepared them so many unique ways...such as deep fried mashed potatoes...yummy!
* Cultural observations - Germans don't appear to be as "fun-loving" as other nationalities...I swear we only heard a person laugh about 4 times in the 2 weeks we were there...they are very businesslike all the time. About 2/3 of the people spoke English, but only about 1/2 of those well enough to help us with detailed conversations

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* Loved driving on the autobahn. Yes, I like going fast, but more importantly they drive with discipline. No one on their cell phones while driving, no one in the high speed lane unless they are passing, somehow they manage to move as many people on two lanes of traffic as we do in a city like LA or Chicago with 5-lane highways. When I returned, the Americans driving in the left lane with no regard for those going faster than they just drives me NUTS...we are horrible drivers in the US. * LOVED the beer (did I already say that? :) * Expensive - everything that we bought except beer and wine costs considerably more than in the US * The fact that restaurants close at about 1-2pm, then don't open again until about 5 pm drove us crazy....we often don't eat at "regular" times...so we had a few days where we went hungry for awhile * Excellent subway systems - although slightly pricy in my opinion * Our rental car was an Opel Corsa with stick shift...which was fine with me. We averaged 30 mpg (yes, I did the conversion from kilometers per liter), and the gas was 1.53 Euro/liter, which I converted to about $8.50/gallon. If you have any questions, let me know...or if I've mis-stated something, feel free to correct me....I only wrote what we observed. Dave

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thanks, dave, for the report. we're planning a germany trip in 2012 and your travel comments and observations are a help. glad you had a great time.