We have just returned from 3 weeks in Germany. Our itinerary was based on opera and symphony concerts. We had fun connecting those dots, and waited as long as possible to buy music and plane tickets lest things shut down again. We purchased medical insurance from Trawick that would have covered the cost of quarantine at the end of the trip, and self-insured for the few things that were nonrefundable. This is lengthy- so buckle up, skim, or just skip altogether. My goal is to pay back all those folks who have helped us plan over time, and especially for this First Post Covid Trip!
We flew into Frankfurt and recovered at the airport Hilton. We used this time to purchase our German Rail Pass, catch up on sleep, have some good food, and purchase sundries like lotion and toothpaste. The next morning our train left from the station at the airport. We love German airports/train stations. One-stop shopping and transport.
Train to Dresden where we stayed 5 nights. Heard two operas, toured the Green Vault, day trip to Görlitz, and day cruise on the Elbe. Operas were just "ok", the ostentatious Green Vault for us is a "one and done", gusty weather made the walk over the bridge to Poland short but memorable, and the cruise (inside seating) was warm and enjoyable.
Train to Berlin for 3 nights, where we have been several times before. Heard the Vienna Philharmonic, also just "ok" (more about that later), walked around the usual major sites in freezing rain. Glad we had done walking tours of all these sights before, because the bad weather would have marred our memories and shortened our attention spans.
Train to Nürnberg for 4 nights. Full day walking tour (with a break for lunch) in improved (albeit brisk) weather, day trip to the outdoor museum in Bad Windsheim (finally good weather). The Radius tour guide ( whose PhD thesis was about the Nazis/ Hitler) was superb, and seeing the rally grounds was chilling ( and I don’t just mean the weather). Terrifying parallels to current US times. The outdoor museum was interesting , but with limited English explanations. Tired of the cold, we relaxed in our apartment-hotel room and followed up our day tour by rewatching Rick's show on fascism. Again. Terrifying parallels to current times.
Train to Munich for 4 nights. Heard one opera, made a day trip to Kufstein, Austria (included in our pass), did laundry, and revisited some of our favorite sites. The opera had no supertitles, Kufstein fortress was fascinating and the city lovely (we will return), the laundromat made us appreciate our previous hotel room facilities (more about that later), and we stayed outside as the weather was warm and sunny.
Train to Baden Baden for 3 nights of sunny spring weather. Did Rick’s walking tour, went to a concert, had some delicious food, and relaxed over the Easter weekend (everything except restaurants were shut down, so relaxing was the only option). The walking tour on a mild spring day was excellent. The enthusiastic National Youth Orchestra performed a flawless Beethoven’s 5th which was so inspiring (best music of the trip, way better than the Vienna Phil in Berlin). Perfect way to end to our music-based trip. And if those 14-19 year olds are any indication, the future of classical music is bright.
Train back to Frankfurt Flughafen for (hopefully) just one night. Booked a suite at the airport Marriott just in case we had to quarantine (two bathrooms). Did our Covid test at the EcoCare in the airport, results to email in 15 minutes, uploaded to United and accepted in another 30 minutes. Celebrated our negative result with plenty of Sekt in the Marriott Executive Lounge (temporarily at the adjoining Sheraton).