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Bavaria (with a taste of Iceland) trip report Sept 23

This was a trip with my son and daughter-in-law focused on the Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen areas with just a bit of Iceland thrown in. This was their first international travel and it was a joy to see their enthusiasm for just about everything on our trip. I came down with covid about a week prior to our trip and it looked like it might not even be happening. Fortunately, I did end up meeting my doctor’s criteria to travel and I honestly felt pretty good throughout the trip.

We purposefully had a 24 hour stopover in Iceland on our way, but found that we really didn’t enjoy it that much because we were so tired and our plan for hop on/hop off was sidetracked by a large number of unexpected people wanting the same thing. By accident we had a 24 hour stopover on the way back that we really enjoyed so I would suggest any stopovers be scheduled when you are returning to the US vs. on your way to Europe.

I bought the plane tickets and then went to look for lodging. It was then I discovered that I had planned this trip for Oktoberfest in Munich because the hotel prices were 2-3 times the normal costs. Gulp! I ended up choosing the Hotel Gastof Maisberger at the Neufahrn S1 stop because of its convenience to both the Airport and Munich as well as reasonable prices. I felt a little badly about not being in the center of Munich, but the prices were just too high. This hotel was such a happy surprise! So convenient and a nice German family hotel. The restaurant was amazing. In the end we all agreed that while we enjoyed exploring Central Munich during the day, we also enjoyed coming “home” to our hotel in Neufahrn.
The other thing that I had wondered about was going to Oktoberfest as a non-drinker with two others that really don’t care for beer. So much was happening in Munich, it really didn’t matter if we went to the festival grounds or not. We thought we would go one weekday morning just to see the tents, etc. We found a line of about 1,000 people waiting to get in and decided we had higher priorities for our time. We wandered on our own, took a two hour “free” walking tour, and visited Dachau Memorial. There were a lot of people in Munich, but it was also so fun to see so many people dressed in traditional costumes just about everywhere one went. One afternoon my niece, who lives in Frankfurt, came to join us and that was really a special treat. The German food was excellent and the weather perfect every day.

We had the D-ticket for September and used public transport everywhere we went. This was a significant money saver and so convenient as we never had to worry about buying any other tickets. I found the MVV app particularly useful for travel in Munich and the DB app convenient for travel between Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

After 3 days in Munich we headed to Garmisch-Partenkirchen where I had reserved a two bedroom flat. The location, cost, etc were great. There was a bit of a cultural difference between what I expected would be included in a rental vs. what the owner felt was appropriate. When I asked about toilet paper and soap, I was told that a German would have known to bring their own.
We enjoyed hiking the gorge, the summer luge, walking around, a few trips to the Eibsee, some photography excursions and a trip up the Zugspitze. There is such a nice mix of outdoor activities surrounded by tourist infrastructure that this community is very accessible and enjoyable for people with a variety of interests. The Alps, well they are just beautiful…..

Continued in next post

Posted by
8315 posts

trip report continued

Another night back in Munich and we headed for the airport. Our flight on Icelandair that we were to take from Munich was late arriving in Munich and therefore late returning to Reykjavik. As we were preparing ourselves to sprint through the airport to try to catch our connecting flight to Seattle, our phones notified us that we had already been rescheduled to the next day’s flight. We went to the service center and received our vouchers for a hotel, bus transportation and 3 meals. We were also given the information on how to apply for compensation (600 euros each). We spent the following morning exploring parts of Reykjavik and had an uneventful flight home late that afternoon.

My son did his “interview upon arrival” with Passport Control for Global Entry and that seemed to work pretty well and took about 5 minutes.
I enjoyed watching the transformation of my son and his wife from somewhat “timid” travelers to those who could handle just about any sort of public transportation and wayfinding in a new location. They are far more confident in their abilities to travel now and have, of course, been bitten by the European Travel Bug. Lots of ideas about the next trip…….

Posted by
1991 posts

Sounds like a nice time traveling with your son and DIL. Our first tie to Iceland was for a 3 day stopover on our way to Denmark. We fell in love with it. In all of our trips though, we have never seen, much less taken, the HOHO there. So what did you do during your time there, both on the front end as well as the back end? We took our sons gf with us on one trip and it was her first international trip. Like you say, it is fun to watch them experience all the differences. Our first trip to Munich was right near Oktoberfest, but thankfully we left the day before it started. I look forward to hearing more about this trip!

Posted by
6257 posts

Carol, I loved your trip report (I was out of town when you posted it and must have missed it). I have always avoided Oktoberfest like the the plague, but now you make me want to visit there during that time (if I can find a workaround to the hotel prices). 😊

And that's a good idea about scheduling an Iceland layover on the way back. My first trip to Iceland was a 3 day layover on WOW Airlines heading to Amsterdam back in 2018, which worked for me, since I could ease out of jet lag there and still had a full day and a half to see some of Iceland. I do want to go back, though - I love the country.

And very funny about the TP and soap! Although I've rented a few apartments before in Germany and have never brought my own toilet paper or soap (and one of these places was a small town that very few Americans go to). I know it does happen occasionally but you would think that Garmisch would be used to providing for all tourists, including Americans. It sounds like they were just being (ahem) frugal. Regardless, it sounds beautiful there. One day I will make it to the Alps!

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1991 posts

Mardee--Our first trip to Iceland was also a 3 night stopover on the way to Denmark. That was in 2015 and we could not wait to get back. It took a while, but then in 2021 we finally got back and have been 5 times, with our 6th trip coming up soon. We are doing another stopover on our way to Amsterdam this time.

Posted by
2386 posts

I’ve never not had toilet paper at a German apartment. If fact my wife always buys some to replace what we used ! We bring our own soap so I’ve never noticed if it was supplied. Liquid soap would be o.k. I wouldn’t want a used bar soap !