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Trip Report for RSE Best of Munich, Salzburg, & Vienna

Here is my trip report for the RSE Best of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna. We took the trip in early-mid December, just a few months ago. Hope you enjoy this report. I will post each daily report in subsequent replies.

Day 1: Pre-tour day 1 – Munich Marienplatz xmas market
With possible train strikes happening in Germany, my travel buddy and I decided to Fly into Frankfurt, rent a car, and drive to Munich. There were no direct flights to Munich. After arriving in Munich and checking into our tour hotel a few days early, we enjoyed a pizza at a local Italian restaurant near our hotel and explored the Marienplatz Christkindlmarkt. It snowed 17 inches the day before we arrived, so the city was snowy and beautiful. The market had plenty of food and shopping options, plus we were serenaded from the balcony of the Neues Rathaus by a local brass band and choir performing universal holiday favorites. From the first night, we already knew how to navigate the city; it’s a very accessible city to walk, if you’re staying in the city centre. Our hotel for the tour was the Hotel Isartor, and we liked it very much. The staff was super friendly, and the brekkies they provided were great. Day two will be in the next reply.

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Day 2: Pre-tour day 2- Day trip to Nuremberg – concert
Today, we took a train up to Nuremberg. Because of all the snow, the train was delayed by a few hours, so we got a late start. Fortunately, we met three Germans on the train ride there and had a great conversation with them. I took their picture just before we left; meeting them remains one of my best memories from the trip. We had lunch at the RSE-recommended Café Literaturhaus, which was excellent! Had pork medallions and potato pancakes. Yummy! We then headed for the Christmas market, an easy 15–20-minute walk from the train station. The Christmas market here is amazing and one of the best in Germany. We tried the famous Drei Im Weckl, or Nuremberg sausages, which were excellent. We had some Nuremberg Gingerbread, which was also quite good. We tried the Kinderpunsch at the Christmas market, as neither of us drinks alcohol. It was a hot, spiced apple cider, and it was fantastic!! On a cold day, it really warms you up! We took a photo of the two friendly ladies who served us there. They were so fun, and it was a great memory from the trip. We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the market. After training back to Munich, we had a fantastic dinner at the the Spatenhaus an der Oper (reservations recommended) near the Bavarian State Opera House. We then attended a classical music concert at Hercules Hall in The Residenz, which was amazing. It was a chamber music trio of piano, violin, and cello, and it was possibly the best concert I have ever heard. A wonderful way to end another great day in Germany.

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Day 3: First day of RSE tour – Munich walking tour
This morning, we toured The Residenz, particularly enjoying the Antiquarium--the amazing, almost octagonal (half octagonal?) gallery with historic portraits along the walls. The checkerboard floor and ceiling with frescoes were also amazing to see. We got there right when the museum opened, so no one was in this hall, and we snapped several pics here—it offers amazing photo ops from many angles. I also liked the Ornate Chapel, the music room, and the St George’s Bracket Clock. We next had a fairly unremarkable lunch at the Franziskaner restaurant near Odeonplatz. I would not recommend the Franziskaner sausages. Good service but not great food. We did some souvenir shopping behind Marienplatz, including a quick visit to the Hofbrau House, and then we went back to the hotel to meet our tour group. Tonight, we found out that half of our tour group was missing because of the snow delays! So, we started the tour with thirteen people. Wild. We will proceed and hope they can eventually join us. We did our orientation walk through Munich and had a great dinner at the Augustiner-Brau restaurant. Another great day in Germany!

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Day 4: Munich RSE walk – Nazi Documentation Center – concert
This next day, we had a local guide, Michael, teach us about Munich. Today, a few more people who had been delayed joined our tour. I had not realized that Monks founded the town, and that’s how it got its name. Fascinating. We toured Old Town, Marienplatz, and the Heilig Geist Kirche. We also walked through Eataly, which is highly regarded by our tour guide, and then visited Odeonplatz and the Theatinekirche, which has an amazing dome. Wonderful tour. We stopped by a local grocer and grabbed a picnic lunch for our hotel. We had the afternoon free, so on our own, we visited the Nazi Documentation Center, which was, honestly, a lot. There were SO many panels on several floors that, after a while, it was too much. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating look at the part Munich played in the Third Reich and WWII. The museum is excellent and well-planned. It’s just information overload. But I am glad we went, and we learned a lot here. Later that day, we had dinner at Myra Turkish restaurant (fantastic!) and attended a nearby piano recital of Daniil Trifinov at the Isarphilharmonie Hall. Excellent! We love Germany. Today, we noticed that it is very easy to use the Munich subways, and it took us everywhere we wanted to go.

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Day 5: Depart from tour--Salzburg on my own
Today, I departed from the tour for a bit. The group was headed to a brewery tour on their way to Salzburg, and I would much rather spend a whole day in Salzburg sightseeing than spend only a few hours in this amazing town (even though we have all day tomorrow, too). I have visited Salzburg four times previously, and I am in love with this city. There is so much to see and do. So, I booked tickets for a train ride to Salzburg, only to find out that all the trains to Salzburg had been canceled due to snow (not due to train strikes). So, my assistant tour guide, Barbara, helped me book a ticket on FlixBus to Salzburg. It worked out great. I booked a private tour of the Mozart Geburtshaus and the Mozart Wohnhaus museums for today. This was absolutely fantastic and a wonderful way for a classically trained musician to spend a day. To see where Mozart was born, the actual violin that he performed on, and the house where he spent his teenage years is pretty amazing. They had letters to his family, his wallet and various personal effects, some of his original scores, and other memorabilia. It was great! Afterward, I enjoyed lunch at the Pitter Keller restaurant. I have not found kroquetten anywhere in the US, but the Keller offered them. I remember these potato croquettes from when I was stationed in Germany with the US Air Force. Awesome! After a short nap at the hotel, I met up with our tour group and went on the Salzburg orientation walk. The final group of five tour members joined us today to complete our group. We had another great dinner, this time at the Hotel Goldener Hirsch.

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Day 6: Salzburg RSE walk – Apfel Strudel baking class - concert
Today, I went out for an early morning walk in town. I visited Mirabell Gardens, took pics of the famous Mozarteum Music Conservatory (which we would visit tonight for a concert), and took sunrise shots of Salzburg. Then, after an excellent breakfast at the hotel, our local guide, Franziska, showed us around Salzburg. We visited Mirabell Gardens (again), Old Town, the Christkindlmarkt, and the Kollegienkirche. Afterward, we enjoyed a baking class learning how to make Apfel Strudel with the Edelweiss Cooking School. It was great! An added bonus was an impromptu recital from Cindy Lou (?), a local music student at the Mozarteum, who serenaded us with a Mozart opera aria, Edelweiss, from The Sound of Music, then led us in a Sing-along on Do-Re-Mi. It sounds corny, but it was really fun. We had the afternoon free, so we visited the Dom, St Peter’s Kirche and graveyard (one of the inspirations for the Sound of Music sets), walked along the Salzach, and met up with a fellow tour member for dinner and a concert. We had booked tix to this concert before the tour started, and when our tour member buddy learned of it, she asked to join us, so I helped her buy a ticket on her phone the morning of the concert. We all ate at Zum Wildenmann Gasthaus, which was a great suggestion from our tour guide, Andrea Wolfe. Wonderful dinner. Then, we attended the concert of the Salzburg Camerata at the Mozarteum. It was wonderful! They played the music of Schumann and Mendelssohn.

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Day 7: Kaiservilla – Hallstatt
Today, we left Salzburg and drove out to Bad Ischl to visit the Kaiservilla. It was nice, but the guide from their museum was a little monotone. It was like listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher. But it was fun. We then drove on to Hallstatt. We first hopped off the bus and went on a Lake Hallstatt cruise, which was very scenic and beautiful. It was a clear day, so we got some great pics of the surrounding mountains and village. We then walked to our hotel, checked in, and walked to the Salzburger Bahn funicular with two other tour members. From there we went up to see the Welterbeblick, or panoramic summit view, which was stunning! We were 300 meters above Hallstatt, looking down at the village and the surrounding mountain valley. Beautiful! Make sure you plan for plenty of time to get down the mountain – the wait was over an hour for the funicular ride down, but it was only 15 minutes for the ride going up. After that adventure, we had a snack at the Braugasthof Hallstatt downtown: a wonderful potato soup and some Kaiserschmärnn. The latter was the favorite dessert of Kaiser Franz Josef: dessert pancakes cut into square bites, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and served with homemade applesauce. Yummy! We had another wonderful group dinner tonight, this time at our hotel, Seehotel Grüner Baum. Another great day in Austria!

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Day 8: Melk Abbey – Vienna intro
This morning, we left Hallstatt and drove to Melk Abbey. We took a tour of the beautiful Abbey and enjoyed lunch (Chicken Caesar Salad) in their Stiftsrestaurant. They had a unique dessert called Benediktinertorte. It consisted of a moist walnut cake with apricot jam, ladyfingers, chocolate mousse, and whipped cream. Yummy! The local tour guide for the Abbey had a bad cough and hacked through the entire tour. She probably should have worn a mask but then hearing her would have been hard. Fortunately, no one picked up her cough. After that tour, we drove into Vienna. The bus driver drove us around the Ring Road, where we saw many sites in downtown Vienna. I had been here years before but remembered quite a bit of it. It’s great to be back! Once checked into the hotel, Gerhard, our tour guide for the next day, gave us an orientation walk to Vienna tonight, and then we were cut loose for the evening. My travel buddy and I walked over to the Rathaus Christkindlmarkt, a Frohes Fest, enjoyed a hot chocolate, and shopped at the market. An Alphorn quartet was performing at the market, and we listened to them for a few minutes. It was incredibly crowded, so we did not stay too long but enjoyed seeing it. We returned to our hotel, the Boutique Hotel am Stephansplatz, which was fantastic! The location was perfect: in the heart of the town center. But it was not a noisy hotel and was right around the corner from the subway entrance. This was the best hotel on the tour, and there were some great hotels on the tour. On our way back from the market, we grabbed a decent dinner near the hotel on The Graben and called it a night.

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Day 9: Vienna Museums & Cathedral – last tour dinner
We had a wonderful breakfast today and this hotel offers an incredible view of St Stephansdom from their brekkie room. Then, we headed out for an RSE morning walk with Gerhard. We first visited his own Third Man Museum—he was the curator of this interesting museum. It offers a fascinating look at Vienna before, during, and after WWII, particularly focusing on the movie The Third Man, which concerned this time period. Afterward, we spent some time individually at the Nachsmarkt, a local market for food and shopping. We enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate at the local chocolate shop there, then walked over to the Kunsthistorisches Museen with our group. Gerhard took us on a tour of this museum, which was interesting. He knows his art. We were then cut loose for the afternoon. One of our tour buddies joined us for lunch at the museum café, which was like a living work of art – a gorgeous café with an amazing Baroque dome ceiling! The food was excellent, too. We then visited their gift shop and headed out to see the Maria Theresa Platz Christkindlmarkt. It was small but fun. We walked over to the Dom and opted for tickets to visit the entire interior of the Cathedral. Mozart was married here, and they have a plaque memorializing that famous wedding. They also conducted his funeral at this cathedral. It’s a beautiful place with some interesting items. Not to be missed is the “hidden” self-portraits of the architect Anton Pilgram. There was a choir rehearsing while we were there, the Adolf Fredriks Music School Choir from Stockholm, and they were quite good. They sang Santa Lucia while we were looking around. After a brief rest at the hotel, we walked to our final group dinner tonight at the Huth Gastwirtschaft. Another excellent meal. Tomorrow, we’re on our own in this amazing city.

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Day 10: Vienna – Tour over - Churches, cafes, and concerts
Today, the tour was over. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with a family of five from MD in our tour group and our guide, Andrea. We then headed out for a walk to see some of the cultural sites in Vienna. We noticed plenty of Austro ducks on the way, which seem to be a “thing” here--rubber duckies dressed as famous people. I succumbed and bought one that looked like Mozart. We then walked to The Graben to see one of Mozart’s Viennese residences. We stopped in Peterskirche, which is Baroque and beautiful!! It is really quite stunning and somewhat overlooked. But it's amazing. We then walked over to Am Hof Christkindlmarkt and the Alt Wiener Christkindlmarkt, both of which were small but nice. The xmas markets are usually more crowded at night, but better because of all the holiday lighting. But they’re less crowded and still quite nice during the day. After a quick lunch on Kärntnerstrasse, we found another of Mozart’s Viennese residences and took a few pics of that. Then, headed to Karlsplatz, where we found the Musikverein (concert hall of the Vienna Philharmonic), the famous Bösendorfer piano store, and the Karlskirche. After touring this amazing church, we headed back down Kärntnerstrasse to the Café Frauenhuber. This is the oldest café in Vienna, and it has a plaque denoting that this was the last place where Mozart performed and that it was his favorite café in Vienna. We opted for their hot chocolate, and I can honestly say this is the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted! After a leisurely stay here, we headed back to our hotel. We decided on a Chinese dinner at Restaurant Shanghai, which was across the street from the hotel; it was good. We then attended a classical concert at Karlskirche. Although they provided heavy blankets and heated seats, it was freezing in there! It WAS December, but still. Not a great idea. The concert was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and some of his other works. For a professional musician, this was not a good concert. For your ordinary concertgoer, it would be fine, and the audience seemed to love it.

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Day 11: Vienna cultural sites – Schönbrunn xmas market & concert
Today, we first started our morning walk at the Mozart Monument on the Ring Strasse. We also took pictures of the Staatsopernhaus and spent some time shopping for gifts and souvenirs in the Hamtil & Sohne Staatsopernhaus gift shop. It was pretty amazing. We lunched at the fantastic Gerstner Café, which offered spectacular views of the Staatsopernhaus right across the street. They are known for their pastries, housed under a long glass case, so you have several tempting choices. We opted for the Gerstner Torte and Sacher Torte, both outstanding. On the way back to the hotel, we took pictures of Mozart’s final residence, now a department store, but with a memorial plaque outside. This is like a pilgrimage for a classical musician, seeing all these Mozart sites. In the afternoon, we took the Metro tram to Schönbrunn Palace. We had bought a package deal online, which included dinner at the Christkindlmarkt, a private tour of the castle after it closed to the public, and a concert at the Orangery. The dinner was great; we had Aligot, which is steaming hot, sliced potatoes, with ham and cheese. Excellent! The tour was only an audio guide, but still good. The concert was good, but what I would call, as a professional musician, another tourist trap, like the Karlskirche concert. But we enjoyed it and took a cab home afterward. Another great day in Vienna! Tomorrow, we head to Paris.

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Day 12: Paris – Christmas window displays and shopping
Today, we flew to Paris, checked into our hotel near the Luxembourg Gardens, and headed out for some shopping and to see some Christmas window displays. We spent quite a bit of time at Galerie Lafayette, buying Christmas gifts and souvenirs. We also went up to the roof terrace to see their spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier, and the rest of Paris. It’s free and totally worth it. They also have really unique gifts and souvenirs on their sixth floor. Additionally, on the sixth floor, there is an excellent café with multiple options for food and a Pan Asian Café, which is quite excellent as well. This department store always has a massive Christmas tree hanging from the dome/cupola, and it is quite impressive. Hundreds of people come in every day to take pictures of their holiday decorations and this amazing tree, which is different every year. We did a bit more shopping in their gourmet building across the street and then called it a night. I opted to order dinner from a delivery service and so I got a doner kebab. No judgments, please—I know we’re in Paris, but we were pooped!

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Day 13: Paris – Eiffel Tower views – Atelier des Lumières – Marais
Today, we walked through Paris and visited some of the iconic photo ops of the city. In particular, I took the advice of the YouTubers Les Frenchies, who had done a video on great photo ops for Paris (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbeKbVyGOOQ). We took pics at the Pont Bir Hakeim, which has really good views of the Eiffel Tower. But we also took their suggestion for Avenue de New York. However, we found that the Port Debilly, along the river, just below Ave de NY, had some amazing Eiffel Tower views with a weeping willow in the foreground. Les Frenchies showed NY Ave in their video, with just a cement sidewalk, but if you walk down to the river level, you get a MUCH better view, with a cobblestone street and no tourists. A professional photographer was taking a couple around photographing them in this area, so we knew we hit paydirt! This was a hidden gem. This whole strip on Port Debilly between Pont Bir Hakeim and Pont d'Lena is fantastic for photos of Paris, including the Seine, the boats docked here, and the Eiffel Tower. After more pics of the tower from Pont d’Lena, we took an Uber over to the 11th Arrondissement and lunch at Chanceux St Maur, an excellent sandwich shop. We then went to Les Atelier des Lumières, a multimedia immersive experience and audio museum. There are almost no words to describe it other than, “You have to see this!” We saw the Marc Chagall/Paul Klee exhibit, which was sold out and quite fantastic! The audio is amazing and offers an eclectic and varied soundtrack. The video and photos are amazing and showcase the work of these two great artists, with images projected all around you. The second exhibit we saw was Ocean Odyssey, and it was good but not as great as the first one. Afterward, we walked through the Marais, stopping at the Hotel de Ville to enjoy its small but interesting Christmas market and its signs for the upcoming Paris Olympics. For dinner tonight, we took our hotelier’s suggestion of Georgette, a restaurant near Luxembourg Gardens. Although we didn’t have reservations, we arrived right when they opened, and they squeezed us in. This was a fantastic dinner! One of the best, most tender steaks I have ever eaten. Dessert was a heavenly chocolate molten lava cake. Another great day in Paris!

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Day 14: Kaiserslautern xmas market – Frankfurt
Today, we took the high-speed train from Paris to Kaiserslautern (K-town), in the Rhineland-Pfalz state of Germany. I was stationed here in the early-mid 2000s and have friends who are currently stationed here. We had lunch at a doner kebab in downtown K-town, met up with friends, and walked around the town’s small but entertaining Weihnachtsmarkt. We met up with my AF buddies and had dinner at 21, the restaurant with panoramic views on the top floor of the Rathaus in K-town. This is an excellent place to eat; not cheap, but really quite tasty, with panoramic views of the city. This is a charming town, with nearly 30,000 Americans stationed here, mostly at Ramstein Air Base. It’s a unique mixture of local German farmers, college students, with US military and their civilian contractors. Tonight, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn at Frankfurt airport, which is connected directly to the terminal. It is a very convenient hotel and a great place to stay the night before a flight home. They offer a wonderful, huge spread for breakfast.

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Day 15: Fly home - summary
Today, we flew home from Frankfurt Airport to Dallas. Check-in took quite a long time, even though we had priority passes. The Check-in Hall seemed to be a big mess, with snaking lines all over the terminal. Am I still in Germany??? I thought Germans were prompt, punctual, and efficient. This was not. I had flown out of Frankfurt before and had not experienced this mess, so maybe it was just pre-holiday traffic, but it was not fun. The security lines were incredibly long, even the priority lanes. It took at least an hour or more to get through these lines. I don’t remember security lines taking so long in FRA previously, but again, maybe this was because we were getting close to Christmas.

We have thoroughly enjoyed another RSE tour, but then, I have never been on a bad RSE tour. Always excellent! I would highly recommend this Best of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna trip, especially during the holidays. Although the tour doesn’t specifically visit the Christmas markets for any length, there is ample opportunity to see these markets during your trip and enjoy their food, jovial people, and many holiday wares. The trip shows you the highlights of these three amazing cities, with some interesting and scenic side trips thrown in for good measure. Our tour guide gave us plenty of local snacks to enjoy throughout the trip, including gingerbread, chocolates, and pretzels. We also met some very friendly locals who always shared their culture and history with us, making us feel part of the local community. I can’t wait for my next RSE adventure (which will be in April)!

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Thanks for a great trip report, I enjoyed reading it, and yearn to return to Vienna. We stayed at that great hotel, so I know the view from the breakfast room. On to the next adventure!

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What a wonderful trip, and I enjoyed your descriptions and details so much - many special spots! I am not a professional musician but have played the piano since I was three. Being able to add high quality concerts (agree with your comments) & events to a European trip always takes the trip to another level!

I am so glad they’re using the Hotel Am Stephansplatz for the tour hotel in Vienna. I once booked reservations there nine months ahead and built an itinerary around it - even before booking our flights! When we checked in, for some reason, they decided to gave us a room beyond anything we’ve ever had. It was the top floor where our balcony looked straight across at the gorgeous designed tile roof! The bathroom was the size of our room in the other hotels on our trip. : O

I’m bookmarking your report in case we ever get back to these locations. Thank you!

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Thank you so much for a fun read! We will be in Vienna in December, so I am taking notes. We were in Munich and Salzburg for the Christmas Markets in Dec 2022 so your report made me feel like I was back there:)

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Your TR brought back great memories of our trip to Germany last year. We still need to get to Salzburg and Vienna. Thanks for sharing! Which tour are you taking next?

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Another thank you for your detailed report!
What I most enjoyed was reading your experiences as a professional musician and the depth of your enjoyment of the concerts! Also, the unplanned connections you made with people along the way. It reminds me of all the very best reasons we travel (despite the sometime frustrations and delays in the process).

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What an enjoyable trip report! Our only trip to Munich and Vienna was in 2015, and we ate at three of "your" restaurants.

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Pat - thanks for the kind words. Yes, that hotel in Vienna is amazing! Great location, a great view of the Cathedral, and a great breakfast. I love that city. For a classical musician, that city is like returning to the motherland.

Jean - wow! Your room at Stephansplatz sounds amazing! We didn't have kind of view, but the brekkie view was still wonderful. I had never really thought much about planning trips around certain concerts, but why not?? It seems like every time I plan a trip, I'll THEN look to see if any good concerts are happening, and the concerts I like are usually happening in a different month or week, so I end up seeing decent concerts but not the ones I'd really like to see. It seems to make a lot of sense to spend more time researching concerts and planning a tour around those concerts you would ideally like to attend instead of just hoping for potluck. You're right; these experiences take the trip to a different level.

mikliz97 - thanks for the kind words! Hope you have a great trip in December to Vienna. If you could catch a concert at St Stephens Cathedral, that would be worthwhile, I think. Many of the other concerts in Vienna are tourist traps, but St Stephens is the real deal. IMHO. :-) Since you're there in December, are you visiting many Christmas markets? We found the Rathaus one to be very touristy and crowded. It's great, but it is a bit much. Spittelberg is supposed to be an excellent market, mostly for locals. Schonbrunn market is quite nice and has more upscale products, not just cheap souvenir knockoffs. If you visit a Christmas market around 530pm, I believe that is a prime time for free music concerts. Hope y'all enjoy your time there!

Tammy - hello! Nice to see you again this past Saturday at Catherine's meeting. Glad you enjoyed the TR. I am headed out for an RSE BEst of Holland/Belgium tour in April, and we get to visit Keukenhof! Woohoo! I'm staying with my travel buddy for a few extra days in Amsterdam, then heading to London for five days and Paris for a week. I'm ready for another trip! Looking forward to this!

Bon voyage! - again, thanks for the kind words. Yes, I agree with you; the people we meet are some of the best travel memories from our trips; it's why we travel. Well said! I didn't want to ramble too much in these reports, but when we were in Salzburg, the concert we saw featured a fairly new cellist from Austria but of Persian descent. He was amazing! He played the Schumann Cello Concerto beautifully (a piece I didn't know yet), and his encore just about brought tears to our eyes. It was an incredible evening. His name is Kian Soltani. His recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto is fantastic! I think it's on YouTube. The best part of the evening was when we met up with our tour buddy after the concert (she had different seats); she was absolutely beaming! It made her whole week, and she was SO happy to have enjoyed an evening of classical music with us. That was one of my best memories from the tour. I really enjoy meeting new people on these tours and making new friends.

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Estimated Prophet - thanks for the kind words. Did you like those three restaurants?

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Wonderful trip report! My husband is a professional musician and I appreciate classical music. Reading your trip report makes me want to go back to Austria. I have bookmarked it for future trips.

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Augustiner-Brau in Munich - We had great beer and split a cheese and sausage platter. The server seemed irritated that we didn't order more food.

Spatenhaus by the Opera House in Munich - I had the most incredible root vegetable soup that I've ever tasted. I have been trying to find something remotely similar without success. In our younger days, Spaten was the beer we only had on special occasions. It was fun to be there.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Café in Vienna - It was a fabulous place to just be, and sip a glass of something. The memories of what I ate have been supplanted by memories of the dessert cart parked so close to our table.

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Wow! What an awesome Trip Report! I love your details and what wonderful concert experiences you had...even if some of the musicianship was ordinary. You were in special places (even if they were COLD!) and that contributes to the memories.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write up your experience! I'm also so glad you all went a few days ahead. For myself, I always arrive early and during winter, even more important. Seeing the remains of 17" of snow must have been amazing! I was also happy to see you made this tour your own by subbing in something more interesting to you. Fabulous!

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ReedMan--Thank you so much for the concert information! Yes, we are going for the markets, and anything else that strikes our fancy. We have been to Munich and Salzburg's markets so know how busy they can get. My husband will hate that part, but will deal with it;) I appreciate the tips on these specific markets! We will have 5 full days not including travel days, in Vienna so plan to do at least one day trip and head to Bratislava.

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Christine - thanks for the kind words. Nice to know there are other musicians on this site!

Estimated Prophet - thanks for the info. I agree; Spatenhaus is fantastic! We just had schnitzel, but it was awesome! The salad was very fresh and very tasty. I really enjoy it when they compartmentalize the salad and arrange it into clumps of veg, like the Kolrabi, carrots, lettuce, or even beets. I completely agree with you about the cafe in the Kunsthistorisches Museum - it's a tourist site on its own. What a gorgeous dome, and what a treat to eat in a place like that. Thanks for sharing.

Pam - Thanks for the kind words. I have departed from a tour before. On the Best of England, my travel buddy and I did our own thing on the morning in London—we'd already seen the Tower of London and Crown Jewels, so we did a London Walk instead and then a promenade on the Southbank. I think the walk was called In the Footsteps of Sir Christopher Wren, and it was the London churches he designed. It was a very cool tour! Absolutely worth every pound! I have found that RSE tour guides are fine with a slight deviation as long as you let them know you'll be gone and you also let your buddy know.

mikliz97 - It's great that you're going to Bratislava. I've been there two or three times and enjoyed it. It was the only time I got pickpocketed in Europe, but it was also my fault. I was still new to travel back then and didn't listen to Rick about a money belt. I had my big, bulky wallet in the front pocket of my khakis (I usually wore it in the front pocket of my jeans, and I guess they were tight enough to keep it fairly inaccessible) and had my arms up in the air taking pictures with my camera. EASY access. Before I knew it, my wallet was gone. My fault. I won't make that mistake again. I always travel with a money belt now. But Bratislava is really nice. If you get up to the castle, you will see wonderful views of the Danube, although it is a yucky dark green color in Slovakia (at least it was in 2004 when I was there). Never have seen a "beautiful blue" Danube - I've only seen dark green and brown (in Bulgaria). Hmmm. Anyway, Brat is fun. They have a beautiful Opera House right on the main square. Also, check out the several bronze sculptures around town - they're sometimes inconspicuous but fun and silly. I seem to remember a construction worker's head sticking out of a manhole somewhere, and there is a statue of Napoleon leaning on a park bench (address: Hlavné námestie 358/7, 811 01 Staré Mesto, Bratislava, Slovakia); you can sit next to him and take a selfie! Enjoy!

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ReedMan--Excellent, thank you! I took a screen shot of your reply an added it to my planning album:)

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Thanks for sharing your experiences, sounds like a terrific tour and extra travels. I was in Vienna first week of Nov as they were setting up the Christmas market stands. I loved the city but seeing the sights during Christmas would have been fun.

I especially enjoyed your trip to K-town. We were stationed at Ramstein ‘80 to ‘84. We lived in the village of Ramstein. It was our favorite tour in the 20 years. I would love to go back to see the changes. Thanks for sharing.

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Lyndash - thanks for the kind words. I didn't mention it in the post, but I actually went to see the USAFE Band concert in Kaiserslautern at the Fruchthalle when we were in K-Town that day. I am a former member of the US Air Force Band in Europe, and it was a real treat to see many of my friends perform who are still on active duty. I was stationed at Sembach for five years, and, like you, it was my favorite assignment out of my whole career in the AF. BTW thank you for your service! Nice to see another veteran on this forum.

Posted by
2490 posts

Enjoyed reading your report! I've bookmarked for the Vienna info, where I'm heading to later this year. Taking note of Café Frauenhuber, it looks good! Any issues getting a table, or could you walk right in? The Kunsthistorisches museum is something I'm also particular looking forward to - now I'm off to goggle pictures of the café!

Posted by
132 posts

Hi Mary - thanks for the kind words.
Care Frauenhuber - we walked right in. It was busy, but they still had tables. We got a nice booth near the front. Definitely recommend the hot chocolate!
Kunsthistorisches Museum Cafe—there are no words! It's like having lunch in a palace. The dome roof is gorgeous! It's a really beautiful place to eat, and the food was great! I got the smoked salmon with crème fraîche on a bagel, and it was delicious! Happy travels!

Posted by
2507 posts

Great trip report! It sounds like a wonderful tour. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by
54 posts

I enjoyed the trip report because I was on this same tour in July 2022, during an unusual heat wave! I remember the Munich hotel I stayed at (different from yours) being in a quite noisy location; hopefully the one you stayed in was quiet.

I had a full day before my tour officially started, so I went to Dachau that day and had an early dinner. The first day of the tour, I went to Nymphenburg Palace - beautiful grounds.

I thought Salzburg was just beautiful, could have used another day there. With the extreme heat all week, I was taking some time n the afternoon to elevate my legs and rest so I didn't see as much as I wanted to.

Hallstatt - one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. I loved the orange hotel cat - he got lots of pets!

Vienna - my least favorite part of the tour, although I did like the Kunsthistoriches Museum very much, and the museum café was lovely. Gerhard was not my cup of tea at all. He was quite rude to one of our guides. She was pointing out our location on a map to a tour member, very quietly, but it was while Gerhard was speaking and he was NOT happy - said only one guide should be talking at a time. And he mumbled a lot. So it really cast a pall on the evening and the tour the next day. It was also hard to stand in the spot where Hitler gave a speech after the annexation of Vienna.

Posted by
132 posts

54% British - thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the report.

On this trip with the RSE group, we stayed at the Hotel Isartor in Munich, and it was great! It is about five minutes from the subway, in a nice, quiet neighborhood, and only a 10-minute walk to Marienplatz. Sorry, you didn't have good luck with your hotel.

I wish they would extend the Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna RSE tour and add a day in Salzburg. You really don't get much time there, and there is so much to see and do. Plus, it lands in the middle of the tour, so you can't extend it like you can with Munich or Vienna (which is what we did).

I agree with you that the Kunsthistorichses Museum is great, and their cafe is lovely. I also enjoyed their gift shop. They had some interesting items, not just the usual touristy offerings. I found an interesting CD of violin music performed on Leopold Mozart's actual violin. That made for an interesting recording, and the performance was great!

Thanks again for commenting. Happy travels!

MC