Planning on 2 + months in Europe. First month with Illene - Berlin, Bilbao, walking the Camino in Spain and Lake Como Italy. After that, on my own. Milan, Budapest, Munich, Black Forest and London.
  • Day52

    Bad Wildbad

    June 1, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Impressive thunderstorm around midnight last night. Thunder, lightening and hard rain for a good hour. Not conducive to much sleep. But humidity and temps are down, ~70 with much sun today. I had a "locals" list of 3 things I wanted to do so started with that list today - crossed off 2 of them. Finally did the Treetops walk - really beautiful and so much fun. I thought it might be too "touristy" but it is a lovely walk high above the treetops in the forest. Beautiful views in all directions. Lots of fun things to do along the way, it goes for about 3/4 mile until it gets to the tower. Then unbeknownst to me (I had always wondered what that tube in the middle of the tower was) you can walk to the top and tube down!! I debated for awhile and then said to myself, "what the hell you are not getting any younger" and off I went. It goes fast !! Kind of like an amusement park ride. They put you on a carpet kind of "slip pad" with your feet in a pocket at the bottom of the carpet and tell you not to try to stop yourself and off you go. :-) (Big smile)

    Back to my "home" for a salad lunch and off to the park in town. (Kurpark) I was so very impressed. I think it if the most beautiful City park I have ever seen. Kurpark is long and narrow and has every conceivable amenity you would ever want in a park. I parked at the far end - I think it runs about 1.5 miles long - and walked the length. A small, but beautiful river, runs the length and there are numerous bridges so that you can wander back and forth on both sides. A water wheel, gazebo, tennis courts, duck pond, lounge chairs in the grass, places for kids to walk in a tiny stream, rose garden (most roses gone) and so much more. Just a peaceful and tranquil spot in the world. Walked for an hour and a half or so, taking pics, and then found a secluded lounge chair and took a nap. :-)

    Home for more pasta for dinner and off to a concert in town tonight. I lovely evening in a beautiful building in Bad Wildbad. Concert was light opera, mostly music from Operettas - mostly German composers. (Go figure). Two violins, cello and piano.

    Miles: 6.6
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  • Day51

    Bad Wildbad

    May 31, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 22 °C

    Another lovely sunny AM and out the door for a walk leaving from Kaltenbronn about 12 miles away. Lots of people with the same idea today as when I got there a bit after 10 and most all the shady parking places were taken.

    This is also a popular walking area. Only about 5.5 miles rt but I planned to add on a bit. The round trip goes through the forest for about 3 miles and then comes around to a large Nature Preserve that has a small lake - Wildsee. The popular route for many folk is just to walk out to the preserve, look at the late and come back - about 3 miles. Since that was the busier way I went through the forest first. Lots of trees and everything so very green. Clouds came in early around 11 or so. Decided to do the extra mile and a half and went to Grunhutte, a guest house and restaurant in the forest. I had been there the other day coming from the opposite direction. They are known for their Blueberry Pancakes and I got to see many of them being served. Wish I had taken a picture of one. The pancake filled the entire plate and was fluffy on the edges. The middle was filled with a mound of blueberry sauce. They looked wonderful! While eating my lunch there the clouds got serious and it started to pour. People came to the place from every location in the forest. Fun to watch. I waited it out along with rest and then started back to the Nature Park and Wildsee. A very pretty walk - sprinkled the rest of the way.

    Home for a little rest and clean up and out for dinner in Bad Wildbad. Went to one of the hotels in town for dinner - Alte Linde. It was OK - I need to learn that I am in a meat eating country and not order fish. Trout was pretty tasteless but done well. Potato croquettes were very good. Home for another episode of Berlin Station and my new book.

    Miles: 8.4
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  • Day50

    Bad Wildbad

    May 30, 2018 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 22 °C

    A very lazy morning after 2 full days of tourism. Did not get started until about 1PM. Then off to check out a couple towns in the area. Read an article on the 10 best towns in the Black Forest so started on that list. The town of Calw (no idea how to pronounce) was noted as one of the most picturesque in the forest so decided to start there as it was only about 20 miles from my current home. What a treat! Good roads, easy to get to and easy to park. A combination not found frequently in Europe.

    A town full of half timbered houses set along the Enz River! If you love to see tons of this type of architecture, this is the place for you. Every color combination imaginable. Lovely to walk around and the usual cafes and shops. An interesting church with a butterfly as the focal point, could not find out what that was all about. (Sometimes it pays to go on a tour.) Wandered around for a couple hours, taking pictures and enjoying an apple sparkling water by the riverside. Good find.

    Then to check out another town, Kaltenbroon - mainly because I want to hike to there tomorrow. By foot through the forest its about 7 miles to get there from "home", by car its 14 miles !! Checked it out, got a map and have decided to drive over there in the AM and walk from there. There is a big nature preserve there as well as a couple lakes I would like to see and it looks like a nice walk. Weather has been warm (up to 80) but some of the humidity from the last couple days is gone. And always cooler in the forest.

    Back to town for a grocery store stop and home for pasta.

    Miles: 3
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  • Day49

    Bad Wildbad

    May 29, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Off to Heidelberg via train on the 8:35. Heidelberg is only about 50 miles away but decided to take the train to save the hassle of constant GPS navigation and parking once I was there. Turned out to be a questionable decision. :-)

    I had always wanted to go back to Heidelberg, a city that I just drove through once and thought it looked pretty and worth coming back to. Train schedules from here (a small town) usually have multiple transfers to get to anything over 20 miles away. I looked on line (very good and user friendly website) and found one that only had one transfer so took that. My host told me that if I parked in Calmbach, a town about 2-3 miles from Bad Wildbad, I would not need to pay for parking. Bad Wildbad has virtually no street parking, all in large parking garages. So left from Calmbach, the train stopped every 5 minutes, filled with commuter folk and those just going to the grocery store. Found a new "best friend" in a kid who worked in one of the towns along the way but was on his way back home to Romania for vacation. 20 something very social and loved to talk about what he was doing. 20 something and speaks 3 languages !!! The 2nd train was a bullet train and sped right along to Heidelberg.

    Arrived at the train station, a big and busy place. TI right outside to get a map and transit information. Transportation is cheap here as this is primarily a university town, The famous Heidelberg University. Bus/tram ticket only about $1.60. I took a tram to the Old Town - a large area where most of the tourist sites are located. Walked the Old Town, took the Old Bridge across the Neckar river which flows through the City. Climbed to the top of one of the old churches (Protestant) and great 360 views. Pictures not great as it was cloudy. Sun came out at 4PM. Warm and sticky. Heidelberg castle on the hill above the town is a major tourist attraction. Did not go up there, chose instead to walk across the river to the Philosopher's walk - a lovely wooded walk high on a hill across the river from the Old Town. Known as the Philosopher's Walk as it is where the professors and philosophers from the university could converse in the beautiful green way and enjoy the views of the Old Town and Castle across the river. A truly beautiful spot. Checked out a lot of buildings that are a part of the university. Heidelberg population is 20% students and of the 25,000 students, about 20% are international. I heard a lot of English being spoken from the kids. Also found a place to get my nails done!!

    Back to train station for my 7:30PM train - which, when it showed up on the board was going to be 90 minutes late. So I had to get another set of trains that had 2 transfers and did not leave until 8:10PM. One of them only had 8 minutes to get from one train to another. Needless to say a bit stressful but all went well and was home only an hour later than I planed. A very busy day. A day off from tourism tomorrow.

    Miles: 8.5
    Floors Climbed: 38
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  • Day48

    Bad Wildbad

    May 28, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Lots of plans for today. My first longer walk in the Black Forest. My host suggested a place on the map called Grunhutte, a guest house in the middle of the forest about 3+ miles away. Sounded good for my first trip into the forest. Walk was beautiful and easy, green everywhere. The forest is really not like "hiking", it truly is a walk. Some of the trails are what we call in the US, forest roads. All is very clean, lots of benches along the paths and little huts every couple miles. The guest house was lovely - lots of flowers and outdoor seating for walkers. Went a different way on the way back and stopped at one of the hut areas - all have picnic benches 0 to have my sandwich.

    Back by 1:30PM, a little rest and out to check out Bad Wildbad. To get to town, you can take the funicular down the mountain, do your business and take it back up. Decided to do this once just for the fun of it. (I do have a car of course). Fun ride, lots of people here at the top of the mountain use it as their daily means to get back and forth. I checked out the TI (tourist information) looking for some music in the area. Did find some for Friday night. The town is long and skinny as it takes advantage of the riverfront. Lots of cafes, some shops and of course, bakeries and ice cream everywhere. I checked all of that out on my way to the grocery store for a few more provisions and then back up the mountain for cocktail hour. :-)

    Made some pasta sauce, did some planning for a trip to Heidelberg tomorrow, and had pasta on my deck about 9PM. Good day.

    Miles: 9.1
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  • Day47

    Bad Wildbad

    May 27, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    A really lazy day, must have needed a recup day. Woke up early and took a morning and afternoon nap !! :-) I went out late AM to check out the Black Forest area around me.
    This settlement is at the top of Sommerberg mountain and attracts a lot of tourists and weekend folk. Lots of folk doing the Treetop Walk - an amazing walk in the woods to a huge tower that you walk around until you are above the trees. Its minutes away from my doorstep. Pictures are not good as weather started to turn. Day started with sunshine but, the weather forecast was correct and around noon significant thunder though very little rain. Checked out the first longer walk I want to do tomorrow - about 7-8 mile rt to a little town about 4 miles away in the forest that is supposed to have a good restaurant. This is also a big biking area with trails all over that are "engineered" - e.g. bank and bumps, etc. Not your usual biking through the woods. A ski hut close to here with a rope tow nearby. I was amazed to see a fellow coming up the rope tow on his bicycle - they have some kind of device that attached to the rope tow that brings them up the mountain on the rope tow!! My kind of cycling - all downhill. Having said that, I saw a lot of trails that were engineered above my ability even it it was downhill.!!!

    Took a ride this afternoon, checked out the downtown of Bad Wildbad and a town about 4K away. Lots to do here and a railroad station to get me to wherever I do not want to drive.

    Out to dinner tonight. There are 2 hotels in this area that I can walk to and not have to take the car down the mountain. Ate at one of them - the Auerhahn. Was ready for a good dinner and had Salmon-trout (steelhead to me) with asparagus and potatoes. It was very good. Home for some back yard silence and back to apartment.

    Miles: 3
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  • Day46

    Munich to Bad Wildbad

    May 26, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Up and out for another new adventure. Made my way to the Munich airport where I rented my new car. A Ford Fiesta - automatic. :-) And with air conditioning which was needed. Weather had gone from perfect temps in the low to mid 70s to upper 70s and low 80s. Today around 80 most of the way. About a 3 hour drive from Munich to Bad Wildbad. Bad Wildbad is a spa town in the Black Forest near the French border. I chose it for a more rural setting (have done 3 cities in a row) and ready for some more hiking. Only made one wrong turn driving, it turned out to be a relatively long detour as where I was supposed to get back on the freeway, the ramp was closed and all the GPS wanted to do was to get me to that on ramp. Finally turned off the GPS and following the signs for a town a bit away and then reset the GPS and found the freeway.

    Arrived here around 5PM, met the owner who kept the orientation short with a promise from me to have tea together later. I needed to get to a grocery store as tomorrow is Sunday and everything will be closed. The area I am staying is up the mountain from the town about 2 miles but a community into itself. Found my way back down the hill and there are 2 large grocery stores in town, tried them both. Very excited to find some Sancere wine at one of them. Check out the town just a bit. There is a railroad station which I can use for free within a certain distance. Will use it to see local area towns just for fun. I want to go to Heidelberg one day - it is about 50 miles from here.

    Back for my "orientation" to the area. Milka (??sp) went through her entire book of tourist information and how to get everywhere and opening and closing hours of restaurants, how to get to the walking trails, etc. We had a cup of tea together, she is lovely but a bit over the top with enthusiasm. They have a lovely outside space here. Lots of lounge chairs and very green with flowers and right on the edge of the forest. I can start walking from the back door.

    On my own and it is almost 8PM. I have my own outside terrace with chairs and table - a great place for my wine. Had picked up a salad for dinner. Enjoyed that outside as well. An episode of Berlin Station (Netflix) and to bed.
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  • Day45

    Munich

    May 25, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Last day in Munich dawned bright sunshine and warm. My streak of incredible weather continues. Some housekeeping chores first: my adapter for my computer died and had to find a new one, needed hand lotion and a new transport ticket.

    After all of that off to the Pinakothek Museum. There are 3 Pinakothek museums: old, new, and modern - in the same area. I decided to go to the new, new should be in quotes as the first New Pinakotek was built in the late 1800s! However as with most buildings in Munich, it was destroyed in 1944 and has been rebuilt. This museum houses art from about 1600-1850 so is after the Renaissance and includes the Impressionists. Another huge building but I love what they have done with the space. All of the art has a lot of room, there may be only 7 or 8 paintings in a 600 sq foot room. And most of the walls that the art hangs on are painted blue. Thoroughly enjoyed the museum. Took time for a "tea" break and later lunch in their lovely outdoor cafe.

    Back for my final trip to the City Center - Marienplatz - and the market nearby for a bottle of German white wine and "home"early to pack and a relaxing evening. Enjoying the last glass of wine on my balcony with its terrific view.
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  • Day44

    Munich

    May 24, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Today I did get to the Deutches Museum. Had read a fair amount about this museum so had pretty much planned what I want to see. The museum in on an island in the Isar river that flows through Munich. It is touted as the largest Science and Technology museum in the world - and it is huge. I was not the only person in Munich going there on this day - line to pay took almost 1/2 hour. Museum is quite amazing - probably helps to be an engineer or related field for most of the exhibits. Lots of things for kids and they were having a ball. I did the ceramics, glass and paper exhibits as well as the pharmaceuticals. The most impressive for me was the reproduction of the Altamira cave in Spain where they found paintings from up to 21,000 years ago. An exhibit showed how they did the reproduction in the cave.

    I had read in some tourist information to go across the street - sort of - to the Volksbad for lunch. (Clearly they did not think much of the museum food). I was ready for something different so found my way there - by the river Isar. The Volksbad is a spa with baths, etc and had a lovely cafe outdoors with lots of greenery. A good tip.

    After lunch, I wandered about town - bought 2 new T-shirts - I am very tired of the ones that I have been wearing for 7 weeks! I checked out the Hofbrauhaus - modestly known as the most famous tavern in the world. It seats 1300 beer drinkers inside and I do not know how many more in the large courtyard. It is open every day of the year. Apparently it is the "Mecca" for religious beer drinkers.

    Sat in one of the hundreds of cafes and had some tea while waiting for some music that I wanted to go to in the evening. I was able to get a ticket and the Classical music concert with Violin and Cembola (Harpischord). Least you think I know what a Cembola was, I had to look it up when I got home. :-) It was wonderful. The violinist was outstanding. And the setting was a small chapel in a "used to be" palace. Very baroque in design and lovely. The music fit the setting. Another great day.

    Miles: 6.2
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  • Day43

    Munich

    May 23, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    A day off of tourism. Felt lazy today and was very tired last night so today a day with not much to report. Planned to go to the Deutches Museum but when I finally got around to getting there, it was 3:30 and when I checked the website they closed at 5PM - so tomorrow.

    So the day consisted of some "body maintenance" - pedicure - and actually some shopping. Weather has been warm and I left my favorite "runaround" dress at home, so went shopping for a dress to throw on and wear for "tourism". Found one for 20 Euros so if it lasts until I get home I will be happy.

    My travels on foot - shopping and looking for a place to get a pedicure - took me to some new parts to the city. Tons of shopping here, for those that are reading this and do not know me well, I am NOT a shopper. But some new vistas, more beautiful buildings, lots of cafes and a beautiful day in the low 70s to just enjoy. This afternoon I went back to the surfing area in the English Garden to watch longer and get some better picture. Took some videos, fun to watch the kids and this "engineered surfing".

    Home for a night of cocktails on my balcony watching the weather - a T storm presently, salad for dinner and some CNN/BBC. Started a new book and think it is going to be good - The House by the River. A book written by Greek author - Lena Manta - in 2007 and just translated into English in 2017.

    Miles: 6.1
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