Germany
Altstadt

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207 travelers at this place

  • Day45

    Day 45 - Guten Tag Deutschland!

    September 17, 2020 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Inevitably I woke shortly after 3.00am & never got back to sleep again. Perfect preparation for a long day of driving!

    We had breakfast at 8.30pm, loaded up the car only to discover a tyre inflation system error warning light & a service warning light illuminated on the dashboard. We had messed about with it the previous evening & seemed to have buggered it up. Perfect news for a long day of driving!

    We popped into the a local Spar shop for some final provisions, sweets & drinks. After, with a little bit of trepidation, we headed to the Slovenia border crossing armed with a detailed travel itinerary of exactly where we had been in the last 6 weeks.

    It was 10.00am exactly as we approached the vehicle free border & as Jackie wound down the window & raised our passports, the guard who was having a fag, just waved us through. Great, I was glad I had spent time preparing our travel itinerary! Still I’m sure it will be useful at the other border crossings.

    The SatNav was set for Lake Bled without tolls & it took us back up to Koper, then north east on the A1. The A1 is a well maintained dual carriageway & the main road through Slovenia. We followed it to the outskirts of the capital city of Ljubljana, then picked up the A2, another dual carriageway north. Slovenia is a relatively poor country & they are definitely missing a trick by not charging a toll, because this is the main land route for Germans seeking sun in Croatia & Greece.

    118 miles later & around midday we arrived in Bled with it’s fabulous lake in the Julian Alps. There were car parks signposted, but I skirted the lake seeking a spot we could stop at for free. I did, illegally on the junction of a private road. We both got out to admire the lake from the waters edge.

    Lake Bled is very picturesque, surrounded by mountains & forests. The lake is 6,960ft long, 4,530ft wide & has a maximum depth of 97ft. Bled Island sits in the middle of the lake & has several buildings including the pilgrimage church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. Above the lake sits the impressive Bled Castle on the north shore.

    After taking sufficient photos & disabling the warning light on our dashboard, we set the SatNav for München (Munich), Germany again avoiding all tolls. It was to be a further 250 mile journey arriving about 5 & a half hours later.

    We circuited the lake once more, then instead of rejoining the A2, we followed the 452 & 201 around the northern edge of Triglav National Park. The border crossing into Austria was at the remote Wurzenpass.

    We were the only vehicle at the crossing & we showed the guard our passports & stressed we were transiting straight through to Germany. The guard asked us where we had been & we told him Croatia, to which he asked us to wait & he ran into his office. Seconds later he returned with a Self Declaration sheet of paper in which I had to write my name, sign and date it. He didn’t look at our passports to check the details or write down our vehicles index, but instead sent us on our way saying we weren’t allowed to stop in Austria. That was easy.

    We then climbed up an extremely steep road over Wurzenpass & scarily back down the other side. Our route took us towards Villach, then along Route 100, which followed the Drau river & sat in the shadow of the raised A10 toll road. Our route took us through numerous pretty Austrian villages & then Route 99, up & down near deserted skiing resorts.

    It was a very enjoyable drive until around 4.30pm, we arrived in Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. The traffic was horrendous & we spent over an hour in a constant traffic jam. It prompted Jackie to ask the question “Would the toll road have avoided this traffic?” She then looked it up & the toll road was about 20 miles shorter & at least 3 hours quicker, BUT that’s not the point of a road trip!

    Eventually we made it out of Salzburg & reached the border crossing into Germany. The guard waved us on without even seeing our passports. WoW. We then hurtled along the toll free Autobahn 8 for 90 miles to Munich. Despite doing 80mph, a procession of BMWs, Audi’s & Mercedes sped past us as if we were hardly moving.

    It was gone 7.00pm, when we arrived in Munich, parked our car in a designated underground car park & walked to our hotel, H+ Hotel München. The receptionist was extremely helpful & provided us with a map for all the things we needed to see & a recommendation for dinner. Our hotel room is bijou, but very comfortable & functional. A good example of German efficiency.

    We dumped our bags & crossed the road to Schiller Braeu, a Bavarian bar & restaurant. We walked in & a very officious serving wench (Helga) shouted at us to put on our masks. The whole restaurant looked around at us. Good start!

    We had a couple of large home brewed lagers. Jackie had the most expensive thing on the menu again, Bavarian roast beef smothered in onions & roast potatoes. I had roast pork and crackling in a dark beer sauce, 2 types of dumplings & coleslaw. It was much needed superb hearty fare.

    After a short stroll around our salubrious surroundings, we called it a night.

    Song of the Day : Border Song by Elton John.

    Bonus Songs : Bled by Every Mothers Nightmare.

    Autobahn by Kraftwerk.

    Madame Helga by The Stereophonics.
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  • Day11

    Mastering the Zipfelbob

    September 14, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    The pictures say it all - Ian attempts to bobsled down the run. He does very well remaining upright, and incident free for the run. He reported back that he took on quite a bit of snow! Down his shirt front, and in his shoes, we weren’t properly dressed for this activity, but there were people in sandals and skirts giving it a go.Read more

  • Day11

    High on a hill........

    September 14, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Today we are spending the day with family. My father’s side of the family still live in Germany, and today Anke was our guide along with her daughter Anna. Last year we caught up with Anke’s parents in Hamburg (her father is my dad’s cousin), and her brother Folke and his family but, as Anke lives in the south of Germany, we didn’t get the chance to meet up with her.

    Anke and Anna picked us up from our apartment this morning, and we headed southeast to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. We drove through several lovely Bavarian villages on our way to Zugspitze. We have been very fortunate with the weather again, as today was sunny and warm, although we knew it would be chillier up on the summit.

    We arrived and parked, and made our way up the mountain in a huge cable car or gondola 🚠. The trip was very quick and smooth. At the top of the mountain we were standing at 2,962 metres above sea level. The facilities are very good, and you have a range of viewing platforms to look at the amazing 400 plus mountain peaks in four countries - Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy.

    After checking out the views from all aspects of the viewing platforms - part of which meant we crossed over into Austria - we stopped for lunch at Panorama 2962, where the views were spectacular - possibly the best we will ever have at a restaurant. We had some traditional German fare for lunch, which was delicious and Ian tried a local limited release wheat beer that he thoroughly enjoyed.

    Following lunch, we caught another cable car to Gletscher - down the other side of the mountain. Here we found a small church, more restaurants, more stunning views and a toboggan run. This particular toboggan is called a zipfelbob, and was designed by a Bavarian. Anke, Anna and Ian had a couple of turns. I decided not to as I didn’t want to chance reinjuring myself.

    It was great to spend the day with Anke and Anna we had so much fun up on the mountain, and it was a spectacular place to visit.
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  • Day10

    Neuschwanstein Castle

    September 13, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We met up with our tour group at the main train station, a brief walk of about 5 minutes from our apartment. We set off about 9.45am on a coach for the 2 hour drive southwest of Munich into the heart of Bavaria, the land of the happy cows - reputedly the happiest in the world. The Bavarians celebrate their cows at a festival, which happens to be tomorrow. The villages have a parade with some of their cows, and the children make flower garlands for them. No doubt they also drink a lot of beer.

    We also learnt about the tradition and history behind the maypole. Each town has a maypole, and each year a new one is built and painted (white and blue). It also depicts pictures (the tradition began at a time when many people could not read) of all the services available in the town, e.g. butcher, blacksmith, tailor etc. The maypole is prepared in April from a newly cut down tree, and erected in the centre of town on 1 May to celebrate the end of winter and the approaching summer and harvests. There is also a rivalry between villages, where they try and steal each others maypoles, and so it is a carefully kept secret as to where the pole is hidden. If a pole of a rival village is stolen, then the village must provide food and drink to those that stole it, and those that stole it must return it and help the villagers erect it. These Bavarians are a crazy lot. In these villages all houses must be built in the same style, no exceptions.

    Neuschwanstein Castle is very close to the Austrian border, and situated in the lovely town of Hohenschwangau, perched high up on a crag surrounded by gorges. The castle looks quite magical, and it inspired Walt Disney when he designed both the castle in Snow White, as well as the logo for Disney. We were lucky to have a beautiful day - clear blue sky and sunshine, which really added to the castle’s charm. On arrival, we were split into groups, and we were lucky enough to be allocated unto Sarah’s group. We first went off to grab lunch, which we ate on the forefront of lake Alpsee. After lunch, we walked around the area a bit before heading up to the castle.

    Ludwig ll had spent much time in the area as a child and teenager, as his father had built a castle (Schloss Hohenschwangau) in the town as a summer home for the family). Ludwig and his younger brother Otto spent most summers in this area, and his mother loved tracking through the surrounding alps, not a common practice for a queen in the 1800,s.

    Ludwig II was known as the fairytale king, the Swan King and the mad king, but he was loved by his subjects. He ascended to the throne at the ripe old age of 18, after his father died of Cholera. Ludwig had not been close to his father, and so had no real idea of what it meant to be King. His idea of a King was based on how they had ruled in Medieval times, which did not work well in the 1860’s as he was a constitutional monarch who had to answer to the parliament, and did not have absolute power.

    Ludwig had several passions as a young man - music, painting, poetry, opera and architecture. He formed a close relationship with the German composer Richard Wagner, who was 30+ years older than Ludwig. His favourite opera was Lohengrin by Wagner. He saw it for the first time at the age of 15, and fell in love with the story of tragic love - Wagner’s operas appealed to the king’s fantasy-filled imagination.

    Wagner had a reputation as a political radical and philanderer who was constantly avoiding creditors. He and Ludwig became close, but Wagner’s perceived extravagant and scandalous behaviour in Munich was unsettling for the conservative government, and so he was forced to leave Germany. He settled in Switzerland and was supported by Ludwig from afar.

    Ludwig had homosexual tendencies but, as a devout Catholic, he denied his true feelings, although he did have a number of close friendships with men and he never married (he was engaged to his cousin Sophie but couldn’t go through with the marriage).

    Ludwig became a recluse, avoiding contact with people as much as possible. He was very sensitive and creative and really hated Munich, and so avoided going there at all costs.

    Ludwig built three fairytale castles and had plans for a further four. He had gone into debt personally to build these castles to the tune of 7 million dollars. In fact, he did not get the interior of Neuschwanstein completed - only 6 rooms are complete and we toured them today. They are over the top and ostentatious, and reflect Ludwig’s recession into a world of fantasy and isolation.

    Ludwig was declared mad by the parliament, placed under house arrest and was dead at 40. Mystery surrounds his death. He supposedly drowned in Lake Starnberg, along with the head psychologist who had been instrumental in declaring him mad without having ever examined him (it was all based on information provided by government officials). His death is still a mystery 150 years later. There are a multitude of theories about what happened, but most of them are just pure speculation.

    After touring the furnished rooms of the castle, we decided to walk up to Marienbrücke to get a different (most spectacular) view of the castle. After that, we decided on the recommendation of our guide Sarah to hike down through the Gorge to get back to the bus. This was fantastic, with great views of a waterfall and different aspects of the castle. This took us about 50 minutes, but was worth the effort.

    The other spectacular sight we witnessed today was people paragliding off the alpine mountain situated behind and way above the castle, the weather conditions were perfect.
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  • Day2

    Marienplatz

    February 9, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

    Por la tarde el recorrido fue corto, por el centro historico de Munich.
    Empezamos y terminamos en Marienplatz, donde obviamente esta el Apple store de Munich.
    Primer dia y compras hechas.

  • Day27

    Augustiner Klosterwirt

    January 8, 2020 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 3 °C

    Reading a few blogs on the train, a Canadian woman who moved to Munich 15 years ago described this place as just tourist friendly enough to have an English menu and not be rude that you don't speak German, but authentic enough that the food is excellent and it's full of locals.

    We thought she was bang on - we sat at a table with five Germans and savoured a big heavy meal of beef broth with a dumpling, pork knuckle with cabbage, sauerkraut, beef gravy, a potato dumpling and two skinny sausages, and crispy apple fritters with icecream. I suppose if you've been going since 1328 you get the hang of things. It was the perfect last dinner of the trip, and we rolled home, my electric scooter dying just metres from home.
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  • Day10

    Munich

    January 1, 2020 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 3 °C

    3 nights spent in Munich was a lovely ending to 2 years of living in the UK. We got to explore the parts of Munich that we didn’t have time when at Oktoberfest the year before. We let off firecrackers, ate bulk pretzels caught up with friends and drank beautiful German beer!Read more

  • Day20

    The Eagle's Nest

    June 23, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    As I emerged from the Munich S-Bahn at Marienplatz, I had a feeling of déjà vu. I remembered having been at this exact spot with Mum and Dad during our trip to Germany many, many years ago. We sat outside under an umbrella in the square opposite the famous glockenspiel Clock Tower enjoying a German beer. Mum was so taken with the fine lager glasses that she put two in her handbag and I believe still has them. Munich was busy with Friday night revellers, but I resisted, and had an early night at the comfortable Blauer Bock Hotel nearby.

    This morning I set out on a trip to visit the Eagle’s Nest - part of Hitler’s mountain retreat, the Berghof. After a pleasant train journey from Munich, I arrived at the charming town of Berchtesgaden. From there a bus took us to Obersalzberg location of the now demolished Berghof, which in the 1930s became, surprisingly, the 2nd seat of the Nazi government after Berlin. Then a further specially constructed bus to cope with the steep climb up the mountain to Kehlsteinhaus (The Eagle’s Nest), where, with its panoramic views, Hitler entertained special guests. It is virtually the only building not to have been bombed or demolished, and now serves as a restaurant / bar.

    To reach the summit you had to walk through a long tunnel constructed in 1938 and take a beautiful copper decorated lift to the top. What fabulous 360 degree views over the Bavarian Alps and Lake Konigsee. It is hard to imagine in this idyllic mountain setting that Hitler and his followers made world shattering decisions on war, persecution and genocide.

    I enjoyed bockwurst and potato salad and a cool, German lager in the main reception room, featuring a marble fireplace gifted by Mussolini, although it was a bit unsettling to see photographs of Nazi leaders and dignatories pictured in the same room. The excellent museum Dokumentation Obersalzberg provided a great insight into the Nazi takeover of this hitherto quiet mountain community.

    I did contemplate making the very short train journey over the border to Salzburg, Austria for some pink lemonade. Some light relief in The Sound of Music city would have been welcome. However I headed back to Munich for dinner and to get ready for the next part of my trip - the overnight sleeper train to Hamburg. Another very special day, sobering in part, but with breathtaking scenery.
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  • Day13

    Feb 4 - The Antarctic Exhibit

    February 3, 2020 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    No wakeup call this morning!! Rats, I was awake at 6:06 a.m. I was the first of our group down for breakfast - I ate in the lovely solarium where we dined last night.

    We have to be on the bus by 9:30 a.m. I got a load of washing in before we left - there are free laundry facilities here. More hotels need that feature.

    Our stop for this morning was the Antarctic Centre. Christchurch is one of five gateway cities for Antarctic expeditions . Lindsay was our guide.

    Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres (5,500,000 square miles), it is the fifth-largest continent and nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km (1.2 mi; 6,200 ft) in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.

    Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of 200 mm (7.9 in) along the coast and far less inland; there has been no rain there for almost 2 million years, yet 80% of the world freshwater reserves are stored there. The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F), though the average for the third quarter (the coldest part of the year) is −63 °C (−81 °F). Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations.

    Our first activity was a ride in a Hägglund, a tracked all-terrain amphibious Antarctic vehicle that’s been built to conquer the rough terrain on the ice. These vehicles were originally developed by Hägglunds in 1974 for the Swedish Army. We bumped and swayed over an obstacle course designed to simulate Antarctic conditions - steep hills, boulders, crevasses, and corduroy roads. Great fun, but definitely not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach.

    Inside the building, we suited up in parkas and booties for a session in the Blizzard Room. Now, for a Canadian girl, standing in -8 deg C with a windchill factor of -18 deg C isn't exactly a new experience. Can't say I've stood around in those temps in shorts before, though. The point of it all was to show the effect that the ferocious winds in the Antarctic have on the temperatures. Lindsay must have no nerve endings in his arms because he stood there with us in short sleeves.

    Our next stop was to see a 4-D movie which is a 3-D movie with special effects like shaking chairs, water spray and fake snow. The photography in the movie of the Antarctic was fabulous.

    Our next stop was to see the little blue penguins. The are birds at this facility are ones that have been injured by getting caught in fishing nets or attacked by animals or even by humans. They are generally nocturnal creatures, so they were pretty placid.

    We are all now much more knowledgeable about this huge continent that serves to keep our planet rotating properly on its axis.

    For all you animals lovers that are following along, there was a Husky Dog exhibit outside. The story of exploration in Antarctica is the story of the husky. When the bitter cold and brutal conditions proved unsuitable for horses, explorers looked for a tough, intelligent and hardworking travelling companion. Huskies stepped up to the job and provided the main form of transport, pulling sleds for teams right up until 1994.
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  • Day1

    Meghalaya

    February 14, 2020 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

    My journey has finally gotten started. We are at the airport in Houston. Rickey saw this luggage cart to put our luggage on so we wouldn’t have to carry it throughout the airport. It was $6 and well worth it! But... the downside of that is we found out at the information desk that we couldn’t take the cart on the subway. A lady at the desk said it would take almost a mile to walk to our terminal. The airport is huge so it felt like we walked 5 miles. Rickey and I agreed we should get in shape lol. But the walk wasn’t bad. When we get to the terminal, we found out they wasn’t open until 2pm so we had to wait 2 hours to check in! So we decided to eat at Starbucks!Read more

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Altstadt

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