A Travellerspoint blog

Munich, Germany

PROST PROST PROST PROST

sunny 26 °C
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We travelled by train to Munich - this was a relatively short trip of 2.5 hours. In the afternoon we rode a tour bus for an introduction to the city. This was a guided tour and so it was informative although not as good as some tours we´ve been on. We said good-bye to Jeanne and went on our way to the Octoberfest celebration late in the afternoon. This is an unbelievable site - it is like a giant fair with huge beer tents (there are 14 tents that hold 100,000 people. In addition there are outdoor beer gardens and there are midway rides spread out between all of the beer gardens. We made our way to the first outdoor beer garden that we could find a seat at and joined six other people. Well we were there until after 11:00 PM that night and had a riot. We were sitting with a couple of Germans and three Dutchies (that´s what the Germans called them). The beer is served in 1 litre mugs that are very heavy to lift and hard to break - we proved that because we clunked them together all night long loudly yelling PROST for any reason (usually we didn´t really know what we were toasting). They claim that the beer is made especially for Octoberfest and that it is 7% alcohol! Leigh might agree with that. As you may have assumed by now we really tied one on! We each drank 4 litres - we think that might be a personnal record. We took a bicycle taxi home at great cost but it was fun. We may be getting together with one of the Dutch fellows we met when we get to Amsterdam. Happy Birthday Liam.

Posted by 60somethin 17:48 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Reutte Austria

The Castles

semi-overcast 25 °C
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Our first day in Austria Leigh and I went shopping for a few essentials and also some non-essentials. I think we were both pretty bored with wearing the same clothes for 5 weeks. We really had quite a lazy day and really enjoyed it. The next day we travelled by bus to Fussen, Germany (only a few kilometers) to the famous Neuschwantein Castle built by King Ludwig II of Germany and we also toured the royal family home Hohenshwangau Castle, where Ludwig grew up. These tours were very interesting. The Neuschwanstein Castle was never finished and all work ceased when the King was deposed and drowned in a lake near Munich. It is only about 1/3 finished inside but it is incredible. It really looks like a fairy tale castle and apparently the Disney´s Sleeping Beauty Castle are modelled after it. Then we went to Teggelbahn (sp) where Leigh and Jeanne rode the Luge. It had a stainless steel track and was very fast (Leigh´s comment). It was so fast you could scare yourself or seriously hurt yourself although the carts did have good brakes. We only saw one person wipe out and both Leigh and Jeanne did six runs. I was the camera person trying to catch the action at the bottom. The food in Austria was excellent - we were told that traditional tyrolean food did not include a lot of meat but all of our meals were suitable for carnivores.

Posted by 60somethin 17:42 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Gimmelwald to Reutte, Austria

What a Trip

semi-overcast 20 °C
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We came down the cablecar from Gimmelwald bright and early at 6:30 am to catch the Post Bus from Stechelberg to Lauterbrunnen. Here we caught the train to Interlaken OST - so far so good. We actually boarded our first DB Bahn train an hour earlier than planned so we were off to a great start on our longest day of travel so far. Our expected train journey was almost 8 hours. Well about 7 trains later (actually we lost count) we finally made it to Reutte at about 4:45 pm. We thought our ticket was direct to Reutte but it was actually with many changes! We met so many people along the way who tried to help us figure out what we were supposed to do and shared so many laughs with the locals who were so helpful. At one station an Austrian lady we had met on one train and who had sort of adopted us tried to help us decide what to do next with the assistance of two other Austrian ladies. They motioned for us to get on quickly and then immediately changed their minds and told us to hurry and get off (the doors were already closed) - we did that and then they changed their minds again and told us to hurry and get back on! Oh boy - we were all laughing so hard. Then there was the connection where we had about 4 minutes to get to another line of the station and Leigh is running ahead with the luggage and I´m hobbling behind him. The conductor is yelling 'Get on the train'. Other people on the platform are yelling 'The train is leaving'. Leigh is yelling 'Wait - there's one more'. Finally I round the bend and Leigh literally pulls me up on the last car of the train and immediately the train leaves the station! Oh boy - that was way too close. Fortunately that was our last transfer. On this train we met Jeanie from Tuscon, Arizona who was also travelling to Reutte. We had dinner together last night and we're planning to visit Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles together tomorrow. She and Leigh will also ride the Luge. I'll pass thank you. A lot of our journey yesterday was through Germany and we saw the Baltic Sea _ beautiful. Austria and the Southern part of Germany are much like Switzerland. Very rural and so green with clean fresh air and surrounded by mountains.

Posted by 60somethin 10:13 Archived in Austria Comments (1)

Gimmelwald, Switzerland

WOW

semi-overcast 19 °C
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This morning we headed off on a hike from Gimmelwald down to the Sefinental Valley. We came across a bridge that crossed a torrential waterfall that had gouged deep holes through the years in the side of the mountain. It now flows deep in the rock and splashes from pool to pool, plunging about 20 feet into a huge cavity beside the bridge to continue its way down to the valley floor. We walked on further to a spot where the locals have a shooting range. Close to this we found a great place for a picnic. A Swiss family had built a small shelter with picnic tables and there was a fire pit with benches around it. There was a sign that basically invited anyone passing by to help themselves and have a picnic. We decided to take the path down to Stechelberg where we catch the cable car up to Gimmelwald. It was only supposed to take an hour (LOL). All in all we walked for about 5 hours in total and made the descent to Stechelberg successfully but it was quite a challenge. These are 'easy' hiking trails! The views were incredible all the way and to look back and up at where we came from was really unbelievable. We saw cows being brought back to Gimmelwald for the winter and it is quite a ceremony - they were all decorated in pine branches and flowers. Everyone of them was wearing a bell and it was quite a sight. We're pretty sure we followed the path where they came from and our shoes show the evidence. Our stay at this B&B has been very enjoyable and we love it when we get the use of a kitchen. Leigh has been cooking up some mean omelettes. Tomorrow morning we leave bright and early for Austria - this should be an awesome trip through the mountains.

Posted by 60somethin 16:57 Archived in Switzerland Comments (1)

Gimmelwald, Switzerland

sunny 25 °C
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Beautiful weather especially after we nearly drowned in the rain in Venice. It was about 25 degrees and sunny and clear today. What an incredible view everywhere we look - we're getting sore necks looking up. This little town is almost 4500 feet up the Schilthorn in the Bernese Alps (the top is 10000 ft). The cable cars are amazing - they move so smooth and quietly (not to mention quickly) and glide you to your destination. I actually am enjoying riding them and I really thought I would be terrified. Today we walked to the next little town of Murren which is about 1000 feet further up the mountain. From there we caught a small local train to the next cable car which we took down the mountain to Lauterbrunnen where we went Swiss Army knife shopping. Our internal Europe flights are over so we bought a backpack and we'll check bags on the way home so now we can actually do a little shopping. From Lauterbrunnen we took a bus to Trummelbach Falls. This was absolutely incredible - there are 10 glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain made accessible by tunnel-lift and illuminated. The Trummelbach alone drains the glaciers of Eiger (3970 m), Monk (4099 m), and Jungfrau (4158 m) and carries 20000 tons of debris each year. Up to 20000 litres of water per second is washing down these chutes worn smooth inside by the water. The lift takes you up inside the mountain about as high as a ten story building. From there we walked up 197 steps to see the top four chutes. It was so far that at the top I decided to count them on the way back down. From that point we walked down to the bottom to see the remaining six chutes. In all there were 857 steps! It was well worth the effort. We made our way back up the mountain by cable car and had dinner (pizza) at the local Mountain Hostel.

Posted by 60somethin 21:17 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

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