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Entries about germany

Strikes and Rain Interupt Travel

A Strike cancels trains, rain plays havoc on Munich

rain 58 °F

Off to Munich, first leaving Sunny off at the train station in Nuremburg. This was the beginning of the circus. Sunny was to travel from Nuremburg to Frankfurt to Brussels.

We were told to wait for someone to help us but help wasn’t arriving. Someone else came along and led the way to the platform which we could have negotiated without help. Then the train was going to be 40 min late and she was going to miss her connection in Frankfurt.

We made it down to the information desk, which by now was packed. We were told that there were strikes so she would need to take the late train to Frankfurt, transfer to Koln then take a bus to Brussels. They could not give us an ETA.

I was beside myself. Sunny would need to get around in her wheelchair, alone, without her grandma! But she assured me that she would be fine and besides we had already paid for the ticket. She started trying to reach Charlotte, our Belgium friend who would pick her up.

We went back to the platform and there, the employee to help, was looking for us. He had been searching the terminal. The train had changed tracks so the car would be at the totally opposite end from where we were. He pushed and we ran, getting her on the train in the nick of time.
Turns out that the strikes were in Belgium.

We drove on to Munich for an afternoon there, we were going to our exchange student’s house for the night as I never got anything arranged.

As we got to Munich it rained off and on. We found a place to park, put on our rain jackets and went on our way. We walked to the Englisher Gardens to eat lunch in the beer garden with the Chinese Pagoda, but alas, there was only one stand open for food. They had only 3 wieners warmed and no bread. We bought 2 and walked back to the square. At the square we sat down at an outdoor restaurant with a view of the square. The rain started down so hard that people just scattered. The waiter even sat down at a table near us and visited with the people there while the rain poured.IMG_20140630_144102_784.jpg

Finally the rain tapered off; "no you can’t have coffee because the machine isn’t working", "yes I’ll come back and get your food order". I went across the square and got a cappuccino to go. Came back to our seats when Dale said the waiter had finally said we should go to another restaurant because the food was better at the one around the corner. By this time we’d wasted 2 hours in that place. The food was better at the next restaurant, although there the Bavarian meatloaf was like a big hunk of spam. Elias' lung soup was actually very tasty.
IMG_20140630_154405_949.jpgIMG_20140630_154412_432.jpg
It was outside this restaurant that I finally got some internet. Charlotte had sent me a message asking where Sunny was. I didn’t know. Then she said that her brother had just told her that he saw an accident on the highway and a bus from Koln was involved. OMG I about had a heart attack. But it was about 10 minutes later and the bus arrived safe and sound.

We went on to Tobias’ house and sure enough he was home. He’d sent a message that I never got, he would make dinner and we were stuffed. But the sausages he made were so extra good that we just kept stuffing, Bel ate 6 of them. He also made a mean sauerkraut that I’ll try when we get home.

Had to watch the World Cup with the Germans!

Posted by Miss Chris 10:20 Archived in Germany Tagged rain beer travel germany outside europe munich englisher_garden Comments (0)

Onward to Germany

overcast

Ever onward! We went to the airport to exchange cars at Avis.

Another travel hint: cars may be rented for a maximum of 28 days on a contract. This is whether you rent and extend by the week or just a lump sum. After 28 days the contract must be renewed.

The next car was a Peugeot 5008, getting 57mgp. I do not understand why we can’t buy these cars in the U.S. It is a SUV with seating for 6, 5 with the back seat down.

We got to AVIS and got into the return line with our van. I asked the return agent if we could park in the front and unpack the van then pack the Peugeot. He said yes and pulled the van up to the front of the office. I got the Peugeot and pulled it up next to the van.

We had so much stuff, we wondered if it would all fit. The rear seat was down so in went: 2 large duffle bags, 4 rolling carry ons, 5 back pack carry on’s, 1 back pack camera bag and 2carry on duffle bags, an ice chest, our Ferrari bag plus 1 wheel chair. People stood around watching as we packed everything in without an inch to spare. Stuff was everywhere: in the cargo, on the floor of the passengers seating and front passenger flooring. The spectators clapped and cheered when we were able to close the rear door.2014_-_9.jpg2014_-_4.jpg

Ghislain had made a map for us to enter and to exit the airport. It was perfect and we found our way to the highway. I had goggled the instructions to Amberg and everything went well.

OMG I love the Autobahn! Once out of Belgium there is no speed limit. Fly like the wind, but just make sure you move over when there is someone faster behind you. Dale didn’t once when he was driving and the person who flew by on the right blared their horn at him. Me? Well let’s just say that I just had a great time when I drove. We must bring the Ferrari!!!

We met up with Dieter and went straight to an ice cream place. We 1st met at an ice cream place so this is our tradition when it is not freezing in winter.
Then off to a beer garden in the old walled city of Amberg for dinner.2014_-_10.jpg

Posted by Miss Chris 16:14 Archived in Germany Tagged beer driving germany friends luggage Comments (0)

Hotel Adventures

Hotels we stayed in

IMG_4861.jpgAs I promised some time ago, I wanted to write about the hotels in Europe, at least the ones we stayed at. I have referred to each of the hotels in various blogs but will write some additional details now

When we first planned this trip I wanted to stay in hotels within walking distance to the middle of the towns. I didn’t want to take trolleys or buses every time we wanted to go to the squares and we didn’t want to spend much over $100/night.

I picked up a travel book with hotel recommendations and a good map with the recommendations located on the map. Then I got on hotels.com and trip advisor, reviewing the ratings for each hotel along with the location.

Our 1st hotel was in Munich which I booked at the last minute and got the last room available. This hotel, “Kings First Class” appeared to be within walking distance to the square but on the map looked a little distance away. As it turned out, the hotel is about 2 blocks away from the train station and maybe a 10 minute walk from the old city square. The hotel is in an area filled with adult shops but is very safe, we never felt threatened at all. Beware that there is no breakfast included when you book on Hotels.com but a Coffee Fellows is just 2 blocks away and they have all sorts of food items plus great coffee drinks and internet.

Next we were in Salzburg where we had quite the experience at the Amadeus Hotel. This hotel is in the new city, just a few minutes’ walk to Mozart’s residence, the Mirabell Gardens and the foot bridge to the old city. The front of the hotel faces a pedestrian only street and the rear faces the cemetery with the grave of Constance Mozart and Leopold Mozart immediately in view from the rear facing rooms. There are 2 balconies in the rear with chairs and tables.

If you stay at the Amadeus Hotel beware that there is no one at the desk after 6pm. This is normally not a problem but if you check in after 6 they leave the key card in an envelope on a little table in a small lobby between the entrance door and a sliding door which needs a key card to open after hours.

Our key card was apparently lost or taken before we arrived; our arrival was late due to train problems. We arrived at 11pm and when we found no one there and the main lobby doors locked. We were able to slip into the main lobby when another guest opened the door to enter.

In the entry we called on the call box and reached a male who said that he would be right over. After waiting for about 45 minutes I called again and he said he was on his way. After another 30 minutes Dale called and the male said it would be a few minutes so Dale asked what a few minutes meant to which he replied that he would be at the hotel in 5 minutes. In the meantime I’d called Hotels.com but after 10 minutes on the phone got disconnected. We were about to start screaming!

Finally a security guard came to help us and after numerous phone calls found our room number and got us settled in. It was 1a.m. Needless to say the front desk heard about our ordeal in the morning and they gave us two dinners at their sister restaurant in the old city. My advice is to check in before 6pm just to make sure you get your room key.

The Amadeus is a small hotel but there is an excellent buffet breakfast included in the price and an afternoon coffee if you are around. Great little pubs with outdoor seating are all around and the street is vibrant both day and night. We will definitely stay there again but just arrive earlier in the day.

In Vienna we stayed at the Hotel zur Wiener Staatsoper. This hotel is a little larger than the Amadeus, also very old and located very centrally, only ½ blocks from the main street. Restaurants with outdoor seating are next door. We walked to the St. Charles Church, the Concert Hall, St. Stephens and the tube is only a couple of blocks away.

The room keys are very large so they encourage you to leave it with the desk when you are out which means that you must leave the keys off then pick them up on your return. The door is locked at night but there is a bell and the night watchman will let you in. The staff will encourage you to take various tours but will also be helpful if you want to travel on your own. Breakfast is also excellent and included with the room.

Our last hotel was in Prague, in the Stare Masto, the old town square, the Hotel U Tri Bubnu. This hotel is a little difficult to find as it is tucked into buildings just on the other side of the square. The hotel has 2 areas, one above the check-in counter and the other around the corner separated by a restaurant. Our section of the hotel appears to have a room per floor but we were not sure. Our room was quite large with old fashion double windows on 2 sides. The building is hundreds of years old and the story is that an executioner lived in the building frequenting the tavern located there. You enter this hotel thru an old wood arched door then walk up a narrow spiral staircase to the rooms.

If you are arriving by train it is an easy walk from the station but when you arrive in the square it will be on the street ahead and to a slight left. You will take the pedestrian street that goes by the St. Nicholas Church to the Kafky Square. The hotel will be to your left just past the ticket agent shop.

We will stay at all of these hotels again if we are in the areas and highly recommend them.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:33 Archived in Austria Tagged prague salzburg vienna hotel austria germany europe munich old_town_square Comments (0)

We are the Americans Who Know Everything!

Knowing everything but knowing nothing at all.

Our next stop was to meet with our former exchange student Tobias who is now married with 2 girls of his own. Tobias stayed with us for 1 year back in about 1994 when he and 2 of our boys were in high school. We’d arranged to meet Tobias in the town of Herrshing, a town just 30 minutes southwest of Munich. “Just take the S8 train to Herrshing and I will meet you there” he said. Ok, no problem.

We stopped at the main station 1st to reserve our seats for the trip from Prague then hopped on the S8 as directed from the Munich main station. We were just moving right along but then we were not sure of where Herrshing might be. We asked an Asian man in the seat across from ours and as it turned out he was from Maryland enroute to a conference in Herrshing. He said that he’d traveled this route several times and that Herrshing was the last stop.

The train car was not full so we started talking about traveling in Europe and more specifically Germany. I laughingly told him how I tell my friend Dieter that “we are from the U.S. so we know it all, and since we are from California we really know it all”. Dieter always answers “oh you Ammi’s”, the German slang for Americans.

After talking for a few minutes the train stopped about 3 stops short of Herrshing and everyone got off. We thought that it was funny that we were the only ones on the train but our new friend assured us that the train had only stopped for another train to pass. We wondered how long the train would be stopped but soon a train passed so we were assured that we would be moving soon.

A little later a woman came down the aisle and speaking in German said that the train was going back to the airport. We said “no this train is going to Herrshing”. My husband saw that she was wearing the train uniform and so we asked if she was sure that this train was going back to the airport. She said the train was going back to the airport but we must go to the platform and catch another train.

In the meantime Tobias was texting, asking where we were. Well we didn’t know where we were and why the S8 wasn’t going where it was suppose to go. Sorry Ammi’s we were turning out to be! So there I was trying to text Tobias and trying to figure out where in the world we were to go.

We and our friend were at the platform looking at what to do next when another S8 train came along but this time it said Herrshing and we got on. After sitting down and the train began to move the 3 of us started laughing about the know-it-all Americans! We laughed so hard tears were running down my cheeks.

Posted by Miss Chris 15:54 Archived in Germany Tagged trains travel germany friends Comments (0)

Looking for the Beer Garden

Adventures while looking for the Beer Garden

sunny 73 °F

IMG_4425.jpgIMG_4446.jpgFor this trip we decided to keep our options open, that is to say that we will go where the spirit moves, if that is we don’t have firm plans. So today we had no plans at all except to visit with our “girl” Silvia. Silvia was one of our students back in the 80’s and we’d lost touch with her until she found us on facebook a year or so ago.

Silvia was to meet us in Munich as this is the city she loves; we’d both be arriving by train just 10 minutes apart so the train station was a perfect meeting place. We got off the train and there walking to us was Silvia, such a meeting after 30 years.

When I made the hotel reservations it looked like they were quite a walking distance from everything but in reality the hotel was just around the corner from the train station. We dumped our stuff and started off using a small map that the staff gave us.

The square was, of course, packed being a sunny warm day. Lots of street musicians, sidewalk cafes and a First Aid demonstration of some sort complete with search and rescue dogs, diving demonstrations and so on.

We wanted some lunch but the square was packed and noisy so we located a beer garden on our map, off in the “Englischer Garten”. We fortified ourselves with chocolates purchased at a small shop along the way.

The gardens consist of a very large park with walking paths going every which way and a stream running thru. People were lying on the lawns soaking in the sun, a band was playing, people biking, jogging and just walking.

We consulted our maps on occasion but instead of a beer garden we found water running into the stream from a canal under the street. The water was running very quickly and young people wearing wet suits were lined up with their small size surf boards, catching the waves as the water ran into the stream. We had to laugh, “Surf’s up in Munich”.

We did find the beer garden and stuffed on sausages, potato salad and beer while the German band played Oompah music from a nearby Chinese Pagoda. People ate while others danced the afternoon away.

Posted by Miss Chris 01:03 Archived in Germany Tagged travel germany friends munich beer_garden Comments (0)

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