My Travel Philosophy

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Definitely NOT The Orient Express

My bed folded back into seats
Turns out those young guys weren't a problem at all -- really very nice as a matter of fact. Yes, they did stay up talking until after 1 a.m., BUT the real problem was the train itself. The bed was rock hard with a tiny pillow (love the comforter, though, just like I have everywhere). I didn't realize how many stops the train would make through the night, with a lot of banging and clanking each time. Definitely not what I was expecting!

Finally got up around 7:30 so I could clean up and have breakfast. We were in a station at the time so the shower wouldn't work. I did manage a quick wash-up and turned the bed back into seats. We were in Holland by then as I could tell from the Dutch writing on buildings the train passed.

Breakfast after a sleepless night
My welcome drink last night was a little bottle of pink champagne, but I only drank a little before dumping it out. I was feeling pretty sick and don't know if it was the champagne, the rich food at dinner, the amount of Radler, or a combination of all of it. This morning breakfast was a roll, turkey spread (like liverwurst), applesauce, orange juice, jelly, and a lovely pastry. The conductor brought me coffee instead of tea -- he really wasn't very attentive. My toilet paper roll had been very low when I got into the compartment last night and I asked for more. In the middle of the night, I had to put on my coat and walk down to the public facility at the end to swipe some paper. It smelled like a urinal! There's a bigger shower than what I have but I can't imagine staying in there long enough to shower, or putting anything on the floor.  P.S. He finally brought a roll in the morning.

Despite a less-than-wonderful night train trip, I still love traveling by train and plan to do it as often as possible!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Auf Wiedersehen Germany

Lovely last day in Germany -- I actually hate to leave, but looking forward to my overnight train ride to Amsterdam. Spent many hours in the train station this evening and, at one point, policemen came into the waiting lounge to check a bag that was unattended. Turned out to be someone's clothes, but it could have been quite the tragedy since they just simply opened it with all of us still sitting there. I was able to sit in the DB (Deutsche Bahn - the rail service) first class lounge because of the type of train ticket that I bought, but the lounge wasn't anything special: free coffee, tea, soda.

From my research, I was aware of a place to eat in the station called Mongdratzerl, which ended up being right outside the left luggage room on the end of the station closest to my departure area. Sweet! The menu was in German but the waiter was really helpful and I was able to get pork and a Radler. The bread dumplings were way superior to the ones at Hofbrauhaus -- more like a really good stuffing at Thanksgiving. The pork was tender and yummy, and there was this awesome au jus on the plate. Great meal with 2 mugs of Radler, which necessitated a couple of trips to the toilet. It cost 50 cents, but they give you slugs to use if you're a customer.

That reminds me of something else: when something costs less than a euro, they'd ask for 75 cents just like at home.

My tiny little sleeping berth on the train
Another incident: at the Alte Pinakothek I had to throw away my bottle of water -- the one I've been hauling around and refilling since Paris! The guard told me I could rent a locker for €2,00 to store it. Since I can buy bottles of water for less, it seemed quite the best option to throw it away. I've never had to do that before in any museum. The guards at both museums were quite active; continually moving from room to room.

Same plumbing for sink and shower
What odd travelers you see in Europe's train stations. I'm sure they're from all over -- maybe even some Americans. I've seen people with bicycles (lots of them), tons of backpacks (some of them really huge), walking sticks, skis, Tyrolean garb, every size and style of suitcase, kids, you name it.

As I'm leaving, I really have this train thing figured out. Trains are very reliable so, if it's supposed to leave from a certain track at a certain time, it does. There are also little diagrams showing where the cars will line up when the train comes in. It allows you to stand in the correct spot for your reserved seat (mostly). When the train arrives, you can board.

Compact little bathroom
So I boarded the correct train and the correct car and found my compartment. So tiny! There is a pull down seat I could use for my suitcase, but just a couple of knobs on the wall to use with hangers. I can't even imagine two or three people in this room! I didn't realize that not all the compartments have bathrooms. Mine is super tiny (you swing the sink into the shower to use the toilet and vice versa -- same faucet for both), but at least I don't have to go down the hall to pee.

I took a short shower before turning in; there are some young guys in the next compartment so I'm hoping they won't be too loud.

Last Day in Germany

Ticket machine for tram system
Tram in Munich
How awesome it was to not set an alarm last night! Slept in this morning and celebrated my last day in Germany with some liverwurst for breakfast. Dropped my luggage and coat in a very small locker at Hbf and jumped on the tram to go to the museums.  I had really wanted to go to the Alte Pinakothek (old picture gallery) as I like old Masters.  However, their idea of old is definitely ancient -- we're talking 12th and 13th century. It was good but not great.  Also, the museum is undergoing renovation so half of it was closed. The good part was the reduced entry fee and free audio guide.

The weather has been really glorious, and today was no exception. There were young people relaxing in the grass all around the museum.

'Munich Beer Garden' by Lieberman
Being still early in the afternoon, I opted to also visit the Neue Pinakothek (new picture gallery) where I expected modern art. Nope! Here's where I found Pisarro, Monet, and Van Gogh. Again, a free audio guide and a museum really well laid out. This one I really enjoyed. I may have found someone new to admire: Pisarro. It's not like I had never heard of him before, but I hadn't paid much attention to his works. Also Max Lieberman; at least his 'Munich Beer Garden'. Loved it. Before coming over here, I watched a documentary on the 'Rape of Europa' or the theft of art by the Nazis and the efforts by surviving family members to recover it.  In the Neue Pinakothek I saw a painting that looked very much like one of the works in that documentary -- a work by Gustav Klimt.

Walking back to the tram stop, I walked under buckeye trees -- another reminder of how Germany is so much like home.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Munich Miscellany

I totally love Munich (aside from the massive amount of construction that's going on). Some random thoughts:

  • Loving the food in Germany -- just like being at home.
  • Radler is a wonderful discovery as a beverage
  • They have stores called Drogerie, which is a bit like our Walgreens.  Great place to pick up deodorant & hairspray, but also wine & cookies (I got all of those).
  • American music is very popular here; it's played over the speakers in many establishments.
  • Curious thing about the transit system here: no one every checks to see that you have a ticket. When I first bought a ticket for the tram, I knew I had to 'activate' it in a machine onboard. I had read that in my research and is was easy enough to figure out by watching others. I noticed a lot of people just getting on, though, and figured they must have Day Passes.  I had seen the same thing when we took the Underground on our way to Dachau. I finally asked Keith about it. Apparently, there's an honor system in place and it is assumed that you're buying tickets. Authorities ride undercover and do random checks. 
  • This city is full of amazing cars. I've seen Mercedes, BMW, and Mini (made by BMW), VW, Renault, Nissan, Toyota, Volvo, but not one American brand. I even saw a cherry red Ferrari parked on the street, and a guy in a Maserati almost ran me over!
  • Nice Ferrari parked on the street
The area near my hotel is very noisy.  It's on a path from the Viktulienmarkt to the Reichenbackplatz tram stop, and there's a bar down the street. One night, some people came down the sidewalk singing 'Hit the Road, Jack' in heavy German accents. Pretty funny.

Loving these breakfasts with liverwurst and soft-boiled eggs as options.

Great 2-way windows
Have I mentioned the great 2-way windows they have in the hotels in Europe?! With the handle turned up, the window cantilevers out from the top. With the handle to the side, it opens wide like a regular window -- and there have been no bugs! Handle down locks the window closed and it really shuts out the noise.
Memorial to Michael Jackson

On our Third Reich walking tour today we came across an unexpected attraction: a memorial to Michael Jackson! I loved it and, apparently, so did a lot of the German people.  Fresh flowers and memorial items everywhere!

Meandered around and found my way back to the Hofbrauhaus for dinner and came into a distinctly different environment. It was really crowded and there was an oompah band playing. I ordered sauerbraten and a huge mug of Radler, and just soaked up the fun atmosphere. There was a huge crowd of Brits there to watch the Manchester City vs Munich soccer game the next day. Looked like a lot of fans had come down for the match and they were really whooping it up.
Distinctive Pole in Viktulienmarkt

Oompah band playing at Hofbrauhaus
Figured there had to be a better way to get back to my hotel than the route I had come. There's a big distinctive pole in the Viktulienmarkt and I only had to wander a bit before spotting that pole. From there, it was an easy walk to the hotel.
I'm so glad I decided to sleep in tomorrow morning. It will be nice to have a leisurely breakfast and see the art museums.

Tour of Dachau

Work Makes (You) Free
As previously mentioned, Dachau is now a Concentration Camp Memorial because the vast majority of the camp is now gone. You enter through the gate with the famous 'Work Sets You Free' gate, and the first impression is how incredibly huge the space is. The barbed wire fences and guard towers have been reconstructed along with two barracks. In addition to the two barracks erected for the tours, concrete foundations were added to show the location of all of the barracks. This is one of the smaller concentration camps built by the Nazis, but the size is staggering. I seriously can't imagine how big Auschwitz must be! (I had thought about going to Poland to see Auschwitz, but it's really quite far.)

Reconstructed barrack building
There is a museum onsite and I really would have liked to spend time reviewing the documents and photos on display.  I believe the building was originally the intake center. Our guide, Franz, was really knowledgeable and led us through the museum -- hitting the highlights. Then, we walked across the huge parade ground to the reconstructed barracks. The interior has been set up to show the three phases of use: pre-WWII when it was used to house political prisoners, the WWII era, and post-WWII when it housed the captured Nazi guards.

Foundations of barracks on one side of walkway
There are two original wash stands and a room with original toilets. The beds are like the ones shown in movies. Walking down the tree-lined walkway that went down the line of barracks, I was struck by how far the prisoners would have to hustle to get to the parade ground for the 3xday roll call. (The trees were growing there back when it was a concentration camp.)

This Memorial is free to the public and all school children in Germany are required to visit and learn about it's history (in the spirit of 'never forget'). It is illegal in Germany to say that the holocaust, and the horrors of the concentration camps, did not happen.

At the far end of the camp are chapels/memorials built by 4 religions: Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Russian Orthodox. At that end, too, is a reproduction of what the outer fortification looked like. The entire perimeter fence has been rebuilt but, here, it's been structured as it was when the camp was operational. There was a wide area of grass (where prisoners were immediately shot if they wandered into the grass), followed by a
The trench before the barbed wire fence
The incredibly close guard towers

trench (to make access to the fence more difficult and to discourage tunneling), then layers of barbed wire and, finally, the outer barbed-wire fence that was electrified. It was really sobering as you could see how close the guard towers were and I thought of the books and movies I've been absorbing. Quite different when you see it up close.

At that far end of the camp a gate and bridge over the trench have been added for visitors to the Memorial to reach the crematorium. When the camp was operational, those assigned to work in the crematorium would have gone through the main gate and under the famous 'freedom' quote as they went in and out.

If you were assigned to one of the barracks at the far end of the camp, you'd be closest to the crematorium where the smell had to be the worst. [Note:  Dachau was not an extermination camp so the mass murders that took place in other camps did not take place here, but there were still a large number of people that died of disease or beatings so the crematoriums were quite busy.  Toward the end of the war, Dachau was used for extermination as well.]

Ovens in the large crematorium
Large crematorium built in 1943
Just a few feet on the other side of the fence is a small stream and I was thinking how the gurgle of that stream must have added to the torture for those trapped behind the fence in the dead of summer. And how polluted it must have gotten from the ashes!

The crematorium was ghastly! First, there's a small one like I had seen in the documentary I watched at home. Looks like a small cottage. Then, there's the great brick building like you see in the movies with a waiting room, a room for undressing, the shower room, a room with the ovens, and a room to hold bodies that have been delivered for cremation. The small building held two ovens, and the larger had four large ovens capable of holding more than one body at a time. Apparently, if a hanging was ordered, it was done right in front of the ovens so the body could be disposed of right away. The small crematorium was in operation about 3 years, and approximately 11,000 prisoners were cremated (summer 1940-April 1943).

Outside the buildings are several memorials and, a short walk down a path through the trees, is a site that is marked as the spot where Russian prisoners were executed as the war was drawing to a close.

I found a website that shows pictures of the camp in the 40s and pictures of the same areas today.

Tours in Munich

My Australian friend Carolyn Arch
Jumped on the tram this morning after studying the machine and the maps - 4 stops later I was at the Hbf. Got some stamps for my postcards for Jack (giant pretzel) and Alex (soccer stadium) and mailed the postcards right away. When I got to the tour office, the lady I met on the bus yesterday was there, and we were going both tours today! Her name is Carolyn Arch and she's a really nice person who is also traveling alone for a month.

Our first tour of the day was out to Dachau for the Concentration Camp Memorial Tour. It's aptly named as most of the camp is gone. There are a couple of buildings left (including the crematorium), but the barracks are all gone.  A complete blog post about the Dachau tour follows.

While waiting for the train back to Munich after the Dachau tour, Caroline shared with me a sandwich made with Vegamite that she had brought from Australia. I know it's a real Aussie thing and I had never tried it before.  Pretty good, really; I thought it tasted a bit like cheese.

Back to the hotel briefly while waiting for the afternoon walking tour where I ate quite a chunk of the pretzel I bought last night.  Nutella is really popular here and there are packets of it at the breakfast buffet each morning so I had it on my pretzel.  Kept me filled nicely for the afternoon.

Former Gestapo HQ - now police headquarters
The afternoon walking tour was 'Birthplace of the Third Reich'. As a side note:  I had been considering several options for tomorrow because I have a lot of time to kill before my train to Amsterdam.  Some of my thoughts were Nuremberg, Salzburg, or Brechtesgarten. There are tours that go to all of them and I downloaded walking tours on my phone before leaving home just in case. In the end, though, I've decided to do none of them. Caroline has been to Brechtesgarten and they've turned it into a restaurant so there would be no atmosphere at all. Also, if the weather isn't good, you don't get any view of the Alps. A couple on our tour this morning had just come from Salzburg where the weather had been poor. Again, with poor weather you are denied the Alpine view for which the city is famous.  I've decided to just sleep in, have my breakfast at the hotel, stow my luggage at Hbf, and visit the museums.

So, the Third Reich Walking Tour: our tour guide was a young guy from Scotland named Keith. Very laid back and often funny.  We left Hbf via Underground as the tour started at Marienplatz.

World famous Hofbrauhaus
A side note:  there were a lot of Aussies in this afternoon tour and keith confirmed that a huge number come for Oktoberfest. As a matter of fact, Australia has no embassy in Munich but, for the 2 weeks of Oktoberfest, a temporary consulate is erected on the grounds of the British Embassy because so many revelers lose their passports during Oktoberfest. Sure am glad I'll be leaving before it starts!

Ribbons painted on ceiling to cover swastikas
Keith really knew a lot about the Third Reich as it related to Munich, which is probably good because the bombing obliterated most of the city. There are some critical locations still standing but Munich has tried to downplay any Nazi history. Here's an interesting thing, though:  the police occupy the building that served as Gestapo headquarters (also the old military barracks at Dachau). The logic: neo-nazis or anyone still holding beliefs cannot use or try to make it a 'shrine'.
I expected to hear beer drinking songs!

Interior of Hofbrauhaus
As part of the tour, we found the Hofbrauhaus where Hitler and the Nazis used to hold meetings. During that time period, there were swastikas painted on the ceiling, which have been turned into blue and white ribboned swirls. We took a break here and I swiped a couple of beer mats. Not sure if it's due to Oktoberfest or whether it's everyday garb, but I saw old men in the traditional Bavarian hats!

Keith had photos on his phone of many of the sites as they looked during the war, and one of a cat that looked like Adolf Hitler. We tried to guess the caption that ran with the photo in the London Times. It was "Mein Furr-er". Pretty funny.

Odeonsplatz from where Hitler made his speeches
The most interesting thing on the tour is part of something that isn't there anymore. In the Odeonsplatz is a big ornate amphitheatre kind of thing from which Hitler would rant to the crowds. On the side of that building there used to be a plaque to Nazi-ism with SS guards posted on either side. The public was required to give the Nazi salute when passing the sign.  Failure to do so would result in arrest.  There's an alley just before this spot that is marked (modestly like all references to the Third Reich in Munich) with paint on the street.  People would cut down this alley to avoid going past the sign and, eventually, the Gestapo caught on and posted people undercover.  If you cut down the alley too often, you could be arrested.

Really enjoyed the tour and headed back to my hotel, which took a bit of guessing -- I'm a bit lost without the GPS on my phone.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Day 1 in Munich

I've learned how to get around and have my confidence back! The tram stop is right around the corner from the hotel and my open window. I could hear them through the night but couldn't see them. The hotel is only 4 stops from Hbf (train station) -- really quite easy.
Old City Hall building at the Marienplatz

I had a city bus tour booked today (one of those hop-on/hop-off with lots of places to join), and the closest place to get on was at the Marienplatz. To get there required a walk through the Viktulienmarkt, which was absolutely fascinating! It was full of green-roofed stands and, like Paris, they sell flowers everywhere, along with fresh produce. There were also stands selling spices, cheese, wine, crafts -- just a multitude of things.  The beer garden area was already full of people at 10 a.m. with huge mugs of beer.

Beer garden in the Viktulienmarkt
I found the bus stop and ended up sitting next to a lovely Australian woman that I spent the next day with, although we didn't know that at the time! The bus tour had a guide instead of headphones; the guide would do it first in German, then in English (or vice versa). It was a nice tour but didn't help me get the feel for the city. Because Munich is an old city that originally had walls, the historic section is laid out more like a circle.

String quartet outside church

Note: I've never seen so much construction going on in any other city.  There are barricades & bleachers going up for the upcoming Oktoberfest celebration but, even beyond that there is scaffolding and road work and cranes everywhere!

Really stunning display of doves in the church
I jumped off the bus at the train station to do a bit of exploring. It's not all that large, really, and I found the track from which I'll be leaving for Amsterdam, where the storage lockers are, and the office of Radius Tours. The two walking tours that I want to take tomorrow are through Radius (as recommended by Rick Steves).

My outstanding dinner
So, I got the two tickets and got back on another bus that dropped me at Marienplatz where I wandered around a bit. I caught the end of the Glockenspiel playing at the City Hall, a string quartet playing in front of a church, and ordered food at the beer garden (lovely pork sandwich, giant pretzel, and Radler which is like shandy. What a great day!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On to Munich

After a wonderful day in Schwangau, I was able to catch the bus to Munich during which I was
Love these little gummy bears!
able to pull together some miscellaneous thoughts again:
  • The waiters are in no rush to move you along in restaurants. Sometimes it's hard to get the check.
  • Once again - the number of Japanese tourists is amazing!
  • Coke Light just isn't the same as Diet Coke
  • Going through these little towns you see that the roofs on the houses are mostly tiles
  • Germany looks and feels like Wisconsin, which makes sense I guess.  Same trees, cows, foods -- feels like home.  The hills of Bavaria are a bit different, though.
  • Instead of mints, the various places I've stayed have put little packets of gummy bears on the pillow -- and I love them!  Haribo.
  • How is my suitcase getting heavier?  I think maybe I'm keeping too much paper as I certainly haven't been buying a bunch of stuff.
It was very clear that my confidence was shaken with the incident in Frankfurt. Once I got to Rothenburg and learned that I wouldn't be joining an actual tour group, I felt better about not keeping people waiting. Then, when I was dropped in Schwangau, I was told that another bus would be taking me to Munich, but no details were yet available.  I fretted about getting up to the castle for my tour, and getting back down to catch the bus. Normally, none of these things would bother me but I was still feeling out of control and off my game. I did relax once I got on the bus to Munich -- until we actually arrived. It had been raining and it was that time of day when traffic and people were congested around the Hbf.  I spotted the Tourist Information Center and headed straight there, but it had just closed!

Unlike Paris (which is twice the size of Munich), there are 4 systems of transportation in the city. Paris has the Metro, suburban trains, and buses -- but Munich adds aboveground trams. Without a transit map, it's all a big jumble so I took control in a way I understood:  taxi. The cab driver didn't speak English, but I had the address of the hotel so it worked out.  Checking in at the hotel was a breeze and I was able to get settled in. Planning to tackle the transit system tomorrow!

Note:  I love the little elevators that were obviously retrofitted into some of these old hotels.

Fairy Tale Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle from my hotel window
Hotel Muller sits in a great spot in Schwangau: between the two castles located in that town. From my hotel room, I had a view of Hohenschwangau Castle up on the hill behind the hotel (although I didn't realize that's what I was looking at from my window). From the dining room, there is a spectacular view of Neuschwanstein, which would have been glorious last night but I got in too late to eat dinner at the hotel.

Hohenschwangau Castle
Picked up my tour ticket at the front desk and stowed my luggage; then I had to figure out how to get up to the castle -- which is quite the hike! There is a bus (that had a really long waiting line) and a couple of really slow horse-drawn carriages. I was getting concerned about missing my scheduled time so decided to walk up. Frankly, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. It's a mile or so (all up hill) on a nicely paved road through the forest, and the coolness from the trees saved me! On the walk up I saw a guy that comes along on a tractor with a sweeper to clean up the horse droppings. I guess everyone has a job to do!

Before coming on the trip, I had watched my Rick Steves TV shows, read the books, and listened to the podcasts so I knew you had to be on time for your tour. When you get to the top of the hill, there is a 'waiting area' with an electronic board showing the tour schedule. The time for my tour was reasonably soon so, after taking some photos of the castle, I went on up into the castle courtyard. This is probably a good time to mention that I'm really bad at taking 'selfies' -- either with my phone or with my little camera. I keep trying, but they don't turn out very well. There are people with 'selfie sticks' everywhere, though, so I'm guessing their pictures will turn out a bit better than mine.

View from the castle with the hills of Austria in the distance
I know that Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland and I've seen photos, but was truly impressed by how beautiful it is. Old Mad King Ludwig did a really good job with the design of the outside, but I was less impressed with the inside. One thing that came as a total surprise was the number of steps that we had to climb once we got inside. The castle was never finished so the tour covers only the finished part that was used by King Ludwig -- and they're all on the top floors. After walking all the way up the hill, it was a bit of a chore also climbing all of the stairs but I prevailed!

One of my terrible 'selfies'
The castle was impressive inside but, even more, the views from the castle across the valley and down to the town and lakes was magnificent. You could see the hills of Austria in the distance and, of course, the other castle that had been built by Ludwig's father.

On the way back down (walking), I saw a guy selling donut holes.  They looked like the ones Mom used to make (maybe a little bigger) so I had to try them. They weren't as good as Mom's, but mmmmmmmm.
My cute new watch

Back at the hotel, I was able to retrieve my things and get everything straightened out for the bus trip to Munich. With a little time to kill, I wandered around and found a shop that sold watches.  I bought a cute watch to replace my broken one.

All in all, a really wonderful trip down the Romantic Road.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bus Journey down 'The Romantic Road'

Small little inset area in this house
Originally I booked the Romantic Road bus tour as a means of getting from Frankfurt to Munich, and seeing some of the countryside. Of course, I missed the bus in Frankfurt so I also missed a couple of the small towns on the route but loved Rothenburg. Today, after visiting the Crime & Punishment Museum in Rothenburg, I was able to get the bus that went on for the rest of my bespoke tour.

Dumb moment: As mentioned in a previous post, I've been really thirsty so I bought a large bottle of orange drink to have on the bus. Almost as soon as we left, the bottle fell over. When I picked it up, I absentmindedly opened it for a drink -- forgetting that it was highly carbonated. It shot all over the place! I cleaned up the seat and my clothes as well as I could with the few napkins I had and changed seats. At a later break, when everyone was off the bus, I got towels and water from the bathroom and cleaned the sticky mess off the floor.

Charming little town of Dinkelsbuhl
It was a nice drive in the bus and reminded me of being home. As a matter of fact, I'm reminded of Wisconsin since I got into Germany. In this case, I'm seeing wind turbines and fields of solar panels as we drive.

Our first stop was another walled city -- Dinkelsbuhl -- for about 45 minutes and I wandered around a bit. This was another old-world little German towns that has retained it's charm and beauty.

The statue in the inset of the house

The next stop (Nordlinger) was when I was able to get off the bus and get the necessary things to clean up the mess I mentioned earlier. This is really a great bus route; there are recorded talks and announcements about the towns, including one regarding an area we passed through that had been hit with a huge meteorite. This bus is full of Japanese tourists so the announcements are first in English, then in Japanese, but not in German at all!

When we stopped in Augsburg, I ran into a grocery store and got a yummy liverwurst sandwich and small bottle of wine. The wine wasn't even remotely as good as that in Rothenburg. Wish I had some of that!


  • Lots of roundabouts on this road
  • Petrol is €1,47.9 -- I'm guessing that's per liter.
  • Japanese ladies in front of me on the bus have Rick Steves' 2014 Germany book. 
  • Sounds like the temp at home was cold today for Alex's soccer game (43).  It was a bit warmer here (60s), but rainy again.
  • The gardens here are beautiful -- lovely flowers and lots of vegetables. I saw flowers growing in a field -- clearly for professional reasons. Lots of people are growing big hydrangeas, and there were fruit trees everywhere in Rothenburg:  apples, pears, plums.
We arrived in Hohenschwangau around 8:30, a bit later than expected, right to the Hotel Muller. Now this is a hotel! People at the reception desk could not have been nicer or more helpful -- they got me all set to visit Neuschwanstein Castle at 11 a.m. to beat the crowds that come in on buses. 

Goodbye to Rothenburg -- and to the rain!

My comfy bed at The Golden Rose
One more image of this beautiful city
Happy to say that I slept really well last night. Thought the bed would be like the one in Frankfurt (looked just like it), but the mattress was softer and I had the big squishy pillow that was amazing! I'm also in love with these duvet/feather bed things that you sleep under rather than sheets and blankets. Had to unlock my bedroom and bathroom doors in the night but it wasn't so bad. The wifi from the main hotel doesn't reach the guest cottage so I wasn't tempted to stay up late.

Once again, I'm seriously impressed with the water everywhere I go in Europe. It tastes really good so I can keep my bottle filled, which is a good things since I'm really thirsty all the time!

Breakfast this morning at the hotel (European style) and a visit to the Crime Museum. Taxi was prompt and picked me up for delivery to the bus to continue on with the journey. I loved this little town and would come back here in a heartbeat!

Two floors of authentic items of torture
Not a very comfy chair

Fun Shop Windows

Thought I might just post some photos of shop windows that I've seen on my journey thus far.

Saw these cute shoes in a shop in Paris

Not really a shop window per se -- this was my grocery store in Paris

McDonald's restroom in the Cologne train station.  All restrooms require money

In Rothenburg -- look at all of the beer steins!

Pastries and cakes everywhere!

Cute shoes everywhere
Including owl shoes -- along with a ton of owl stuff in one shop

Quite the fascination with owls apparently