Monday, 7 January 2013

Stuttgart and home

Stuttgart was thoroughly disappointing.  I miss Bavaria!  Not to worry though because we have something like 36 hours of travelling ahead of us - and because of crap timing of flights etc we have about a 6 hour wait at the airport before we even start the trip home. Yay....waaaah!

At least we know that we will likely never come back to Stuttgart unless it was for a particular event that we wanted to attend.  I am so happy that we extended both Munich and Bamberg and ate into the time we had planned to be here.  But GB got to see his Mercedes Museum and that was one of the reasons we were here and we did find a Brew pub and I got to taste the wines of the region - so not a total loss :)

What a fantastic trip we have had.  We are lucky people.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Bamberg 2

Sitting in a brewery that is 70 years older than Australia.  The history in Europe is hard to comprehend sometimes.   Last night we ate dinner in a brewery 6 and 1/2 centuries old!

Today we visited the cathedral of Bamberg which holds the remains of a pope - the only cathedral north of the Alps to do so.  I am not a fan of religion. I dislike any institution that segregates people, incites hate and in turn violence and does so in the name of god - any god. But I absolutely love churches, cathedrals, abbeys, basilicas and all the beauty that comes with them  - the architecture, art and most especially the ritual.

We climbed a hill and walked around the grounds of a castle that held captive a bear for 30 years from  1952 to 1982.  We then took a bus down to the Abbey to find that it was closed due to the front of the building threatening to fall off at any moment.  Bamberg is one of the towns that was now bombed in WW2 - and therefore has some fantastic historical buildings....even if some of them are now falling apart.

A further 2 breweries also visited for lunch and dinner.  Woohoo.

view of old court house

GB on the way to Altenburg


Cute little church around the corner of our hotel

The bear enclosure at Altenburg

Greifenklau Brauhaus


The town of breweries and all the cute!

Upon arrival we immediately extended our stay for another night.  Last night we had a drink at 3 out of the 10 brew pubs in town.  Which means we have a busy day ahead of us today - 7 to go.  Dinner was at the brewery GB wanted to visit the most, the reason we are even here in the adorable town of Bamberg - Schlenkerla.  We both chose meals prepared with the famous smoked beer.  Delicious!

Today I also want to fit in the cathedral, Abbey and castle.  And maybe we might have some time to investigate a bit more history on the witch trials that happened here.  I might be pushing it.

Dave is missed.  Drinking and breakfast buddy no longer.  I am not sure if I said before but it was excellent meeting up with Dave and experiencing Franconia and Bavaria together.  



GB with his tasting platter next to the kettles in Ambräusianum

one of the river ways 

view from the bridge of the town hall

of the the squares in Bamberg

Town Hall

street view

Another view of the town hall

A gingerbread house bakery

dinner at Schlenkerla

One of the rooms in the Brauhaus of Schlenkerla, the beams were painted with ox blood to preserve the wood

Thursday, 3 January 2013


Today was an all day tour to the castle of castles in Germany.  We took the tour because it was the most convenient way to get there and we were so glad that we did when we got their because it was utterly chaotic at the foot of the mountain, totally under resourced in services. The line to get tickets into the castle was over 200metres.

The lake and the 2 castles we saw were fantastic.  Inside Neuchwanstein I thought my eyes were going to explode with over stimulation - it was just ridiculous all the details of every single room that was finished.  Amazing stuff.  No photos allowed inside the castle and the most expensive gift shop I have ever experienced. I just wanted the nice orange scarf with the carriage on it but at 50 euro I was going without.

The trees were still laden with snow and every now and then there was enough of a breeze to blow some snow into the air and it would filter down between the branches and sunlight.  I loved it - if you could have removed the eleventy billion other people that were there I would have liked it much more.

Our tour guide was the same lady who took the beer tour our second night in Munich.  She was an american who had moved to Munich.  She was ok.  But she came into her own I think when she was bullied by another tour guide on the train out to the castle.  This guy came into the carriage we were on and then demand that she stop giving her tour in public because there was one or two of his people in the same carriage.  He then threatened if she continued he would stand there and make jibes at her the whole time.  She was ultra polite and all of her tour group told him to back off.  It was really weird and uncomfortable.



Austria...for lunch

New Years day.  What to do...

The three of us jumped a train for Salzburg and decided that we would head to Austria for lunch.

We headed straight for Altstadt  (old town) to find a pub for lunch and take a look around.  The remnants of fun and the celebrations of the previous night showed in the litter about the streets and fountains, but otherwise it was a pretty and quaint old town.

If I were to describe my activities in very few words I would say castles and wine.  That is what I like to do.
We took the cable car to the castle and took in the Alps - it was really breathtaking.  It might have been nice to spend an extra day there but I was quite happy to make our way back to Munich early evening and head straight back to my favourite of all the beer halls we frequented. Andecher Am Dom.  I would rate their food to be some of the best that I have had in all of Germany.

It was our last night with Dave as he was headed home the next day. Beer was drunk by the maß and the night ended with schnapps.  As it is supposed to.  We had so much fun meeting up with Dave and spending Christmas and New Year together - it was awesome.  Yay!


Catacombs in the walls surrounding the cemetery

Lunch venue

Old town with the castle in the background

Zwei Maß Bitte

View of the Alps from the castle

Classical concert in the town square in Salzburg


Munich 2 - Castles and Beer Halls

Bavaria Bavaria Bavaria!    

Lots of fun being had the in the capital. 

Atmosphere and warm lighting beckon to the Bräuhaus' as you walk past. Schweinshaxe restaurants that allow you to choose from a platter of knuckles, long communal tables with potential friends and lots of beer, baskets of pretzels always on the is what I expected the bavarian drinking and eating culture to be like.  I love it when things meet and exceed my expectations.  The service in every establishment we have visited has been fantastic.  It is like no arseholes work in Munich at all. (edit: turns out there are at least 2 that work for the tour group Radius we encountered)

It almost feels like all we have done in Munich is eat and drink - but we have actually managed to slip in a couple of other interesting things as well.  I visited the Schloss Nymphenburg while GB and Dave went to the BMW museum.  We took a tour of Dachau and visited the German National Museum and the park that entertains Oktoberfest.

Today we caught the train to the end of the line, hiked 3kms up a hill through woods and arrived at a Monestary / brewery.  The monestary sat atop of hill overlooking pasture and farms and in the near distance the alps sparkled.  It was great.  Afterwards we hiked down the hill in darkness to make our way back to town to see in the new year with Munich.  Chaos and fun ensued.  People letting off fireworks everywhere.  We went to the park that Oktoberfest is usually held in.  And it was a mass of people putting on their own display of fireworks that built up and peaked for 20 mins at midnight and then lasted another 20 mins.  I have never experienced anything like it.  

I would move to Munich in a heartbeat.

A little stone house with a little stone house in the garden

The NYE set up in the Oktoberfest park
Walking through the woods to get to the abbey/brewery
Große Pretzel

Lots of Prosts

View from the Abbey

unfocused NYE under the grape like bunch of mirror balls at the entrance to Tollwood


Selingor Tor

BMW Muesem

GB picking out his pork knuckle
hours into one of the bigger nights we had out in Munich


Swans at Schloss Nymphenburg

Panorama of the ponds in front of castle

Panorama of Schloss Nymphenburg

Inside the castle

Hunting Sleigh

One of the many carriages in the museum at the Schloss

The Rathaus spire alight with afternoon winter sun

Happy me at Zum Durnbrau enjoying a Rosé