Thursday, June 23
Leaving Vienna behind we headed for Salzburg. At first impression, Salzburg didn’t appear to be much more than a typical city; however, once we headed into the old town we discovered the charm of the city and some of the highlights. Much has been made of the city’s connection to the Sound of Music and we were able to see the convent Maria Von Trapp lived in, the gate used from the convent in the movie, and the line of trees from the film where the children were hanging from the branches. Unfortunately, although we were very close to the outdoor stage used in the film, it is not available for the public to see.
After leaving this area we headed back into the mountains to the Eagles Nest. This was built high on a mountaintop for Hitler as a birthday present to be used as a base for strategy and planning. Again we ran into a lot of rain and fog so were able to view the last remaining building that is now a restaurant but were not able to see the magnificent views into town that are available on nice days. All of the other buildings re destroyed after Hitler was taken from power.
This evening we were treated to another amazing dinner, called a “Be My Guest” dinner. We left the hotel to travel to the countryside for our visit at a local private brewery for our meal. There we sampled some of their beers and enjoyed a dinner of salad, soup, spareribs, and a lovely dessert sampler. The home was very rustic, and even with the heavy rain falling all evening we had a wonderful time.
Tomorrow we visit Mad King Ludwig’s castle, tour Munich, then on to the Black Forest as our tour is nearing it’s end.
Friday, June 24
King Ludwig’s castle was our first destination this morning. To be honest, I thought we were going to his castle that looks like Cinderella’s castle, but this was the one that was modeled after Versailles. It was certainly another very ornate and over the top castle – too bad he only stayed there 10 days and it was never finished!
After the castle we headed for Munich for a city tour and some time to look around the downtown area. This area was incredibly busy, as a guide in Oxford once said, “it was heaving!” we had some very heavy rain as we arrived but it stopped after about half an hour and the sun eventually came out. As we left town we saw some of the Olympic venues from 1972 and the Mercedes Benz corporate offices.
Our stop for tonight is Oberammergau in the German Alps. The town is known for the Passion Play, woodworking pieces, and its painted houses. we have really enjoyed looking around at the very quaint shops, in fact, we wished we had more time here and less in Munich since many of the stores were closing shortly after we arrived. Our hotel is right in the middle of town and has the beautiful Alpine-style architecture.
One note about our group experience so far – an elderly lady fell right after we got off the bus in Munich and hurt her arm and hip – she is going to have it looked at when we get to the hotel this evening. I mention this because she is the third person in our group of 47 to need medical care. A gentleman tripped and fell on the corner of his bed one night and had a major goose egg and black eye, another lady became very ill, she was already quite frail and the higher altitudes made her sick.