Germany & Austria Summer 22 Report

Long Overdue, but here goes…

We spent 12 days in Southern Germany last Summer and just had a fantastic time. Flew in and out of Munich, via Icelandair which was easy and efficient. I’d definitely recommend them. Next time we’ll add a stopover.

Munich
Stayed at the Hotel One - Sendlinger Tor. It was a nice hotel, quiet area, good access to the U-bahn and transit, convenient for walking to the altstadt. Mattress was SOFT, breakfast was good, space was snug but comfy. We did a lot of the RickSteves tourist things and enjoyed our time, but four days was probably a day too long for me.
The absolute personal highlight was when I was at the Der Pschorr beerhall near Viktualienmarkt. I was filming the barman tap one of their wooden kegs and he handed me the mallet and the tap and said “you can do it”. I managed with minimal spray and we caught the whole thing on video. I had been to Dachau previously and I just couldn’t take that emotional burden on this trip, but it absolutely is a worthwhile trip from Munich. We did visit the Haus der Kunst and enjoy a fantastic day walking in the English Gardens. We even got to see the unban surfers do their thing, which was a blast.
The next day we rented a car (BTW Sixt does NOT honor renewed licenses unless you have the hard card back from DMV) and headed to…

Fussen/Neuschwanstein
I had been there in the 80s but Jules had this as bucket list so we booked tickets well in advance and headed first to Hohenschwangau. I really liked this little place; great views and a really nice bite-sized tour. Then after lunch we hiked up to Neuschwanstein. The hike was a legit hike uphill maybe 45 minutes. It wouldn’t have been a strenuous hike but for the fact that I seriously underestimated how much time we had to make our timed ticket entry and not everyone in our group had been hitting the gym. Marienbrucke was closed for renovation so we just walked back to town.
Our hotel Sonne Fussen was really awesome. I loved the decor, the vibe, the spacious and comfy room. Bonus was a great restaurant and lounge downstairs and a fantastic breakfast. From Fussen we drove to…

Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden
Holy bleep, I’ve died and gone to heaven. Nestled in the picturesque corner of Germany near Salzburg, this area is just amazingly beautiful. We took daytrips; to Konigsee for the lake cruise and the gondola ride, to Salzburg for the history and architecture and to Berchtesgaden for the salt mine tour. BUT for me, the highlight was hiking the hills near our hotel and returning for a beer and some hearty food.
The Hotel Nutzkaser was a small family run place that was just perfect. The snug rooms were so comfortable and the setting; in a meadow overlooking the majestic Watzmann range, surrounded by the clang of cowbells… wow, just wonderful. Rooms were also ridiculously cheap. I think our room was like €50 and had a balcony.
It’s a winter destination but the hiking and biking options are myriad. The hike up through Wimbachklamm (Wimbach Falls) was the best hike I’ve ever done. We topped out at a small mountain hut “restaurant” surrounded by cows that provided the cheese and butter we ate with our beer. That trail is a popular part of the route up to Watzmann (2nd highest in German) but that was more than I wanted to do. I had wanted to tour some of the Hitler/Nazi sites but they were closed for renovation.
Daytrips into Salzburg were convenient and we enjoyed what is really a great, historic European city. We have this odd fascination with old historic cemeteries on our travels and Salzburg had two fascinating ones. The walled cemetery at St. Sebastian’s was a macabre visual feast and great historical trip. Paracelcus is buried there as well as Mozart family members. I’d also recommend Mirabelle gardens and the nearby “Dwarf Gardens”. Hohensalzburg was absolutely worth the price of admission. They make it very “tourist friendly” for better or worse. Still it’s a fascinating place and the views of Salzburg are unbeatable.
I’d say our time in the Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden area were too short. It was just a magical place where your blood pressure instantly dropped. We are already talking about a return visit with friends.

Things we didn’t do:

  • As I mentioned above, we didn’t go to Dachau. This trip was meant to be fun and light and I just didn’t want that emotional heavy lifting on this visit.
  • We didn’t go to Garmisch and Zugspitze. It was both time thing (it is the other direction from Fussen) and the idea that I would see lots of alpine meadows and mountains in Ramsau. I think I made the right choice for me but on another trip that brings me closer to that corner of Germany, I’d be tempted.
  • Various stops btw Fussen and Berchtesgaden (Chiemsee, et al). These came highly recommended and I originally had a stop planned but I chickened out about the travel time. As it turned out, we would have easily had enough time.
  • Mozart sites and concerts in Salzburg. Just a time and a priority thing. I really wanted to enjoy the natural beauty of the area so we did more hiking and outdoors things. I definitely would have added these if we had a few more days.
  • Extend our layover in Iceland. I’d love to spend a few days there.

All in all it was a great trip. Dario had a blast, we enjoyed some great bonding and memory-making and we traveled on a decent budget.

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Nice notes. I hope your second cemetery in Salzburg was St. Peter’s!

Yes, all part of the RickSteves walking tour. I don’t remember watching the whole Sound of Music until a few months before we left, so we had to watch that.