Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Eagle's Nest

This trip started like many others. We chose ours dates of travel but let the flight availability dictate our destination.  We needed to find a flight that had enough "good seats" to accommodate a party of 6 (Nancy, BJ Tony, Kristi, Kelly & Billy).  Munich was a likely option so we planned an itinerary that would take us on a leisurely path to the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's retreat, high in the mountains of southern Germany.

Wednesday, 23OCT2019

We flew from Jacksonville to Atlanta to meet our friends at the Sky Club before going to the gate.

Four of our party got Delta One seats on the Munich flight.  Tony and I, with our retiree pass priority, were offered a 3 across in Economy Comfort class but our homework had told us there were lots of D1 seats available on the Stuttgart flight leaving from the gate just across the hall. We waved goodbye to our friends and went our separate ways, agreeing to meet in Füssen, about 2 hours from the two airports.

We toasted our good fortune as we left Atlanta.

We enjoyed a fabulous meal, a movie and a nap, waking up just before landing in Stuttgart.

Thursday, 24OCT2019

We picked up our rental car (we had cars reserved in both Munich and Stuttgart) and headed for Füssen. We met the others near the tourist information office. Kristi had found a reasonable hotel and asked then to hold 3 rooms for us while we explored the town.  We found a cute little restaurant with outdoor seating where we could enjoy or first German bier of the trip along with some pizza and wiener schnitzel.

After lunch, we walked around town a bit.  We found ourselves on a section of the long-distance trail Wandertrilogie Allgäu that overlooked the city.  We had a nice view of the town from above.  We could see the Stadtpfarrkirche St. Mang and the Hohes Schloss.

We followed the path along the river that took us by the church (Stadtpfarrkirche St. Mang).

We stopped in at Weinkost Berger and had a glass of delicious Italian wine sitting outside around a wine barrel table.

We met some other tourists from the U.S. who wanted us to take their picture so we got them to return the favor. Hope the picture we took for them turned out as well!

Just over the bridge, we found a little restaurant (Laura's Schiffwirtschaft) with outdoor seating beside the river.  Ivan, from Croatia, was our waiter.  Tony went inside to order our wine and Ivan gave him a test.  If Tony could answer who was on the $2 bill, Ivan would give him a glass of brandy on the house.  Tony had recently had the same question on a crossword puzzle so he passed with flying colors!

We had a delicious dinner at Aquila Das Restaurant and headed back to the hotel.  The Luitpoldpark Hotel was very comfortable for some very tired travelers on the first day of the trip!

Friday, 25OCT2019

We loaded up our two cars and headed for Neuschwanstein Castle.  We elected to walk up the hill to the castle rather than take the horse and buggy ride.  We were quite refreshed at the beginning of the walk.  Would we still be smiling at the top of the hill?

It was quite a steep hike but we made it to the top, shedding layers of clothing and wiping beads of sweat along the route.

Tony decided to forego the continuation of the hike to Marienbrücke, the pedestrian bridge built over a cliff with an amazing view of Neuschwanstein Castle.

The bridge was a bit scarey with so many people and some of the boards sagged.  Those with a fear of heights might not want to look down, and for goodness sakes, don't drop your phone/camera!

On the way back from the bridge, I got a nice panorama shot of the valley below the castle.  It was a bit of a gray day, but at least it wasn't foggy!

We stopped for a beer before making our way back to the car.  We had decided on Garmisch for lunch and Tegernsee for dinner.

On our way back through Füssen, we stopped to get a look at Lechfall a man-made waterfall spilling over a dam ladder, built in the 18th century as a means of flood control.  The water in the river Lech is a blue-green color, reminiscent of the water you might see in an amusement park.

Garmish is a pretty little town and we had a nice lunch at zum Rassen. 

We had intended to spend the night in Tegernsee at the Seehotel zur Post, but we got confused when booking and found that we had actually booked the zur Post hotel in Kreuth, about 15 minutes from Tegernsee.  We stopped in Tegernsee to see if we could switch the reservation but the Seehotel was full so we went to Kreuth and checked in.  The zur Post is an older hotel but clean and quiet (except for the creaky stairs).  Every room on our floor opened onto the lovely little balcony with its window boxes for flowers.

We all piled in one car for the drive back to Tegernsee for dinner thinking that if we overindulged, we could always get a cab back to the hotel.  It was a tight squeeze with two in the front, three in the back and one in the hatchback!  The sun was setting over the lake when we arrived.

Our first stop was at the Bräustüberl, a beer hall in a church!  We found a table outside under a tent with heaters (it had gotten colder) and enjoyed a beer.

By the time we left, it was getting dark but still not quite time for our dinner reservations.

We made one more stop for a glass of wine at the Yachtclub before heading to the Fischerstüberl for dinner.  The Fischerstüberl holds a special place in our hearts because it was a favorite of our friend Hilton who passed away a few years ago.  Some of the group had come to know and love the owners, Tomas and his family.  We had a great dinner and celebrated Nancy's birthday with Tomas and his son Tommy.  We had the BEST gulaschsuppe of the trip along with lots of other delectable food.

We piled back into the rental car after dinner and headed back to the hotel for a night cap.  There was a couple on our floor with two rambunctious dogs who bounded into one of our rooms!

Saturday, 26OCT2019

We met for breakfast and planned our trip to the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's Retreat.  We found a location on the map for "Bus Parking" near Berchtesgaden and agreed meet there.  We wouldn't try to stick together so each car would use their own GPS to route us to the meeting place.

Our route put us on the A8 which passes through Austria.  On the entrance ramp, there was a road block and we were flagged to the side of the road. The policewoman asked to see our registration.  We sorted through the glovebox until we found it.  She looked it over and said, "It has been the law for 22 years that to drive in Austria you must contribute to the upkeep of the roads.  Every car must have a sticker showing that you have paid...  You will have to pay a fine of 120 Euros...  Follow me back to the van where you can pay the fine."  We sent a text to the other car to warn them, but their GPS had sent them on a different route that did not go through Austria.  Expensive lesson!  The lady told Tony that the receipt we got for the fine would allow us to drive in Austria for two days so we continued on.

The location where we had selected to meet turned out to be only accessilble by bus or on foot, so after paying another toll to get there, we had to turn around and figure out where we would meet the others.  We found a parking lot for the Eagle's nest but it was full so we parked in a lot about a half mile away.  We spotted the other car as we were walking back and directed them where to park.

We bought tickets for the bus and had to wait about a half hour.  On the bus, we were instructed that when we got to the bus parking area we should make a reservation for the return bus.  With this done, we took the elevator to the top of the hill.  It was a beautiful day and the view from atop the mountain was spectacular.

We were able to get a table in the sun and enjoy some beer, wine, gulaschsuppe and wursts before taking the elevator back down and catching our bus back to the parking lot.

Since it was late in the day, we decided on a destination that was not too far away.  We agreed to meet at the Weininger Brau in Prien am Chiemsee.  Tony and I took the fastest route back through Austria and beat the others by about 15 minutes thanks to Hitler's minions and our 120 Euro permission slip.

Over our afternoon beers, we used Trip Advisor and Hotels.com to look for hotels in the area. We decided on the Yachthotel which was reasonably priced without the optional 20 Euro per person breakfast.  We stopped by the REWE store to pick up a few bottles of wine for our night cap and then checked into our hotel.  We returned to the Weininger Brau for a dinner of traditional German food, and then it was back to the Yachthotel for the night.

Sunday, 27OCT2019

We had agreed to meet at 8:00AM so I had set my clock for 7:00AM the night before.  Tony shook me awake and said it was 7:30 and we had overslept.  We hurried to get ready and then I looked at my phone to see why my alarm hadn't gone off.  I discovered that Germany had gone through their fall time change so we weren't late at all.  We were ready an hour early.  None of the rest of our crew had made this mistake.

We wanted to take the ferry to see the palace at Herrenchiemsee.  Since we had elected not to have breakfast at the hotel we drove to the ferry dock hoping to find coffee nearby.  Some of the group found a place for to-go coffees.  Nancy and I got cappucino at the ferry kiosk.  We got on the 9:00 ferry, got seats on the top deck and had a nice ride to the island.

The palace was patterned after the one in Versailles and even had a copy of the fountain with the goddess Lantona turning the peasants into frogs.  The fountain had been drained for the winter.

After we explored the palace grounds, we took the path back toward the ferry dock.  We had time to enjoy a beer at the Schlosswirtschaft before our ferry would arrive.

We were really glad we had taken the early ferry!  When the next ferry arrived it was PACKED and when we got back to Prien there was a huge line waiting to get on a ferry!

We had pizza for lunch sitting outside in the sun at the restaurant Westernacher.  We were amazed that it was so hot in October!

We decided on Landsberg am Lech, another pretty little town as our destination for the night.

We had beers at Gasthof Mohren while we studied our favorite websites for hotel recommendations.  We decided on the Hotel Goggl which had chickens everywhere.  Not real chickens - ceramic chickens, painted chickens, carved chickens, etc.

Billy found a really nice looking restaurant for dinner but we couldn't get in without a reservation so we found Hellmairs which had a table for 6 available.  Our server grew up in America.  Her father was in the military & her mother was German.

Monday, 28OCT2019

The chicken theme continued at breakfast with a chicken video playing beneath the breakfast buffet.

We had left ourselves a pretty long drive to get back to Frankfurt for our flight home the next day.  We started out trying to follow the Romantic Road but it was somewhat windy and slow-going. We broke up the drive by stopping in Augsburg for a mid-morning beer at the Weißer Hase where Happy Hour was from 10AM to Noon and included free pretzels.  We weren't sure if we could drive through the gate into the old section of town so we parked at a mall just before the gate.

We weren't making very good time so we decided to take the highway and meet in Rothenburg ob der Tauber for lunch.

Rothenburg is a walled city.  One can walk on top of the wall for about a mile around the city.  We didn't have time to do the entire walk.

We were lucky to get a table at the Ratsstubbe which was very crowded.  Our waiter was an American who had been stationed in Germany and married a German.

After lunch, I took a quick walk on the wall and met Tony at the car.  

It was after dark by the time we got back to Frankfurt and difficult to navigate to a gas station and then to the rental car return.  Once we got into the airport we had a little trouble finding the Airport Hilton.  The signs were unclear and the staff at the airport gave us some bad directions so we got a lot of extra steps in!  We finally found it and got checked in.  Our "Family Rooms" turned out to be four separate rooms!  We are still Hilton Honors Diamond members thanks to our credit card points so we had access to the Executive Lounge which had a nice buffet and beverages.

We discovered that our flights weren't looking quite as promising for "good seats" as they had, so some of the group changed their plans and decided to fly home through Detroit.  We stuck with our original plan of going through New York because there was a direct connection to Jacksonville and we would get home to see our fur babies sooner.

Tuesday, 29OCT2019

All of our friends (still on active status) got "good seats" on the flights across the ocean.  Tony and I got Comfort+ seats which were surprisingly comfortable.  We watched a couple of movies and read a bit and before we knew it, we were landing in JFK.

Through passport control, customs and security, a bus to our concourse, an hour or so at the Sky Club and we were on a plane headed home.

It was another great trip with great friends!  We ate a lot, we drank a lot, we saw a lot, we laughed a lot and we DROVE A LOT! 700 miles and 10+ cities in 5 days!  Thank you Europcar for unlimited mileage, and thank you Austria for the EXPENSIVE lesson.

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