Aug201201

Up and at it bright and early, we head over to the breakfast buffet where I get my first taste of hotel breakfast buffets.  Breads, cheeses and meats…pretty much what my diet consisted of for the rest of the trip.  Absolutely no complaints though…cause seriously…YUM!

So, we had to all be up fairly early since we were catching the shuttle bus to the airport so that we could wave fair well to a couple of Rob’s friends, ship his bike home with them and pick up our rental car.  We hopped on board the shuttle bus and not only was that women a cantankerous old bat, but she was a bad a** driver.  Good thing I have decent bladder control…she was one scary driver….small road + bid shuttle bus = passenger tears…well almost.

Nonetheless, we wave goodbye to Rob’s friends and his bike to go get the car.  We grab the car and attempt to program in the first destination.  The “All You Need Hotel” in Salzburg, Austria….BUT, the GPS…in German.  Oh man!!!  It was a good 5 minute walk to the car from the rental place…but luckily, there was an attendant checking cars so we asked him if there was anyway to change the GPS to english….phew!  thank you Mr Man.

Now that we are all speaking the same language we program Mrs. GPS to take us to our first destination.  She (the GPS) is very friendly, a nice lady voice, gives ample warning for the next turn…so far very pleasant.  She gets us onto the highway and off we go.

Now we know that we have to purchase a Vignette before we get into Austria.  This is the highway toll tax that all cars need to pay.  There is a little sticker that get put onto the windshield of the car…you can purchase a 10 day pass which was the perfect amount of time for us.  Now that we have that covered, we continue on our way and pass through to Austria.  The trip from Munich to Salzburg is not that far at all.  Mrs. GPS took us straight to the hotel, she was brilliant and we thanked her countless times for being excellent.  (Weird, ok, maybe…just wait till Vienna…our tune changes, but all in good time.)

We are checking into the hotel in Salzburg early afternoon.  The hotel is called “All you need hotel”…it truly is…all you need.  The room was fairly small compared to all the other rooms we had in Europe and Rob found the bed to be too hard. (It was ok for me though)  The furniture was pretty much straight off the Ikea floor display….but it was clean, the staff were very friendly and it was in a good location. It included breakfast and was under budget, so it was a total score.

Disclaimer: I should mention, I tried my hardest to spend under $100/night.  I booked the hotels months in advance, so not only did we get early booking discounts, but we also received discounts for booking 2 nights or 3 nights as well.  So I did pretty good for our budget on hotels.  We have no complaints about anywhere we stayed at all.  All hotels were clean, friendly and in very central locations.

We have checked into the hotel now and we head off to explore.  We walk around the whole city centre that afternoon.  You certainly don’t need a lot of time in Salzburg to see the main city centre.  We found ourselves an outdoor beer hall type place, ordered some dinner and beers and enjoyed the outside atmosphere while eating schnitzel and beer.

I got poop on!

Yes, that is right…While holding the handle for my beer, a bird sh*t on my arm.  Lucky little sh*t it didn’t poop in my beer…I would have climbed that tree, so help me.  But alas, just poop on my arm…(later we learn this is the true reason why beer steins have lids)  So wipe it off, have a good laugh, enjoy the rest of the meal…drink more beer…and walk around some more.

We decide to retire later that evening…looking forward to Day 5….another day in Salzburg.

A few photos for you:

(left: Mozart’s House | right: Rob sad he can’t buy Mozart balls cause it is closed)

(Left: Our first Road Trip dinner  | Right: wow, Robby Bubble, who knew)

A City Centre Map:

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Jul201231

Day 3 was somewhat uneventful.  I hung out in Munich in one of the many squares reading a book and enjoying the sun shine until noon when I needed to check out of the hotel and go on my adventure to find the hotel that Rob was staying at to finally meet up with him.

As I was checking out of the hotel, I realized that I really have no idea where this other hotel was.  So as weird as it was to ask the lady at the hotel in Munich where this other hotel was, she was beyond helpful and helped me figure out what train station I needed to get off at.  However, the lady told me that I needed to take a train, a bus and a taxi to get to this other hotel.  So she wished me and my big yellow suitcase luck and off we went.

I wasn’t supposed to meet Rob at their hotel until 3pm so I walked over to the central station and grabbed a snack before I started on the trek to his hotel.

Back on the train to head back towards the airport.  I needed to get off at a stop called Hallbergmoos. Now, Hallbergmoos is pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  I fully expected, that once I got off the train, there would be some sort of action happening in and around the station.  However, I get off the train, and the station is completely abandoned with the exception of a couple people.  There is nothing but open fields and a car park that is almost empty being a Sunday afternoon.  So, I asked the closest lady to me…”Excuse me, do you speak English?”.  Thank the lord, she spoke a little English.  I asked for directions to the Hotel and so she translated the schedule for the bus, which came within 2 minutes.  Then she had a conversation with the bus driver who welcomed me on board the bus, told me to sit and he would let me know when to get off the bus.  After about a 10 minute ride, further into the middle of nowhere, the bus driver tells me to come up to the front.  Then he shows me a street and a sign and low and behold, it was for “The Regent hotel”…my final destination.  He tells me, when I get off the bus, head back down to that street…that is where the hotel is. Phew, no cab needed.  Not that there were any cabs around here anyway…

WOW! How amazingly friendly the people in Munich are.  So far, with every single person I have asked for help, they have been hands down, no questions asked, above and beyond helpful.  I think Canadians, and Vancouverites have a little bit to learn about this concept.  If only each person would “pay it forward” once a day…even once every other day, what a grand city Vancouver would be.  Not to say bad things about Vancouver, I truly love this city, BUT, we have lost a little bit of that world renowned “Canadians are so friendly”….

Now that I am checked into the hotel I am patiently awaiting for my husband’s bus to arrive with a bus full of exhausted cyclists.  Once they finally arrive, I see Rob, we kiss (aww shucks) and he checks into the hotel to clean himself up.  He did just spend the whole day driving on a bus from Italy to Germany before 5pm.  Once everyone is checked into the hotel and cleaned up, it is time to do dinner.

Beer and Cheese Spätzle (essentially german mac & cheese) OH SO DELICIOUS!  I would later learn how to make these scrumptious little dumplings while in Budapest.

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Jul201230

I couldn’t wait for the day to get started.  I had a lot planned for myself today.  I was meeting a group for a Free Munich Walking Tour.  We met at the main train station, which was very convenient for me and we walked to Marienplatz in the city centre where the tour actually begun.

Our first stop was in Marienplatz to watch the Glockenspiel go off and be assigned to our tour guide.  My guide was Liz and she was the perfect combination of information and humour.  LOVED HER!!

A little history of the Glockenspeil for you…
Every day Munich’s central Marienplatz square is crammed with people with eyes to the sky watching one of the city’s most loved oddities, the Glockenspiel.  The clock was added to the tower of the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) the year the building was completed in 1907.  A few times a day the Glockenspiel replays a royal wedding, jousting tournament and dance.  It lasts about 15 minutes and concludes with the golden bird up the top emerging and chirping three times.

2nd: Hofbräuhaus (the world’s most famous beer hall)  We didn’t actually go into the beer hall at this time, but she gave us some history of how it all started.  For example, what the ditch in front was for, what the cement pedestal outside the front door was for, the reason why they didn’t need to worry about a women’s toilet, and many other facts.

3rd: Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) This will forever and always be the tallest building in Munich.  These towers are often used as the visual recognition for Munich, their logo so to speak.  There were several stories that went along with this church.  It is said that all romance stories like Romeo & Juliet came from this church, where the original tragic love story began.  During the war, this church helped to hide Jewish belongings in the basement.  But the most famous story is that of the Devil’s Footprint.

Devil’s Footstep

Much of the interior was destroyed during WWII. An attraction that survived is the Teufelsschritt, or Devil’s Footstep, at the entrance. This is a black mark resembling a footprint, which according to legend was where the devil stood when he curiously regarded and ridiculed the ‘windowless’ church that Halsbach had built.

In another version of the legend, the devil made a deal with the builder to finance construction of the church on the condition that it contain no windows. The clever builder, however, tricked the devil by positioning columns so that the windows were not visible from the spot where the devil stood in the foyer. When the devil discovered that he had been tricked, he could not enter the already consecrated church. The devil could only stand in the foyer and stomp his foot furiously, which left the dark footprint that remains visible in the church’s entrance today.  (As you can see in my image below…the footprint looks curiously like a shoe with a hook…LOL)

There were many of other stops along the way for this tour and we delivered so much information it was amazing.

  • Viktualienmarkt (famous outdoor market)
  • Royal Residence
  • New Town Hall
  • Old Town Hall
  • National Theater
  • The Real Origins of Oktoberfest
  • Church of St. Peter
  • History of Beer Gardens
  • Memorial to the German Resistance
  • The Feldhernhalle (Memorial to Bavarian Generals)
  • Theatinerkirche
  • St. Jakobsplatz

After this tour, I had literally already walked most of Munich’s inner city.  I decided to grab some fruit from a stand and head back to the hotel for a quick nap before my evening tour…The Ghost Tour began.  Plus it was SOOO hot, I needed to get out of the sun for a bit.

The Ghost Tour

I signed up for this “After Dark: Ghost Tour” with Radius Tours.  My guide was Jared Wheatley. This was a lot of fun, because they took us around some old historical spots where creepy things once happened.

Tour Description: Witches, ghouls, and the supernatural
No city gets to be 850 years old without accumulating its share of gruesome tales. When the sun goes down and shadows dim the timeworn streets of Munich, it’s possible to feel this restless past come alive. We’ll walk you through the dark side of the city. Your spectral guide will lead you through the haunted streets of the medieval old town, and tell you the secret stories of the city:

The executioner’s bloody sword was never idle: tyranny, bigotry and simple misfortune kept it at work. Winding ancient alleyways, old haunted cemeteries, bloodstained cobbled streets – we’ll light your way through the gloom, and let the ghosts of Munich speak from the grave.

I highly recommend this tour.

The picture below on the left is Asam’s Church (Asamkirche) and on the right Sendlinger Tor.  Both have some gruesome history.  Look it up…

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