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My husband and I are planning a trip to Germany in October 2000 - we are arriving in Frankfurt on 10/4 and departing from Munich on 10/16. We are planning on renting a car and/or taking the train, and are looking for suggestions on where to go and places to stay between Frankfurt and Munich. We are both interested in history and architecture (all periods), and enjoy exploring in general. We would prefer to not spend the entire vacation in the car driving, but would rather select a number of places where we could spend a couple of days each along the way. We have a friend who lives outside of Nuremberg that we are planning to visit for a couple days, and we would also like to spend a couple days in Munich before we head back to the US - other than that, we are open to suggestions. We have read a number of travel guides and done research on the internet only to quickly discover that there are too many places to see and not enough time. Please reply with any suggestions - driving routes, places to visit, sights to see, recommended lodging or restaurants. Any information would be greatly appreciated!!!

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    So much to see, so little time!

    Car/train question is much a function your itinerary so that decision will to come last.

    If you were to do, say, Bamberg, Wuerzburg, Nuernberg and Muenchen then a train would probably work best. Were you to want to cover some of the area between Wuerzburg and Nuernberg then a car would be best, at least for that portion. (Which would probably be our choice.)

    Consider a day or two in Franconia. We've found the loveliest perfectly preserved walled village from the middle ages, complete with moat, that few North Americans (in fact few Europeans) have been to. It's well located as a base for other spots (e.g. Rothenburg, Bamberg and Wuerzburg. It's only a 75 minute drive (or train ride) from Frankfurt so is convenient for your first night at least.

    Take a look at www.twenj.com/bavaria.htm and see what you think.

    Happy to help if more questions arise.

    Rome.Switzerland.Bavaria
    www.twenj.com

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    Lisa,
    Your timing is perfect. The Passion Play in Oberammergau ends in the first week of October and the onslaught of touring playgoers should be gome by the time of your arrival. You may be interested in the following itineraries that capture most of what's worth seeing in Upper Bavaria. The little inn mentioned is a real bargain with an excellent restaurant as well. The itinerary was designed for another Fodorite who's critique appears below.

    I do know of a charming inn about 20 miles or less from Oberammergau that I've recommended to many Fodor's readers and from whom I've received highly favorable comments. The inn is the Landgasthof Schonach-Hof operated and owned by the Haslach family. Address Kapellenstrasse 22, D-8928 Hohenfurch. Tel: 08861/4108. No one in the inn speaks English; if no one in your party speaks German in order to make a reservation, I can provide you with a copy of the reservation request in German that I've used to make reservations with the Haslachs.

    The inn is in Hohenfurch, a tiny farming village about 2 miles north of Schongau on the Romantic Road and about 145 miles (3 hours driving time) from Stuttgart.

    We stayed in an immaculate, spacious room, with bath, refrigerator, sink, two burner stove, king sized bed, dining table and chairs and furnished private patio and were served a generous breakfast of meats, cheeses, breads and superb coffee. The inn's dining room featured Bavarian specialties, as well as trout taken from a lovely but frigid alpine stream that flows through the center of the village to the river Lechs about a quarter of a mile away. Most recent prices have been in the neighborhood of $90.00 to $82.00 a night.

    You asked about maps. I don't have maps of Bavaria, but rather, written itineraries based on my explorations in southwestern Bavaria. The Baedeker guidebook to Germany is an excellent one and, unlike other guides, is accompanied by a huge, excellently detailed map of Germany that is a fine vehicle for plotting itineraries. You should find the Baedeker guides in any good bookstore. An alternative is the Michelin map of Bavaria, Map number 419, an absolutely superb map of Upper Bavaria. The Michelin guidebook to Germany, unfortunately without the map (it's sold separately) is a fine, comprehensive guide to Germany, as well. Both, like the Baedeker, should be available in bookstores. Another excellent guide to Bavaria is the "Visitor's Guide to Bavaria, published by Moorland Publishing in England and distributed by Hunter Publishing in New Jersey. It's ISBN number is 1 55650 085 8. To follow the itineraries, I'd really suggest you acquire a good map. The itineraries are all based upon Hohenfurch as a starting and ending point. Here they are:

    To visit two of Bavaria's most famous castles, I'd suggest an early start to arrive at them before the tourist buses from Munich do. From the inn in Hohenfurch return to the Romantic Road (Rte 17) and head south, passing through Schongau and Steingaden to Hohenschwangau. It's about 45kms/28 miles. Leave the car in the special park at Hohenschwangau. You can walk from the parking lot to Schloss Hohenschwangau, one of the few castles that someone actually lived in for an extended period of time. Queen Marie, the mother of King Ludwig II lived there for many years. Following the tour of the castle walk back to the center of the village where you can either take a bus from the Hotel Liesl or horse-drawn cart from the Hotel Muller to Neuschwanstein. Take one or the other; you can walk to Neuschwanstein but it's a very steep and lengthy climb. After touring the castle, you might want to walk up the Pollat gorge to the Marienbrucke, the bridge that spans the gorge. From here you can look down on Neuschwanstein castle. Return to the village and your car by either the bus or horse cart.

    The tour of the two castles, coupled with the drive time from Hohenfurch should take about three and a half to four hours. You might want to stop for lunch in the village or drive a short distance to the town of Fussen for lunch.

    Following lunch, from Fussen, pick up Rte 16 going towards Markt-Oberdorf. This drive, on the western shore of the Forggensee, is highly scenic. Drive on Rte 16 for about 12km/7 miles and look for a road on your right and signs for towns named Langenwald or Steingaten. Take the road leading to Langenwald and Steingaten (it has no route number) and continue through the town of Steingaten for about 3km/2 miles. You'll see signs for Wies and Wieskirche and a road leading off to the right. Take the road to one of the most stunning sights in all of Bavaria, the Wieskirche. With its pale yellow exterior walls and red roof, it looks rather commonplace from the outside. Enter and encounter an absolute riot of rococo artistry.

    Return to Steingaden and take Route 17 north to Schongau then back to Hohenfurch and the Schonach-Hof, your inn. I'd suggest you sit outside in the garden by the fish tank laden with trout. Have a beer, regain your energies and walk up to the church in town and prepare yourself for two surprises. The church, the Parish Church of the Assumption, offers some lovely baroque artwork in its interior. To the rear of the church is a small cemetery; visit it. You'll find it to be immaculate and laden with plants and flowers that suggest the work of a full time highly skilled gardener.

    You may have noticed a building alongside the road in the pastureland behind your inn. It's a Gothic chapel, St. Ursula's and dates from 1492. I don't think it's open to the public; at least it hasn't been on my visits.

    I think this itinerary, if taken at your ease, will constitute a fairly full day's activities. If you find, after visiting the castles that you have time to spare, you might want to consider a boat ride on the Forggensee. The boats are available at Fussen.

    This is an itinerary for a particularly sunny day. It involves a tour of the German Alps, another castle and a scenic detour into Austria. Take Rte 17 south from Hohenfurch past Schongau to Peiting. In Peiting, look for Rte 472 (it's clearly marked) and travel east towards Peissenberg. You'll see signs for Hohen-Peissenberg which is where you want to go. Drive to the top of the hill (it's only about 3500 feet high), park and you'll get a sweeping, panoramic view of the German Alps and eleven Alpine lakes. Return to Rte 472 and continue east for a short distance looking for a road on the right that leads to Bobing and Rottenbuch. The ride to Rottenbuch is in a scenic valley. Stop in Rottenbuch and visit the Gothic basilica built on Roman ruins. The church interior is stunning, yet another example of Bavarian Baroque design. Check to see if the peasant theatre is giving a performance in the evening. You might want to stop back for it, even though it will be in German dialect.

    From Rottenbuch, take Rte 23 south to Ober-ammergau, a charming village where a Passion Play takes place every ten years, next in the year 2000. The play's cast members are all villagers. You'll probably see many of them in the process of growing beards for the upcoming performances. Ober-ammergau is a delightful walking village, with buildings covered with lovely, colorful murals. Continue on Rte 23, the Deutsche Alpenstrasse (German Alpine Road) to Ettel and follow the Alpenstrasse west to the castle at Linderhof. This is Ludwig II's castle imitating Louis XIV's Versailles. It's well worth a tour.

    Continue west on the Alpenstrasse to the Austrian border at Ammersattel and the town of Reutte where you will pick up Rte 314 and drive east past Heiterwang and Wangle to Lermoos. Just past Lermoos you'll find Rte 187; take it north to the border where it becomes Rte 24. Between Lermoos and the border you'll pass the Zugspitze, Germany's highest Alpine mountain on your right.

    Continue on Rte 24 to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. At the train station, there's a cog-wheel railroad that will take you to the Schneefernerhaus Hotel, 8700 feet up the Zugspitze. From there a cable car will take you to the summit. The train and cable car trip will take about half an hour.

    From Garmisch take Rte 23 north to the village of Ettal, an attractive village with an outstanding monastery , the Kloster Ettal. It's history dates back to 1320, but was significantly remodeled in the baroque style in the early 1700s.

    Continue north on Rte 23. It will take you to Schongau and then Hohenfurch.

    Here's a third and final itinerary with two options. Both options include an opportunity to see some Alpine lakes as well as the German Alpine mountain range. The shorter itinerary, about 224km/150 miles, includes a stop at a third lake. Bavaria's second largest, the Starnbergersee. This is the lake where King Ludwig drowned, either by accident or as the result of an assassination. The longer route encompasses 327km/200miles, and includes a visit to the Austrian city Innsbruck, the summer home of the Austrian Emperors.

    To begin, Rte 17 south to Schongau and Peiting and east on Rte 472. Continue on Rte 472 until you reach Rte 11 around Benediktbeuern. Drive south on Rte 11 to Kochel and follow the signs to the Freilichtmuseum von Glentleiten. This is an open air museum with over 40 Bavarian farmhouses datling back to the 16th century. There are regular displays of traditional craftmanship. It is sort of Bavaria's counterpart of Williamsburg, Virginia. Return to Rte 11 and prepare yourself for a series of hairpin turns as you wend your way between the Kochelsee on your right and the Walchensee on your left.
    Continue on Rte 11 past Wallgau and Krun, where Rte 11 becomes Rte 2. Continue on Rte 2 to Mittenwald, a fascinating town. Mittenwald is famous for its violin makers and woodworkers. You're probably not in the market for a violin, but do check out the wooden masks the carvers make for pre-Lenten celebrations. You'll find a large number of woodworking craftsmen in the town and a wonderful opportunity to pick up unique souvenirs. Now, backtrack on Rte 2 and 11 to just past the town of Wallgau where you'll find a toll road on your right. Take it for a scenic ride. (It's actually part of the Deutsche Alpenstrasse but passes through a national forest alongside the banks of the Isar River, thus the toll.) The toll road ends at Vorderriss. Continue on it and cross over the man-made lake, Sylvenstein-stausee. Just past the lake, the road will fork. If you take the right fork, Rte 181, you'll almost immediately cross over the Austrian border and begin the longer of the two itineraries. Continue on scenic Rte 181 to the A12 autobahn and take it westbound to Innsbruck, where by all means you should visit the old town with its magnificent buildings and shops with their wonderful old gilded wrought iron signs. From Innsbruck, take Rte 177 north. The route changes its numbering in Germany from 177 to E6, then 2. Take Rte 2 to Oberau where you can pick up Rte 23 which leads back to Schongau and Hohenfurch.

    If you'd prefer the shorter itinerary, at the fork just past the Sylvenstein-stausee, continue to the left on Rte 13 to Lenggries where you can take a cable car up the Brauneck to its summit at a little over 5,000 feet. Here there's a viewing platform from which to see most of the Alpine lakes, almost the entire German Alpine range and to the south the glaciers in the central Alps. Continue north on Rte 13 to Bad Tolz. This is a large town with modern spas and equally modern medical facilities. The old part of town is charming, though, with its colorful old gabled houses. From Bad Tolz, you can pick up Rte 472 and take it to signs leading to Wolfl and Seeshaupt which puts you on the shore of the Starnbergersee. Drive up the eastern shore of the lake (the scenic route) to Starnberg then pick up the road leading to Weilheim and Peissenberg. At Peissenberg you'll be back on our old friend Rte 472 which leads to Schongau and home.

    Thought you might be interested in this "solicited" testimonial regarding
    Bavarian itineraries.


    From: Meg Scharle
    To: Nuby fowler <nfowler@gatech.campuscwix.net>
    Subject: Re: Bavarian Adventure
    Date: October 03, 1999 8:59 PM

    Dear Wes,

    THANK YOU for all the fabulous advice.
    We followed your suggestions to a "T" and had no problems and smooth sailing the entire way. We really enjoyed EVERYTHING you suggested. My mom and aunt were totally impressed with your guidance. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the help. We wouldn't have seen so many of the interesting things without your help. We really loved the inn at Hohenfurch and loved the Alte Post Hotel for dinner (we even returned the next night since it was so great).
    Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with us while we were there -- every day was cloudy/foggy and so the views weren't as spectacular as they would've been in better weather. But there is beauty in cloudy weather as well. I hope you enjoy your trip to Austria! THANK YOU again for all your effort in helping us!
    Fondly, Meg

    From: Nuby fowler <nfowler@gatech.campuscwix.net>
    To:
    Date: Saturday, October 02, 1999 10:09 AM
    Subject: Bavarian Adventure

    Hi, Meg,
    If my followup system is working properly, you should now be home from your Bavarian adventure. I'm curious about your impressions, lasting memories, irksome problems and general thoughts about your trip. Care to comment?

    Wes Fowler - who, with wife in hand, is off to Vienna for a week startin

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    I've started planning a trip to Bavaria and ran into this thread with the excellent input from Wes. We really do miss such a wonderful person who was very helpful to all his fellow travelers on the Fodor's forum.

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