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Trip Report Trip report: Christmastime in Munich and Salzburg!

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Hi, everyone! My husband, Ryan, and I have recently returned from a wonderful eight-day trip to Munich and Salzburg, with side trips to Hallstatt and the castles at Füssen. The weather was pretty chilly, but we had a GREAT time. We saw lots of wonderful sites and Christmas markets, learned a lot, and ate so many delicious things. Thanks to all who answered my questions in the weeks before our trip.

So, I typically take meticulous notes throughout our travels, but for some reason this time I didn't take a single note. So the following trip report is completely from memory, but I'll try to include my best guess at prices and other details. (If anyone wants specific price info, just ask - I saved most of our reciepts.)

Our itinerary included two nights in Munich, two nights in Salzburg, and then three nights back in Munich again. We stayed only at Marriotts using points for free nights - and it just so happened that the Renaissance in Salzburg was only available with points for two nights in the middle of our trip, so that determined our itinerary.

On to the trip report!

Dec. 23 - Day 0
We flew direct on Delta from Altanta (our home city) to Munich. Our flight was delayed by about an hour and a half, which had us worried - we were supposed to land in Munich just in time to scurry over to the Christmas markets before they closed at 2 p.m. for the holiday.

Dec. 24 - Day 1
Our flight did land an hour and a half late, but we managed to check in to our hotel, quickly shower, and get over to Marienplatz at noon on the dot. Coming up the subway escalator into Marienplatz on Christmas Eve was quite a sight! The markets were in full swing, people were everywhere, the glockenspiel was going off, and a live band was playing music from the balcony of the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), as well as from the top of the clock tower on the other side of the square. The Christmas spirit was definitely in the air! We were quite hungry, so we had the first of many, many bratwursts here in the middle of the Christmas market. Now, I have to say, here at home I am not much of a fan of sausage, and I downright can't stand sauerkraut. BUT, in Germany, I couldn't get enough of either! Yum.

So, feeling happy after eating our bratwurst sandwiches, we then beelined right over to the glühwein, the ubiquitous Christmas mulled wine. The wine is served hot in a mug - you pay about 2 euros, but then you get a euro back when you turn your mug back in. With mulled wine in hand, we wandered through the market and bought a few ornaments.

Next , we headed down the street to the Viktualienmarkt. One of our favorite things to do in Europe is visit the markets, and this one did not disappoint - although it was pretty quiet at this time, since it was Christmas Eve. We had heard that pretty much everything would shut down around 2 p.m., and we found this to be true. We were a bit worried about finding a place open for dinner this night, so we got some bread, cheese, and sliced meat at the market to take back to our hotel, just in case.

Next, we headed back to our hotel - the Courtyard Marriott, located near the Hauptbahnhof (main train station). We found this to be a great hotel - friendly staff, nice rooms, and a GREAT breakfast buffet. Being located near the main train station was really convenient, especially since we used the regional trains a lot. After dropping off our food in our room, we decided to go for a stroll around the train station. We headed north, toward the art museums, and just aimlessly walked. It was very quiet by now, and the only people we saw were those who were heading to church. We were also exhausted by now - neither of us ever sleep well on red-eye flights, so we're always like walking zombies on that first day.

Heading back to the hotel, we passed several doner kebab shops and decided to get two sandwiches to have for dinner along with the stuff we bought at the market. We visited Turkey last year and LOVE Turkish food, so we were very happy with our dinner. The area between the Hauptbahnhof and the Courtyard is clearly heavily populated with Turks, and it looked like all of the Turkish shops and restaurants were open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Back in our hotel, we ate our food and could hardly keep our eyes open. But, it was only about 5 p.m., and we decided to head down to the hotel bar just to delay sleepy time as long as possible! Here we had our first taste of German beer (well, obviously we have it at home whenever we want, but it just seems more special when you are actually in Germany!). After one beer, it was definitley time to call it a day. We were happily asleep by 6:30 p.m.

Tomorrow: Christmas Day at Dachau and around Munich

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