Advent - Germany & Austria

Jan 14th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Advent - Germany & Austria

Just a few notes from our recent trip to Germany and Austria in early December.

We flew into Munich and spent a couple nights there.

BTW there were new ticket machines at the airport that sold both Die Bahn and Munich Transportation System tickets that confused a lot of folks. The lines were fairly long and slow.

We stayed at the Hotel Bristol near Sendlinger Tor for the second time. Simple hotel with a good breakfast (in a too small breakfast room) and a nice staff. We will probably stay there again.

We had a couple good meals. The first night was at the Augustiner Restaurant on Kaufinger Str. Food was good. Augustiner is my favorite beer. The second night we met a friend (Veronika in photos) at the Mozart Cafe immediately by our hotel. I had an excellent Bunter Salat Teller (mixed leafy greens and other vegetables).

We were there on Friday and Saturday. The Marienplatz Christmas Market was too crowded for our tastes. We also visited the Haidhausen community market. No great shakes but I really like the community atmosphere. On Saturday night we visited the Schwabbing Market. It was the most fun. So much fun that I failed to take any pictures?! I would recommend it for the craft booths and different feel.
Gary_Mc is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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From Munich we traveled to Salzburg. We rode the double decker regional express trains. It is worth it to get to the train station a little early and find a place on the upper deck for the views.


In Salzburg we stayed at the much touted Weiße Taube. It is a very nice hotel in a perfect location for the Christmas Markets. Our stays for the whole trip were in cold weather. The Weiße Taube had the best heating system. Plus, BTW, we were always thankful for the silk long johns.

Salzburg is beautiful city and the evening walks were perhaps the best part for me. We visited the main Christmas Market several times. My wife loves to bring home small gifts for friends and family.

On the second night there, the market was invaded by men dress as demons, terrorizing the crowd and snapping the behinds of shapely young women. How this tradition fit the Christmas season is beyond me.

Leaving Salzburg for Vienna, we rode the Westbahn, a private company in competition with the Austrian national train lines. It was a good deal - 26 euros per person - which you pay right on the train.
Gary_Mc is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Thanks for the report. I enjoyed it.
Pegontheroad is online now  
Jan 14th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Hi Gary,

Thanks for writing and the links to the photo's.
pja1 is online now  
Jan 14th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Vienna was now stop Christmas Markets plus a visit to Schönbrunn.

I am not into photographing large cities, though I like them.

We stayed at the Hotel Alpha, very near the Rathaus (town hall) and therefore within walking distance of several markets. Alpha was a good hotel with a very helpful staff and good breakfasts. Moderate price for Vienna. I would recommend it.

We bought a 3 day transportation pass and got our money's worth.

The Rathaus Christkindlmarkt was the most conventional but also quite scenic, espcially at night. We had our desert or glühweing there every evening.

Spittelberg market is nestled in a couple narrow alleys and has a slighly off beat flair. We found a good Brewery restaurant (Plutzer Bräu) there that was a decent bargain. The Spittelberg market had the best community atmosphere.

When we arrived a the Karlsplatz market in the sun, a rarity, so I took a couple pictures. It is more upscale arts and crafts.

The Christmas Market at Schönbrunn was conventional and small. We enjoyed the visit to the palace. The gardens were drab on a cold, cloudy winter day. All my photos were duds.

Altwiener Market at Freyung and nearby Am Hof did not impress us except for a kids puppet show that we got to watch with a group of grade schoolers. It was slapstick and the kids loved it.

The market at the Maria-Theresian Platz was not much but my wife found more to buy there that most places.

Eating out, other than the brewery at Spittelberg, was a disaster for us in Vienna. We had decent enough food but not for the price. We just drift around and eat when we are hungry. We kept finding places that were too expensive and only so-so. If I went back, I would research restaurants better. A couple places that did not look bad were filled with stale cigarette smoke when we entered.
Gary_Mc is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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I will admit a certain sense of relief when we changed trains in Linz and headed towards Passau. Wine in Salzburg and Vienna was served a shot glass (1/8 litre) at a time in a large wine glass. I had trouble not making jokes about all form and no substance. Maybe if we had not stopped at the two most touristy spots in the country.

In Passau we stayed at the Hotel König, best bargain of the trip. Excellent breakfast, large room and very nice staff. Some rooms had nice views of the river; ours had a nice view of garden walk-way into the hotel. I intend to go back.

Our first stop in the market was a grilled bratwurst stand. Some stands in Vienna advertised grilled wursts but there was no grill. Grilled when? Grilled bratwursts is one of the simple pleasures of visiting the Christmas markets.

Passau is a very scenic city, especially along the Donau and Inn Rivers. I would like to return when it is not freezing cold.

We had two good suppers at the Heilig-Geist-Stiftschenke and Zum Alten Bräuhaus. At the first I had a reasonable 1/4 litre of Austria's Grün Veltliner (sp) wine. At the second a very good Helles (pale ale). I would say that the food was best at the Zum Alten Bräuhaus. It also had a friendly atmosphere and was also less crowded. Maybe I have no taste.

Passau was the highlight of the trip. I post so on line just as I was proceeding to leave. Quokka, a regular here, posted in response that she was in the town at the same time. It is a small Fodor's world.
Gary_Mc is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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Our last stop was Freising.

I had stayed at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in the spring; my wife and I returned there this winter. Reasonably priced and a nice room. Breakfast was good and served early (6 AM), handy for those with a 9:30 flight to Atlanta.

Freising had a small market with a community feel. We always enjoy this town for our last stop. My wife found a cafe that served Spaghetti Eis (strawberry ice cream sundae) at this unlikely time of the year. We had an excellent last German meal in the Weißbräu Huber Gasthaus. It snowed to give us a last scenic look of Advent Season in Germany.

We froze walking to the train station the next morning. There is a shuttle bus (Bus 635) to the airport from the train station. Next time, I might just reserved a taxi from the hotel instead.

It was a good trip that started with a friend for supper and the Schwabbing Christmas Market in Munich and ended with a snowy farewell in Freising. The trip was cold but fun.
Gary_Mc is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Enjoyed reading your trip report. We are headed to Germany and Austria in the fall.

We had not planned to get to Passau but based on your glowing reviews, we may cut our Vienna trip short and include Passau. Looks like we should do some research on restaurants in Vienna.

It did indeed look cold

winnick is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 02:10 PM
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Hi Gary! Sounds like you had a trip with great ups and a few downs. Nice photos!

Yes that was a close miss. Next year we should discuss our Advent travel plans a bit earlier ;-)
quokka is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 07:16 PM
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Karen, good luck with your trip. We visited Vienna years ago in better weather. It is a great place to visit palace gardens if that fits your taste.

Quokka, it would be nice to meet. Have you posted a page on Passau in Virtual Tourist? I looked once and could not find one.

Gary_Mc is offline  
Feb 15th, 2013, 11:06 PM
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Gary, I just started a Passau page on VT but it is still "under construction". The other destinations I visited during that trip have already been finished, this is the last one missing.
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