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Ira Visits Europe - May, 2007

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Jun 11th, 2007, 04:10 AM
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ira
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Ira Visits Europe - May, 2007

Hi All,

Our Itinerary:

May 14 Dep ATL 16:25 Arr MUC 07:50
May 15 - 19 Haus Am Moos, Salzburg
May 19 - 21 Gasthof Simony, Hallstatt
May 21 - 23 Hotel Zum Hechten, Fuessen
May 23 - 24 Hotel Stern, Mindelheim
May 24 - 26 Haus Karin, Rothenburg
May 26 – 27 Hotel Schreier, Lindau
May 27 - 31 Hotel Grillon, Beaune
May 31 – June 2
Hostellerie Schwendi, Kientzheim
June 2 – 4 Hotel de Guise, Nancy
June 4 Ascot Airport Hotel
June 5 Dep STR 11:00 Arr ATL 15:20


We started out from Madison for ATL at about 12:30. Arrived with no problems at about 1:30, and were on Concourse E at the boarding gate by 3:00. We each had an adult beverage, in a plastic cup for $7.50, before boarding at 4:15 – about 0:30 hr late.

Completely uneventful and boring ride on a 767. Flight attendants were pleasant, food was something to do to pass the time. They gave us a free wine or beer. Port side had the sun shining in both coming and going.

We had bought the RT tickets last August for $775 each, and that was as low as they got, except for one day in April when the price dropped to $595. The cost to exchange the tickets was greater than the savings.

Arrived MUC 05/15 on time at 08:00. Weather: Rainy. Picked up our luggage and walked toward the rental car area, and walked toward the rental car area, and walked toward the rental car area. As we passed the S-Bahn stop, it occurred to me that we could have taken the train into town and picked up the car there in less time than it was taking to walk to the rental car area – and saved 100E, too.

Arrived at the National desk at about 09:30, where a very nice young lady explained that all of their cars were Opels, that there were no Diesels available, and that we had been upgraded to an Opel Meriva – small SUV-style car with a 1.6 L engine. We were easily able to put one 26” and two 22” suitcases in the covered hatch.

That is all that I have to say about this grossly underpowered, top heavy, softly sprung, gas guzzling machine in which we had to keep the AC on Full in order to stay reasonably cool at temps of 20 C outside. (Got about 30 mpg)

Fuel prices averaged about 1.36 E/L for gas and about 1.11 for diesel, with Austria being the cheapest and Germany the highest.

No difficulty leaving the airport and finding the A92 to the A9 to the A99 to the A8 and the exit for Prien am Chiemsee, where we stopped off to visit Herrenchiemsee. Our timing was pretty good, we got on the boat about 5 min before it left. After a small snack at the Schloss (pizza has become very popular), we took the 1:15 English language tour.

First time I uttered, “It’s good to be the king”.

This is Ludwig’s “homage” to Louis XIV. It is a small-scale Versailles. The interior decorations and furnishings are done in Louis XIV style. The paintings are of Louis’s life and achievements. I think that Ludwig just pretended that he was Louis when he was there. If you like Rococo, you will like this place.

Herrenchiemsee is well worth a visit. Go early in the season and early in the day. We had several tour groups and several school outings to contend with. Especially as everyone left at the same time.

Boat back to Prien. First faux pas.
When you enter the parking lot, you get a ticket. You must insert the ticket at an automatic payment machine and pay the fee BEFORE attempting to leave. If you don’t, you will cause a great deal of shouting as you try to back out of the exit ramp.

We easily navigated our way to Salzburg, stopping to buy a ‘vignette’ (road tax sticker) at one of the gas stations along the way. I urge everyone driving in Austria to get one, even if you don’t expect to drive the highways. Small roads occasionally open up to 4 lane highways for short distances. You need the sticker on these stretches.

Arrived Haus am Moos (www.ammoos.at/main.php?language=en&m=home) at about 5:00 PM. This is run by the Family Strasser – two lovely, friendly, helpful folks who seem to like having guests.

I think that the Haus am Moos is the best value for the money that we have ever come across.

Mrs Strasser showed us our room, a large bed-sitter one flight up, with a separate bathroom, a balcony with a view of a mountain behind a screen of evergreens, and our own entrance (52E/nite w/bkfst). Free parking is provided next to the house.

We had dinner that night at Schachlwirt (recommended by Mr Strasser), a local resto in a guest house a few minutes walk down the road.

Their beer is Stiegl – excellent – a head like whipped cream, tiny bubbles and very good balance between malt and hops.

I had the first of many Spargel specials. Roberta had the smoked trout and the pike-perch. Two dinners (appetizer, entrée and main) with beer, wine and coffee – 55E with tip.

Tipping note:
To summarize a long conversation with Mr Strasser, who was a waiter for 15 years: waiters get a small salary plus a commission above a certain quota, if they don’t make the quota, they get no commission – so, in Austria leave 5-10% on the table for the waiter. Any tip added to the charge card goes to the owner.

My Lady Wife, having fallen asleep at the table, much to the consternation of the waitress, we went back to the am Moos, and so to bed.

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Jun 11th, 2007, 04:19 AM
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Ira,

wonderful so far and anxious to hera more.

An "adult beverage in a plastic cup" LOL and at such a bargain price, too.

Glad you enjoyed Herrenchiemsee; I wish more folks from the US had the opportunity to visit it.
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Jun 11th, 2007, 04:37 AM
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Ira,

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Am eagerly waiting for more since we are planning for a trip to Austria, too. And co-incidentally, I rem'ber reading your Italy trip report and being influenced by it while planning for our Italy trip in 2005!
Most of the places you have mentioned seems to be in the Bavarian region and I havent heard much of them. Hope your trip report includes why you got interested in the places originally.
- Trippster


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Jun 11th, 2007, 04:42 AM
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Wonderful start - I am looking forward to your report. I hope the fact that you have begun means you are feeling better.
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Jun 11th, 2007, 04:44 AM
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ira
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Hi Trippster,

>Hope your trip report includes why you got interested in the places originally.

I hadn't thought of that. Basically 3 reasons: (1) My family background is Austrian and my Lady Wife's families are from Germany and Alsace, (2) we haven't been there before, (3) I couldn't go so close to Burgundy and not visit it, and (4) we are both interested in Art Nouveau, which began in Nancy.

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Jun 11th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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I am really looking forward to your report on Beaune and Alsace as we leave to do that ourselves on June 24th. Any must sees or general impressions?
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Jun 11th, 2007, 05:38 AM
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Thanks ira - We've been waiting for this one.
Interesting about the tip on the charge card. I wonder if that is common?
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Jun 11th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Ira and Lady Ira - are we related??!!

My family has Strassers (Strass, Strauss, etc) from Austria, though the rest of the folks are from Rheinland-Pfalz and Alsace. What a coincidence...

I just posted on that "Deja Vu" thread on the lounge about feeling a huge pull towards the Salzkammergut. Again, what a coincidence...

I can't wait to hear more of your trip - you're always a delight!
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Jun 11th, 2007, 05:54 AM
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ira
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Hi Kate,

Re Beaune:
If you don't have reservations yet, I can recommend www.hotel-grillon.fr. "Le Verger" is a very nice resto on the property, but separate from the hotel.

The Marche' aux Vins is an interesting exhibit, but the wines aren't that good and pricey.

The Hospices de Dieu is well worth visiting

We motored to/through Autun, Saulieu and Bligny-Sur-Ouche and found them all interesting.

In Alsace we lodged in Kientzheim and visited Riquewhir, Ribeauville and other towns and villages. Nothing particularly spectacular, but very nice scenery and old towns. (Actually, some of them are old looking, as WWII caused a lot of damage in the area).

I'm sure that you will enjoy your visit.


Dijon is worth at least 1/2 day.



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Jun 11th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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Ira,
Thank you for the info.
We are staying at a hotel just outside of Beaune in a village called Levernois. I am glad to hear that Dijon is worth 1/2 day and now will plan to add that in.
We are staying for three nights in a hotel by Ribeauville and will do some wandering. Have you been to Strasbourg?? I think maybe you went on another trip.
What did you think of Nancy?
Thanks for the restaurant tips. Any good ones in the Ribeauville area?
Thanks for your help.
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Jun 11th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Thanks Ira, I'm anxious to hear more about the location of the Am Moos and if you thought it worth the savings not to be nearer to the city centre.
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Jun 11th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Now I think It's good to be the king" is Mel Brooks line in The History of the World Part 1.
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Jun 11th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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Ira,

This is has all the makings of a great report. I love getting all the essential details in such a straight ahead, concise manner.

I am eagerly anticipating the Nancy portion as it is on my list of places to visit - I have family who came from that area (to Canada) about four generations back.
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Jun 11th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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Thanks for the read Ira.
The perfect luncheon accompaniment for my 'rawschinken mit brot und fruchte salat' !

I look forward to more of your entertaining writing for tomorrow's lunch.

Cheers,

M.
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Jun 11th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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Ira, I had been looking forward to your report and so far it does not disappoint. Looking forward to the next segment.

Sally
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Jun 11th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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ira
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>...I think "It's good to be the king" is Mel Brooks' line in "The History of the World Part 1".

Yup, and he was right.

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Jun 11th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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ira
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Hi all,

Glad that you are interested in my offering.

..................
May 16 Weather: Beautiful

Breakfast at the Haus am Moos: A buffet of breads and rolls (my first real Kaiser roll in 40 years); butter, jams and jellies; yoghurt, cheeses and meats, fruits, 2 kinds of Muesli, and soft-boiled eggs. Coffee came with frothed milk. One could put on weight having that everyday, and I did.

Mrs Strasser apologized profusely, but not servilely, for having only instant decaf (Koffenfreikaffe), but it was quite good. The brand was Hag, which she assured me could be found at any market. Unfortunately, I could only find regular Hag at the markets I went to.

We bought two 72-hr Salzburg cards from Mr Strasser and took the bus (free) to the Hahnuschplatz in Salzburg. The bus stop on Moosstrasse is about a 3 min walk from the guesthouse. Travel time is 12 min. Buses run every 12-15 min from about 07:00 to about 23:30. Very convenient for getting into the Old City.

On the way, we stopped at the Augustiner Bräustüberl because I had forgotten that it didn’t open until 3:00. Had an interesting walk around parts the casual tourist rarely sees. My LW is used to going to places that the casual tourist never sees.

From the Hanuschplatz, we walked over to the Monksberg Elevator and took a free ride up to view the city from above. This is a big old fortress and people live inside its walls – not within, inside. Gorgeous views.

Came down and strolled the Getreidegasse (very tourist oriented), visited the Mozartplatz, the Domplatz, the Residenceplatz and the Altmarktplatz, heard the Carillon bells, took the funicular up to Hohensalzburg fortress and returned to the am Moos, pretty tired out. It was a very nice day in Salzburg.

After a short nap and some freshening up, we took the bus into the city and, after a short walk, were at the Goldener Hirsch for dinner only 10 min late.

The building was 600 years old in 2006, but doesn’t look a day over 350. The restaurant is in the former stables. It is a very pleasant, whitewashed room with groined, vaulted ceilings. Service is very smooth and very discreet.

I have a note that the bread plate was very fresh and very crunchy, but this might have been due to it’s being our first upscale dinner in Europe. Living in Madison, GA, one tends to forget what really good bread is like.

After an interesting amuse bouche of some sort of foamy thingy (foamy thingies are very big these days) we had Salmon Mousse for LW and Spargel for me (actually the spargel was meant for 2, but Roberta doesn’t eat asparagus, so I had to force myself to eat her share).

Mains were Prawns for Roberta and Lake Char for me, with accompanying veggies. Wine was an Alte Reben Gruner Veltiner- 2004 for 39E.

Excellent companion to the fish and the spargel – slight green tint to a golden color; aromas of honey, white peaches, pears and apricots; a slightly tart apple and citrus taste leading to a mineral finish.

Dessert, which we shared, was the “Rigo Janci” – hidden toward the bottom of the list beneath stuff with lots of whipped cream on it.

This was a square of flourless chocolate cake topped by two layers of chocolate mousse (dark at the bottom, light at the top), a thin layer of schlag and a trellis of dark and light chocolate. A really scrumptious, amazingly light, very tasty and completely uncloying finishing touch.

I suggested to the head waiter that this be made their signature dessert.

Coffee was excellent – 200E with tip.

A note on the Goldener Hirsch: Many have said that it is overpriced for what you get. I think much depends on carefully reading the menu. For example, pre-dinner drinks – one Manhattan and one Martini cost us 50E. In future, I shall stick to tap water.

Not having noticed that I had drunk a $30 Martini, I returned with my Lady Wife to the am Moos, by way of the convenient bus, and so to bed.

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Jun 11th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Ira, I'm enjoying your trip report. We were in Bavaria and Austria a few years ago and your report is bringing back lots of fond memories.

Tracy
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Jun 11th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Coffee was excellent – 200E with tip

And I thought 4E for an espresso was high...
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Jun 11th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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Yes, give us more Ira. I am enjoying your expereinces. We followed spargel season from St. Remy to St. Gilgen to Vienna to Prague and finally to Rothenburg one year and loved it.
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