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Just home from three weeks in Germany by car

Just home from three weeks in Germany by car

Oct 5th, 2000, 03:33 PM
  #1  
Ann
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Just home from three weeks in Germany by car

We are just awake after returning from three weeks in Germany, traveling by car (survived the "gas protests") and staying in assorted and sundry gasthauses, farmhouses, castles and hotels. Quick rundown in case anyone has questions about any of the places we stopped or the trip in general:
Arrived Frankfurt
Mosel valley (winefest, Burg Eltz)
Waechtersbach for Christmas pottery shopping
Eisenach/Wartburg
Berlin
Dresden
Staffelstein for Kaiser porcelain shopping, visit to Vierzehnheiligen pilgrimage church
Neustadt/Weiden for crystal shopping
Regensburg
Munich for Oktoberfest
Rothenburg o.d. T
Oberammergau for Passion Play
Wieskirche for Bach organ concert
Gremmelsbach (near Triberg in Black Forest)
Fussen
Berchtesgadener Land
Oberwesel to stay in Burghotel auf Schonburg
Returned home from Frankfurt
I know, I know, this is not a very efficient itinerary... believe me, my husband impressed this upon me several times during the trip. However, the dates on the things we wanted to participate in, or the places we wanted to be, dictated some back and forth which was ultimately well worth the extra driving time (which was actually minimal, given that we stayed for a few days at some locations). In all, it was a spectacular trip with only a few regrets: wish we had planned for longer in Eisenach and in Dresden, and wish we had known about more concerts in the churches. It's hard to get schedules for those events far enough in advance to plan for most of them! Had picture-perfect weather for all but three days (one of which was the day we spent in a tent at Oktoberfest while my sister stood on the table to sing along with her new best friend Josef) and wonderful experiences.
 
Oct 5th, 2000, 03:42 PM
  #2  
Paul
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Ann, that sounds like a wonderful trip. What did you see in Fussen of interest; what was your experience with your car rental?

What did you miss in Eisenach and Dresden? Was it all vacation, or part business shopping? thanks in advance.
 
Oct 5th, 2000, 06:04 PM
  #3  
kk
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Ann, what a great itinerary. I've never had more than 12 days in Germany at one time so I am envious. I agree with you about Dresden. It is charming and I wish we'd had time to take in a concert in the redone opera house. I don't see how people can totally rebuild the inner core of an old city and have it come out looking like it's the original. Didn't you adore the Zwinger Palace?
 
Oct 5th, 2000, 06:09 PM
  #4  
Ann
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Paul, this was strictly a vacation and designed primarily to show off Germany to my sister and her husband... in three weeks... no problem. Of course we went to Fussen for Neuschwanstein, and it is just beautiful, esp. from the bridge above it. We stayed at the Hotel Rubezahl in Schwangau, where almost all the rooms have views of the castle at night. We sat on the balcony witht the castle lit up and a shooting star brighter than any I've ever seen streaked across the sky over it. Sigh. The car rental was with Avis, and though we started off being pretty upset (they had the car reserved in the wrong terminal at Frankfurt, so we had the bag-drag between terminals 1&2), they gave us a much larger vehicle gratis, which came in handy after all the shopping (which was strictly for us and gifts). We had an Opel Safira minivan - 7 pax with a cargo area and back seats that lay flat. It was a bit slow on the uptake, but got good mileage. We had no problems getting gas anywhere and no traffic slowdowns, although the gas protests shut down the UK during that time and there were concerns the protests might spread. I wish we could have spent more time exploring Eisenach and attending a concert either in the Bachhaus or in Wartburg castle. This was "Bach 2000" and there were a lot of concerts scheduled, but none that meshed with our timetable. I would have spent more time working that out if I'd known how great Wartburg is. I highly recommend it! Also, Dresden has a lot going on right now... renovation of the Frauenkirche and the reunification celebration... I was in awe of the city architecture and its spirit. It's hard to imagine the city in the inferno of the bombings. I could have spent an entire day in the Old Masters Gallery, but we hadn't planned on even stopping in Dresden - it was a spur-of-the-moment decision which we were all happy to have made.
 
Oct 5th, 2000, 06:19 PM
  #5  
Ann
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Kay... oops... I was typing an answer to Paul! Yes, the Zwinger was fabulous. Just standing in the middle of the square was pretty emotional for me. A Russian quartet was playing baroque music for coins and as we walked on and saw the huge, individually numbered blocks (the sign said about 90,000 of them) being used to reconstruct the Frauenkirche, I had a hard time reconciling the sights and sounds of Dresden with what was done to it during the war. It's an amazing place.
 
Oct 5th, 2000, 06:37 PM
  #6  
mast
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Hi Ann, What is your comments on Regensburg? Given a choice between Passau and Regensburg, which one will you choose? Is it possible to make day trip to Regensburg from Munich or is it better to stay overnight there?
Is there any peak hours that we need to avoid the heavy traffic? is there any problem driving at night? and is it easy to locate the destination? which road map did you use? where did you park your
car when you reached each town/city?
sorry for so many questions but iy will definately help me greatly.
Thank you!
mast
 
Oct 5th, 2000, 11:52 PM
  #7  
Amy
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This is for Mast. You can easily make a day trip to Regensburg from Munich. Depending on traffic. The Autobahn into Munich can get a little hairy. I've spent three hours just kilos away from the city. If possible, don't drive into Munich (the autobahn ends at a stop light, thus the stau--traffic jam). Park at a P+R and take the train into the city. The main station is right under Marion Platz. As far a Regensburg. This city is not that big. Just look for the blue parking signs and you'll find a spot. Make sure to eat brats and sauerkraut at the historic Wurstkuch'l on the River and then walk up to the Cathedral. You will be amazed! Have a great trip and don't drive too fast.
Amy
 
Oct 6th, 2000, 07:41 AM
  #8  
kk
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Ann, I am just loving! all your wonderful trip details about your trip to Germany. Probably because we sound as if we are interested in the same things. I think I am going back in April 2001 and can hardly wait! I've yet to see Wieskirche, let alone heard a Bach concert in it! You must have felt as if you were in heaven!!
 
Oct 6th, 2000, 07:25 PM
  #9  
Ann
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The Wieskirche concert was pure serendipity. We left Oberammergau with reservations for the night but decided to stop at the church because our route took us so near that we decided not to wait until the return trip to see it... a poster on the steps announced the Bach organ concert that evening and when we learned seats were still available, our reservations for the night quickly got changed! Hearing only the Toccata and Fugue in D minor was worth being there... the pews literally resonated with the sound. As for Regensburg, this was my first visit and I thought it was wonderful. However, Mast, it is difficult to find some places (like our hotel!) because there are a couple of islands in the rivers and you literally "can't get there from here" in some places. You can easily drive to/from Munich but I'd recommend spending the extra time there if you can, just make sure to get detailed directions to wherever you'll be staying. We obviously didn't have an adequate city map, but there was no trouble parking once we figured out where we were going, and then we did a lot of walking around the city center. The traffic in and out of town was horrendous and we actually ended up driving through some neighborhoods to villages on the outskirts and rejoining the autobahn because the stau was not moving at all. But there was road construction, which was the primary problem and may be completed by the time you visit.
 
Oct 6th, 2000, 10:29 PM
  #10  
mast
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Thanks for all the great info, Ann.
Another sensitive question: back in our country we heard a lot of negative things about the 'neo-nazi' gang especially in northern part of Germany, being a asian I am a bit worried, cause I will be travelling with my family with kid. Have you heard or encounter anything unpleasant? I will definately go to Germany as I have been planning this trip for almost half a year, but just to take some neceesary cautions.

Thanks again,

mast
 
Oct 7th, 2000, 09:31 AM
  #11  
Ann
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Mast, I can't say that I've ever seen any problems, but I look like a German stereotype, so I'd hesitate to say they don't exist. However, I can tell you there are a lot of Asian travelers in Germany. We shared hotels and restaurants with many of them and I did not notice any differences in the way they were treated... all tourists will encounter some condescension or exasperation, don't you think? The hotel where we stayed in Regensburg is very modern, although it is housed in a renovated factory, and hosts many business travelers. If it fits into your travel plans/price range, I would recommend it highly. It sits on one of those islands I mentioned earlier...the Sorat Insel Hotel. We got rooms directly on the Danube and overlooking the pedestrian bridge and old town section for DM 210 as part of their weekend rates, including a lavish breakfast buffet. One note of caution: you can make reservations through their website www.sorat-hotels.com and their properties are all interesting, but at both the Berlin hotel and the Regensburg hotel, they did not have our reservations from the central office, so do confirm directly with the hotel (i.e., not by internet) and I'd recommend confirming with a credit card number to bolster the reservation. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time and no problems wherever you go...
 
Oct 8th, 2000, 10:20 PM
  #12  
mast
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Now I am hoping that december will come sooner. Thanks, ANN!
 
Oct 9th, 2000, 02:25 AM
  #13  
debbie
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Nice to see your message. We are planning to go to Germany next May but I really have some doubts if I will like the country. Can you make any recommendations about good places to stay? We will be there for about 2.5 weeks. Thanks for any help you can give me.
D.
 
Oct 9th, 2000, 05:55 AM
  #14  
Jan
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Debbie, I can understand your reservations about going to Germany because I felt the same way. I wasn't real sure that I was going to like Germany or the people. My husband and I were there in Sept. 99 and we both fell in love with Germany. We started in Frankfurt and drove up the Rhine and then down the Mosel to Trier. Trier was wonderful. Then we went to Baden-Baden, Heidelburg, Rothenburg o. b. t. and then stayed in Pfronten at the Burghotel Falkenstein to visit Neuschwanstein. We could see the Neuschwanstein Castle from our room at Burghotel Faulkenstein.

Everyone was very friendly, helpful and kind throughout Germany. We fell in love with the country and the people.
 
Oct 9th, 2000, 07:01 AM
  #15  
Carol
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Hi Ann,
I wondered what you did about hotel reservations. Did you have everything planned out where you were staying before you went there? I love Germany and would love to go back there. We lived there for 5 years and I had a VW camper so when I traveled I would just look for a campground and also there were so many neat places I could travel within a day and go back home again. It would be a different story now. I was wondering how people did it since traveling around Germany you have so many directions to go and it's difficult to just stay in one location and go back there every night. How did you find the hotels you stayed at?
Carol
 
Oct 9th, 2000, 08:02 AM
  #16  
Ann
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Debbie, I think you will love Germany; will email you directly to give you some ideas, but for starters, I'd certainly recommend you get into the countryside and stay in some smaller villages to get a true idea of what German culture and community are like. Yes, Carol, we did have reservations for all but four nights of the trip planned in advance. We stayed at some favorites from previous visits, found some wonderful new places via the internet (like the hotel at Wartburg in Eisenach) and did some reading to find others. I certainly appreciate spontaneity and am willing to adjust our "schedule" when something interesting pops up (like the concert at Wieskirche), on a trip with so much traveling involved, I don't like to spend too much time searching for a place to stay the night. You can almost always find a room, but it may be an effort you don't want to make if it eats up your vacation time... and this trip involved distances too great to try out-and-back touring, so we had to pick up and move. But we did simplify the process by packing clothes in different suitcases so we'd only have one to carry each time we moved.
 
Oct 10th, 2000, 06:40 AM
  #17  
Lisa
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Ann,

I have 4 days after a trip to Prague and want to go to Germany and stay in a castle and am looking for a beautiful area. It's hard to decide. What would you suggest. We will probably rent a car. Would you suggest the Rhine? We will probably see Dresden while in Prague.
Leaving next week. Thanks-Lisa
 
Oct 10th, 2000, 08:39 AM
  #18  
Sal
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Ann, sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Thank you for sharing. It's so great to read a posting like yours! I'm thinking of a trip to Germany next year, probably for about two weeks. I want to see the Black Forest and my boyfriend wants to visit eastern Germany. We'll rent a car and start either east or west, then drive the other way. My question is, can we get by driving through small towns and larger cities speaking next to no German? We will certainly learn as many phrases and words as we can, but we'll both be first time visitors to Germany.
 
Oct 10th, 2000, 09:51 AM
  #19  
XXX
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To Lisa:
Although I am not the original author of this post, I would strongly suggest the Mosel over the Rhine. I think it has much more charm and was not nearly as packed with tourists.
 
Oct 10th, 2000, 01:42 PM
  #20  
Ann
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Lisa, my recommendation for a castle stay will always be Burghotel auf Schonburg at Oberwesel on the Rhine. You just can't beat the hotel... I don't even know what is so special about it, because there are many first-class hotels and beautiful castles, but this one has a very special feeling. Or maybe I'm just overly-romantic! It will run you DM 285-340 for a room with a balcony on the river or a tower room. Check their website at www.hotel-schoenburg.com I do agree with the anonymous poster about the Mosel, it is certainly cozier and not as sophisticated as the Rhine. But for spectacular scenery and a castle stay, I stick with the Schonburg. And Sal, believe me, I am nowhere close to fluent in German, but a willingness to try goes a long way. Most Germans now speak a little English, and with even a little bit of German, you will manage quite well. We happened upon and participated in a "Questenet" fest in Cochem on the Mosel, never knowing what exactly they were celebrating. About two days later we finally figured out (after seeing people on ladders, shaking the limbs of huge trees along the river banks) that it was a "chestnut" festival and welcome to Eifel dialect! Stay flexible and have a great time...
 

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