Munich to Munich

Old Nov 8th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Munich to Munich

Day One Germany
Greetings from Rothenberg
Frank and I arrived here today, after an uneventful plane ride to Munich. We were lucky as our flight from Tampa to Atlanta, the plane was delayed to faulty brakes, and on the flight to Munich the plane's 3 rd generator was broken. So, after a couple delays, we arrived here unharmed.
We picked up our lovely Golf Siat (not Fiat) as I had hoped , and after 20 minutes trying to open the trunk, my sleep deprived Frankster hopped in the drivers seat to tackle the famous autobon highway. Speed limit is entirely optional , and our Garmen navigational system would not believe we were not in Tampa. So, after a couple of wrong turns, numerous ausfharts(pronounced by yours truly as ASSFART) which is actually exit, our Garmen kicked in and our moped like engine proved us wrong and off we were like a couple of pros. We learned very quickly, the right lane is considerably the friendlier lane as BMWS and Mercedes flew by us at groundbreaking speeds.
The 2 1/2 drive to Rothenberg was marked by beautiful green pasteurs, lazy cows, a collage of autumns finest hues of orange, browns and fading yellow foilage. As we entered the medieval stone wall of Rothenberg, both our eyelids were falling.
Our hotel is right within the midevil stone wall. It is cozy, quaint, quiet and comfortable. After much needed nap, we awoke as the sky was turning black. The streets only illuminated by the glow of the full moon, and homey candles twinkeling in the welcoming restaurants. We took a little walk around the area, to get to know our surroundings , then went to a lovely restaurant reccommended by our hotel hostess.
In a lovely, quaint little restaurant, our table with fresh sunflowers, and our buxom, waitress, dressed in traditional German dress , we munched on salty, pumpernickel bread, and velvety pumpkin soup. I enjoyed with my soup, a beer that I cannot pronounce, basically lemonade beer. And, if there was ever a beer made for me, this was it. It acted as a complement to my delicous soup. The next course was vegetable dumplings in a spectacular sauce, that I have no idea what it was, but it green and glorious. It was also accompined by a salad that was so simple in ingrediants, but each component was better than the next. The food was hearty, hot, and flavorful. Frank had a fish dish. For dessert we had apple strudel in a vanilla sauce. There were no complaints from me from this meal.
During our meal, we made conversation, with a couple from California, traveling for 6 weeks through Europe. They were retired and had facsinating tales, with also a wealth of helpful advice and traveling tips.
After our meal, we walked through the dark curving, cobblestone streets. It was very cold, low 30s, the air was crisp, the smell of smoking chimneys in the air. We window shopped, gawking at beautiful Christmas displays, ornate wooden German orniments, and lavish ceramics.
I will report on this evenings events later tonight. And, boy do I have a parking nightmare of Mr. Bean proportions so prepare yourself. Thanks for allowing me to share.

~~ Brooke and Frank~~
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Old Nov 8th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Always good to know the name of the town you're sleeping in, right?
RothenbUrg
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Old Nov 8th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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Lemonade beer... Radler!
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Old Nov 8th, 2010, 10:02 PM
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Sorry, but people jumping in a car and driving for a few hours while over-tired from trans-Atlantic flights are a worse danger on the road than drivers who have been drinking. Why do people do this? It scares me half to death knowing they are on the road, especially at the speeds one can drive here.

Glad you had a good first day, but I cringed when I read your words, "over-tired", both of you with "eye lids falling" and then driving a car in a foreign land to boot.
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 04:47 AM
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Great beginning to your story. Hope we hear more! Thanks in advance!
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Old Nov 9th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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DAY 2 GERMANY/FRANCE

Greetings from Strausbourg, France.

So, this morning, we woke up pretty early after a well rested sleep. After a fierce shower, we were greeted for breakfast at our hotel with breakfast by candlelight, with fine china, opulent surroundings, and gourmet selections, in a presentation that resembled a still life. Not only pictureque, but fresh and delicious.

We strolled the streets of Rothenberg, attempting to beat the throngs of annoying tourists clicking away ferociosly at their cameras. They only caught up with us. The streets looked much different in the daylight, without the mysterious shadows, and darkened alleys. It was bright and vibrant with crowds. We went to a beautiful church, to escape the chaos, and worshipped the travel saints and, and God for this glorious journey.

Back in our almighty Golf Siet, we strapped our seat belts on, gunned the pedal to 80 miles an hour and plowed our way through the autobon. It was a game of leapfrog, boucing from fast lane to slow lane, praying every time Frank passed a car.

With only a few goof ups from our dear Garmon system we made it across the border to France. As we attempted to park our car in the parking garage, there was space only for one car at a time to enter or exit. There also was a traffic light, that went from yellow to red to green, in the case of 2 cars entering and exiting at once. In our situation, we were not given a tutorial on this issue. We were coming into the garage as a car was leaving, with merely centimeters seperating us. As they screamed in German, we yelled in English, and the attendent, yelled in French, hands waving, fear across all the faces. I was praying, eyes clenched, smelling fear and the burning of our precious clutch. As Frank struggled with the gears, rolling back and forth over the ramp. In the end, we made it, but a clutch repair may be involved. Just in case, anyone works for Hertz, it was a language barrier and clearly not our fault.

We acclomated ourselves to our new sorroundings, walking through the streets of Strausbourg, at times, forgetting which culture we were in. It is a big thriving city, very busy, on an island, in Western France right over the border from Germany. We struggled to find dinner as we went from restaurant to restaurant, each host telling us, sorry no reservations. We were grateful to finally find a place, its specialty we are still unclear, as the menu had asian, american , and mexican. I had vegetable soup and cheese raviloi. I rate it an 8. Tasty but not the French food I was dreaming about. Frank had noodles with shrimp. Dessert was an apple crumble , and chocolate cake and expresso for Frank. It was substinance and we were grateful to have a meal.

We are now back at the hotel where we will stay for 2 days. It is a modern hotel, with a big bathroom, a couple english speaking programs on tv, and free wifi.

Will fill you in on more tomorrow.
~~ Brooke and Frank
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 03:04 AM
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What kind of car is a "Golf Siat" or "Golf Siet" ???
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 05:07 AM
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Laughing out loud at the scene of trying to enter the parking garage! Apologies as I understand how frustrating the circumstances must be!

Thanks for continuing your story.
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Old Nov 10th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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Day three
Strasbourg France
Bon Jour! So, this morning, up before the crack of dawn. Frankster and I shoved out the door, which is smack in the city center, in search of breakfast. The French, not too keen on breakfast & especially on Sunday, so we improvised and had a soft pretzel. Honestly, smack a little cream cheese on there, and you have a close contender for a bagel. And, Philly peeps out there--this pretzel is eerily similar to yours.
After our carb loading, high salt, no nutrition breakfast we made our way to the fine arts museum. It was housed in a beautiful mansion, and had random art pieces from famous masters, spread throughout. There were no audio or explanations provided, so it was fairly quick, but enjoyable none the less.
After the museum, we took a sightseeing boat around the island. The boat was packed too capacity, a little United Nations going on- with Asians, French, Germans, and a handful of Americans. For our listening pleasure, headphones were provided to narrate the tour. By accident for about 10 minutes, I was listening to the kids version. A pirate was narrating our journey, and as I looked around and people looked left then right, I was being instructed in small words what big words meant. Which, I suppose was easy since they were 15 languages to choose from. It was very informative, but had a lullaby effect, as both Frank and I were nodding off to soothing hypnotic hymns, accompanied by the narration. (elevator music) After the boat ride, we walked around the area called Petite France, along the water. The weather was damp and gray, but not raining, nor windy. We found a very chic, place called Argtarium, oh what a food lovers fantasy. The service was first rate and the food was exquisite. For a starter I had a goat cheese salad, so simple and fresh, but yet delicious. Frank had snails (eewwwwwwwwwww!) followed by schnitzel, for me (kind of like gnocchi, rolled out in little noodles) with mushrooms. By the way, I have such a fondness for this noodle, that when I see it on a menu, I begin to salivate. Frank had the special, which was a duck breast, with potatoes and a mound of sauerkraut,that honestly concerned me. No repercussions yet. We held back for this meal and restrained from dessert. Only 2 courses.......
After our wonderful meal, we walked around the water and made our way back to the hotel. Somehow, as the carbs settled, so did our energy level, and within 5 minutes we found ourselves deeply sedated. A 2 hr nap consumed the remainder of our afternoon.
We awoke by the sounds of the city and church bells. We walked around the city, and settled on a cozy pizza restaurant with a wood burning pizza oven. We were greeted by the luscious smells of bubbling pizza, and burning dough. The place was packed with a young, energetic, yuppie crowd. Everybody appeared to be enjoying themselves, and eating with gusto. We each ate a pizza of human proportion, with a delicate thin crust. Next to New Yorkers, Europeans know how to make a serious pizza. Dessert was followed, with much discussion and negation, creme brullet made with grand marnier for Frank. The Frankster seemed pretty pleased with his selection. I had Tiramasu. It was silky smooth, with a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Just enough to tease my taste buds. This feast was followed by an hour long walk through the city.
Tomorrow we leave Strasbourg, we pray that we will be able to extract the car from the parking garage without incident. We will be heading towards a town called Colmar, France. We will be traveling through hilly wine roads. I will have an update tomorrow. Thanks for allowing me to share my journey, and thanks for all your kind comments and feedback.
~~Brooke and Frank~~
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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Day 4
Greetings from Colmar France
Bon jour! I write this as Frank is in a heap snoring. This morning, we left the hotel at 6am! We wanted to get the hell out of dodge, since that parking garage incident + horrific traffic + scary autobahn= Brooke and Franking having a minor nervous breakdown(mostly Brooke). We had a fluid plan, that was subject to change. We made it out of garage, by the way without incident. We did get slightly lost, and may have screamed profanities at dear ole' Garmin, but other than that, no animals or pedestrians were harmed.
Our first "issue" happened when for the first time on our trip, we needed gas, or as the French call it-"Petrol". Finding the gas station was a nightmare in itself, since apparently in France, they have these things called Round-abouts. They should be called hemorrhoids. We had to go through no less than 5 just to get to the station. When Frank finally figured out what gas to use (umm, the cheapest but not diesel) the machine would not take any American credit cards. In addition, there was no attendant there to collect money. Thankfully, there was a nice Frenchman, who heard our troubles, and used his credit card and we gave him money.The only problem was we did not want to put him out too much, so Frank only got 10 euros worth. The gas gage barely moved. After that incident, we tried another station that was under construction. Let's just say---we still haven't gotten anymore, and there are none for another 25 miles. In addition, please note apparently, since the French don't want to raise their retirement age up 2 years, the workers decided to go on strike, so there is a major shortage too. The good news is we will be in Germany tomorrow.
So, I digress. We on a whim, we chose to go to a city called Ribeauvillé. This adorable little village is straight out of a Mother goose novel. We arrived quite early and for the most part, most stores were closed. We stopped at a local bakery and after much language difficulty, it was just easier to stick with the pretzel. So, once again, carb loading at 9 am. A hot chocolate was much in order, since the weather was cooooooooooooold. Hat, mittens, scarf, zipped up to the neck, cold. Frank, incidentally, has not found a Starbucks in 3 days, and is close to going insane (hence the snoring mass next to me). He had their version of coffee and a lovely little chocolate pastry. Honestly, almost too pretty to eat(I said almost). We also purchased a beautiful baguette, wrapped in the most delicate of tissue paper, for a later picnic. Walking around with our baguette, we felt like a true Frenchman. So, we walked around from closed store to closed store-window shopping. We went to a lovely cheese shop (Fromage) and picked out some beautiful, nutty, flavorful local cheeses to accompany our bread.
We left Ribeauvillé, and decided to get "lost" in the woods. We turned dear ole Garmin off, passed some windy, curvy roads, lined with fragrant vineyards and old farm houses. We made our way deep into the forest, winding up the road, a narrow one way street, with no room for another car. It was absolutely stunning, and breathtaking, but panic did start to settle in on "where the hell are we???????" So, I turned our tour guide back on, and apparently he was as confused as us, because, he practically had us going over a cliff, dring through someone's backyard, and eventually making a u-turn on the same street we were on.
As we descended our way down, we decided to visit a local winery. We tasted a couple of glasses, me pretending like I am the wine expert as I mostly drink tap water. Oh, how sophisticated I felt as I swirled my glass of wine that I could not even pronounce. This region is famous for mostly white wines, musket and especially Alsace (since this is the region of Alsace). See, I already became a wine snob. Anyways, we purchased 2 bottles, than after an awkward silence, the distributor shoved us on our way (language barrier).
As we were heading to our destination, we passed by a winery named Francois E___. I halfheartedly said this to Frank, not making the correlation--------hello-------Frank E____. So, of course, we had to meet this gentleman, who was about 90, did not speak a lick of English, and Frank swears he is his Uncle Jonny's(who served in WW 2 in Germany) love child. Kindred spirits we were, slopping down our next couple glasses of wine. Making conversation neither one of us understood. But, in the end, hugs were had, pictures taken and we have an invite to the next family reunion (just kidding).
We eventually, puttering on gas fumes, made our way to Colmar, a city 25 miles on the France side of the German/France border. It is a tiny little town, more cute streets, and gingerbread houses. We checked into our cozy hotel, set the bags down, and running only on pretzel remnants in my gut for energy, we walked downtown and went to the Unterlinden Museum. It is a beautiful museum, formerly a monastery and church from the 13th century. It mainly housed pre renaissance paintings, but there were a couple Picassos and some scattered modern paintings. The jewel in this museum is the Eisenheim Alterpiece. I studied this extensively in art class (back in the day-before giving enemas were my life) and this is the holy grail of art works. Its importance is significant, and seeing it in person, was mind boggling.
After 2 hrs in the museum, we made our way back to the hotel, had a lovely picnic dinner, with all our finds for the day, as we watched Dexter on dvd.
PS, anyone out there ever heard of Raisin juice? This was purchased at Cousin E____ wine shop. Were we swindled? Is this just grape juice?
~~Brooke and Frank~~
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