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Short trip April/May 2019 where after Garmisch Partenkirchen

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Jul 12th, 2018, 11:29 PM
  #1
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Short trip April/May 2019 where after Garmisch Partenkirchen

Thanks to Fodorites our trip to Europe in October is all planned. We thought it would be our last trip to Europe but have unexpectedly, but wonderfully, been given a short trip next year and would be grateful for some help working it out.

I am thinking of taking our Garmisch Partenkirchen stay out of our October trip (3 nights) and going in April so we have longer there. Our Oct trip therefore would be Italy, Switzerland and Prague. Last year we spent time visiting the Rhine river (spent a week based in Oberwesel), Salzburg, Colmar area, Bad Ischl and surrounding areas.

So for this trip:
Arrival: Morning of Thurs, 25 April 2019 - We can fly into any city in Europe we like (this is not booked yet). Jet lag is not an issue for us.
Departure: 10pm Out of Frankfurt - this is booked and cannot be changed.
We only use public transport and love train travel. We enjoy leisurely boat trips on lakes or rivers.

If we stayed in Garmisch Partenkirchen (5 nights) would you recommend we go there first (we love snow) or would later make no difference?
Our ideas so far from reading Fodors posts: Lake Constance, Strasbourgh (to get a bit of French flavour), Cochem or Trier (or is this too like the Rhine)?
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Jul 13th, 2018, 12:47 AM
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Hi jinz,

I live in Garmisch, so I hope I can help a bit --

There likely won't be snow within the town of Garmisch in April, though of course you'll be able to find snow on the Zugspitze and perhaps also the Alpspitze & Kreuzeck peaks. April isn't really a great time to visit a mountain town, though we do get the odd period of weeks of summer weather at odd times. The trouble is, though, that we can't predict when or if it'll happen. Most likely, April will be, as it usually is, wet and chilly. So it probably won't matter if you do Garmisch first or last. However, I personally like to be near my departure airport at the end of my trip, so that would argue for putting Garmisch first, then working your way up to Frankfurt.

I spent 5 nights in Trier last year and didn't care for it much... it seemed to be a bit economically depressed. I loved all the Roman ruins, though, so if that's your focus, you'd likely enjoy that.

Lake Constance is a definite YES.

I spent a few nights in Freiburg (im Breisgau) a few years ago and simply fell in love with the city. Its history is amazing, and it's wonderful to get lost in its tangled streets. I picked up a self-guided tour book from the tourist information office, and followed its walk. Just lovely. You can also make excursions to the Black Forest to experience some of the countryside -- Rick Steves (oddly enough!) describes a lovely walk from Sankt Peter to Sankt Märgen, both ends easily accessed by public transport to/from Freiburg.

Not sure how many nights you have, but I'd suggest something like this:

Garmisch x5 nights
Lindau x3 nights
Freiburg x4 nights

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:19 AM
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Hello Swandiv,

I was hoping you would reply. You have been helping me plan our Europe trips for ten years! If we leave Garmisch in our October holiday and do Lake Konstanz and Freiburg in April is there anywhere else you would recommend? We do love going up the mountains for the views.

Thank you for the feedback re Trier. Our friends made the same comment so I have crossed it off the list.

Last year we caught the TGV train from Paris Est to Frankfurt to catch our plane out! It was actually a lovely train trip before our flight.

Thank you again.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 01:42 AM
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Hi!

Wow, so glad my input has been helpful!!

I guess I would head to Alsace if I were you.... Riquewihr or Eguisheim or Kayserberg or in that area. But that might be quite similar to what you saw when you were in Colmar...? So, maybe Cochem or Koblenz.

I don't know about mountain views though... the landscape there is more like rolling hills. There is the Feldberg, at about 1,400m, but I'm not sure how easy it is to get to.

Sounds like a good trip -- all rivers and lakes!

Have fun!

s
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Jul 13th, 2018, 07:41 AM
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Yes swandav is so so helpful and nice! For mountains - awesome high Alps consider going to Salzburg first then by postal bus thru the Lakes District for a few days to Hallstatt - with Alps are their most majestic - or head to Switzerland and Interlaken area - easy by train- Bavarian Alps are just not that high- anyway for lots on trains and where to go check www.bahn.de/en - German Railways site for schedules all European trains -n www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. The Lakes district east of Salzburg has sweet boat rides.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 08:45 AM
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Pal, op said Switzerland is a separate trip, and they visited Salzburg last year. But, yes, I think the Salzkammergut is a good idea!

s
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Jul 13th, 2018, 11:51 AM
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Hello Again, Thank you so much for your kind responses. I check Fodors as soon as I get up every morning hoping for posts.

Last year (3 month trip) thanks to your advice we based ourselves in Bad Ischl and explored the Austrian lakes for a week. Absolutely wonderful. We then went on to Salzburg and Vienna.

When we were in Colmar we rented a car and drove all round the villages and had a great time. We didn't have time to get to Freiburg, Strasbourg, etc. We also didn't manage to fit in the Moselle.

Thank you for the train information, PalenQ. The part of the mountains we enjoy is the different travel means - cogwheel trains, cable cars, etc. We don't mind wet, chilly weather as we live in New Zealand and are used to it!

Thank you again.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 12:30 PM
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Cochem or Trier (or is this too like the Rhine)?>

Not at all - the 'mother Mosel' is - thanks to being damned up a lot - rather lazy compared to 'father Rhine' (as I've heard German compare the two) - and runs in a deep often vineyard-carpeted valley - now around Trier - neat old city but on ugly part of Mosel - really neat city - could base in picture-perfect postcard Cochem and easily day trip to Trier by car or train. Trier has some of finest intact Roman relics north of the Alps - Cochem is a wine district with wineries right in town - many folks love staying in smaller town like Beilstein (need a car though) but anywhere along the valley between Bernkastel-Kues and Cochem would be very scenic.Burg Eltz, high above the Mosel not far from Cochem is one of Germany's most famous castles - easily reached by train and taxi or short uphill walk from Cochem. So, the Mosel is very different from the Rhine and could make a great last stop before Frankfurt.

And April/May great as few of the huge crowds of summertime.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by swandav2000 View Post
I spent 5 nights in Trier last year and didn't care for it much... it seemed to be a bit economically depressed. I loved all the Roman ruins, though, so if that's your focus, you'd likely enjoy that.
Erm, what? Economically depressed? Trier does just fine and it is pretty much in the middle of all German towns and districts when we are talking about develeopment and future prospects. It is slightly isolated from the rest of the country but benefits from being near to Luxemburg.
I was there last year and had not even remotely the same impression you had. Trier is among the less destroyed larger towns in the Allied terror bombing raids which makes it one of the more attractive places to visit. The Roman history is a very obvious bonus after all this was at some time the residential city of the West Roman emperors. And the most famous son of Trier, Karl Marx, is just now honored with exhibitions for his milestone birthday.
I'm totally puzzled by this post ...
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Jul 13th, 2018, 03:00 PM
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Even years ago when for ten years I made two visits for two days each Trier seemed to me at least then economically vibrant - its main pedestrian street always thronged and lots of tourists. Maybe gone downhill since but seems unlikely. And why the heck did you or anyone spend 5 days here? - two each time were enough for me. Trier to me is a good day trip from some dreamier Mosel base (again the Mosel there to me looked more like a large drain than one of Europe's prettiest river valleys).
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Jul 13th, 2018, 09:18 PM
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Hi Lubitsch,

Well, I'm not sure what to tell you -- that was truly my impression. I stayed in an apartment adjacent to the pedestrian zone, across the street from the Karl-Marx-Haus. Walking from there into the pedestrian zone, the buildings were dingy and dirty looking, and the shutters on the apartments above the shops were dirty with peeling and cracked paint. Also, when walking to the river via Deutschherrenstraße, I only remember blocks of huge and ill-kept apartment buildings.

Maybe my impressions come from having lived in a major tourist town (Garmisch) for the past 10 years. The pedestrian zone is spic-and-span, and all the streets leading to it are manicured, scrubbed, and shining. I've also found that to be true in most towns here -- Murnau, Oberammergau, Füssen, Grainau, Mittenwald, Regensburg, Augsburg, etc. If you're in town around 08.30 or 08.45, you see the shop-keepers wiping down the windows and the outside walls of the shops.


Pal, this is why I spent so much time there --

I am a slow traveller. When I go to a new place, I like to spend at least 4 nights there to be able to get a feel for the place, to begin to get into the rhythm and the flow of it. I love to sit somewhere and watch people. I've violated that principle two times recently (Aachen and Freiburg, 2 nights each, different trips), and regretted it both times.

I'm living in Germany and love Germany and am very interested in its history. My visit to Trier was part of a trip to try to touch and learn from the fascinating history of the country -- Aachen (Dark Ages), Trier (Romans), Baden-Baden (Romantic Ages), and Regensburg (Roman & Medieval). I intended to spend that time to learn something about my adopted home.

I am interested in ancient history. I read a lot of historical novels, about half of them dealing with the Roman era. So, having so many Roman artifacts and monuments in the town was irresistible. Just looking at the number of artifacts and the museum, I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with a fly-by for the town. I wanted to have enough time to immerse myself in the history, to imagine Romans and Teutons in the street and going about their lives.

And finally, really, Pal, your comment is borderline inane. You seem to be advocating for superficial & shallow visits. Why the heck would anyone be bragging about having so little interest in his destination?

s

Last edited by swandav2000; Jul 13th, 2018 at 09:31 PM.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 10:05 PM
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By the way, I did not run out of things to do in Trier -- I was fully occupied and engaged for the whole time I was there. But I don't think the town itself is very inviting or charming. So, unless someone is fascinated by Roman history, it may well be a miss.

s
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Jul 14th, 2018, 01:41 PM
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Hello,
I so enjoy the back and forth posts. We tend to prefer basing ourselves in one place too rather than packing up and moving on. We always leave at least one day for a spur of the moment day trip.
We have decided so far:
Fly into Basel - put our luggage into lockers so we can stroll round one of our favourite places.
Train to Freiburg (3 nights) - will do a day trip to Strasbourg
Train to Lindau (5 nights) - Stein Am Rhein, 2 days exploring towns around lake, St Gallens, 1 day spare for deciding when we are there

This leaves 3 days (excluding travel time) to decide on before we catch our 10 pm flight out of Frankfurt.

Has anyone been to Frankfurt? We tend to avoid big cities but loved Vienna so would be open if it is recommended.
Thank you from a crisp, frosty morning in Hawkes Bay, NZ.
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Jul 14th, 2018, 09:59 PM
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Hi again,

Yes, we're all kinda "characters..." here

I think there's a poster here who lives in Frankfurt, and a few others who live nearby, so you may want to make a new post with only Frankfurt in the title so those posters will see it and may respond. I've been to Ff, but it was a century ago.... and I didn't pay much attention. (I'm mainly interested in the city because that's where the German tribes of Franks tended to cross ("ford") the river, around 150 a.d.... hence its name.) I only remember visiting when my father came to see me when I was stationed in Heilbronn, and he delighted in walking along the river and enjoying a beer in one of the barge/bars docked on the river.

My cousin's wife's father was in an old-age home in Bad Homburg, so I've visited the town when going with them on their trips to see him. BH is an absolutely delightful little town, with a thriving pedestrian street, a huge park, and interesting architecture and history down by the small river. It would take about an hour, with a change in Frankfurt, to get to the airport from there.

Mainz of course is an interesting larger town/small city. There are direct connections to the Frankfurt airport from there, taking only about half an hour.

Hope you find a good source for stuff in Frankfurt!

s
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Jul 14th, 2018, 11:55 PM
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Frankfurt is totally different compared to Vienna; I don't think you'll love it if you loved Vienna.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 05:07 AM
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We were only in Frankfurt once, and that was on our first trip to Europe with a day or two in each of a dozen or more cities. We didn't see enough charm (that's my favorite thing to find in our travels) in the city to ever want to return. We now give places a lot more chance to shine by spending longer and doing day trips, but we still haven't returned to Frankfurt. Could be we're missing something but on the basis of our first view, we aren't concerned about that given the many alternatives. Freiburg, for instance. We went on a day trip while our River cruise boat was docked in Breisach. Would return for sure. Lots of charm.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 11:46 AM
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Thank you so much for the feedback. After reading some reports on Frankfurt I have to agree that it is unlikely to be a place we want to spend our last three days in Europe. Back to the drawing board!

Part of our flight ticket is a driver pick up from Frankfurt Bahnhof (we have insurance should there be strikes!) so we can go anywhere within around 2 hrs train ride from the station.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 01:28 PM
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Why the heck would anyone be bragging about having so little interest in his destination?>

Well having spent maybe a collective six weeks in the city over the years, as a city if I had to chose - unlike you who can afford (time) to soak up history, etc. I'd chose to spend time in say Berlin. So I believe you are an exception and don't get me wrong - yes at first I thought '4 days' - wow in a fairly small large city you found rather depressing looking did not make sense but now that you exlained it all yes but for most tourists to Germany I'd recommend Trier as a day trip from some nicer Mosel base. Not sure that that is a 'inane' take.

Cheers!
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Jul 16th, 2018, 03:44 AM
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Just a quick look at the map of Germany show Wurzburg, about an hour away from Frankfurt by train with Nurnberg, and Bamberg as well as Rothenburg ob der Tauber surrounding for day trips. Would be great IMO
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Jul 17th, 2018, 06:32 AM
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And Heidelberg too is a great old undamaged by war much town near Frankfurt Airport - can take day trips up Castle Road along Neckard River Valley by car or bus. Frankfurt is good for a day IMO - some neat parks, museums and shooping district.
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