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The Boomer and the Gen-Zer: A trip of firsts

The Boomer and the Gen-Zer: A trip of firsts

Old Jan 10th, 2020, 01:30 PM
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We're heartbroken over what's going on in Australia at the moment marg. I keep hoping for some good news, but there hasn't been any. I sincerely hope that you and yours aren't in harm's way.
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 01:44 PM
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What a sweet idea, Mel! Sounds like you and your niece were great traveling companions. Wonderful photos. Brava!
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Old Jan 10th, 2020, 02:24 PM
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We had sun on Boxing day also. It was such a welcome break from the rain. I think your niece seems to be an excellent travel companion. That lurching at the tower is scary!
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 09:18 AM
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Dec 27 – Salzburg

The sun and blue skies were a distant memory; we woke to more gloom.

K wanted to visit the Haus Der Natur (Museum of Natural History) so I’d hatched a plan on how to utilize the last few hours of our *Salzburg Card (which would expire at 10:45 am). Up and out early we walked to the station and after some hemming and hawing trying to figure out which bus to take, decided to take a chance on the #5 bus, which as hoped went towards Old Town (and yes, there was another very long queue for bus #150 to Hallstatt).

*I later tallied up the cost of attractions we’d visited vs the cost of the Salzburg Card – €66 each not including bus fares, so the Salzburg Card was a very good value at €34 each.

We got off the bus as soon as I recognized where we were and soon found ourselves crossing the Salzach River via the Makartsteg footbridge, which we’d seen lit up on previous evenings as we crossed further down the river.

K was fascinated with the thousands of love locks affixed to the fencing of the bridge (probably even more so since she’s head-over-heels in love with a young man back home), so I explained the tradition of lovers inscribing a lock with their initials, attaching it to a bridge and tossing the key into the river to symbolize their eternal love. I also explained love locks are controversial, considered vandalism and sometimes removed to preserve historic bridges and monuments from the overwhelming number of locks.


Makartsteg footbridge

Makartsteg footbridge


We arrived a few minutes before the Haus Der Natur opened at 9 am, and spent the next six hours exploring this massive museum. I had no idea what we were in for, but as this video shows, this place is an adventure!

https://www.hausdernatur.at/en/

This museum is huge, amazing, overwhelming. We sat in on a science experiment program designed for kids, presented in German, but entertaining just the same.

Thankfully, the museum has a nice bistro, where we enjoyed a surprisingly good lunch. The bistro was packed, I felt sorry for the staff who were running their tails off. We both had Salami Bruschetta, plus a glass of wine for me €24, and very good.




Being much older than 19, I needed a second break, so I went back to the bistro later to sip mineral water while K tackled the aquarium.

I’m not sure where we found the energy, but K also wanted to visit the Early Christian catacombs, which are carved into the rock of the Mönchsberg above St Peter’s cemetery, so we headed there. The entrance is located at the graves of Mozart's sister Nannerl and Michael Haydn.

We paid our €2 each admission, climbed the 48 steps and poked through the dark and eerie catacombs. Nice views from up here, even in the rain.


View from inside the catacombs

Catacombs

View from inside the catacombs

Catacombs

Afterwards we cooled our heels at St. Peter’s Stiftskulinarium (not in the restaurant, but in the atrium/entrance/grotto, surrounded by lit Christmas trees, really pretty), where I had my final gluhwein of 2019; K tried the punch.



St. Peter’s Stiftskulinarium

St. Peter’s Stiftskulinarium

St. Peter’s Stiftskulinarium


We then worked our way back toward the apartment, wandering through Old Town one last time.


Old Town


Then it was one last stop at Spar for dinner provisions and to stock up on my favorite Austrian treat:

https://www.spar.at/themenwelten/you...an/sweet-o-mio.

Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my waistline) they only had three boxes left. So naturally I cleaned them out.

Before leaving the station I also bought our Bayern Ticket for tomorrow from the DB ticket machine (34).

To be continued...

Last edited by Melnq8; Jan 11th, 2020 at 09:22 AM.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 09:58 AM
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Dec 28 - Salzburg to Munich

We woke to a rain-free, sun-free morning. We’d spent three full days in Salzburg, but I couldn’t help feeling that we’d missed more than we’d seen. I really enjoyed Salzburg and could probably spend another 3-4 days here (when asked which place was her favorite K said it was Innsbruck).

We left our lovely Air BNB, walked to the Hauptbahnhof, picked up pastries at Spar and cooled our heels in the waiting room.

We boarded the 9:15 train to Munich; my phone telling me that we were in Germany within minutes. The train wasn’t crowded, there was plenty of room for luggage and lot of empty seats.

Some two hours and no train changes later, we arrived at the Munich Hauptbahnhof. I’d booked a hotel near Sendlinger Tor, thinking it would provide easy access to the Deutsches Museum, which is how we'd planned to spend our last afternoon in Munich.

We located the S-Bahn and took the escalator down to the platform, but I couldn’t figure out how to get to Sendlinger Tor.

Just about the time I realized that we needed the U-Bahn, an off duty DB employee walked by, so I asked him, and he confirmed my suspicions. The U-Bahn was below us, but there was no way to get there from where we were. He suggested we wait for the arriving train, run through it, and then we’d have access to a stairway on the other side, which would lead us down to the U-Bahn.

So that’s what we did, but then we got on a train going the wrong direction, so had to get off and catch a train going the other way. Arrgh…

Once at Sendlinger Tor, it took some doing to find our *hotel – we wandered in circles for a bit, but eventually found it (there are intersecting tram tracks and a lot of construction going on in the middle of the intersection, it’s just not clear where one is meant to cross the street – confusing as all get out).

*Hotel Mueller – a small traditional hotel on a quiet side street. Old world charm, free mini bar with water, sparkling apple juice, two cokes and two beers (too bad neither of us drinks beer!). Quiet and comfortable, exceptional breakfast - €117.

https://www.carathotels.de/mueller-muenchen/hotel/

It was too early to check in, so we left our bags and went in search of the Deutsches Museum, where we found an enormous queue that snaked around what appeared to be a ticket office outside of the museum. Surely they weren’t in line for museum tickets?




We entered the museum and asked if that was the queue for tickets. We were told yes, but if we bought a ticket online we could enter immediately. So, I tried to buy tickets with my phone, but wasn’t successful.

It was already 1 pm, the museum closed at 5 pm, if yesterday was any indication we could be in the museum all afternoon…we’d not yet eaten…I asked if it would break K’s heart if she missed it. She said no. Music to my ears.

Which is how we ended up at having a long leisurely lunch at Berni’s Nudelbrett near the Viktualienmarkt, a restaurant I knew from a previous visit. There was a queue here too, but we were the only party of two, and they just happened to have a table for two, so…

The food was good as was the service - lasagna for K, salami pizza for me, wine for both (€34).

On to Plan B; we next sought out Asam Church, also known as St. Johann Nepomuk, a Baroque church built from 1733 to 1746 by brothers Egid Quirin Asam (sculptor), and Cosmas Damian Asam (painter). I’d been here before but had forgotten how incredibly eye-popping it is. An organist was practicing and it was absolutely freezing outside, so we stayed awhile.


Asam Church

Asam Church

Asam Church


We then went in search of Munich's best Baumkuchen, which I’d been told could be found at Café Kreutzkamm (which has two locations). We followed the GPS to the closest one, which was very busy, but we managed to find a table. We warmed up with a cappuccino and latte and because they only had one left, we shared a Baumkuchen – which wasn’t what I expected, but the waiter assured me that’s what it was. It was okay, didn't knock my socks off (€12).


Baumkuchen


Then it was out into the freezing cold mob scene. Marienplatz was absolutely heaving with people, even more so than before Christmas. I suspect it was due to after Christmas sales. We popped into a few shops so K could look at clothes – one which was so busy I had to back into a corner while I waited.

We eventually worked our way back to our hotel stopping at shops along the way.

That evening we packed up our luggage and had a make shift dinner of salami, cheese and leftover snacks.

Going home…
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 10:44 AM
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December 29 – Munich-Denver-Colorado Springs

Up early, we were down in the breakfast room at 6:30, as we'd been told it opens then, but alas it was Sunday so they weren’t serving until 7 am.

No worries, we were offered coffee and hung out until they were ready. Wow, what a spread…fresh squeezed orange juice, Prosecco, apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce (who could resist?), you name it, they had it.






After breakfast we followed the directions we’d been given by hotel staff to Marienplatz, which seemed so easy…a nine minute walk we’d been told. Our goal, the S-Bahn, which we’d take to the airport.

A few minutes into the walk we realized we’d not seen the Sendlinger Tor gate, which we’d been told we couldn’t miss. Hmmm…

So out came the GPS, we backtracked, found the gate and were soon walking along a pedestrian area – which I’ve since learned isthe popular shopping street Sendlingerstraße, which leads to Marienplatz. Not knowing this at the time, I stopped the only other human out this early on a Sunday and asked if we were going in the right direction. We were, Hallelujah!

We didn’t recognize Marienplatz when we got there - it was completely deserted – not a soul in sight save a few fluorescent vested workers cleaning up.

The
Neues Rathaus stood to our right, and K asked if that was where we’d been the night before – it was barely recognizable in the early morning light sans thousands of people. I’d never seen it like this – it was downright weird.

We took the escalator down to the S-Bahn and bought train tickets - I was ready to push the button for the Gruppen Tageskarte for €24.30 when K noticed the cheaper option of a single trip for two - €23, that’s my girl!

We then caught the S8 to the airport, where we arrived in Terminal 1 at 8:37, almost three hours before our flight. Seeing a grocery store, I popped in for one last ditch effort at procuring more of those lovely Austrian cookies. No luck.

We then made our way to Terminal 2, where things got confusing. We followed the signs to the check in gates for JKL, where we found a massive queue. I confirmed with the woman manning the information booth that we needed to check in there (as there were conflicting signs pointing in another direction). Yes she said, unless we had a boarding pass. Ah-ha!

I left K and our luggage in the queue and went to see if there was a better option. I’m Star Alliance Gold and there’s usually a priority check in desk, but I couldn’t find one. I did however find self-check in kiosks on the opposite side of the check in counter – completely free of people. So, I inserted my passport and followed the seemingly endless prompts and managed to print out my boarding passes. I waved K over and we did the same for her.

We then had to go to a second set of kiosks to print our luggage tags. Then we had to go to a third kiosk to weigh and drop off our bags. We didn’t deal with a human being the entire time.

As we worked our way towards security, I noticed a check-in desk for First and Business class – and I suspect, Star Alliance Gold. Oh well, now I know.

In my experience security screening in international airports is usually stream-lined and quick. Not today. There didn’t appear to be a fast line for anyone, regardless of flight class or airline status.

I don’t know if the machines weren’t working or if they were new and the agents didn’t know how to use them, but security was a nightmare.

Passengers entered a full body scanner, were scanned, then were asked to exit, sit down, remove their shoes, their feet were patted down, their body was patted down and then they were allowed to move on. So what were the machines for, exactly?

By the time I went through the female agent was in a foul mood – evidently I was doing something wrong; I was told to move my arms into different positions three times, she finally lost her patience, told me to sit down, remove my shoes, then sent my shoes back through x-ray, patted down my feet and body, etc. It was odd and excruciatingly slow.

Finally through security, we found Lufthansa Senator’s club, where we were advised by the difficult-to-understand gate keeper that there was a lounge closer to our gate, so we went to where we thought he’d sent us.

Once there, I was asked to show my UA gold card (even though this was printed on my boarding pass) then told we needed to go to yet another lounge that was closer. So, we followed the instructions, got on the train and made it to the third lounge 30 minutes before boarding. Our three hours had disappeared!

I asked the bartender in the lounge if she found Terminal 2 as confusing as I did…yes. She said it took her forever to get from the train to her work station each day and that employees were not fans of the new and improved Terminal 2.

Our Lufthansa flight left a wee bit late as we had to be deiced. The flight was full - no empty seats next to us this time - smooth, dinner was good, lunch not-so-much. In an effort to stay awake, I managed to watch five movies.

Our long day of airport weirdness wasn’t yet over though. We arrived in Denver, cleared immigration and customs, moved our already tagged bags to the re-check area, and then found ourselves land side, having to clear security again.

The airport was chaos. DIA is undergoing a major remodel and half of the departures hall is out of commission. And to add insult to injury, scads of people were trying to get home after the holiday, the lines for security were horrendously long, essentially two areas of security crammed into one.

We got into the TSA pre-check queue and when our turn finally came, we were told by the TSA agent that he wouldn’t accept our boarding passes because they had been issued by Lufthansa. What???

He said we had to go “back” and get a new boarding pass. I said “back where”? We’d just come from a secure area and couldn’t go back. He waved us away. Gee, thanks.

So, with 30 minutes left before we were due to board, we searched the airport for a help desk. No luck. By now I was beginning to lose my composure – we were going on 20 hours with no sleep, we didn’t need this unnecessary last minute stress.

K pointed out the yellow construction arrows to United’s check-in area – we followed them and were met with a queue a mile long. I got the attention of an agent helping at the self-check in kiosk, explained the situation. She seemed baffled that the TSA agent hadn’t let us through, but re-printed our boarding passes for us without making us stand in line, bless her.

So then it was back to the long queue at security to start over. We finally got through, caught the train to our gate and had just enough time to pick up some food before boarding our 15 minute flight to COS.

We made it to COS, but our luggage didn’t…so it was back in line for 30 minutes to sort out the luggage issue. Turns out it was still in Denver, evidently 2.5 hours wasn’t sufficient time for them to move our luggage!

A chaotic end to a very long day.

PS – both bags were delivered the next day.

Final thoughts:

So how did the Boomer and the Gen-Zer get along?

Quite well actually. I learned that my niece is a great traveler – she’s no nonsense and low maintenance.

Not once did she growl at me for making her get up early so we could catch a train or get a head start on our day. Not once did she grumble about the food being weird or things being different than at home. Quite the opposite actually – she was anxious to try new things, and very open-minded about the entire experience.

Yes, she got a wee bit homesick, and missed her dogs, family and boyfriend, and yes there were many, many evening hours spent on video calls, but such is the life of a 19 year old.

I sincerely hope she enjoyed her first trip to Europe and that it opened her eyes to a whole new world. I also hope she continues to travel and explore and loves it as much as I do.

Thanks for tuning in!
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 11:14 AM
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What a wonderful experience for both of you, Mel.

Even that awful airport scenario - better she knows how confusing, frustrating and slow airports can be. She’ll always be early for her future flights
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 11:19 AM
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Thanks Adelaidean! Glad you tuned in. Looking forward to your next adventure.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 11:59 AM
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Glad you made it home at last Mel. Such a shame that the beginnings and ends of holidays can be such a trial but it doesn't sound as if you let it spoil your memories of such a great trip. And your niece seems to be made of the same sterling stuff.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 05:17 PM
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Wonderful trip report, I enjoyed reading it and seeing your lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 06:46 PM
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Rats! Late to the party and everyone's gone home.

Glad you had a good trip. You've given me some great ideas for another winter trip.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 07:27 PM
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Great fun to read and enjoyed the photos. I live in Colorado too and DIA is always the worst part of any trip.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 08:54 PM
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What a wonderful Aunty you are Mel!
I have only just got to reading this and it so very much reminds me of why we love that region so much and indeed stirs up memories of places we visited with our kids and how much it inspired them to want to travel.
You are so well organised and K is one very fortunate young woman to be introduced to travelling independently and with someone so experienced.
Your photos are wonderful, evocative and you are clearly a skilled photographer.
Our travels last year were short and a bit messy because of health treatments etc. so I am enjoying binge reading lots of trip reports and maybe starting to relax and plan for 2020. (Must hunt out those chocolate biscuits!)
We are very fortunate in not being affected by the current fires here, although family members have had to make a few adjustments to work and travel plans this year.
We had a few visits to our closest beach this week (bit hot here at the moment) and reflected upon just how lucky we are here in SA to have miles of beautiful ocean beach and not be affected by natural disasters.
And - we have learnt about washing and vacuuming and car cleaning is other places, something of a surprise.

Sorry about the tedious return home - frustrating but unavoidable it seems.
We have been lucky with using Munich a couple of times but I just looked it up and it seems we were using Terminal 1 - so not sure if this helped us with smooth arrivals and departures.

Again thank you and good wishes for 2020 and travels to come.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 10:25 PM
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What a wonderful trip report. I loved seeing places we had been through another traveler's eyes. I am sure this trip will open your niece to lots more travel in the future. So glad you two got along so well too. You sound like a great Aunt.
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Old Jan 11th, 2020, 11:10 PM
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Wonderful report, Mel, and so glad you had a wonderful trip (despite the challenges of getting there and back). I'm particularly impressed by your night time photos as mine are always totally rubbish! Austria is certainly a wonderful place for cakes, cakes and more cakes - yum!
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Old Jan 12th, 2020, 05:48 AM
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I so appreciate all the lovely comments - thank you all.

And to my Australian friends, please know that not a day goes by that we're not thinking and worrying about you. It breaks my heart to see my former home in such turmoil.

And to dreamon - I rather like those night time photos too, as I've never had much luck with them before. It's all thanks to Night Sight on my Pixel 3a cell phone - one of the main reasons I decided to make the switch from my Lumix G2 camera.

I've been slow to join the 21st century, but I'm making progress.

Last edited by Melnq8; Jan 12th, 2020 at 05:55 AM.
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Old Jan 12th, 2020, 06:22 PM
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What a wonderful report! And your niece must think you're the coolest aunt to take her on such a wonderful trip!
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Old Jan 13th, 2020, 05:02 AM
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Thank you memejs!
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Old Jan 13th, 2020, 07:52 AM
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Sorry to hear about the awful trip back home. It’s awesome that you and your niece were able to take the trip together though. Hope the two of you will carry more memories of the trip with you than the horrors of air travel. And thanks for sharing your trip with us.
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Old Jan 13th, 2020, 09:04 AM
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I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your trip report! Thank you for sharing!

laughed when I read about the heated rooms - my sister and I were in Paris over New Year's last year and it was so crazy hot! We also turned off the heater, opened the windows whenever we left the room, and even slept with them ajar because it was suffocating. I had to buy tshirts and my glasses would immediately fog up when walking into a restaurant.

Makes me a little worried about my upcoming trip to Germany...might need to be sure the hotel windows open!
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