Germany: Day Eight

Gas Station Goodness
Gas Station Goodness

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 8: Breakfast of schokomusli (chocolate musli cereal, like Lucie’s in Shanghai), bread, cheese and tea. Off to Legoland. 100 km drive and pouring rain. Good thing we brought the Bavarian flag umbrellas that we got the first day in Fuessen. They stand out and make it easy to find each other. Pasta Carbonara for lunch with crepes (with banana and Nutella) and a latte immediately following. The weather cleared around 3 pm just as we were seated for the Shanghai acrobat show. The acrobats were the highlight for me. The rest of the Legoland experience pushed my limits of personal space, body odor and unattended children. At least the kids had a good time. Stayed at Legoland until closing time and took short drive to hotel. At the hotel, we discover that we’re really out of English-speaking Germany (it wasn’t just at Legoland). Jeff did a fine job at charades through hotel check-in (hands by head for pillow, pretend pulling up sheets for blankets, etc.). Left for dinner (just guessed at menu items) and by the time we returned the kids beds were all made up! Dinner tonight was super delicious “zartes putensteak,” tender turkey steak with spinach ricotta ravioli. OMG. We stopped by the Shell station on the way back to the hotel and I topped off the night with a “kinder maxi king” bar. It’s sort of like an ice cream bar, but found in the refrigerator section. Yum-O. Put the kids in the bath and we’re calling it a night. Gute nacht. Zzzzzzzz……

Legoland, Deutchland
Legoland, Deutchland

Germany: Day Seven

Kehlsteinhaus
Kehlsteinhaus, “The Eagle’s Nest”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 7: Off for a day-trip toward Obersalzberg, the site of Hitler’s mountain-side compound, including his mountain residence “Berghof” and the hilltop retreat, Kehlsteinhaus or the “Eagle’s Nest.” Kehlsteinhaus was a gift to Hitler from the Nazi party secretary Martin Bormann for his 50th birthday. Apparently, he was afraid of heights and rarely visited. (What a wuss – I handled it just fine.) We payed 30€ ($40) each to ride the bus 10 minutes up a super windy road, got off in a parking lot, walked up a long tunnel INTO the mountain and rode a massive lush elevator (think: polished brass) up to the retreat house. The house is now used primarily as a restaurant. The views were fantastic! You could see for miles in every direction. After we took it all in, we rode back down the mountain to the site of Hitler’s vacation home, Berghof.  During World War II, he spent more time here than anywhere else.  It, along with all of the other buildings on the site were destroyed by allied bombs in April of 1945. The area was occupied by US troops until 1996 when they transferred control to the local government. In 1999 the Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg, a museum outlining how the local area was used by the Nazis. All of the information was in German, but we did get to wander a bit through some extensive network of the underground bunkers. All in all, a full day packed with tons of historical information.

Kehlsteinhaus, Obersalzberg, Germany
Kehlsteinhaus, Obersalzberg, Germany

Germany: Day Six

Nymphenburg Palace, Munich
Nymphenburg Palace, Munich

Monday, August, 29, 2011 Day 6: Slept too late and missed breakfast. Back on the tram to find some eats in the city center. Breakfast in subway plaza. Sent Jeff off to BMW factory. More shopping with the girls. Spent the last two days looking for women’s tennis shoes. Realized that women don’t wear tennis shoes except for exercising. Also noticed that no one wears shorts. I must stand out like a sore thumb. Bought “sporty” women’s shoes so at least my feet fit in… Lunch of currywurst (cut up hot dog with curry ketchup that you eat with a tiny wooden fork) and pomme frites (french fries, also eaten with fork and mayonnaise or other sauce). Tram back to hotel for some iPad/iTouch game time. Short walk to Nymphenburg Palace for a walk through gardens. Picked rocks out of shoes. Met up with Jeff at tram station for transit fiasco that finally got us where we were going. Death march to the Englischer Garten (English Garden) for dinner in the biergarten by the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). Bratwurst, beer, pretzel, hendl (half a rotisserie chicken), chicken wings with spicy sauce and more pommes frites. Contemplated stealing mugs from biergarten, but returned them for 1 euro deposit instead. Death march (in reverse) back to underground train on dirty trail through the dark while dodging speeding bicycles (some with headlights some without). Train, tram and walk back to hotel. Pass out from exhaustion.

A days worth of eats!
A days worth of eats!

Germany: Day Five

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 5: Cheese and bread for breakfast. Walk to tram station for a ride into the city. Walk to Marienplatz. Glockenspiel. Shopping. Lunch at Hofbrauhaus. (Prost!) Feeling better after a liter of Rassen (lemonade and white beer). Wondered over to Viktualienmarkt, an open-air food market that dates back to 1807. Accidentally stumbled upon Saint Peter’s church tower with 306 stairs that lead to a spectacular view of all of Munich. Not too excited about the height, but we were just in time to watch the 5 o’clock glockenspiel show from above. More shopping. Rounded out the day with pizza and pasta dinner (plus a cola weizen – white beer and cola mix) and the a tram ride and walk to the hotel.

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Germany: Day Four

IMG_8600

IMG_8605Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 4: The weather has improved so today we headed for Zugspitze, the tallest peak in Germany that lies in the Alps straddling the Germany-Austria border. First a short drive to the station and then a ride on the gondola straight up to the top! (2960m/9718 ft.) Yesterday’s rain brought a nice dusting of snow that left me completely unprepared in the clothing department. The truly awesome views outweighed my fear of heights. We took another gondola down into the glacier and then a less than exciting cog-wheel train that cut THROUGH the mountain back to the starting point. After our mountain adventure we drove into the small town of Oberammergau, best known for skilled woodcarvers and their decennial (every ten years) Passion Play (a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death). The townspeople have been performing the play since 1634 in gratitude for being spared from the bubonic plague. We used the bathroom in the theater and had gelato. Almost everything was closed for Sunday Family Day. We continued on to Linderhof Palace, a stunning estate with a dazzling Rococo-style palace built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria beginning in 1869. From there we hopped on the autobahn to jump up to Munich. There was more spatzle and beer for dinner. Tonight, Kai had schnitzel. After dinner, we walked up to Hirschgarten, Europe’s largest biergarten. I had a crepe with apfel zucker und zimt (apple and cinnamon sugar). Prost!

Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace

Germany: Day Three

 

Wino Training
Wino Training
Kai's Snails. (She loved them!)
Kai’s Snails. (She loved them!)
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Mittenwald

Friday, August, 26, 2011

Day 3: 35 degree temperature drop from yesterday. Raining and 48 today. Bad weather has derailed plans to visit Zugspitze, the tallest peak in Germany. Instead, we explored by car down into Austria. Seems everyone else decided to do the same thing. 😦 It took us two hours to go 16 km. Finally made it through traffic and passed through Reutte and Innsbruck (site of 1964 & 1976 Winter Olympics). Stopped at “SPAR” market and filled the cooler with local foods (although we couldn’t find the ice). Ate lunch in the car as we continued on to Mittenwald, Germany (famous for world-class violin, viola and cello makers). Explored Mittenwald (the highlight was the ReWe grocery store because it was after 6pm and everything else was closed). Finished our journey in Garmisch, a mountain resort town. After settling in to our hotel we headed to the restaurant for another delicious meal (salad, spatzle, schnitzel, potato croquettes, white wine). Kai even had some snails! We’re closing up the long day with one if our pirated DVDs from China (our American ones don’t work here). Gute nacht!

Germany: Day Two

View of Schloss Hohenschwangau and Alpsee from Schloss Neuschwanstein
View of Schloss Hohenschwangau and Alpsee from Schloss Neuschwanstein

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bier!
Bier!
Yodeleheeehoooo
Yodeleheeehoooo

Vacation breakdown day 2:  Delightful breakfast at hotel restaurant. 4 km drive to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Walked 800 million miles up and down hills (and stairs) with two kids in 85 degree humid weather with a zillion tourists. Had awesome pretzel and sausage snack. Drove back to hotel. Beer. Walking tour of Fuessen (included TWO monasteries and a cemetery). Stuffed faces with heavenly “cutlets” dinner and a beer taller than Kiki. Stuck kids in the hotel pool (AKA the bathtub). Currently digesting and thinking about what we’ll eat tomorrow. *aaaaahhhhh*