May 3, 2003 Saturday - We drove to Fussen,
Germany, which would be our base for exploring some of the famous castles of
Bavaria. On the way, we had the only real setback of the trip. While cruising on
a Swiss autobahn, a stone flew up from another car and put a crack in the
windshield. I stopped at the next rest area and tried to phone the insurance
company. After waiting for someone in the only phone booth for 10 minutes, I
finally stepped inside. It smelled like a small circus troop had spent the day
smoking in there. It was a credit-card-only phone, after several attempts, I
finally got a phone to ring, at least I think it was the "ringing" sound because
all the sounds sounded alike. Even though it was the insurance company's "emergency"
number, no one answered. I decided to try again in Fussen. After crossing into
Germany, we got pretty lost. We finally got to our B&B in Fussen just before 5
I went looking for a phone at the nearby railway station just as a train was
arriving. We were meeting Trudy in Fussen, so I figured I'd see who got off and
sure enough, it was Trudy's train. Since I now had the assistance of a European
phone pro, I thought I'd get somewhere now. I called the roadside assistance
number. She told me to call this other number. They told me to call a third
number. He told me he couldn't help and to try the insurance company on Monday.
We got settled in and walked around Fussen that evening. The Altstadt,below.
Had dinner at a nice restaurant called the
Ritterstuben. By this time, I decided I liked the "dunkel" (dark) beers better.
I had an Allgauer Brauhaus
May 4, 2003 Sunday - I got up early to get tickets to the two castles, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, and then went back to the B & B for breakfast. After breakfast, I tried to use the landlady's coin phone. No luck. The phone number I had had the country code, followed by the area code, followed by the local number. I knew that I shouldn't use the country code from within the country. What I didn't know, was that you need to add a 0 before the area code. Oh, and instructions on the phone said that I needed to push the "*" key when someone answered in order for them to hear me. So, now I was getting someone to answer, but no matter how often or hard I hit the "*" key, all I heard was "Hello...hello...hello..." click. To everyone in the breakfast room's amusement, the landlady finally made the call for me. Apparently you have press the "*" for just the right duration and at just the right time. As I was talking, the phone kept beeping for more money. Well one time, it dropped my coin through and since it thought I hadn't paid, it disconnected me. I called him back and asked him to call me. Finally, when we got past the phone wars, he was very helpful and told me I needed to drop the car at BMW service in Munich and the insurance company would then take the car to the shipper.
So we went to tour the castles, first Hohenschwangau, then Neuschwanstein. Another beautiful day and two beautiful castles.
Trudy and Laura in Neuschwanstein Castle.
We drove a bit looking for a nice lunch spot but ended up coming back to the little village between the two castles for a nice outdoor lunch. Then we took a longer than expected ride around the area, stopping at the Weis Church:
and a wood carving shop near Oberammergau. We had dinner at the same restaurant in Fussen,
I had Allgauer Brauhaus Furstabt
Weizen Hefetrub followed by ice
cream at Eis Cafe Hohes Schloss.
May 5, 2003 Monday - Drove to Andech's Monastery to sample some of the beer made there. We ate at one of several of the monastery's outdoor restaurants, served by a Greek waiter. I had wurst on sauerkraut, with Andech's beer of course. Continued on to our hotel in Munich, only getting lost a little bit:
Laura at the our window, Hotel Uhland, Munich.
We walked over to Marienplatz, center of the action in Munich, checked out a few churches completely rebuilt since the bombings of WWII. We met my first cousin Wolfgang for the first time ever, which was very nice. (He is my mother's brother's son.) We had dinner at the Augustiner Restaurant (with their beer). Its nice to be able to walk home.
May 6, 2003 Tuesday - I dropped the car off at the BMW service center on Riesenfeld Strasse in the morning. Laura and Trudy were staying downtown to do a little shopping and we were to meet in front of the Augustiner at 12:30. I had a little time to kill, so I walked over to the BMW Museum nearby. A nice museum in a unique building. The BMW headquarters building is also quite unique:
I took the U-bahn back down to Marienplatz. I arrived at about 11:55 so I paused in front of the new (1867) Rathaus to watch the glockenspiel show at noon. After I met up with Laura and Trudy, Trudy said her goodbyes, she was going on to Stuttgart and Cologne. Laura and I had lunch in a sidewalk cafe called Donisl (with beer, Paulaner Salvator) and we walked around the city center for awhile. In the evening we returned to eat (and drink beer) at the famous Hofbrauhaus beergarden. They serve beer in huge 1 liter mugs. Remember, Never drink anything bigger than your head.
Ompa-pa bands played. Once again we had great
weather. Four German businessmen sat down at our table and one was very
talkative. He had been to the states many times and he loved New York city.
May 7, 2003 Wednesday - Sadly, the vacation was ending. We took a cab to the nearby main train station where we caught the S-bahn out to the airport.
Then it was just a matter of waiting for our flight and surviving the 9 hour return flight. Laura brought back a small vacumn-packed ham, but Canadian customs confiscated it, our only other setback of the trip.