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Munich and Austria

Walking in a winter wonderland...

snow -4 °C
View Munich, Salzburg, Fussen on StephenJen's travel map.

We arrived in Munich on a wintery, but dry, Thursday morning. As was the case in Berlin, we found the metro was not as easy to understand as elsewhere in Europe. After struggling with the ticket machine for a while we conceded defeat and made our purchase at the ticket desk in the airport. We boarded the S Bahn service to Hauptbahnhof, which is the main central station in Munich We found our way to our hotel, not far at all from Hauptbahnhof Station (the main one in Munich which we came into - about 35 minutes from the airport). We checked in without any drama and were pleasantly surprised with our hotel, which is always nice!

Thursday was spent meandering around the city, spending most of our time around Marienplatz, the central pedestrian square in the middle of the city which is surrounded by several brilliant buildings, like the Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus) and the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus).

Mariensaul Column in front of Neues Rathaus



Friday we travelled by train about 20km North-West of Munich to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp. Dachau was the first concentration camp established by the Nazi Party and was considered the prototype for subsequent camps. Dachau was a work camp where Jews, Jehova's witnesses, sympathisers and criminals were forced to labour in support of the war effort. Whilst Dachau did have a Gas Chamber, it was never used. Instead, prisoners who did not die from disease, exhaustion, suicide or malnutrition were sent to "extermination camps" such as Auschwitz. In April, 1945, 32000 prisoners were liberated by American & British Forces.

Arbecht Macht Frei - Work Shall Set You Free: The Gate to Dachau through which all of the prisoners entered.


The Path to the Dachau Crematorium

It was a freezing cold day at Dachau and, with very few people visiting, there was an eerie quiet throughout the grounds. As we looked around, we could not even begin to imagine how anyone could have survived. The appalling conditions, workload, overcrowding, disease, torment and torture that went on there, seemed all the more devastating as the rain and freezing wind swept across the compound.

On Saturday we jumped on a train for the two hour trip to Salzburg, Austria. We were able to get return tickets for both of us for only € 28. These are called Bayern Tickets and allow unlimited travel on any regional transport for up to FIVE people between 9am - 03am the following day. Fantastic! Traveling by train allowed us to observe the change in terrain from within the warmth of our carriage. The built up areas of Munich were replaced by farmland and heavily treed areas. A thick blanket of snow covered the landscape as we drew closer to Austria.

When we arrived in Salzburg it became apparent that we were not dressed warmly enough. We immediately headed to buy some additional thermals and warmer coats. We had checked the forecast and it was supposed to be a low of -3 and despite having almost every layer we owned on, it was simply not enough!

Streets of Salzburg

Statue in Salzburg

Snowy view - Salzburg

Jen in Salzburg

Couple walking down to the Salzburg Christmas Markets

One of the highlights of Salzburg was the Christkindlemarkt (Christmas Market). As it got darker (and colder), it looked just like a classic fairytale Christmas. There were fairy lights everywhere, the snow was falling, music played and people wandered from stall to stall buying their Christmas gifts. The stalls had rows and rows of lovely hand made Christmas ornaments and decorations. We joined the multitude of people huddled around drinking Gluewein (hot mulled wine) and eating giant pretzels and tasty bratwurst! After a perfect day, we reluctantly returned to Munich on the evening train.



Christmas Markets in Salzburg

Sunday we had breakfast at our hotel and then wandered around the City Centre. We had lunch at Bistro Am Marienplatz. Whilst the hot chocolate and crepes were perfect, the grumpy waiter diminished the visit somewhat! After lunch we paid the tiny entrance fee of €1.20 and climbed the stairs of St Peters Church for some great views across the city. On such a clear day we had views as far as the alps.

View from St Peters Church Tower

After St Peters, we walked up through Residenz and had a look around the Englischer Garten, one of the worlds biggest public parks. As dusk approached, the temperature dropped significantly so we hightailed it back to the hotel.

After a short Nanna-Nap, Jen peeked through the curtains and announced excitedly, "Its Snowing.... Its REALLY snowing! Really, Really Snowing". It was, it was bucketing down with snow. We quickly threw on our standard seven layers of clothing, grabbed our cameras and headed out to shoot midnight snow. It was fascinating to see the sights, bathed in sunshine earlier in the day, now covered in a three inch blanket of snow. It re-enforced one thing we already knew...Boy do we love snow!

Marienplatz under Midnight Snow



Monday we headed for the Augustiner Brau, a brewery and beer hall in town. We sat at a huge wooden table and ate hot lentil stew with bratwurst and each tried a massive glass of the house beer, Edelstoff Hell. It was great to eat a lovely hot meal on such a cold day, and in such a different environment. Apron clad waitresses lugged beer to the tables and hunting trophies adorned the walls. We felt less guilty eating the lentils than the Bratwurst given the surroundings! We chose the Augustiner Beer Hall over the more raucous, and tourist filled, HofBrauhaus, but we could still imagine how busy the city and its beer halls would be during Oktoberfest.

On Tuesday we again took a day trip by train, this time bound for Fussen. Fussen is a beautiful town located in the Bavarian Alps, just 5 kilometers from the Austrian Border. The famous castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are located near the town. Neuschwanstein has appeared in several movies, and was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park and for the Cinderella Castles at the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. We climbed aboard an overloaded horse-drawn cart and made the climb to Zur-Neuen-Burg for our customary Bavarian lunch of Bratwurst, Bread and Mustard. Adequately refuelled, we climbed the final stretch to the castle just in time for a fresh snowfall.

Schloss Neuschwanstein

Horse and cart up to the castle



View from the Castle

We jumped back on the Cart and, with dusk approaching, travelled to the second of the castles which overlook the town, Hohenschwangau. We gave the horses a congratulatory pat for a job well done, and quickly took some photographs of this, the older of the two castles, and of the town below before catching our train back to Munich.


Stephen and Jen at the Bavarian Alps

View from Hohenschwangau


The last few days of our holiday were spent simply relaxing. We slept when sleepy, ate when hungry, and enjoyed a walk around the town when bored. On Thursday afternoon we headed for the airport and before we knew it, we were back in rainy old London again. Ah well... gotta earn some more money for the next trip!

Posted by StephenJen 17:57 Archived in Germany Tagged family_travel

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Enjoyed the video will try and lighten if we can.Xmas lights look fab. love ma and pa

by davenliz

Great entry, you have got some fab photos and once again very well written. Snow photos great some should make the photos of the month. New clothes look warm. Love ma and pa xoxoxox

by davenliz

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