Thursday, April 12, 2007

Munich and on to Frankfurt

The train ride to Munich was a little difficult because Katie had a migrane. She slept most of the way, and to make things worse, we could only find a seat in smoking. That was difficult for me, so we changed seats after the first stop. We had to change seats a couple more times because Katie was facing the wrong way, which made the migrane worse. When we got off in Munich, I realized we had left a bag on the train. I threw my bag off and ran back to the train. When I got on, I was frantically looking under the seats for it. Finally, I found it and got off the train (I was worried it might take me off to another city without my wife!!!).

Munich has been great. We had pizza again at our favorite place - Monaco Pizzaria. Literally, the best pizza I have ever had. Munich is by far my favorite city. Yesterday we rented bikes and really got to see a lot more of the city. We went to Nymphenburg, where the original ruling family lived. We had lunch packed and ate in the Enlish Garten. So many people out there - very social and recreational.

We finished off the day with a couple red brats. After taking our bikes back and walking the city, we will be on a train at 15:00 for Frankfurt. As the trip comes to an end and we prepare to fly out of Frankfurt, I eagerly await to begin putting more money away for our return trip to Germany.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Leaving Freiburg

Well Katie`s trip to the bath was eventful - not as close as she thought it would be. She walked a bit, but she figured it out like the seasoned traveler that she is. My day in Freiburg was relaxing, and it was very exciting to wait at the train station for her to arrive.

We had a nice date at a restaurant I had found. Sitting by the river (which flows through most of the city) will never get old.

The shops were closed yesterday, so we are going to check out of here, take our bags to the lockers at the train station, and walk into town for a couple hours. Then off to Munich.

Monday, April 09, 2007

First full day in Freiburg

On a strong recommendation from two women we met on our way out of Gimmewald, Katie decided to travel to Baden-Baden for the bath. We looked up a couple of the descriptions of what a bath entails (16 sections, 10-15 minutes each) and I almost joined her. Hot and cold baths, massages, all sounded very appealing, especially after our hiking in the Alps. But we figured Katie wanted this more than I, and I would rather wander Freiburg for a few hours.

I just got done with a 60 minute run. I headed out of Freiburg and ran the entire way along a river. I am guessing I went about 3.5 miles out and was never more than 20 feet from the water. At one point, I crossed in front of a dam across some rocks for a little variety. There were bikers, walkers, and runners everywhere. A very beautiful run.

Now I am off to the city. I still have a tram pass that is very convenient. My mission is to find lunch and then find a place to take Katie on a date tonight. The weather is expected to be 64 today - another beautiful one here in Germany.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

On to Freiburg

We checked out of Ester`s Guesthouse this morning after purchasing some more of her wonderful homemade bread and yogurt. We said goodbye to our new friends from Seattle and were on the gondola down from Gimmelwald. The travels were decent. It was rather sad to leave the Swiss Alps. But a couple transfers later we arrived in Basel. Soon we were in Freiburg and our only small glitch was finding tickets for the tram to our hostel.

We are staying at the Black Forest Hostel and it is VERY cool. I have never been in a hostel before - very airy, earthy, and cozy. One small walk around town and we are calling it a day. Props to John Swee for recommending Freiburg.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Hiking the Alps

If you spend a day hiking in these beautiful Alps, you can say you`ve hiked them. After two days, you have gained a level of comfort. But when you have hiked three good days here in the Alps, you can really say you`ve been there - done that. That is how Katie and I felt coming off our final hike today.

I am sad to report that this computer is not reading my card - I cannot get any pictures to load. I really wanted to get a couple pics uploaded here for you all to see.

Anyway, here is how our hiking went (pics to follow):
Thursday we had our most difficult day. Open this map (you have to zoom in once, and zoom in at different places to see detail). We started in Gimmelwald (bottom left) and went up to Murren. Then we cut left (on the map) and followed "3 and 4" up and around to Schiltalp. This is an easier hike in the summer, but there is still a lot of snow, so it was a very difficult day. There were parts where we were on our hands and feet crawling up the hill. It was great, but very tough coming down. The altitude really got to us. As anyone who has been in altitude knows, we were having to stop to catch our breathe, but weren`t necessarily tired. Still, the stops were necessary. The hike was 16 km round trip.

Friday we needed a more casual hike. Katie wasn`t feeling well with her sinuses acting up. On this day, we hiked up to Murren again, and continued (right on the map) across the top of the valley, on the dark red and black line towards Grutschmit. We walked along side a train the whole way and had excellent views of the Big Three (Eiger, Monch, Yungfrau). I cannot even begin to explain how beautiful the scenery is. When I have more time, I will describe the layout here in this valley and the surrounding mountains. So we walked to Grutschmit and took a gondola down to Lauterbrunnen. Then we hiked back (left) towards Stechelberg. At the station, we took another gondola back up to Gimmelwald. On that rectangle that we just hiked, the top part was an elevated view of the valley. Once we were on the lower part, we saw paraglider everywhere. Note: I will paraglide next time I am here. And there will be a next time. This hike was about 12 km.

And today we took it easy. We were up early and took a gondola up to Schilthorn. This is the top of the skiing here. And boy is there skiing. We actually felt very out of place taking the gondola up because we were the only ones without ski gear. Just wait until you see the pictures from this restaurant. It is also where part of a Bond 007 movie was filmed, On Her Majesty`s Secret Service. We took the gondola down, and were feeling the need for an early afternoon nap from that fantastic breakfast. We woke and hiked from Gimmelwald to Murren and then up to Sonneberg (just above Allmendhubel in bold type). It was our shortest of hikes, but had great views of Murren.

When you look at this map, Katie and I really explored the entire thing. Kind of crazy. We are very proud.

Again, I am so sorry I cannot get pictures posted. I will try again soon.

Tomorrow (Easter) we leave for Basel and Freiburg. We canceled our trip to Dublin - more on that later. It was too much of a hastle and we would be wasting time that we will spend (gladly) back in Munich.

Auf Wiedersehen.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Europe Trip

Well I didn`t know what the internet situation would be here in Europe. Frankfurt and Munich were tough because we were so busy exploring things that we didn`t have time. Plus you need to pay for the internet service and use junky computers with funny keyboards. It just didnt fit into our schedule.

Here`s what happened:

Munich was fantastic. Our hotel was a little hike away, but to get there we had to walk through their version of State Street meets Michigan Avenue. Our hotel was verz nice, and I give up on the YZ thing. There was a market right up the street and a Starbucks on the other side. I went and got coffee everz mornign for us. We did Mike`s Bike Tours on Sundaz and that was excellent - easilz the best waz to see Munich. So manz people bike. Our tour guide, Steve, was an Irish guz from Dublin. He was verz helpful. We were whipped out after the tour. The next daz we did Neuschwanstein Castle. That was amazing for me. It`s just so grand and majestic. Onlz 1/3 was finished, so that was a little disappointing.

Zurich was rather uneventful. I got my Swiss Army knife and Katie got a verz cool jacket - militarz stzle. Everzone in Munich had militarz coats - their stzle here is verz cool. Now I have expereinced what Katie means bz dressing `Euro`.

Then it was off to Interlaken - our gatewaz to Gimmelwald, where I`m writing from. I wish I had time to explain the trip to get here. Everzthing went well, but there were quite a few parts. The Alps just got bigger and bigger. First thez were covered bz the clouds. Then this morning we saw them in their entiretz. I can onlz hope our pictures do some justice. This morning we hiked to Murren, which is a ski resort. We went through and hiked up as far as we could. And let me tell zou, I just skipped over the tough part of the daz. The hike was èasy` but that is when there`s no snow. The altitude was getting to us, and we had to stop numerous times to catch our breath. The sights were amazing - I`m sorrz I cannot send zou anz now. Here was the bad (reallz bad) part of the daz - we got fried. I think Katie has here first everz Farmer`s Tan. Our faces hurt when we came off that mountain.

And that`s all we have for now. Zou can`t imagine how much we`re leaving out. But we are exhausted and I just wanted to write so zou could get it todaz - in our time. Sorrz we didn`t write sooner. Esther`s has internet, so we`ll trz to write a couple more times. If I can, I`ll send zou a link of a map where we`re hiking. It`s so amaying. What the visitors saz is "I will be back" and that is so true for Katie and I.

If you`ve made it this far -thanks. I truely wish I had more time to write and post pics, but such is life for a traveling team like Katie and I.

Tomorrow I will post a couple pictures to prove that we`re really hear. How`s that for a teaser?