Written by Julie Schafer.
My husband, Nick, and I feel very fortunate that our careers and our love for travel often collide. Recently the opportunity to visit Europe presented itself and we quickly planned a fantastic tour of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. As our first visit to these beautiful Eastern European countries, we decided that we wanted to see as much as humanly possible in the amount of time we had. So our whirlwind trip began with a plane, and then a train and finally an automobile….
Since Nick was already in Europe on business, I flew into Berlin, Germany to meet him and this is where we began our journey. We only had a one night stay in Berlin so we walked the streets that were once separated by the Berlin Wall and there are still areas that you can see pieces of the wall. It was a pretty amazing sight. After our brief stay in Berlin, we boarded a train to the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic. Once we arrived in Prague, I was immediately taken aback by the grand beauty and history of this city. We spent the next few days taking in many of the sights throughout the city, such as the Prague Castle, Powder Tower, the Astronomical Clock, the St Charles Bridge to name a few. Almost all of the major sights can be visited by walking around this city. Prague is also a great place to “people watch”. Also, the Czech Republic uses the Czech Koruna currency and dining in Prague is wonderful and very economical.
After a wonderful stay in Prague, we boarded yet another train to travel to Munich, Germany. Nick and I were both very excited about spending a few days in Munich. Once we arrived at the train station in Munich, we purchased a subway pass at the rail station and started touring the city right away. The subway system is fantastic in Munich and serves as a great way to get around the city. Nick and I visited the Olympic Park (great place to catch a local game of soccer) and the BMW Factory and Museum. If you wish to do a BMW Factory tour, it is important to make a reservation well in advance by visiting their website (www.bmw-werk-muenchen.de). We also visited the famous Hofbrauhaus for some great beer and the live polka band. Also, on Tom Thrun’s recommendation, we visited Augustiner’s for some of the best mushroom soup we have ever had! Nick and I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Munich.
The next morning, we board our last train to travel through the Alps to Innsbruck, Austria. From our first class compartment, we enjoyed some breathtaking scenery on this short trip. Upon arrival in Innsbruck, we pick up our rental car and we started the leg of our journey where we had no plans and no hotel reservations. With just a navigation system (which I would highly recommend) and our Audi rental car, we just started driving and we had such a great time. We ended up in a little town known as Schwaz, Austria and we stayed in a quaint Inn. The next morning we traveled back into Germany to Andech’s Monastery and Brewery which is located south of Munich and then continued our journey to Salzburg, Austria. After a one night stay in Salzburg, we traveled to Obersalzburg which is a little town located high up in the mountains to tour Hitler’s Eagles Nest. To get to the top of Eagles Nest, you must stop in Obersalzburg and take one of their buses to the top of the mountain where you then travel the last 500 feet by elevator. Once you get off the elevator you step right into the place that was given to Hitler as a gift. On a clear day you can see Salzburg, Austria from the top. It was an amazing sight, even on an overcast day.
We then traveled past some of the movie sights from the “Sound of Music”, saw the Danube in Lintz and continued to Melk, Austria. Melk, Austria was one of my favorite stops on our journey. Melk was a nice, quiet town with the beautiful Melk Abbey set high on the cliff overlooking the town. We enjoyed a nice quiet evening, sipping wine and talking to some of the locals. The next morning, we headed north of Melk to a small castle called Burgruine Aggstein. We enjoyed a great view of the area from the top of the castle. For a small fee, you can tour the entire castle at your leisure.
As we boarded our plane in Vienna for our return flight, we reflected on what a wonderful time we had on our journey. And now as I return to work after such a great trip, I once again feel fortunate that I get to help others experience the joy of traveling and the excitement of visiting a new place. Please contact me today for more information on Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.