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Trip to Germany, Austria, Switzerland (GAS)
June 29 2003 - July 14 2003
With Europe Through the Back Door


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Trip approximate route - click for the full Google Map


Trip route


Group Photo, Burg Eltz, 7/1/2003

Click any image for full size.

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St. Goar
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Castle, St. Goar

Group photo.  Burg Eltz.
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Village living room
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Panoramaweg hike from Mannlichen to 
Kleine Scheidegg.  Berner Oberland.
 
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Panoramaweg hike from Mannlichen to 
Kleine Scheidegg.  Berner Oberland.

Munich
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Kristen on the luge
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Beer Tasting, Hallstatt
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Beer Tasting, Hallstatt, 7/11/2003

Vienna

Physical and political map.  The orange dots are approximately where we were.

Click the image for full size.

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Itinerary

29 JUNE 2003

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 Day 1: Arrive in St. Goar — St. Goar, our scenic Rhine river home base, is a convenient train connection away from Frankfurt's airport. Meet around 5 p.m. at our hotel for a "Welcome to Germany" get-together. After introductions, we'll take an evening walk through the town and enjoy dinner together. Sleep in St. Goar (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: All day along the Rhine River — We'll begin our day exploring a brooding castle with a commanding view, then cruise the Rhine River, passing spectacularly situated castles and vineyards. We'll tour the delightful village of Bacharach with a local guide, and then return to St. Goar, where you'll have free time to stroll the cobbled streets. Dinner together. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: To Baden-Baden via Mosel River — We'll take the scenic route to Baden-Baden, via the Mosel River and mighty Burg Eltz Castle. After meeting our local guide, we'll tour historic Trier, Germany's oldest city with its best Roman ruins. We'll sleep just down the autobahn in Baden-Baden (2 nights). Bus: 6 hours. Walking: moderate.

 

Day 4: Free day in Baden-Baden — After touring the casino, we'll have the rest of the day and evening free to 'do the spa,' wander along the shaded riverside promenade, and/or hike to viewpoints above the town. The curative mineral waters and elegant surroundings have soothed the rich and famous for years. You'll feel so languid that getting to sleep will be no problem! No bus. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).  

Day 5: To French Switzerland via Black Forest — We'll explore the Black Forest this morning, stopping to visit a fascinating open air museum with demonstrations of traditional village life. Our day ends in French Switzerland, in the serene lakefront village of Murten. Dinner together at our hotel. Sleep 2 nights in Murten. Bus: 6 hours. Walking: light.

Day 6: All day in French Switzerland — We'll tour the lake-hugging 13th century castle, Château Chillon, then hop aboard a lake steamer (spring and summer tours) for a cruise on Lake Geneva. We'll meander back through farms and vineyards to Murten, taking time to explore this land of wine, cheese and joie de vivre. Bus: 3 hours. Walking: light to moderate.

Day 7: To Berner Oberland — Today begins with a drive past a parade of finely carved chalets and traditional villages. We'll end our day in the nearby mountain lovers' paradise of the Berner Oberland and eat dinner together. Sleep like Heidi in a cozy mountain-hugging town in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (2 nights). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: light to moderate.

 

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Day 8: Free day in Berner Oberland — You'll have all day free for a riverside stroll through the glacier-carved Lauterbrunnen Valley, or hike the high meadows amidst the Eiger and Jungfrau mountains—the most beautiful chunk of the Swiss Alps. No bus. Walking: light to strenuous.

Day 9: To Munich via Neuschwanstein — It's a scenic, all-day drive across the border into southern Germany and east to Neuschwanstein, "Mad King" Ludwig's fairy-tale castle. After touring this famous folly at the end of the day (when crowds disperse), we'll make our way to Munich, Bavaria's vibrant capital, where we'll sleep (2 nights). Bus: 7 hours. Walking: strenuous.

Day 10: All day in Munich — After an informative walking tour with a local guide, you'll have the rest of the day to stroll the lively heart of Germany's most livable city, to admire its many museums, or to rent a bike and appreciate how much fun two wheels can be. No bus. Walking: moderate to strenuous (your choice). Riding: a slick system of bikepaths make for mostly level, pleasant biking.

Day 11: To Salzburg — We'll head south through the wunderbar Bavarian countryside, taking time to enjoy the pristine mountain and lake scenery before crossing into Austria. We'll arrive in Salzburg in time for an orientation walk through the perfectly preserved historic center before dinner. Sleep in Salzburg (2 nights). Bus: 4 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 12: All day in Salzburg — After a morning walking tour, you'll have the rest of the day and evening free. You can wander Salzburg's magnificent gardens, walk in Mozart's (and Julie Andrews') footsteps through the old town, pedal a rented bike into the countryside, or just relax with a cup of coffee and an incredibly rich pastry. Remember, this is "Sound of Music" country—there's nearly always an evening concert (or frothy beer garden!). No bus. Walking: moderate to strenuous (your choice).

Day 13: To Austria's Lake District — Today we'll explore a salt mine as we make our way to tiny Hallstatt, located in the heart of Austria's idyllic Salzkammergut Lake District. Enjoy a free afternoon communing with Mother Nature on foot or by boat. Sleep peacefully in the postcard-pretty, lakeside village of Hallstatt (1 night). Bus: 2 hours. Walking: light to strenuous (your choice).

Day 14: To Vienna — It's back to the city today as we head east to Austria's magnificent capital of Vienna, stopping en route to visit sobering Mauthausen, the Nazi concentration camp. We'll also tour the opulent Schönbrunn Palace, Austria's rival to Versailles. Sleep in Vienna (2 nights). Bus: 6 hours. Walking: moderate.

 

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Day 15: All day in Vienna — We'll start our day with a walking tour of this refined and graceful city. The rest of the day is free to explore more of Vienna's highlights, such as its grand opera house, world-class museums, or cozy coffee houses. As it's our last night together, we'll enjoy a farewell Viennese feast. No bus. Walking: moderate to strenuous (your choice).

Day 16: Tour over after breakfast — Extend your stay in elegant Vienna or regretfully say Auf Wiedersehen!

         


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