2007: Europe Trip (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)


At the end of September and beginning of October 2007, James and Sarah went to Europe for our “3rd Year” Wedding Anniversary.   We have had many experiences around the world and this was definitely another trip of a lifetime!!!

The adventure started in Munich, Germany where we walked around the city seeing the glockenspiel, Hofbrauhaus, Hard Rock Cafe, Nymphenburg Palace, Olympic Park, and all the beautiful buildings and statues of the city.  James had to stop for an awesome chocolate nutella-banana crepe along our walks!  That first night in Munich, we ate dinner at Hirschgarten right near our hotel.  This is the biggest beer garden in Germany and our first taste of great German beer!

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Right outside of Munich, we took a day trip drive to Dachau and had a very unforgettable experience seeing the concentration camps and learning about the horrible events that took place at that location..... “NEVER AGAIN” was the motto there.

From Munich, we drove to the awesome Schloss (Castle) Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau.  We walked in and all around both castles taking in the views and snapping many pictures.  That night, we stayed at a hotel at the foot of both castles and could see the Schloss Hohenschwangau lit up like a night light outside of our hotel room window with a balcony!!!!

After the castles, we drove through the Austrian Alps to Innsbruck, Austria.  The views driving through the Austrian Alps were breathtaking, despite the fact that it rained the whole drive and some of the mountains were all covered in clouds.   Innsbruck was a gorgeous city with the buildings all painted in different colors surrounded by the Alps as a backdrop.  One of the things we saw in Innsbruck was the old Olympic Ski Jump that was converted into a tourist attraction so that everyone could see what it would be like as an Olympic ski jumper.... talk about CRAZY!!!!!  It appeared that you were way up in the sky above the city and you were sliding down a ski run to jump off OVER THE CITY!  INCREDIBLE!  Another fun thing we did in Innsbruck was to take ski lifts up to the peak of the Alps at Nordpark.  The ski lifts took us up to an elevation of 2334 meters (over 7,650 feet) high above the city of Innsbruck!!!  WHAT A VIEW!!!!!  We were up so high that we were deep in snow walking around up there.  The views of the city and surrounding Alps were absolutely breathtaking!!!

Leaving Innsbruck, we then drove out of the Alps and into Zurich, Switzerland.  Wow.... Zurich is EXPENSIVE!!  As a price comparison.... at McDonalds in Zurich, the price of a Big Mac was around $10 and that didn’t include the fries and soft drink!!!!  We payed almost $100 for a fondue dinner.... bread, cheese, and a bottle of wine!  On Sunday in Zurich (like most of Europe), everyplace was closed.  So, we took a day trip drive to the Rhine Falls, which is the largest waterfall (by water volume) in Europe.  The falls were magnificent... like a scaled-down version of Niagara Falls in Toronto, Canada.  We took many pictures at the falls and took a boat ride to a rock formation that you could climb up right in the middle of the falls.  Back in Zurich, we wanted to get Swiss Chocolate...  so we drove right to the Lindt Chocolate Factory to buy chocolate.  The smell of chocolate around the factory was awesome, but the taste of the chocolate was even better!!

From Switzerland, we drove back into Germany to Triberg in the Black Forest area.  This is a beautiful area of Germany with tall trees, mountains, and also where they make cuckoo clocks!  We saw many, many cuckoo clocks and beautiful wood-working.  Also, Triberg is known for their waterfalls, which is the largest waterfall in Germany.  So, yes, we visited ANOTHER waterfall and enjoyed walking around the beauty of the forest with the many black squirrels. 

After feeling “cuckoo” seeing so many cuckoo clocks, we left Triberg to go explore many more castles around the south-west part of Germany.  Our first castle was the Schloss Sigmaringen.  We enjoyed this tour the most out of all the castles.... the rooms were unbelievably painted and decorated and the tour was not rushed and at an enjoyable pace! After visiting the Schloss Sigmaringen, we drove to our place of rest for the night.... A CASTLE!!!!  Yes, we stayed the night at the Schloss Weitenburg in room 203.  The room was decorated just as you might think a castle room would be decorated.... beautiful royal red wallpaper, a huge bed with a canopy, and a little sitting area that overlooked the little village far below our castle sitting on a mountaintop!  What an unbelievable night in a castle that was first known about in the year of 1062.

Our last day of the trip comprised of many different places.  Our first stop was to another castle... the Schloss Lichtenstein.  Another amazing castle built into the side of a mountain overlooking many cities in the valleys below.  “Licht” means “light” in German and that is how the castle got it’s name... it is built from light stone.  After the castle, we started driving along and saw signs for a “Nebelhohle”.  Well, curiosity got the best of us and so we decided to follow the signs and drive to the “Nebelhohle”.  Well, we finally discovered that it was..... CAVERNS!!!  So we went up and down many steps and small passages through the caverns.  We have been to many caverns in the past, but this was unique in that we didn’t have a tour.... you could walk freely through the caverns on your own!

Finally, we ended our trip in Stuttgart, where we flew out of to come back home.  We learned that this last day of our trip was a holiday in Germany... October 3rd was the day that the Berlin Wall “came down” that separated East and West Germany!  So, in Stuttgart, there were many little festive events going on that we watched with others such as jugglers, people making balloon animals, and dancers.  For dinner on our last night, we wanted to have a traditional German dinner one more time.  So we ate at a beer cafe and drank German beer one last time..... until our next visit to Germany!!!

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