January 30, 2016

Harris Vacation 2015

Just left O'hara in Chicago.  I don't remember the seats being so small and close together.  I have sardine syndrome.  Barb is pacified with the TV/Movie screen in the back of the seat in front of us. My knees are not liking long flight.

Switched planes in Berlin.  Airport a madhouse.  On way to Munich 2 hours later.  Landed in Munich and picked up bizarre rent a car.  It had fuel saving option that caused it to literally turn off at every stop.  It was very aggravating but tolerated it.  Was a VW Golf.  The navigation system had an english option but not a native speaker so was hard to understand.

We made it Augsburg.  Germany was having a heat wave and it was historic.  The end of August and in the mid 90s.  Most German hotels have no need for air conditioning and ours had none.


We tried to sleep with no luck.  The clerk did find a fan for us so was not sweat box in room.  We planned out vacation for a beer fest in Augsburg.  We decided to go there because we couldn't sleep.

The taxi dropped us off at the front gate.  We headed to the familiar beer tent I had frequented in the 6 years I lived here in the army.

We ate and drank a couple beers and stumbled back to the sauna hotel room.  We slept like the dead.

The morning brought sightseeing in the city of 250,000.

We found a few fountains while we were searching for my good friend Jan Tomasak.  We finally found Jan after some walking through some tiny streets I remember from the 1980s.

I met Jan the first day I was ever in Augsburg.  He was a taxi driver there and took the night off to chauffeur me around in 1978.  Jan is now retired. Jan is still my best friend from across the pond.

Jan contacted Anna our daughter for us so she didn't think we were dead.  Jan also contacted my good friend Suzi Ruff from Nuremberg and set up a meet at the beer fest that evening.  We went back to the hotel and napped.  Before we left to meet Jan and Suzi at the beer fest made friends with Lukas Moser in the lobby before we went to the fest.  Lukas shared a taxi with us to fest.

After a few beer at the fest with the nuts.  Lukas took the beer fest selfie and is in the center and Suzie and her husband Werner are on the right.  The nut giving the one fingered salute is Jan.

 

Lukas got his lederhosen full of beer and went back to the hotel by cab.  The rest of us closed the beer fest down and walked to a neighboring pub.


Jan was still the devil as always and tried to get Barb drunk so he could laugh at her.  Barb had learned over the years to be careful of mixed drinks and refused Jan's wild drink picks for her.  We made it back to the hotel late but safe and sound.

More sight seeing was on the agenda.



We toured the Augsburg Rathaus and found a nice place to eat.


We were leaving in the morning to Nuremburg so we decided another stop later in the day to the beer fest was in order.  We went back to the hotel and slept a while.


We ate a large pretzel and washed it down with a local helles beer.

We wandered for a while and hit each beer tent there.



We ate again.


We made more friends.




 
Off we went to Nuremberg in the morning instead of Prague.  We had a hotel room in Prague but thought it the best with the Immigrant Crisis going on in Europe to bypass it.

Met up with Suzi and Werner.  They took us to their favorite traditional meal in Nuremberg,




The food there was amazing.

We toured Nuremberg and saw some sights to include the area where Nuremberg's famous Christmas Market is held every winter.

A castle was also toured.


We drove from Nuremberg to Munich to stay the night and sight see.

We decided to see a place I wanted to visit all the years I lived in Germany and never went because my German friends did not want to go and going alone seemed too morbid.

Dachau

 The words mean:  "Work Makes You Free"  This is the front gate to Dachau.  The German people where lied to at first and told this was a debtor's prison.

All the prisoners at Dachau had triangles sewn on their uniforms to denote what class of prisoners they were.  The prison was full of Germans that questioned the Reich and they were housed right along side the other non-nazis.  There were Gypsies and Poles and Criminals and Gay People and mentally ill folks mixed in with the predominant population of Jewish People.

There were old barracks turned into museums there.

 A wheel barrow for taking bodies to the Crematoria
A flogging table for the non-conformists

The Crematorium way back in the far left corner of the camp.  Barb and I both could feel the pain and suffering this building emanated and both decided this was a close as we wanted to get to it.

  Dachau's main grounds.  The foundations are from demolished barracks.

A sobering statue on the grounds.

There were a couple barracks still there.

Barb looking out the barracks window at Dachau.  The air was filled with pain and evil.  How could people do such atrocities to other human beings?




Living conditions were horrible and brutal.

Barb and I exited Dachau with our heads hanging low and in disbelief that humans could do such things to one another.

I now knew why my German friends didn't want to go there.  They were ASHAMED.

We had to change course because the tour was just so heavy.

We went back to our hotel room in Munich and slept until late afternoon.

We needed a gear shift so this vacation didn't spiral down hill.
........................................................................................

The Hof Brau Haus called our name.


 We were a little beered out from the festival in Augsburg so we only had a "few" at the Hof Brau Haus.



We went back to the hotel and slept lightly as we thought about what we saw today.  The morning needed a change of pace.

We toured Linder Hof Castle early that morning.


 We pointed the weird VW diesel piece of junk southward towards another castle.  Castle Chimsee.

We decided to stay in the small dorf of Gstadt because it was quaint and inviting.


Our view from our balcony in Gstadt.

 Our afternoon meal in Gstadt

 Kase Spatzle for me.
 Fish soup for Barb.

Waiting for the water bus to take us to Chimsee Castle


 View from the water bus


Chimsee Castle Front



Couple fun fountains to pose by.


Our flat in Gstadt


Ducks eating plums in the parking lot.

Best meal on vacation on Gstadt balcony

Purchased right around the corner at the store and drink market.


The next morning we had a typical German Breakfast before we left to Austria.


Our hotel room in rainy bustling Salzsburg.


The city seemed huge and I was not very big city friendly.

 We visited the main castle in Salzburg.  It seemed kinda wedged in between buildings.  No fairy tale feeling at all.
We saw the Salz River and ate and did a little sight seeing and left a day early.





The rain and urban sprawl was more than I could stand.


 Barb saw a waterfall sign on the autobahn and we had to find it in Golling Austria.

 Barb's first view of Venice this vacation.




 Italian beer still sucks even if drank on seventh floor roof top terrace.
Burano had some nice lace and canals. 
Eating again

Torcello was also toured


  Murano glass blowing was somewhat interesting.




 Italian seafood is to die for.


Barb relaxing on our 6th floor balcony overlooking Venice before our long trek northward.

 Back to Austria and Germany.  Never take the shortest route over the Dolomite Mountains the navigator tells you.
 Barb and I standing near Leermoose Austria.  We have one foot in Austria and the other in Germany.  Alps in the back ground.

 Leberkasen and kase spatezel.....Found a couple places to eat German specialties.


 Cheese dumpling soup
 Goulash Soup and a salad

Garmisch was enchanting.


Sweets for the sweet in local bakery

Stayed at the Alpine Inn in Garmisch.  I highly recommend it.






 Being on the top of the Zugsptiz is as near to religious as I will ever get.


 Castle Neuschwannstein was awesome but there is no place like home.

 Castle Hochschwangau was closed for renovation.  Bought a new awesome hat. Ate one last meal in Germany and flew out early the next morning.