Because my flight back home was out of the Munich airport, Reini and I decided to spend some time in Munich. We enjoyed walking through the city, though we got caught in some rain. The weather was also gray and misty the last time I was in Munich. The Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) still drew in tons of visitors. We walked through a market. I almost made us stop by one of the bäckerei stalls for a pastry, but I knew it would get soggy. 😦 Eventually we made our way to dinner. We decided on an Italian place that apparently had been featured in a local newspaper. It was owned and operated by Italians so it was 100% authentic. I had to remember back to my Italian language classes to decode the menu. After dinner we wandered around and, of course, found our way to the Hofbrauhaus!
We didn’t have time to do everything we wanted in Munich, we did enjoy stop off before I flew back home. I guess I’ll just have to go back again!
I had seen some squiggling medal tubes running down a mountain and asked Reinhard what they were. He said that is sommerrodeln – summer sledding. On our way to Munich, Reini took me a deluxe rodeln track. We took the regular chairlift (it takes skiiers to the top during winter) where we picked up our sleds and put them on the track. There are lights at the beginning that signify when it’s your turn to go. Riders must be spaced out so they don’t collide… Then you zoom down the mountain! There are great mountain views, though I was too busy focusing on staying in my sled to look around too much. We did see one visitor taking a selfie while sledding (definitely not recommended).
The winter version of rodeln is really fun too (I did it during my Christmas trip) but a bit more difficult. You get in your very small sled and have to steer your way down twisty mountain paths, praying you don’t fall off the side. You don’t have to steer with summer sledding. You just get to shoot along the metal tubes. I learned that you do have to brake, though, so that adds slightly to the difficulty level. I may have gone too fast through the finish line and skidded a bit to the conveyor belt at the end… Oops. I think Reini was a bit afraid that the activity would be more for children, but it certainly was not. We had such a great time!
Once the sun was finally shining in Tyrol, Reinhard and I went to one of the most beautiful lakes in the country – Achensee. Its beauty draws many vacationers. The water temperature was a bit chilly but visitors didn’t seem to mind too much. Trails lead runners, hikers, and bikers all around the lake. Reini and I decided to hike around about half of it and take a boat back to our starting point. We were a bit worn out from our hike, so we sat at the lake’s edge and put our feet in the (very cold) water.
The drive from Bratislava back to Kelchsau is an especially long one for Reini who has no help from me (I can’t drive a manual car…), so we agreed a nice pitstop would be needed. Reading through my guide book, I found the magical words that necessitated a visit – “from the Sound of Music movie”. I may have startled Reinhard a bit with my gasp of excitement… But of course he agreed to stop at the lake town with the church where Maria and Georg von Trapp got married in the Sound of Music!! The church glowed a warm yellow hue in front of the gray sky. We were drawn inside and admired the intricate carvings. I couldn’t help but picture Maria standing at the alter in her white gown. Such a beautiful place. I really hope Reini doesn’t mind that I’ll be making him stop at many more Sound of Music landmarks in the future.. because we will be going to them all 🙂
Let’s be honest. The real reason Reini stopped at the Mondsee (translates into Moon Lake) was because the lake is so nice. The water is crystal clear. We stopped at a cafe with seats at the water’s edge and watched the ducks dive to the bottom. I was surprised when I could actually see a fish swim by (can’t do that at Lake Allatoona!). It was the perfect way to spend an hour away from the autobahn.
Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava is only an hour away from Vienna, so of course I made Reini make a stop there. Bratislava reminds me a lot of Tallinn with its medieval old town, complete with winding streets and secret passage ways.
With prices being so reasonable in Bratislava, we ended up staying in a great hotel – Hotel Devin – with a Danube River view. It was also very close to the American Embassy, so I certainly felt safe. When we arrived, we walked around a bit before settling down to dinner. We picked a tasty Italian restaurant and relaxed, watching the passersby.
Bratislava may not be the most exciting city, but it has its charms. Which leads me to… another castle! The original castle overlooking the area dated back to the stone age. Through all the wars Bratislava has seen, the castle wasn’t looking so good by the time the big 1950s renovation was initiated. Luckily for us, Reini and I were able to visit a perfectly sparkly castle.
Our trip to Bratislava was short but sweet. Get excited for my next entry. Here’s a sneak peak photo… Bonus points to who can guess why this place was on my must visit list.