Gene got us to the airport in an hour and forty minutes. We had plenty of time for our flight- Teresa slept a little on the trip, I slept very little. A small child was rather noisy; a trait we learned later came from his mother. We arrived on time, and as Teresa eschews taxis, we took a train into Frankfurt, actually two trains and a subway to a stop near our hotel. A very friendly German man helped us on our transfers and a nice German woman gave directions to our hotel. All the Germans here speak English.
Although we arrived at our hotel around 8:30 they allowed us to check in. After showering, we headed out and went first to City Hall and its Plaza. We toured the ceremonial room where they now hang portraits of 54 Holy Roman Emperors. We then went to a small church that had served as their chapel. Not far away we went to the large church where they had been crowned.
After a good sleep we had breakfast in the hotel and went to the museums. First it was the Sculpture Museum and then the Painting Museum. They both had excellent works from a variety of sources. (The art museum had works by Botticelli, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Rembrandt, and Picasso, among others). We then walked through the new part of downtown with the skyscrapers, ate Thai food for lunch, went through an underground mall, saw the outside of the Bourse and finally found, and went in, Our Lady's Church. In the meantime Germany played Ireland in World Cup Soccer which ended in a 1-1 tie, very disappointing for the natives. We then went to the historical museum (which was free on Wed). I had ice cream again, Teresa a pastry.
After going back to the room and cleaning up we went to Adolph Wagner for dinner. I had sausages and Teresa had boiled beef with green herb sauce. We shared "handcase with music" as an appetizer. Although the restaurant was noted for its apple wine, I was not ready to order any.
The restaurant was informal, outside with large picnic tables and we shared our table with three younger Germans, the fellow was originally from Leipzig, East Germany, one girl was a flight attendant, who now lives in Denmark, and her sister in England. She had an English accent when she spoke English. We had a good time talking with them.They insisted we try their apple wine. I enjoyed it, Teresa thought it tasted like beer. They were very funny and it was an enjoyable meal.
The next morning after breakfast, we took the subway to the car rental place. We had no trouble leaving Frankfort but I had a little trouble arriving in Binden. We still arrived before 1:00 pm. so we bought tickets for an afternoon cruise on the Rhine. We walked into town looking for lunch, found a doner kebab stand, Teresa raved about hers. Then we saw the town. We walked up to the remains of a castle with a very deep well and made it back to the pier. The cruise was downstream, north, and lasted from 2:30 to 6:30. Lots of stops to drop off and pick up people, and see castles and barges. (See pictures)
We briskly walked to the train station to catch the train back to Binden to pickup our car. (Steve tripped on a stair in our rush to make a train and hurt his big toe which was to plague him the rest of the trip).
The next morning, after breakfast,we filled up the car and headed to the Mosel to Ertz Castle(Burg) This is Rick Steve's favorite castle in Europe; it isn't mine. It was in a wooded area with a nice drive and a steep walk to the castle. It is intact as it had never been captured but it is not large and the trapping are not military but aristocratic. We took a tour in German, and saw some of the rooms of the castle but I thought it rather bland. It was also quite a walk back to our car.
We took the ferry back across and decided to drive along the Mosel to Trier. It took longer but was more scenic. We made it to a hotel by 5:00 p.m.. (early for us)
We walked to the market area and then the Dom, the oldest Christian Church in Christendom. We stayed for vespers. It is curious that England, Scotland, Wales,Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands and Sweden all stole church property, Germany didn't seem to do it. All of the major churches have been Catholic and there is a Catholic presence here.
We walked some more and saw the outside of the basilica, (second to the Pantheon in Rome as the largest standing Roman structure) and then to the Black gate of the city. We took pictures of the market cross, 958, and the St. Peter Fountain(16th century). We then ate at a nice (too fancy for Teresa) restaurant. We both had fish and it was very good. Teresa loved her white wine. We then took a walk to the Mosel, sat on a bench for awhile and then back to our room.
The next morning after check out we drove into Baden-Baden, parked beneath the baths and went to the Roman-lrish baths. A real deal, for 29 euros you get up to 3 1/2 hours of saunas, showers and pools, plus a short brush massage and relaxation room. Leaves you feeling pampered and wonderful.
We then headed to Triberg. When we arrived we ate a late lunch, had the salad bar to save time and it turned out to be a good choice. We then "climbed the falls" which combined the experience of waterfalls with being in the heart of the Black Forest. We had a black squirrel walk right in front of us, of course the camera was not ready! After, some Black Forest cake.
Our room came with breakfast at the Helvista one of the harborside fancy hotels. On the way back we took another picture of the town hall from the front side.
The castles were far better than Berg Eltz. In between we had a lunch of pigs' knuckles, or knees; or some other joint. Teresa had purple cabbage, I had fries.
We took the cable car down then went over to the luge ride. Our observations had been that it didn't look too exciting but that was because everyone else went down using the brake. This was a stainless steel run downhill with probably 20 turns and you could go very, very fast. Teresa had to slow down because the woman in front of her was so slow. (she had a child with her) I had a mishap when my hat blew off. Teresa finally had some excitement on the trip.
We had Italian for dinner. Teresa vegetarian pizza (after her vegetarian salad) and I had tortellini gorgonzola.
The next morning after breakfast we headed to Munich. We were completely lost when we arrived in the city so we stopped at a service station where a very nice girl who spoke English gave us directions to the car rental agency. From there we called a hotel to get a room. We were successful on the first try and I talked Teresa into taking a cab. The Hotel Adria was very nice.. We went across the street to a grocery, bought bread, cheese, ham, and a coke and walked to the English Gardens which was two blocks away. We picnicked there watching the swans. It was not unusual to see nude sun bathers in the park, all ages and shapes. We wandered around, seeing the Constantine like arch, the Cathedral and other sites before deciding we would take the bike tour. While waiting we had a McDonald's milkshake (Burger King was out).
Christine would have loved this tour. Most of our group were guys just out of college. Our guide was a New Zealander named Drew and although he was very humorous he gave us a good history of Bavaria and Munich. He confirmed suspicions Teresa had of Ludwig II and Wagner. We went through the English Garden again and stopped at the second largest beer garden in the world. I felt compelled to have beer, which came in liter mugs, and Teresa was happy to find wine offered. The Gardens are the largest metropolitan park in the world, three times the size of New York's Central Park. We were all able to maneuver our bikes to the last few stop, the Hall of Generals and the sight of Hitler's first unsuccessful putsch. The tour was very fun. Afterwards we ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. (Cheeseburger, Cobb Salad, guess who had what!) We then went across the street to the HaupfBrau House where beer started in Munich and hasn't stopped since. It was quite lively but we didn't stay long. (smoky)
We ate lunch at the open air market, brautwurst for the first time, Teresa with cabbage, mine was with potato salad.
We then went to the Deutches Museum which is like the Smithsonian, sort of a science-technology center. It was well done and put a more universal slant on technological achievements.
We only had a couple of hours before it closed and only saw a small part of it including a large train set with cameras on the trains.. Back to the hotel for a rest and to get cleaned up. For dinner we ate at the Ratskeller which is inside the courtyard of the New Town Hall (which is actually the Old one) On the walk back we stopped for a classical concert, five young men who were very good, playing under an arch passage of the Old Town Hall (which is really the new one). Finally we had an apple strudel, with vanilla sauce (it needed more sugar).
We got a sportier car so I let Teresa sit in the drivers seat and took her picture. (I didn't let her drive.)
We proceeded to Weltenburg Kloister which had remarkable abbey hard on he Danube by the Asam brothers (Cosmos and Damian). This place was jammed with tourists but I believe we were the only Americans. We took pictures of the cliffs by the Danube and then it was off to-
Wallhalla,a Greek Parthenon copy above the Danube built to honor German heroes.
I should have mentioned that Teresa had become quite enthralled with a woodcarver named Tilman Riemenschnieder. She thought the one we found in St. Jakob's was so wonderful, and then to discover it was considered the best carved altarpiece in. Germany! We then had to see them all.
We arrived at a village called Steinbach which had a biergarten. Unfortunately the boss was away and the young girl who was cleaning spoke no English and became quite flustered trying to fill our order for a beer and glass of wine. Something stung my hand and she brought a large cut onion to hold on it. It worked very well to stop the stinging. I splurged on an ice cream sundae and insisted on a picture with her.
The ride into the valley was easy, The ride out wasn't. Teresa thought it wasn't too difficult but then she is in good shape.
After cleaning up we went out and ate Chinese.
After a stop at a bakery for breakfast and a Coke, we headed for the Dom.
We arrived in Berlin and found a hotel with the help of tourist information,the BerlinerHof. It was a very nice room and centrally located. We strolled around and ate dinner at a sidewalk Italian restaurant. We both had salad and Spaghetti Bolognese. Teresa had red wine instead of the beer and Sprite I had. After more window shopping, we headed back to the room. The next morning we took the car back to the rental agency. We then took the subway to the train station to meet up with the Berlin walking tour.
We then did some shopping on the main shopping street west of our hotel this time, had some ice cream, the best so far, and then went back to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum . The museum was large, informative, and not air conditioned. Some rooms were stiffing hot. It did relate many episodes of escapes as well as the political history of Berlin since the end of World War II and the prominence of the wall geo-politically.
After touring the museum we strolled Friedrickstrasse which is making a comeback as a swanky address since reunification. We went into the French department store that had a huge funnel decorating the middle. We decided then to return to our room. We had chicken kabobs for dinner. We tried to call home but got the machine.
The next morning we took the S-Bahn to the Reichstag. We had to wait some but it was worth it. Up in the Dome you get a view of all Berlin and there was a good pictorial and written history of Germany's parliament.
We then went to the Soviet Memorial which had the first 2 Russian tanks that entered Berlin in World War II.
We decided to eat after that, we each had a salad. We went back to the room to rest a little and get ready for the Berlin Symphony.
The symphony was excellent and the violin soloist was exceptional.
Afterwards we walked through the Platz near our hotel where a free concert was taking place. Again we tried to call Shane but were unsuccessful.
The next morning we decided to walk through the central park, the Tiergarten (Berlin's green lung). It was neither as big or as pretty as Munich's but it was green, had water and was large enough.
ln the middle is a victory statue celebrating a victory over the French in the late 1800's using French reparation money to construct it and French cannons in its decorations. We could not go inside because of the preparations for a Gay Festival (more on that latter).
Across the street was the Picasso museum which had numerous Picassos but no Cezzanes,VanGoghs, or Matisses, as had been advertised. We only went because our museum ticket was good for all museums.
For that reason too, we headed for the National Art Gallery, when parallel to our subway line (in a portion that was above ground), we saw a lineup for the gay parade. We decided to get off and see what one looked like. We grabbed some chicken kabobs and watched the show. It was amazing. Buses made into floats full of gays (both sexes, mostly guys) gays walking jampacked after the floats and also lining the streets. We stayed for awhile then proceeded to the art gallery. The parade was going by there too.
We walker through the Sony Center, in Potsdammer Platz, a very modern series of glass buildings. We decided to eat at Tony Roma's. I had ribs, Teresa had a salad.
We got up at 5a.m. to get to the airport for our return home. We looked forward to a day without much walking,