A Travellerspoint blog

Friedrichshafen, Germany – St Anton am Arlberg, Austria – Ar

Day 10-12

sunny 25 °C
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After a stroll around the Saturday market in Tettnang (another sunny day) we drove the short distance into Friedrichshafen, to visit the Zeppelin museum. Wow, those things must have been amazing to see, 240m long and trying to imagine travelling across the Atlantic, a two day trip, with your own stateroom! It was incredible to think that the Zeppelin development was happening alongside the automobile and planes – a great period of invention.
As we travelled down the lake heading towards Austria we saw a zeppelin in the sky (very large even from a distance). Spectacular to see. Another turn of the valley revealed a large flock of crows – until I realised the perspective was wrong and that we were looking at paraponters! There must have been over a hundred in the air – they must have really had to have their eyes on.
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So, into Austria to visit the ski resort of Sankt Anton am Arlberg. The drive through the mountains was amazing – up these twisting roads with incredible ‘galleries’ to protect the road from avalanche in the winter months and over incredibly engineered pieces of road/viaduct/bridging. As it was Saturday and a lovely day, there were a huge number of motorbikes and soft top sports cars on the road. Everyone out enjoying themselves. The cows weren’t interested in sharing their road with anyone else either and that made for some interesting motoring.
What do ski resorts do in the summer???? Apart from mountain biking and hiking????? Would you believe an attempt at the world’s longest line dance! What a laugh, 1600 line dancers, all from Germany. It is said that line dancing was inverted by women……… waiting “in line” for the loo. Good to have a good look around the town, the accommodation set up and the ski lifts and trails for possible ski holiday in the future.
Very loud thunder storm around 7pm, and boy did it rain – big fat drops and lots of them. Made for a very wet dash to the car to get to our lodgings. The storm was not surprising really, considering it had been so hot during the day.
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Our next stop was Innsbruck, which was around a 2 hour drive – even on the small roads with a couple of interesting diversions for road works. Another stellar day – even more motor bides and cyclists out today! We spotted a ski jump site in a little village – from 1991-2001 era. Pretty crazy to see it sitting in amongst the trees in the middle of nowhere. Those ski jumpers must be crazy.
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We got into Innsbruck just on 2pm, so parked the car at the hotel and headed into the old town for a wander around with the rest of the tourists. The river was in full flood (downstream of yesterday’s thunderstorm) and was pretty impressive. Found our way around the old town, gold roofed house, palace, university, gardens, funicular etc. and then best place for a biere! Loved the way the old buildings appear to be holding each other up. Another thunderstorm later in the afternoon cleared the streets of tourists, and we headed back to the hotel for a rest before returning for rosti for dinner – with seasonal fungi for JT, and chicken breast for me. It was the first time we’d spotted it on the menus and we enjoyed the experience.
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Next morning we headed off for Italy. White-roads again, and Josephine, our navigation system didn’t even need prompting to use the small roads today! But first we stopped at another Olympic ski jump site on the ‘hills’ behind Innsbruck. Even larger than the one the previous day. Makes “Eddie the Eagle’s” feat even more impressive.
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Fabulous drive up into the Dolomites. Dodging motorbikes, buses, and road cyclists (MTB seem to be well off road) as well as cars and trucks on the really narrow roads. Only had the wing mirror knocked back once thankfully and no damage – glass popped out and dangled by the wires, but JT managed to press it back in place. Came down Passo Pordoi and identified the infamous slope where I fell, back in February. And it really doesn’t look anything at all – even in autumn. Couple of kms further on and we had arrived in Arabba. There’s a lot more greenery around this time, and a couple of new lifts being built – pretty impressive construction. Walking expedition is planned for tomorrow.
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Impressions: motorbikes, apple orchards, people wearing national costumes, mountains

Posted by EMTHOMSON 15:54 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Lorrach to Tettnang

Day 8-9

sunny 28 °C
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Headed into the Black Forest again, towards the Rhine Valley. Kept seeing cars with door card numbers like a targa rally – so guess we’re on the right roads! And we saw our first cows – knew there had to be some here somewhere!
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Worked our way out of the forest and onto the plain – covered in grape vines, everyone is enjoying the late summer weather, temperature up to 32 oC. Drove right down to the Rhine near a hydro station (barrage), so walked past a couple of yacht clubs and over the dam to France! Telecom/Skype is great at sending you a text when you move countries – have you noticed? Great to know where you are!
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Found a winery to do a little wine tasting – Pinot Noir, as this was the principal grape of the region. Not too bad, but of course the older wine was better than the newer vintages they were using for the tasting initially – 2011 vintage was duely purchased for later consumption.
Then headed on down towards the Swiss border to Lorrach for the night. Great wee B&B – largest room to date, but must admit all the beds so far have been comfortable. The owner’s wife is an artist and there is some great pieces on the walls – in our room literally drawn on the wall!
Spot of shoe shopping Friday morning, as we’d seen a couple of good looking shoe shops when wandering around after dinner the previous night – and no not for moi, but for JT.
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Then we headed off on those small roads again, along the border which just happens to be the Rhine! Came across a town that straddles the river – Laufenburg. It’s perched on hills on both sides and is very picturesque. Then on towards Lake Bodensee via Switzerland, just because we could! Yet another beautiful day – up to 28oC. Yet another great hotel for the night in Tettnang, just out of Friedrichshafen where we’re going to visit the Zeppelin museum tomorrow.
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Impressions for the last few days – window boxes, lots of red flowers in window boxes, cycle paths and cyclists, photo voltaic panels on roofs, vines, hill top castles and apple trees.

Posted by EMTHOMSON 22:26 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Stuttgart

Day 5-7

sunny 22 °C
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Pretty quick trip up/over to Stuttgart from Munich, first test of “Le Brick” Peugeot 3008 on the autobahn……leaves a lot to be desired as a motorway vehicle at speed! Did however manage to get to 201kph – but that only qualifies for the middle lane!
Lucked into a great wee B&B hotel in Stuttgart – free parking, quiet, small but revamped rooms and great front of house staff (one man).
First morning, JT managed to get us onto the english version of the Mercedes Works tour – and it was amazing. Actually walking in the factory while the vehicles are being built, seeing/feeling/hearing the presses stamping out the body panels, watching the production line in operation, seeing the logistics in operation to supply the assembly line. Amazing. This plant builds 1600 cars a day, using 54 tonnes of paint and enough steel to build the Eiffel tower each day. Oh, and they actually stop the whole production line 3 times each shift for the workers breaks!!!!
Then we headed into the old town to wander around and have a biere (again). Also got connected with a German Vodafone card – too hard relying only on free Wi-Fi for connection (good as it was in Munich). Stuttgart is nestled in a river valley – surrounded by forested hills, very pretty.
Dinner was at a Burger Café 70 that JT had scouted out – and it was worth the visit as the burgers were the real thing! Nice change from our schnitzel trialling to date.
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So up and about the next day (after the ‘light’ breakfast of cold meat & cheese, bread, fruit and yoghurt, boiled egg, juice and espresso that was included in the room rate) we set out for Porsche Museum. We had another great morning – enjoying the audio commentary and the exhibition. It’s going to be tough voting on the best car museum at the end of the trip! JT thinks this was his favourite.
Onto visit the Hockenheimring – the race track where the German F1 was held this year. I couldn’t resist including it on our itinerary when I realised it was only 100kms from Stuttgart! So, we drove in and wandered up into a stand on the last corner at the back of the starting grid lines – great view down the main straight and also back across the hairpin before the final turn. And even better it was a GT test day so there was some interest cars on track!!!! We then explored a bit further and JT navi-guessed us into the pit area – oh yeah……….I’m such a petrol head now.
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Our last morning was a visit to the Mercedes museum – an amazing piece of architecture. Very, very interesting tour – they included a walkway with snapshots from history alongside the design development in each period (over 7 floors!!!!!) Learnt a lot about the history of the company – but I’m afraid they are still my least favourite in terms of vehicle styling.
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Then we headed to the Black Forest region – on the “white” roads, the smallest we can find on the map, we are really pissing off Josephine (our Nav system) as she keeps trying to send us onto motorways. Getting the hang of feeding her strings of small towns along our planned route that she can’t get to via motorways!!! Ended in Triberg for the night – think cuckoo clocks and a waterfall (Germany’s largest apparently).
Impressions for the last few days – tall straight trees, no farm animals (seen a handful of cattle and 2 donkeys – where are they keeping the stock?), clear streams, cobblestone stadt, timber yards and fire wood stacks, beautiful old houses everywhere.
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Posted by EMTHOMSON 09:41 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Munich

Day 3-5

semi-overcast 24 °C
View JT's 60th Anniversary World Tour - The Sequel on EMTHOMSON's travel map.

So guess we haven’t changed much in the last 29 years?!!! Nils walked into the motel and we both recognised each other straight away!!! He’d flown in from Hamburg, staying the night and heading back Saturday morning. We had a fabulous day walking around Munich and talking, watching surfers and talking, strolling around the Englischer Gartens and talking, drinking beer in a beer garden and talking – you get the theme!
Such good weather too, JT has had to start wearing a cap as he’s getting sun burn on his forehead………nice problem to have.
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We’re definitely wearing out the shoe leather, but it’s such a lovely city to wander around in. Day three impressions – cyclists (again), so many young people smoking (much more prevalent over here), long grass in the parks, beer gardens, mature trees - planes and oaks are the ones I recognised!
Sophie arrived in time for dinner – she’d caught the train down from Bremen, so lovely to see her again (and no she hasn’t changed!) Eckie arrived after dinner from Kiel (having driven down 870km). Made us feel very special that they’d travel so far to see us for the weekend. Late night/early morning catching up on each other’s lives.
After saying goodbye to Nils, the four of us heading on the underground to visit the BMW Museum. Spent an amazing 4 hours wandering around, the exhibition (100 year anniversary BMW) was so well set up, everything in German and English. Poor Sophie hung in there but it wasn’t really her thing. Then back into ‘town’ to find a beer garden to have a very late lunch sitting outside under the trees – and more talking of course.
Then wandered back along the Isar River tributaries in the Englischer Garten, where everyone was out enjoying the sunshine and floating down the fast flowing streams yahooing, saw the surfers on the standing wave (Surf-welle) again too. Such an odd thing to come across in the middle of town! Then past the Staats kanzlei (government building) and the Hofgarten where we saw rabbits calmly grazing while everyone walked past and into the old town again. More beer - not at the Hofbrauhaus, but we did pass it and wander around inside. Then back to the motel for a wee break before a meal and bed.
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After breakfast we all headed to the Pinakothek der Moderne to see the design exhibition which covered modernism, art nouveau, Bauhaus, Post WW2, Sacchi, Bentwood etc etc. It was pretty extensive and the building itself was fabulous. Not an iota of English in there though!
Then we had to say goodbye to Eckie and Sophie and let them head back up north. We set out for Stuttgart – I set about figuring out the navigation system and it’s quirks, while JT coped with the gearbox and the traffic. Think I got the best end of the deal.

Posted by EMTHOMSON 22:10 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Munich

Day 2

sunny 25 °C
View JT's 60th Anniversary World Tour - The Sequel on EMTHOMSON's travel map.

That really is a long flight – 2 hours to Sydney, 3.5hrs at the airport, 14hrs to Dubai, another 3.5 hours in the terminal then 7 hours to Munich = 30 hours of travelling. The only issue we had was forgetting to specify no fish or chilli for JT; and of course the main meal on the Sydney - Dubai leg was chicken with oyster sauce or beef in chilli sauce!!!!
Our flight was late into Munich, as we’d waited for a connection in Dubai, and then had to wait ½ hour for our bags to come in the baggage area. Passport control was a breeze though – especially after flying into the US lately. No queues, forms or fingerprinting, and we got the first stamp in our passports.
Finally got out of the terminal and arranged the collection by the Peugeot Eurolease company to be taken to pick up our wheels for the next 6 weeks – a silver grey Peugeot 3008, manual. JT was thrown in the deep end straight away with driving, as I sorted out the navigation system!
Made it to our motel near the Deutsche Museum in the centre of Munich in one piece – and proceeded to have an hour’s nap, and then a shower before wandering into the old town centre for our first beer and bratwurst! Lovely temperature – 25 degrees when we arrived and 18 degrees at 8pm.
First impressions of Munich are of a lovely town, with cyclists whizzing past (JT worked out while sitting outside the café, that 60% of the riders where women), trams, cobblestones and an incredible mix of architecture. Hearing lots of different languages too – and so fascinating for little old kiwis.
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Slept well, waking around 7am. The tentative plan for the day was to head to the Technology Museum and we decided that was indeed the best option as rain was forecast on and off for the day. So we found a wee bakery for breakfast and then walked to the museum. This is situated on an island in the Isar River that flows through Munich. Well it was really interesting visit – the first exhibition we viewed was transportation – from sea faring to flight. Some fabulous models (and lots of explanations in English which was fabulous). Then we split up – I headed to ceramics, glass, ad musical instruments, and JT went to Mining, Foundry and Oceanography. After lunch we did a quick tour of the pharmaceuticals exhibit before heading to the special exhibition on the Anthropocene (the era that we live in). We were finally kicked out at closing time tired but having had a wonderful day.
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Tomorrow we meet up with our old sailing pals who are coming in from Hamburg and Kiel!

Posted by EMTHOMSON 09:54 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

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