Saturday, July 22, 2006

Overdue Update

Wow, been a while since I've let ya'll know where we are & what we've been up to. We've been quite busy....

Last time I updated, we were in the village of Gimmalwald, high in the Swiss Alps. We were there for five nights and had a great time, it was one of the highlights of the trip. We did some gorgeous hikes and spent some time just hanging out enjoying the beautiful surroundings with some cool people we met. On the last day, I climbed the 3000m Schilthorn, one of the goals I had for the trip. It was a 5300' climb but well worth it for the scenery.

After Gimmelwald we were "scheduled" to drive to Reutte Austria, but on the advice of several other travelers we opted for Salzburg. We got a pleasant surprise from the rental agency: although we paid for an economy car, they gave us a much sportier Alfa Romeo 1.9 turbo diesel with 6 speed, leather interior, & GPS navigation system - very cool car, I want one so I can be the first guy on my block to drive an Alfa Romeo! ;).

The autobahn was a joy to drive on. Not so much because of the speed - construction zones and traffic often slow you down - but because the drivers were such professionals, very proficient & courteous in mixing very different traffic at wildly disparate speeds. The fast know how to work around the slow, and the slow know how to keep out of the way. FWIW, the fastest I went was 200 km/hr (120 mph)...but average in unlimited speed areas was about 150 km/hr.

Salzburg was pretty interesting, we didn't explore as much as we might've due to oppresive heat. It's been setting records over here & leaves you pretty drained in half a day. Yesterday we drove from Salzburg AT to Füssen DE, where we toured Neuschwanstein Castle, and from there we went to Dachau and visited the infamous concentration camp. We spent the night in Munich.

Today we got smart and got our touring out of the way early, so by 2pm when the weather heated up, we could make like the locals and head to the Englischer Garden. There are a number of fast flowing streams in the park which are good fun to float down - a great way to beat the heat!

Tomorrow we'll probably be flying to Amsterdam, where we'll spend a day or so and then play nonrev roulette once more in trying to get home. I don't have a trip until the 28th, so there's some wiggle room.

Eiger and Mönch from the 2200 m plateau at Männlichen.

I loved viewing alpine scenery to the soundtrack of cowbells...

The view from near the top of the Schilthorn, 3000 m (9800') tall. That makes it a baby among surrounding peaks.

Made it up the Schilthorn! 5300' vertical climb, took 4 hours.

The Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald...awesome place to spend some time if you're ever in that corner of the world, very cool laid-back hiker crowd.

Salzburg, Austria - film location of "The Sound of Music," as obnoxious American teenagers singing "Do Re Mi" in Mirabella Gardens won't let you forget (true story).

Surfer on the standing wave in the Eisbach, southern tip of Englischer Garten in München. The sport was introduced here by an American GI during the post-WWII occupation, and now Munich has its own little surf scene hundreds of miles from the nearest saltwater.

Fun car to drive both on the Autobahn and Bavaria's winding country roads!


~Rachel Mae~ said...

THose pictures are GORGEOUS!!!! I wish I could go there sometime...