Vicarious Travel Log #7: Germany

This is the last installment of my mother’s travel journal, which I have been much less than prompt in posting.  In fact I’ve been sitting on it for over a month, while thing after thing came up to distract me.  My parents are now safely ensconced back in Canada, and no doubt planning their next escape…

Well, I have not been right on top of things. Here it is almost December and we will be home in a few days and I haven’t yet got us to Germany.

We are in Munich and have been for weeks now. We left Switzerland on October 22 and drove our rental car back to Germany. The trip was almost uneventful. Almost because who knew that you needed a permit to travel for fifteen minutes (the length of the time you are in Austria) on Austrian highways? You do and if you don’t have a permit a very severe young man will thrust an English translation of the rule you have broken under your nose and demand 120 euros in fine. (Luckily this was payable by credit card.) We did not enjoy Austria though the fifteen minutes we were on their highway were smooth and unencumbered.

Back in Munich we dropped off our car after Michael spent a good long time unloading it and settled in to the little apartment under the eaves on Amalienstrasse. I had forgotten how awkward this one is. We haven’t stayed in this particular apartment in 15 years. Mostly I forgot that it has no oven and just a very small two burner stovetop. So much for my plans to make and distribute Christmas cookies.

Munich was in the end of its beautiful Fall which it deserved after a cool and wet summer and we enjoyed many outdoor meals and libations before it turned colder.

Maureen beside Cologne cathedral

Soon after we arrived in Munich we set off with Ray Rees to Cologne (Köln). Michael was to give a seminar and Ray and Michael have a colleague there with whom they are writing a book so we stayed for several days.

The hotel we stayed in was also a spa and I was looking forward to swimming in their pool. The evening we arrived, guided by the ever helpful Gloria the GPS, we wandered into the spa area just to have a look. We were soon ushered out as having a look is deemed inappropriate when you are fully clothed and no one else has a stitch on. I had forgotten that the straight-laced Germans take the spa idea seriously and do it in the nude. I may as well have left my bathing suit at home since I am far more straight-laced than that and do not swim in the buff with a bunch of strangers. Oh well.

Castle on the Rhine

On Sunday, when Ray and Michael were not working, we took a little tour up the Rhine. It is a highway for boats. We ate lunch in a castle perched up above the river and watched the boats slip up and down. Many had cars parked on deck so the captain can whisk off when they reach their port of call. It was hard to tell what they were transporting. It seemed to be the same cargo in both directions.

Altes Haus in Bacharach 14th century

After lunch we continued along the Rhine to the Loreley which is a big rock/hill in the river just at the point where the river zigzags making navigation very difficult. Every hundred meters or so there was another castle overlooking the river. It seems that once upon a time every castle owner demanded a fee for passing his bit of the river making the trip very expensive indeed.

Us in Altes Haus

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  1. By Stanley on July 31, 2014 at 8:57 am

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