We flew from Larnaca, Cyprus to Germany to continue our trip there. We arrived in Munich and took the train into the city centre. Our hotel was conveniently right next door to the station. We walked through the touristy roads of Munich and heard more American English than any other language. It is now July and the North American kids just out of school are backpacking through Europe en masse. While I deeply believe this is an important life experience for anyone who has the opportunity to do it, when there is so much familiar language concentrated in the tourist areas it feels a lot like home and takes away the sense of being away. Not to take anything away from the sights; Munich certainly has its beauty. We climbed one of the clock towers for a stunning panoramic view of the city. That evening we ate traditional Bavarian grub at Andesher am Dom. The food was good and the atmosphere was even better. The next morning we rented bicycles to explore the city further. So much of Europe is so bicycle friendly it is a perfect way to get around. We rode out to the Olympiad area with its parks and past the old Olympic village where the hostage situation of 1972 took place. While this occurred before our time, it was still sobering to be there particularly with a history refresher from the Spielberg movie Munich. We stopped in at the neighbouring BMW world headquarters and looked at their showroom. We considered a plant tour, but passed on it. Instead I tried to book us in for a tour in the Audi facilities in the city about 60km north to see where our car was assembled. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out as it is closed on the weekend and these were our only free days to go. We rode through the enormous Englischer Garten and returned the bikes that afternoon just as a rain storm was coming in. We went to what is likely to be the most famous beerhouse in the world, the Hofbrauhaus. There we drank one litre Bavarian beer and met a British couple who offered us some travel advice. Without knowing our plans they recommended Bratislava, Ljubljana, and Bled to us. We couldn’t believe the good fortune to get this advice as we had already planned to visit these areas during this trip. Thanks to their recommendations we altered our plans slightly to make sure we get out to Bled. That evening we went to a highly recommended restaurant called Salt, which has a modern spin on traditional German food. It was excellent. The following day we used the spa at the hotel. It was extremely well done with a warm pool that spirals into a private grotto area. Later we visited the Alte and the Neue Pinakothek museums where we saw a painting that is over 6 meters tall for which the gallery was built to accommodate and is the only painting in its original location since the late 1800’s. We also saw classics like Van Gough’s Sunflowers painting. Later that afternoon we took a high-speed train to Salzburg.
In Salzburg we stayed on the Mirabel Park next to its Castle and gardens. We had a nice walk across the river and along its banks to the old section of town on the south side with the tourists, seeing most of it before heading to the street party on the north side where the locals spend their time. That night we ate at a hidden wine-bar restaurant called Flavour. It only has about 15 tables and we were lucky to get in. We struggled a little with the menus but had friendly helpful service and had delicious food and great wine. The next morning was cloudy and chilly. We went on a bicycle tour through the countryside and visited most of the filming locations for the 1964 movie, the Sound of Music. Almost nothing has changed in all this time. The movie locations were fine, but the best part of the tour was going through scenic rural paths we would not have found on our own. In the afternoon we took the funicular up to tour the fortress overlooking the city. Later we went to the restaurant M32 located on another hill with a great view of the city. This was another recommendation that we enjoyed as well. Enjoying good food is a big part of our travels now and we were lucky with the recommendations and reservations we had for the past while. The following morning we hiked up and along the hills on both sides of the river, enjoying the exercise and the views. After lunch we took a shuttle bus for the three hour drive between Salzburg and Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.