4 countries in one day….

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8am   Switzerland.

It seemed like a very good idea to show the Johnsons just how close everything is here….

10am   Without any real plans we jumped in a couple of cars and headed to a very vague destination in Austria.

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Imagine how happy the kids were when we arrive at Bregenz on Lake Constance and see the best-ever swimming pool extravaganza (that we didn’t know was there) and they haven’t brought their swimmers………

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11am   We attempt to bribe the kids with food and pathetic lines like “look at how pretty the lake is” and “you are in Austria”.  EPIC FAIL.  We have to walk past the best-ever swimming pool extravaganza to get back to the cars.  (A little research wouldn’t have hurt……..)

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1pm   We arrive at Lindau, Germany.  Tired, hungry and it is so hot we are all thinking about the best-ever swimming pool extravaganza.

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We bribe the kids again with food.  They are happy.  The wood-fired pizza is really good.  (Of course we are eating Italian in Germany).  It was the first restaurant we saw and we just about ran in there.

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Lindau is pretty.  The girls are happy because they see a statue of Poseidon and all is good again.  Thankyou Percy Jackson books.

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We wander around and realise we have to get moving if we are going to get out of the country before peak hour traffic hits.

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4pm  We arrive in Liechtenstein after a few close calls driving there.  I may have started to lose concentration and think I am in fact a passenger looking at the sights and not the driver of the car.  No-one is harmed.  We look everywhere for the Prince of Liechtenstein but he is probably sitting poolside at his castle enjoying a cocktail.  It is really that hot.

5pm   We decide to head across the border and go back to Switzerland for ice-cream.  The kids are happy.  The adults need a drink.

Yeah, that was a good idea Jen.

 

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Plan B

We walked to the market again this weeked.  It has warmed up quite a lot in a week and there were a few more stalls.

There is something very lovely about buying food at a farmer’s market.  The slowness of wandering around and strolling home again.

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After we got home we decided to go to Konstanz to have lunch at the lake.  Konstanz is just across the border in Germany and is only a 1/2 hour drive from here.  A lot of Swiss people go there to do some shopping because it is much cheaper than in Switzerland.  And because a lot of people go there we got stuck in a traffic jam and drove around for ages trying to find a parking space that was remotely near the lake.  Everyone else was doing the same thing.  Parking rage like I have not seen before…..  No thanks.

DSC_0140We have travelled a lot and the biggest lesson we have learned is that things do not always go to plan.  The best thing you can do is quickly come up with a new plan, so we drove back to the Swiss side of the lake (to Altnau) where there was no traffic problem and plenty of room for all.  This photo is taken on the jetty looking back at Altnau.

DSC_0141Directly across the lake is Germany with Konstanz to the left.

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Austria is to the right.

DSC_0145It was peaceful here.

DSC_0146And I decided that next time we need to find a boat to get us across the lake.DSC_0147There is always a hotel where you can have a quiet drink to end a day that didn’t go to plan but was nice nevertheless.

Munich (the final chapter)

355We stayed in the university district of Munich.  This turned out to be excellent location-wise because it was very close to the English Garden and a quick walk to the underground.  From there we were only two stops from Marienplatz.  The city has a good feel to it and we felt safe walking around all areas at all times of day.

357On our second day we headed back to Marienplatz.  It was a gorgeous day so we were able to take some better photos and the square was a hive of activity as stall holders set up for Carnival.

372We wandered around the city.  It’s a shame the lederhosen shop was closed…

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There are bikes everywhere in Munich.  Very few helmets though.

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415But today we were headed to the Deutsches Museum.  It had very good reviews and it did not disappoint.  We spent most of our day there and really only scratched the surface of the many exhibits.

390The marine, aircraft and space exhibits were excellent.  Many of the exhibits were interactive so you could climb up into a space shuttle or into an aircraft.

380Or stand in an air traffic control tower.  Interesting for kids but also for adults 🙂

388So much to see…. so little time…

391392Dehydrated cheese sandwich anyone?  They are smaller than a matchbox.

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403And from the top of the building we had a magnificent view over the lovely city of Munich.

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There was one last thing we wanted to do before we headed back to Switzerland…..

417On the way there we passed the Isar gate.  It is one of the remaining historic gates of the city.

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DSC_0424The Hofbrauhaus is the most famous beer garden in Munich.  It is touristy and packed to the brim and noisy and we were so glad we went.  The atmosphere was fantastic and the people-watching even better.  A few Carnival revellers came in dressed up and in a merry mood.  There were quite a few rosy cheeks leaving the beer garden….  I can only imagine how it is in there in summer!!

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In the blink of any eye we were back on the road and the Austrian alps were in sight.

Would I recommend Munich?  Absolutely.  We only had a weekend there but we loved it.

Munich (part 2)

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Hands down, one of my favourite things in Munich was watching the Eisbar surfing.  It is the maddest thing I have ever seen and absolutely worth the effort to go and see.   They surf on the river at one of the entrances to the English Garden.

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It was – 9 degrees C.  We were rugged up with triple layers of clothing, scarves, furry gloves and beanies.  These guys were head to toe in thermal wetsuits and leaping into a freezing river on surfboards .  I could not believe my eyes.  Nor could the rest of the crowd gathered there to watch them.  Apparently they can be seen there all year.

325These guys have amazing skills.  They throw the surfboard onto the wave and jump on.  They take turns and high five each other on the way out.

326Who was the person who thought – “cool man, I might jump in there on my board” ????? (and hopefully not die in the process).

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360 degree turns, jumps, no fear…..

340It was hard to stop watching them.

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351But the day was getting away from us so we headed into the English Garden.  I have read that it is bigger than Central Park in New York (I can’t compare as I haven’t been there and didn’t see all of this one either).  In winter it was breathtaking.  Such a lovely walk.  See those guys riding towards us?  They have surfboards under their arms….

352We made it as far as the Chinese Tower.  There are four beer gardens in the English Garden and this is one of them.  We were hoping to get to one further in that has a deer park with bambies but it was getting too late.

353Even the carriages were packing up for the day.

Munich (part 1)

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We went on a roadtrip to Munich (Muenchen) on the weekend.  It is supposed to be a 2.5 hour drive from here but that didn’t account for the very heavy snow the night before.  Bregenz in Austria is the town you pass through between Switzerland and Germany.  It had the highest recorded snowfall there the night before we left.  It was a crazy mess of snow piled up on the side of the road and the motorway was closed so our trip took a little longer than expected.

274We made it into Marienplatz (the main square in Munich) just in time to see the last couple of minutes of the Glockenspiel chiming.  There are life-sized marionettes that apparently act out scenes from Bavarian history but you have to crane your neck to see them.

360Some of these photos are taken the next day when we had much better weather (clearly).

Marienplatz is full of beautiful architecture.  The Glockenspiel is housed in the new town hall (see above) and the old town hall houses a toy museum (see below).  Our first day in Munich was a battle between us and the intermittent severe snowy weather.  It was freezing and Claudia was sick with a cold so we alternated outside and indoor activities as much as possible.

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299Which is how we ended up in the toy musuem.  Some of the toys in there were a little interesting.

304Hasn’t Barbie come a long way since the 1950’s?

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The Viktualienmarkt is worth a look.  It is quite big and is mainly fresh produce but there were the occasional craft type stall.  We avoided a mini snowstorm by leaping into the first restaurant we came across which turned out to be a seafood restaurant.  I wasn’t anticipating eating seafood in Munich but I have to say the quality of the fish (from Norway) was outstanding.  The restaurant is a little quirky in that you had to eat standing up at a table but the meal was really delicious.  Sometimes good experiences on your travels are happy accidents.

287The markets had a wide variety of stalls – wine (dangerous), cheese (dangerous), fruit and vegetables, Bavarian specialty sausages to name just a few.

284And a few baskets of Australian stone fruit!!  Nectarines for approximately $60/kg anyone??

292Many of the stalls were decorated for Carnival and there were a few revellers to be seen around the streets.

290You see a lot of taxis that are Mercedes here (and in Switzerland).

371The Frauenkirche is a recognisable part of the Munich skyline with its two domes.

310This is the interior of the Frauenkirche.  We came in here hoping to be able to climb one of the towers as they reportedly provide one of the best views of Munich and the Bavarian Alps, but alas the towers are closed for renovation for the next 2-3 years.  The church itself is beautiful – frescoes, stained glass windows, gorgeous chandeliers everywhere.

308While we were there we lit a candle for Ben.

Tomorrow I will tell you about one of my favourite things in Munich.

We went to a city where….

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….it was -9 degrees C and people were doing this

DSC_0286….the apples in the market had hearts on them

DSC_0301….the dolls were a little creepy

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….lovers put padlocks with their names on them on bridges

DSC_0371….stylists need to be reminded that leggings are not pants

DSC_0424….ahhhh Munich.  We did have a fantastic time.

Stay tuned for all the details this week.