One of my goals for my time in France was to take short trips to other locations. The hardest part about coming to Europe is the long flight over, and then carrying around a bunch of suitcases for an extended stay. I thought that if I could have a place that I could call home, then taking some short trips with one small suitcase would be possible. So this week I took a train trip to Munich, Germany. Bavaria (the German state in which Munich is located) has always been a place I thought would be cool to visit. So, I took the local train to Paris, changed train stations, and then took the TGV (fast train) to Munich for a short visit.
I used a website called RailEurope to book my train tickets, and for some reason 1st class was actually cheaper than 2nd class, so of course I booked first class tickets. (Must have to do with supply and demand, I guess.) I have to say first class was nice! Lots more room for my long legs, and a host who took orders for meals and brought the food to my seat. Yes, there was a bar/restaurant car, but I was a little unsure about leaving my suitcase unattended, so this worked for me. I thought that by taking a train rather than flying, I would see more of the country. Yes I saw more of the country, but it was mainly farm fields! But it was comfortable, and the rocking motion put me and most everyone else to sleep.
I arrived in Munich at about 10:00PM on Monday night. The cab ride to my hotel took me through the downtown area of Munich. Lots of points of interest were lit up and it was a beautiful ride. On Tuesday I got up and took the subway back to the center of the old city (Marienplatz). After watching the Glockenspiel clock perform at noon, I took a bus tour of the city. Then, ended up back at the city center where I visited the Victualienmarkt – which was a big open air market with beautiful displays of fruit, vegetables, and any fresh food you could think of. Had a lovely lunch, did a little shopping, then took the subway back to the hotel. Had a great dinner, then got to watch a little of CNN international, which since I don’t have tv at the house, was nice. It was also nice to hear English for a change!
Wednesday morning I was up early to take a bus trip to the Schlosses of King Ludwig II. The Schlosses (palaces) were about 2 hours away in the mountains. The first stop was Linderhof which was styled like Verseilles but not in size! It was a small castle for just the King – he liked to have his privacy. After touring that Schloss we next stopped at Oberamergau, which has a famous Passion Play every 10 years. It’s current claim to fame is the fact that George Clooney and company stayed there while filming the movie “Monument Men”. Back on the bus, and on to Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle is photographed so often that I always thought all German castles looked like that. It’s beautiful, but up a mountain that is very steep. One can take a bus about 2/3s of the way up, but then one must walk the rest of the way up, and then there are 600 stairs to climb to take the tour, then walk down 1.3 km to get back to the buses. Needless to say, legs were very tired by the end of that tour. Thank God for Schwepps tonic (which I carry with me now!) or there would have been severe leg cramps. Back to the hotel for a short night’s sleep.
Thursday morning came very early since I had to catch a 5:45am train. However, once again the motion of the train made for good slumber time. By late afternoon, I was back at my house, and feeling very proud of myself for my travel prowess! I will definitely do another train trip – next time Holland and Belgium.