Past Ski Trip
Alpine Adventure through Germany, Austria & Switzerland - September 5 - 15, 2013
Our group was amazed of the beauty of our three alpine country tour throug Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Our tour started with the imperial festival in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of the best preserved medival cities in Germany. More than 1000 people celebrate the life of the middle age and time stages of the city of Rothenburg. Our day ended with a great Night Watchman Tour and our group members were impressed with the history and stories our Night Watchman had to tell.
Munich was our next stop. Here we had a fantastic city tour with our guide Michael. He had a wonderful passion to history and art. We visit the Nymphenburg Palace which is still home of the Wittelsbach Family. You doesn't know about the Family Wittelsbach. They are the last remained family members of King Ludwig I. and II. In the evening we took the U-Bahn (subway) from our hotel which lied directly infront of the Oktoberfest grounds to the Marienplatz. We enjoyed dinner at the world-famous Hofbrauhaus with authentic traditional Bavarian music and dance.
The next morning we drove just north of Munich to Dachau. Here we visited the former Nazi concentration camp which is now a memorial and museum of the dark time of Germany. Some group members described the place as a very dark and still informative memorial. One of our travelers said that if you touch the walls of the building you feel the pain of the people who were fighting with their faith to survive. More than 35,000 people were found from the Allied Troops at the end of World War II. Ed took the group now to Salzburg and our group got the first touch of the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. In Salzburg we enjoyed a great city tour including the Mirabell Gardens, one of Austria's oldest Cathedral and cemetary. The next morning we took part of a tour of the Palace Hellbrunn also known as the Water Play Palace of Austria. We then drove into the Lake District of Salzburg to St. Wolfgang via Mondsee. After a great lunch at the lake and an impressive visit of the church we drove back to Salzburg for some free-time. In the evening Ed surprised the group with a Sound of Music performance at the Stieglkeller just below the Fortress Hohensalzburg.
Another day awaits us as we traveled back into Germany to Oberammergau but before that we visited a salt mine in Berchtesgaden. Until today they have 40 miners working inside the mountain and produce more than 40 Million tons of salt every year. Afterwards we took a 25 minutes bus tour to the Kehlsteinhaus, also known as Eagles Nest. On top of the mountain Ed met an 89 year old former German who lives now in West Virginia. He told a lot of good and dark stories about the World War II and about his life after in the USA. He was very lucky that we was kept from the USA troops instead of the Russian troops as he lost several friends who were kept from the Russians. Now it was time to drive through the Austrian Alps via Innsbruck to Oberammergau with some rain in the air.
Our first visit this morning was at the Palace Linderhof. The only Palace/Castle which King Ludwig totally finished during his short life. After another amazing scenic route over the Ammersattel Pass we arrived at the Castle Neuschwanstein. The fairytale castle which Disney copied for the Cinderella storry. In the afternoon we visit the Wieskirche with its amazing Rocco architecture.
On Thursday we drove to Switzerland via the small poststamp country Liechtenstein. After a short break we drove further to Wilen. Our hotel directly at Lake Sarnen we had a breathtaking view to the Top of Europe - Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau.
Another day with great weather await us as we drove over the Brunig Pass to Lauterbrunnen. Here we visit an amazing waterfall inside a mountain. Ed discoverd the power of water as he saw over 20,000 liter running down per second into the valley. Before lunch time we took a cogwheel train from Lauterbrunnen to the Kleine Scheidegg. On our way up to the mountain we enjoyed breathtaking and incrediable views to the Top of Europe with its amazing glacier formations. Fresh snow covered the tips of the mountain and cow bell sound everywhere made this trip to an unforgettable experience. On top some of travellers went of hiking or enjoyed the fantastic views to the mountains. For those who went hiking found even Edelweiss and took some memoriable pictures.
On our last day in Switzerland we continue to Lucerne. Here we took part of a brief city tour and after our boat tour over Lake Vierwald-staettersee we took the oldest cogwheel train from Vitznau to Rigi Kulm. On top we could see Germany on the North, France on the West, Austria on the East side. A beatiful view to the south with snow covered moutains was memoriable.
As each tour needs to end somehow and ours ended with a dinner at the best authentic Swiss restaurant in Zurich. We enjoyed a Swiss Fondue and Raclette and celebrate an 80 year old birthday from one our travelers.
It was time to say Goodbye, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu until next year for our Alpine Adventure 2014.
Past Ski Trip
Austrian Ski Trip to the beautiful village, Saalbach, and the spectacular ski race the "Hahnenkamm" - January 13 - 22, 2012
Our great winter trip to the Austrian Alps was such an amazing journey. We all came back with a lot of memories we’ll never forget.
We gathered at the Munich Airport, and before having lunch at the famous "Hofbräuhaus" in Munich we went on a brief city tour including the BMW World, the “Marienkirche” and the “Viktualienmarkt”. We then traveled to Saalbach-Hinterglemm in the Austrian Alps where we arrived in the earlier evening.
Our view out of the window in the morning took everybody’s breath away. The first sunshine on the tops of the mountain was an amazing view. The weather forecast for the next 3 days couldn’t have been better, with temperatures around 32 degrees and sun all 3 days. That meant we had perfect conditions for skiing. The next days were packed with skiing the 200km of slopes and a great night of tobogganing. A snow groomer drove us through a beautiful winter wonderland up to the rustic hut “Spielberghaus”. After an authentic Austrian dinner and an Austrian game called “Nageln”, we took a great sledge (sled) run down to Saalbach along the 3 km toboggan run.
In the middle of the week we said goodbye and “Auf Wiedersehen” to Saalbach-Hinterglemm. Our driver Hans took us on a wonderful drive through the Austrian Alps to our next resort, Kitzbühel/Kirchberg in Tyrol. After a quick check-in it was time to explore the slopes and watch the ski racers during their training along the “Hahnenkamm”. For some of us was it a dream come true to stand at the starting house of the most spectacular ski race which the FIS World Cup hosts. Frida Waara, a member of the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame from Ispheming, MI has seen a lot in her life. She cross-country skied to the North Pole, but at the “Hahnenkamm” she had her own moment to realize that what she was seeing was the most amazing example of human performance she had ever witnessed. After another day of skiing the weather canceled our plans. A lot of new snow fell, with over 20 inches of fresh powder and wind over 40 mph. We decided to take a day off from skiing and went to explore Kitzbühel and the region. A visit to the Kitzbühel Local and Ski Museum showed us the culture and the life from the bronze-age to the First and Second World War until the modern ski resort which is Kitzbühel today.
By the end of our trip we had the chance to watch Didier Cuche from Switzerland win his 5th “Hahnenkamm” of his career. We saw history as he broke the record of Franz Klammer (58, Austria) who won the “Hahnenkamm” race 4 times in his career. 30,000 people saw this historical moment; none of us will ever forget this moment.