Trip Report Part I, May 2023, Romantic Germany

edited June 2023 in Romantic Germany

Last week, my husband and I returned from this lovely trip. The weather was great - like many parts of the U.S., there are areas of Germany that need rain.

We flew to Frankfurt on United, arriving late morning the day prior to commencement of the tour. Really liked the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof - nicely located, very pleasant and helpful staff, and our room was available at check-in. After freshening up, on the recommendation of the front desk staff, for lunch we walked over to a food fest a few blocks from the hotel. Good food, beer and people watching. Then we walked to the main square area (Romerberg), where a concert stage was set up and a rock band was performing. We also walked to the Main River and across the pedestrian bridge. That night we had a light dinner and retired early.

On Day 1 of the tour (which started in the evening), we joined the 10:00 am Frankfurt on Foot walking tour. (14 Euros each). It was a good introduction to the city, especially because Tauck does not include Frankfurt sightseeing. The Holocaust Memorial was very well done and especially moving. The tour included a break at the market, where we had a panini for lunch. After the tour concluded, we went up to the roof top of the Galeria shopping mall, where there is a cafeteria, and had a beer at a table with great views of the City. Then we visited a couple of churches and walked back to the river and along it before heading to the hotel. That evening we met with our very nice group of fellow travelers for the Welcome cocktails and dinner at the hotel. After dinner, we walked over to the main square and listened to a classical concert for awhile.

On Day 2, the group drove by bus to the Rhine River in Rudesheim, where we had a short orientation walk and then boarded a boat for a cruise (approx 1 hr) along the Rhine. We had apple cake and coffee, tea, etc. Then, bus back to Rudesheim, where we had independent time for lunch, sightseeing, shopping. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at a beer garden. That evening, dinner on our own at a cafe on the street of the food fest. We could eat in comfort and observe the festivities, and had a nice walk back to the hotel, through the square and along the River.

Black Forest:
On Day 3, lovely drive to Heidelberg. The group toured the castle and took the funicular down to the old town, where we had free time for lunch and wandering. We ate at Vetters brewery. I should mention that May is white asparagus season in Germany. They have wonderful asparagus salads and also serve it cooked in soups and as an entree. After lunch, we walked across the Neckar River - great views of the castle - and walked along it, and then back into the old town. We then had a pretty drive through the Black Forest to the Hotel Traube Tonbach. It is located in a beautiful valley, surrounded by hiking trails and forest views. We quickly took advantage of the outdoor pool area. The water was very warm. There are indoor pools, hot tubs, saunas, etc. Dinner was included at the hotel.

On Day 4. Two from the group, chose the Mercedes Museum excursion. They enjoyed it and said the drive was approx 1 1/2 hours each way. Most of the group chose to participate in the cooking demonstration. We chose to enjoy the resort. I worked out and had a wonderful massage in the morning. We joined the group for lunch to partake in their hard work from the cooking class. After lunch, we took a fairly long hike along the trails, then enjoyed the warm pool. That evening, the group had a great dinner at a nearby "hut". Entertainment and activities for all. Lots of fun.

Lake Constance and Lake Alpsee:
On Day 5, the group drove to Lake Constance, where we had lunch at Neus Schloss Meersburg. After lunch, we could tour the Schloss, walk the town, etc. We chose to walk down to the Lake area and wander around and then back up to the upper town. Very pretty, but the day was very overcast, so we probably did not get the full experience. We then drove to the Ameron Hotel Alpsee. Beautifully located on Lake Alpsee and below two of King Ludwig's castles, including Neuschwwanstein, the so-called Disney castle. We visited that castle some years ago, so we chose to hike the path on the Lake and then a short way up toward the castle. A few in the group quickly found the bus up to the castle and were able to get closer for pictures. As I recall, there is still quite a walk from the bus. They then caught the last bus back down. Nice included dinner at the Hotel.

Linderhof Castle, Oberammergau and Munich
On Day 6, the group drove to the Oberammergau area. First we toured King Ludwig's Linderhof castle. Very nice tour and lovely grounds, which we had time to walk and enjoy. Then we drove to the town, where the group had a very interesting tour of the Passion Play Theater and then lunch. We then had time on our own. We walked around, viewed the painted houses, visited the church and cemetary and then visited the Passion Play Museum. The group then drove to Munich, where we stayed at the very nice Hotel Bayerischer Hof, which is very conveniently located near the main square. Our tour director took us on a brief and helpful orientation walk. The Hotel has a nice rooftop cocktail bar, where we enjoyed a pre-dinner refreshment. Included dinner at the Hotel, at either Trader Vic's or The Garden.

To be continued.


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    Lotusgirl, re: Day 5, did any tour members actually tour the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle? I know that timed tickets are required. The castle is open until 6pm; an entire tour inside takes about 35 minutes. Depending on what time you arrive at the hotel, I want to be hopeful that I would have enough time even if I scheduled a 5pm tour. Do you think this would be doable?

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    GM - I think we arrived at the Hotel a little before 5:00. The Itinerary sheet states arrive by 5:00. You would not have time to get up to the castle and tour it. The folks that went up quickly took the bus up, had some time to walk around and get pictures and then caught the last bus down. They were definitely rushed, but were happy that they did it. The weather was overcast upon arrival, and the castle mostly obscured by clouds, but improved within an hour or so.

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    Thank you for your quick and informative response. I had hoped for years to tour this castle but as our hotel is so close, at least I will have the opportunity to walk around its exterior. May I ask where you are headed next? In April 2024, I'm doing the Israel & Jordan tour and am looking forward to a wonderful experience.

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    edited June 2023

    If you only have time to view the exterior and not tour the castle, catch the bus to the upper lot/stop and walk to "Marienbrücke" (Mary's bridge) nearby. It is a bit of a steep walk up to the castle and so is the climb from the castle to the bridge. After getting your shots you can walk the trail down to the castle (and figure out how to get down the mountain from there?). When we did the Ultimate Alps & Dolomites tour in 2014 we rode carriages up to and toured the castle. Our TD slipped the official guide a few Euros so he would use Tauck Voxes :D .

    Except for helo or drone photos, you can get the best shots of Neuschwanstein from the bridge. You can get a few interesting photos from down below as well.

    Remember, Neuschwanstein, is not really that "old." It was built about the same time as the Biltmore in western NC. It was not designed by an architect either, but by Christian Jank, a scenic painter and stage designer who among other things, was involved in the scenery for Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin. Google Neuschwanstein and Jank and see what else was to be built at Neuschwanstein and see what was planned for Ludwig next project. Ludwig had already purchased land with a precarious promontory that would have been ideal for what Jank proposed. It was to be called Falkenstein, but as you know Ludwig ran out of money and met an untimely demise.


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    GM - the next day, we visited King Ludwig’s Linderhof Castle. This castle was completed during his lifetime and he spent time there. We had a very interesting guided tour of the interior and free time to explore the grounds, which are beautiful.

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