My parents came for a visit and there is nothing I love more than visitors and planning a good solid road trip. We decide to focus our travels on Germany and Austria and the following places: Bamberg, Salzburg, Garmisch-Partkenkirchen and a short stop in Munich on the way home to tour Dachau.
Bamberg is a short 30 minute drive from our house and is cited as one of Germany’s most beautiful towns. Its Old Town has been a UNESCO site since 1993 and is perfect for day trip. We started at the Altenburg Castle and then made our way down to Old Town stopping at Spezial Keller to taste their Rauchbier (smoked beer) which is a Bamberg specialty. After the mixed reviews of the beer, we headed to Old Town and took in the beautiful fresco painted buildings and famous Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall). We had dinner at Hofbräu a cozy traditional German restaurant in the heart of the town.
The next day we headed out for our first stop of the road trip…Salzburg, Austria. After four hours that included a quick refuel stop in Regensberg for coffee, cake and a quick church tour we arrived at our destination the Altstadhotel Amadeus located conveniently in the pedestrian zone in the Old Town. It was a charming boutique hotel with a hearty breakfast and easy access to the center of Salzburg. We spent a couple of days touring some of my favorite sites: Festung Hohensalzburg (castle on the hill),the gardens at Mirabell Palace, Old Town, Augustiner Abbey & Müllner Bräu Brewery and had a special dinner at Stiftskeller St. Peter one of the oldest documented restaurants in Europe.
The next stop in our journey was Garmish-Partenkirchen (GaPa) a beautiful 2.5 hour drive from Salzburg through the mountains. GaPa is a gorgeous town nestled in the mountains known for its year round outdoor activities. It is actually two towns that came together in 1935 and where the winter olympics were hosted in 1936. On the way to GaPa we stopped for a trip up to Zugspitze the highest mountain in Germany. The cable car up to the summit is a quick ten minute breathtaking ride. At the top we enjoyed the views and an afternoon cocktail while watching the skiers wrap up their last runs and après ski of the season.
In GaPa we stayed at the Staudacherhof and it was fabulous. One thing I love about European hotels is the option to get a single room. I had my cute little single and Mom and Dad had a large double. We all slept well and enjoyed the filling Bavarian breakfast and afternoon happy hour. We were blessed with sunshine and crisp spring mountain air both of which I took in during my long hike through the Partnach Gorge while my parents enjoyed relaxing and some down time at the hotel.
On our second day we hopped in the car to do some touring. We first stopped at the Olympic Ski Stadium and then drove 30 minutes to Linderhof Palace in Ettal. Linderhof is one of three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. While one of his smaller palaces, it was still super lavish in normal people standards and the grounds were expansive and ornate. We took a took a tour of the palace and wandered the grounds feeling royal and swept back in time.
On our way home we stopped at Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site just north of Munich. After our days on the road enjoying the wonder of the mountains and life we are so fortunate to live, stopping at Dachau seemed like a bit of a depressing end to our journey. Nevertheless, it is so important to remember the history and atrocities committed by people who gained power and wealth through lies and misinformation while others blindly followed. Fittingly, the skies were dark and a cold rain was falling.
After warming our bones with actually decent cafeteria coffee we loaded into the car for our last and short drive home reflecting on the last week on the road; the beauty of everything we saw, delicious food we ate, and quality time spent together. It was really special to play tour guide with my parents and I can’t wait until we get to do it again 🙂