Germany, Czech Republic, Austria: Planning and Hotel Reviews 2008

This was our second trip traveling with my parents.  My dad was 71 and mom 67 and they are both healthy and active.  We debated for awhile on whether to do Greece or Germany/Austria/Czech Republic, but eventually settled in on the latter.  We stayed four nights in Munich, four nights in Prague, one night in Cesky Krumlov, four nights in Salzburg, one night in Fussen and one last night in Munich before flying home.  We rented a car after spending four nights in Munich and then kept it for the rest of the trip (just stored it in a garage while we were in Prague).  Since there were 6 of us plus our luggage we had to rent a van big enough to hold all of us and our luggage. There were some seven passenger vans but when we looked at the dimensions, we were really worried we would have a problem with the luggage, so we decided to rent a nine passenger van instead. I was really worried that it would just be HUGE but it really was fairly compact. There were three rows that would seat three people each (including the front row with driver). So we had tons of room as we sat two in each row. We rented through Andrew Bestor at who was extremely helpful.  We had told them we were driving in the Czech Republic and I had been told you could not take Mercedes or Audis into the Czech Republic but they gave us a Mercedes van.

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Munich 2008


We flew coach on NWA/KLM from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam and then on to Munich. The plane flight was fine, but we found the flight attendants not to be particularly cheery. We arrived in Munich about 1:30pm. Since by the time we did this trip we were feeling like “experienced” travelers we decided to take public transportation the whole way from the airport to our hotel. This required taking the U-bahn and then switching to a bus at the main train station. We always do only carry-ons so everyone was in charge of their own bags and off we went.

Usually before a trip I listen to the 10-set Pimsleur tapes to learn the basics of the language, but Lauren had  just finished German III, so I told her she was going to be the interpreter. She helped us read the directions to buy our U-bahn tickets and we took the U-bahn to the Hautbahnhopf. All was well as we arrived at the main train station where we needed to get off. We all started moving our luggage and getting off the train. I got off and turned around and saw the doors closing as Michael was still on the train!! Oh no!! and we forgot to go over the rules of what to do if you miss the stop!!! We were all banging on the door and trying to get it open to no avail. So many thoughts started running through my head – will he know to just get off at the next stop and wait for one of us to arrive? Will he get nervous? I started to run to the front, luckily a man saw what was happening and ran to the front of the train and told the conductor to please open the doors – disaster averted and Michael came safely off the train!! Read More →

Prague 2008


Stephen and my Dad picked up the car from Europecar near the train station.  We found all the driving we did very easy and enjoyable. We did have a TomTom which we found very helpful. We also had a large map and I had printed out maps from Yahoo Maps, so we were pretty covered for all eventualities. However, TomTom never let us down. It took us about four hours driving time from Munich to Prague. Shortly after we crossed the border into the Czech Republic we stopped for gas and food and to buy our vignette sticker for the car. I took Michael to the McDonald’s there which was the nicest McD’s I have ever been in. It was very hip and modern inside, and aside from the area where you order, you would never know it was a McD’s. Read More →

Cesky Krumlov 2008

Overnight in Cesky Krumlov

The drive to Cesky Krumlov from Prague was an easy two and a half hour drive. When we arrived in Cesky Krumlov they were in the last day of their annual Five Petal Rose Festival (a medieval festival). They were having a procession or parade and so the main street of the town was closed off to traffic (the street our hotel was on). There were barriers and a policeman turning traffic away. When we got to the policeman we tried to ask him about getting down to the hotel, but he explained that he only spoke Czech or German. Lauren said she can speak a little German. He was very kind and talked clearly and slowly to her. She was able to converse with him and he allowed us to park on the side of the road while we walked our baggage down to the hotel and checked-in and then we could come back to move the car to one of the public parking lots. We stayed at Hotel Konvice (review here).

We went out into the street right outside the hotel and the parade was starting. It was not that long but consisted of people in Medieval garb. Fun to watch and they hung around town after the parade as well.

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Salzburg 2008

After spending four nights in Prague we did an overnight in Cesky Krumlov.  From there we drove to Salzburg.  The drive was about two hours and forty five minutes. Again, an easy drive and TomTom took us on some beautiful backroads in the Czech Republic before crossing into Austria and heading on the highways.

We arrived at our B&B, Haus am Moos (review here),

about 2:30pm, and we were starving for lunch so we headed to Laschenskyhof (Josef-Hauthaler Strass 49) where we had a nice lunch outside. Just as we were leaving it began to sprinkle. The waitress said it should not last very long, but by the time we got back to the B&B it was pouring. We all decided to rest and wait until it stopped raining. By 7pm it was still raining, but we decided to head to the city center and explore a bit and find a place for dinner. Read More →

Fussen 2008

We had just spent four nights in Salzburg and were now driving to Fussen to spend one night before heading back to Munich to fly home.  We had originally planned to do either Zugspitze or Wendelstein on our way to Fussen but it was pretty cloudy, and conventional wisdom says it is not worth going to either one unless it is a clear day.   So we decided it would not be worth the time or the money – we will just have to save it for the next trip! Instead we stopped in Oberammergau for lunch. We had a nice lunch there and enjoyed strolling through the town.

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Thailand, Cambodia: Trip Planning and Hotel Reviews 2008

Thailand and Cambodia: monks, massages and mahouts; tigers, temples and Tonging!!

After our trip to Morocco in March 2007 we knew we were up for still more adventure and zeroed in on Thailand and Cambodia.  We spent four nights in Bangkok, four nights in Chiang Rai, four nights in Siem Reap and two nights back in Bangkok before flying home.  We had an incredible trip doing, seeing and experiencing incredible things.   For those just beginning to plan their first trip, especially with kids/teens, I trust you will find this helpful as I did other’s trip reports when planning for this trip. Read More →