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Old May 15, 17, 5:35 am   #31
  
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Great report + pictures.
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Old May 15, 17, 10:18 am   #32
  
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Absolutely stunning photos.
Thank you for sharing your adventure.
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Old May 15, 17, 11:15 am   #33
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I see, you enjoyed much of beautiful German weather
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Old May 15, 17, 5:10 pm   #34
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Great report + pictures.
Thanks for reading.
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Old May 15, 17, 6:46 pm   #35
  
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Great trip report and photos! It brought back some wonderful memories of my MB European Delivery experience in June, 2010. I purchased an E350 Cabriolet, in red no less. It stood out like a "sore thumb" when viewing the 30, or so, silver, and black, other vehicles due for pickup that day. I kept my license plate and it is now "displayed" on the front of my 350. It begins with "BB."

The lunch was wonderful and, like yourselves, didn't use up all of my voucher. So, they gave me a few bottles of wine to "take with!"

I then drove to Mulhouse to visit friends near there and, on a short stretch of the autobahn enroute, was able to reach a speed of 210km/hr. And was still passed by a Porsche!

Following my stay in Alsace, I drove to Paris to meet my wife and friends. Unfortunately, I wasn't watching my speed close enough and was pulled over by mobile radar for doing 165km/hr in a 130km/hr zone. Following a visit at the nearest gendarmarie, much to my surprise, I was only fined 45 Euros. I was told that they allow 15Km/hr over the limit, so my ultimate fine was for 20 over.

Finally, the organ at the cathedral at Passau is, indeed, the largest functioning church pipe organ. There are larger instruments in the US: the Wanamaker at Macy's dept. store in Philadelphia, and the Atlantic City Convention Center instrument. But, these are, of course, not church organs, and the latter is not fully functioning.
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Old May 15, 17, 10:02 pm   #36
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Absolutely stunning photos.
Thank you for sharing your adventure.
Thank you very much.

It is my pleasure to share!
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Old May 15, 17, 10:06 pm   #37
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I see, you enjoyed much of beautiful German weather
Well, the weather is the weather. I take whatever is given!

Seriously, I love Germany, and traveled there a lot. The weather had been great the majority of the time. One time when in Hamburg, it was pouring for 4 straight days.
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Old May 15, 17, 10:14 pm   #38
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Originally Posted by arkangel View Post
Great trip report and photos! It brought back some wonderful memories of my MB European Delivery experience in June, 2010. I purchased an E350 Cabriolet, in red no less. It stood out like a "sore thumb" when viewing the 30, or so, silver, and black, other vehicles due for pickup that day. I kept my license plate and it is now "displayed" on the front of my 350. It begins with "BB."

The lunch was wonderful and, like yourselves, didn't use up all of my voucher. So, they gave me a few bottles of wine to "take with!"

I then drove to Mulhouse to visit friends near there and, on a short stretch of the autobahn enroute, was able to reach a speed of 210km/hr. And was still passed by a Porsche!

Following my stay in Alsace, I drove to Paris to meet my wife and friends. Unfortunately, I wasn't watching my speed close enough and was pulled over by mobile radar for doing 165km/hr in a 130km/hr zone. Following a visit at the nearest gendarmarie, much to my surprise, I was only fined 45 Euros. I was told that they allow 15Km/hr over the limit, so my ultimate fine was for 20 over.

Finally, the organ at the cathedral at Passau is, indeed, the largest functioning church pipe organ. There are larger instruments in the US: the Wanamaker at Macy's dept. store in Philadelphia, and the Atlantic City Convention Center instrument. But, these are, of course, not church organs, and the latter is not fully functioning.
Wow, a red E350 Cabriolet. All the radars would be targeting the car. You were lucky for only a small fine. If you get caught in Germany, you will not get off that easy.

About giant organs (the musical kind), Macy's in Phily is well known for the Christmas time "surprise" Christmas caroling of Handel's Messiah.

Hey, thanks for your sharing!

Last edited by allset2travel; May 15, 17 at 10:16 pm Reason: edit: spell ck
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Old May 15, 17, 10:22 pm   #39
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Part 9 Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck is where the mountains meet the valley. It is the Alpine-urban settings that attract tourists by the thousands here all year round. It is the capital of winter sports. All other seasons, it still attracts tourists like flowers attract bees. I came here this time for the old town architecture and some of her churches. The strudels are also in my mind!

The Hilton Innsbruck has great location and has an underground garage. These are the only redeeming values about this hotel. The rooms (at least the one I was in) are tired and badly in need of a make-over. Not having an executive lounge isn’t a problem for me, as it does offer Elites breakfast in the restaurant. The breakfast was OK.

Hilton Innsbruck: room


Hilton Innsbruck: breakfast


Innsbruck is such a walkable city and rather compact in size. Beyond the usual tourist attractions, we went across the Inn River and checked out the colorful houses and the small Pfarramt Mariahilf with its remarkable altars. This church though small, but has a rich history. The altars and the pulpit were the work of sculptor Urban Klieber.

Innsbruck: strolling around this compact but quaint city.


Innsbruck in B&W


Innsbruck: take a ride on the NordkettenBahnen.


Innsbruck: Pfarramt Mariahilf outside


Innsbruck: Pfarramt Mariahilf sanctuary & altar



Good Eats in Innsbruck.


No visit to Innsbruck is complete without savoring a strudel in the legendary Kroll.

Strudel in Innsbruck - at the legandary Kroll. “Die größte Strudelauswahl der Stadt”.


On the final night at Innsbruck, we ventured out at night to capture some shots near the Inn River. The houses across the river along Mariahilstrasse looked pretty cool with the reflection of the river. It was dark, and there was not another soul nearby. So I quickly setup, fired away a few dozen shots and wrapped up. On the way back to the hotel, old town area was kind of quiet around 10pm, only the bars seemed still opened.

Innsbruck at night - the Inn River


Next up: Long road trip to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. But wait, we will stop to see some sights in Tirol.

Stift Stams: Once home of the Cistercian monks
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Old May 16, 17, 12:14 am   #40
  
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Very nice report. Thanks & Enjoy your Benz. I'll be back in the Homeland in a few short weeks. Visiting a few of these very same places with American family for their first time.
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Old May 16, 17, 8:42 am   #41
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Very nice report. Thanks & Enjoy your Benz..
Thank you for reading. We are enjoying our car. We took a couple of "short trips" of 1200 miles each already. During the Spring, the wild flowers of California are indeed wild! So we drove all over the State of CA to see them.

In a couple of days, we'd be up in Palouse, in your State of WA. And, of course all over the beautiful State of OR.

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I'll be back in the Homeland in a few short weeks. Visiting a few of these very same places with American family for their first time..
That sounds special. Enjoy your holiday back in the Homeland with family! If you check back, I'll post "Top of Europe" and the stunning Berner Oberland soon. That too could be your destination.
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Old May 16, 17, 2:19 pm   #42
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Part 10 Long road trip to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. More sights along the way.

Three fun-filled days in Innsbruck quickly came to a halt. Early morning, enjoyed coffee and breakfast. Checking out was rather quick. Today, we drove from Innsbruck, Austria to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. It sounded like a rather long drive (time wise long, not necessarily by distance) with plenty to see along the way.

Driving map: Innsbruck to Seefeld and Stams


Our first scenic stop was Seekirchl, a legendary but tiny church in Seefeld. The second stop was Stift Stams. Talking about Stifts, once upon a time, an Austrian lady in the ticket booth at Stift Melk told me (without my asking) "All Stifts are abbeys, but not all abbeys are stifts". To this day, I still remember!

Back to Seekirchl. According to the Tirol tourist office, they say this about this church: “The symbol of SEEFELD IN TIROL, the Seekirchl is the "Little Church in the lake", also called ‘Heiligkreuzkirche’, was built by Archduke Leopold V in 1629 and completed in 1666. Seekirchl in Seefeld in Tirol.”
The building has an unusual style for Tirol, as it was built following the floorplan of a rotunda. The outside shows a delicate silhouette with an attractive onion tower. At that time church was located in the middle of the artificial Kreuzsee, which was, however, drained in 1807.

Seekirchl in Seefeld


Seekirchl in Seefeld Altar


Seekirchl in Seefeld


Wish we had more time in Seefeld, I would have taken a walk into the village and looked around. But we didn’t!

We jumped into the car and drove downhill for just a short drive to our next destination, Stift Stams.

According to some info in the “cloud”, this monastery served as a place of burial for the Tyrolian rulers, back in the 13th century. Today, it serves as a monastic community, helping to shape the spiritual and cultural life of Tirol. In addition, it has a large gift shop and a restaurant.

Stams - Stift Stams: a high Baroque style Monastery in Tirol


Stams – Heiliger Johannes der Taufer (it is located next door to the Stift Stams complex)


Stams – Stift Stams in Collage


Stams – Stift Stams in Collage


After thoroughly enjoyed this impressive landmark, continued west along the Inn River we drove. Imagine on your right is a range of mountain and another mountain range on the left. We were about to make a quick stop at Schloss Landeck, but we didn’t due to the compression of time. Good thing we didn’t. Little did we know, there were 2 incidents ahead on the Swiss side that would delay us by 2 hours.

Driving map from Stams to the border town of Feldkirch, Austria


Soon we arrived at Feldkirch, and it was 14:30, and we looked for a restaurant for some lunch in vain. Maybe it was too late for lunch! The couple of restaurants that we passed by were closed. Now what!

We pulled into a parking lot at the train station and found a restaurant inside the station. At this hour, unfortunately the only food they served was either goulash soup or goulash. I would rather have fish. But…. So we asked the waitress to bring us the goulash with the soup! As you can see. This is definitely not your Michelin starred place. Hey, it sure beats starvation!

Fine dining at Feldkirch (being sarcastic) collage from SONY


Driving map from Feldkirch to Lauterbrunnen


Soon we reached the Austria/Swiss border of Rhein Bangs where we tried to buy a Swiss vignette. Didn’t see any person inside what appeared to be the cross-border guard station (closed). Next we looked for a gas station in vain. The town was very quiet and no one was on the street. Finally I decided to ask inside a small grocery shop. The kind lady pointed me toward the post office just across the street. In seconds, a vignette for 40CHF transaction was done.

On the Swiss side, there are many tunnels (of course because the country is full of huge mountain ranges). We encountered 2 traffic jams. First one lasted 1 hour 30 minutes; and the second 30 minutes.

Rolling on a Swiss highway until "bumper-to-pumper" began: Where the first gridlock took place


Rolling on a Swiss highway


We would have stopped by Interlaken for dinner. But due to the fact we were running late, and that the hotel locks its door at 9pm, we passed.
By the time we arrived at Lauterbrunnen, it was 20:30.

Quickly checked in and immediately ran out for dinner. Most restaurants would shut down kitchens around 9pm-ish.

Our hotel for 4 nights is the Hotel Staubbach, 5 minute walk from the famed Staubbach Falls. The beauty of Lauterbrunnen is well known. I was blown away by how incredible it really is to see it in person. The weather had been terrific since the days in Innsbruck, no exception here in Berner Oberland. Quite unlike in Germany! Thank God for that!

We've visited Switzerland before, but this was our first to the Berner Oberland area.

This hotel is one of the most basic abode I've stayed in. Breakfast included. The room rates were very high for a simple room with a balcony albeit with a bit of waterfall view. Everything in Switzerland tend to be more expensive than most of Western Europe.

The major attributes of this hotel are the waterfalls and its proximity to the railway station. We could see the falls from the breakfast room. The staff in this hotel were quite friendly and helpful. Couple of them spoke perfect English.

Next up: Explore the scenic region of Berner Oberland.

Luaterbrunnen, Berner Oberland
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Old May 17, 17, 9:29 am   #43
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Part 11 Explore the scenic region of Berner Oberland

Our plan was to do a 4 perfect days in Berner Oberland with a train pass. We would cruise around daily to as many places as the train pass and time would allow.

On this first morning after breakfast, we strolled around the village of Lauterbrunnen to get a sense of the area. On the west of the valley is a sheer cliff with many waterfalls. On the other side (east), there are colorful chalets and houses scatter on the mountain side.

Lauterbrunnen: The Staubbach Waterfall


Hotel Staubbach: The view at breakfast


Later, we jumped into our car and drove south toward Stechelberg, just to see what lied beyond. When you are in this somewhat narrow valley on a sunny morning, you can’t help but keep your eyes staring upwards toward all the mountain ranges surrounding you. What an awesome sight! Photos do not do justice to their majesty and awesomeness.

Lauterbrunnen: The village in panorama


Lauterbrunnen


Lauterbrunnen


Lauterbrunnen


Lauterbrunnen


Next, we left the car back in the hotel and headed toward the train station on foot. We took the Wengernalpbahn (the yellow and green train) from Lauterbrunnen to the car-free village of Wengen. This cog wheel, rack and pinion train has been in service since 1893. I was ecstatic about riding on this train, probably equally excited as when I rode on the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express four years ago.

Berner Oberland Regional Train Routes


We sat on the LEFT side of the train going uphill on purpose in order to take in the unbelievable views! The fact was, I didn’t see anything except through the view finder of my camera. My camera almost overheated as I was bursting the shots. Sorry for the blurry-glary shots from the train, but here they are:

Lauterbrunnen-Wengen: On the Wengernalpbahn cog wheel train


I lost track of time. Maybe 15 minutes later, we arrived at Wengen. Since the weather was really clear and sunny, we decided to head straight toward Kleine Scheidegg, and continued on from there to the Top Of Europe! We could always return to Wengen at a later time/day.

From Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg, the scenery is a bit different, but quite stunning as well.

Wengen-Kleine Scheidegg: On the Wengernalpbahn, just left Wengen


Wengen-Kleine Scheidegg: On the Wengernalpbahn, just left Wengen. The village of Wengen below.


Next up: The Top of Europe and Kleine Scheidegg
Top of Europe

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Old May 18, 17, 7:16 am   #44
  
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Terrific pics. I was interested in doing ED for a BMW, but my wife nixed that idea. Oh well, next life!
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Old May 18, 17, 8:56 am   #45
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Part 12 Top of Europe & Kleine Scheidegg

We continued on from Wengen to Klein Scheidegg by train. Journey time is about 26 minutes. We hopped off the train and looked around. All holiday seekers today enjoyed this gorgeous sunny day. Could not have picked a better day to go up to the Top of Europe!

Kleine Scheidegg in a nut shell serves as an Alpine railway station (2 cogwheel railways). It has maybe 3 to 4 restaurants, 2 of them requiring a short hike up the mountain. KS sits at an altitude of 2,061m (6,762 ft). It serves as the starting station for the Jungfraubahn, the train that brings you up to the Jungfraujoch. It also serves a train bound for Grindelwald. By the way, all these train trips are journeys within journeys. At KS, you see the north face of the Eiger, if you tilt your head up.

Kleine Scheidegg:


For hikers and trekkers, you have a choice of taking on the Eiger Trail, or conquering the Lauberhorn. For us, we did neither. Instead, we headed up to the Jungfraujoch by the cogwheel train.

From Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch, the majority of this section is in a tunnel, at an altitude of 3,000 m (9,843 ft) across the rocks of the Eiger. The train will make two short stops along the way, at Eigerwand and Eismeer. Paasengers can get off the train for a few minutes and enjoy the view through the panoramic windows, and then returned to the train. At Eigerwand you'll look straight down the famous Eiger North face. At Eismeer you can plenty of icefields. Both are spectacular!

Jungfraujoch
35 minutes later since departure from Kleine Scheidegg, we were at the highest railway station in Europe, at elevation of 3,454m (11,332 ft). It sits between the mountains of Monch and Jungfrau.

Once outside and set foot on the ice, wow! The Sphinx Observatory; the Grosser Aletsch Glacier, Europe’s largest; the Jungfrau and the vast panorama as far as the eyes could see.

Jungfrau "maiden/virgin"; stands at 4,158m (13,642 ft).




Lots of people were up here. Saw a man with his dog that was huffing and puffing due to high altitude and thin oxygen level. Poor dog! Also noticed many Asian Indian ladies collapsed on the chairs, resting.

We lingered here for 90 minutes, and it was getting hot up here! After a final round of photo-shoot, we decided it was time to go over to Grindelwald for dinner. So we caught the next train down to Kleine Scheidegg, and transferred to another train for Grindelwald.

Grindelwald bound train at Kleine Scheidegg and Grindelwald




Good Eats in Grindelwald? Quite frankly, the view was better than the food. Rosti, a local dish of "hash brown" with an egg and cheese on top. I didn’t care too much for it.



After the sunset, temperature plummeted. It was time to take the train home. Well it had been a great day. Enjoyed all of it, minus the meal.

Next up: More on Lauterbrunnen and Murren in panorama

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