Historic end to an amazing trip

In Munich, Tony Emmerson from Trafalgar Tours took us to our hotel where we joined the Sound of Music Tour group comprising people from all over: Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and three other people from South Africa.

Munich Opera House

We visited the Opera House, Ludwigstrasse, Hofbrauhaus and Marienplatz and watched the glockenspiel delights. The Dachau Concentration camp memorial, the first Nazi camp established in Germany, was very sad to see. Dinner was at a hofbrauhaus where the half eisbein and local beer and wine were delicious – no one could finish their portion.

From Munich we were driven by luxury coach to Oberammergau for two nights, stopping off at Neuschwanstein Castle en route. Oberammergau is a beautiful little village where the Passion play has been performed every decade since 1634, fulfilling a vow the villagers made when spared from the Black Plague.

In Seefeld, we rode on a horse-drawn cart through the forest and saw blue berries growing under the trees. Despite being their summer, it was extremely cold, with snow and rain. We jumped onto a speed train to Innsbruck for a visit to the Olympic Ski Resort, the old city and the Golden Roof House where cuckoo clocks are made.

Neuschwanstein Castle

In Salzburg our hotel for two nights was the house in which The Sound of Music was filmed. It is in these huge gardens that the children used to play in The Sound of Music. We visited the Hofburg Palace and Mozart’s house, ate Mozart chocolates, and put a heart-shaped lock on the bridge over the Danube River. The Avenue of Trees was the film location of the famous “I’m 16 going on 17” song, and we strolled to the stairs in the garden, the glass garden house and the iron garden gates seen in the movie. The Salzburg Cathedral also deserves a visit.

For one dinner in Salzburg we did a “B my guest” outing with Trafalgar – a visit to a local farm hosted by a farmer and his wife farm on 7.5 ha of pastures with eight cows, and homemade cheese for sale. The 2.5 ha of woodlands are important to them for the wood in winter. The farmer’s wife sells a wide variety of dried herbs and herbal ointment. Two beehives supply honey and bees’ oxygen to help people allergic to stings, with an apparent 90% success rate.

Then, onto Vienna via the beautiful lakes of Mondsee and a visit to Mondsee Abbey where Captain Von Trapp and Maria were married.

A city tour included the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the breath-taking Baroque Schonbrunn Palace and gardens, and the famous St Stephen’s Cathedral. We attended a Mozart Concert in the Opera House and tasted local foods, wine and beer.

Our last day in Vienna was a city tour in Bratislava, the capital of Slovokia which was behind the iron curtain for many years. We saw the UFO Bridge and spotted a cannon ball stuck in an exterior wall of a house in the old city. Beer is cheaper than water.

We flew home via Doha onto OR Tambo and then finally home after a wonderful trip. We both had contracted pneumonia on the boat. Though we had packed one lot of antibiotics, one bottle of cough mixture and one packet of sinus medication, it was not enough for two of us. Allan ended up at the Doctor onboard and a follow-up visit in Oberammergau at a cost of US$376 US Dollars for the ship and 105 EUROs for the Europe visit. Fortunately, we had insurance cover, but it’s a lesson to be learnt – take medication per person.

If you missed the start of this amazing adventure, click here.

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