Our next vacation is coming up already — we have a trip planned to Germany next week. Actually . . . it was SUPPOSED to be to Germany, but it turns out it’s going to nearly all be in Austria, oddly enough.
I truly do understand that Austria and Germany are two whole different places — Germany is bigger, and I would guess it likely that most Americans could more accurately identify the German flag and find Germany more easily on a map, but, Austria has been around a lot longer and was the seat of massive amounts of power in Europe for nearly 1000 years. I think the common language and the closely interwoven history (especially during World War II) throws people off. (Well, that, and the fact that there are people — and I am not kidding — who ask what we think of living near kangaroos in a place where the seasons are opposite when we say we live in Austria.)
But, of course, when we decided to move here, we knew Germany would be a place we’d want to visit, which poses a challenge in itself — Germany is massive in size and encompasses a wide variety of places and sights. Of all of Germany, Bavaria is the part that seemed the most alluring to us — the most “German” — so that was the place we chose to see first. We didn’t even know it at the time, but Bavaria sits right on the Austrian border, which makes it convenient, too. And, since our train route to Bavaria would require us to stop in Salzburg, which we have yet to see, we decided to make that one of the stops on our trip.
Then, we started looking into which places we most wanted to see in Bavaria. Neuschwanstein Castle (Mad King Ludwig’s Castle) was highest on our list, as well as a few small Bavarian towns and some hiking destinations in the German mountains. And, Dan wanted to stop for a tour of the Audi factory (outside of Munich). So, after some planning and discussing, we came up with a fantastic itinerary — 3 nights in Salzburg and 4 nights in Germany. Perfect!
Except . . . the parts of Bavaria we want to see (other than the Audi factory) are immediately in the vicinity of the Austrian border . . . and, the best places we found to stay (also the best values) turned out to be on the Austrian side of the border.
So, we’re “going on a week’s vacation to Germany” and spending every single night in Austria.
Honestly, I’m very excited about this vacation. It’s going to be much more laid back than our recent trip to the British Isles, with a lot more opportunity to take our time and relax, plus a chance to see some places we’ve wanted to visit since we moved to Europe. We’ll be staying in the mountains just outside of Salzburg, on a working organic farm (where they bring eggs and fresh milk every morning), seeing some of the “Sound of Music” places in Salzburg, spending some time hiking in the mountains in both Austria and Germany (including a visit to Germany’s highest peak), seeing one of the most famous castles in the world, and taking a tour of the place where they make and design Dan’s favorite cars. But, it’s a little strange to be sleeping in Austria the entire time — it feels kind of like camping in your own backyard.