3 days in Munich, a day in Salzburg, a night in Vienna, and 3 more days in Krakow...
1 We arrived in Munich in the early morning, and took a train to our AirBnB apartment.
2 Our little room for the next few days, in Munich's city center.
3 This was a strange room, with a strange host. This is actually the decor in our room- a life-sized photo of the host with his new wife.
4 But the apartment looked like something out of a European architectural magazine. This is the living room.
5 The view from our window down to the street.
6 After settling in, we started the day by walking to Marienplatz, Munich's central area. The plaza is dominated by St. Mary's.
7 For lunch, we ate at Ayinger Brewhaus, a very Munich beer house...pretzels included.
8 Across the street from the Ayinger Haus is the Hofbrauhaus, the oldest, most famous (and ginormous) beer house in Munich.
9 Inside the Hofbrauhaus, it's like Disneyland for beer, including live oompah bands.
10 Upstairs is a massive, barnlike space filled with tourists. And, this is the place where Nazism was started.
11 We took a very strange, very disturbing detour to the Munich Stadt (State) Museum, which featured severed clown heads and several other things that will haunt my dreams forever.
12 Marienplatz by night.
13 St. Mary's all lit up.
14 The next morning, Matt made breakfast in our little Euro-home's perfect kitchen.
15 Nothin' like the smell of sausage in a Munchen morning.
16 We headed out to see the Residenz, the former royal residence.
17 Inside the Residenz's entrance was a small model of the building we were about to explore.
18 The interior courtyard of the Residenz.
19 The courtyard fountain.
20 Inside the Residenz was a weird Under-the-Sea-style "grotto" fountain. Very strange.
21 The massive, impressive entry hall.
22 The hall's ceilings were covered with beautiful frescoes.
23 Matt entering the Great Hall surrounded by busts of former kings.
24 The Joneses at the Residenz!
25 The Residenz was bombed to pieces in WWII. Only recently, in the last few years, was the chapel restored.
26 The light, airy chapel of the Residenz.
27 And the tour of the Residenz rooms begins!! Bedroom #1 :)
28 ...and another...
29 The ornate hallways connecting the rooms.
30 Even the doorways are impressive.
31 The doorway leading to a ballroom.
32 Enjoying a private ballroom :)
33 The immense size of the ballroom was accentuated by the fact that NO ONE WAS BUT US WAS THERE.
34 A private altar off the ballroom.
35 Another bedroom.
36 ...and another ornate hallway.
37 A "sitting room." We quickly noted that about 85% of the Residenz was either bedrooms or sitting rooms.
38 One of the few rooms with artwork.
39 The framed art lined every empty wall space.
40 A very pompous sitting room, with just one "throne."
41 Another sitting room.
42 Outside the Residenz was a memorial. To what we couldn't figure out.
43 Outside the Residenz was its own lovely park (the Hofgarten), with this Greek-style gazebo.
44 And an amazing cellist was playing. So we listened.
45 Enjoying the music, and some time off our feet!
46 One of the many lovely buildings in the Hofgarten.
47 Down the street is the English Garden, with a strange feature- a surfing wave.
48 This wave is created by the park's river, and attracts top surfers.
49 The surfers don't ride the wave as much as ride AGAINST it, like an eternity pool.
50 But they entertain the tourists!
51 The line of surfers waiting to surf.
52 The English Garden is huge, but it was a beautiful day so we decided to stroll the paths.
53 At the far end, we found the Chinese Tower, the oldest beer garden in Munich- built in 1790!
54 A beautiful day + Munich's oldest beer garden= BEER O'CLOCK
55 Beer and pretzels, check.
56 After our beer break, we visited Asamkirche, a strange chapel hidden in the center of the city.
57 This church was built by two brothers who lived next door in the 18th century.
58 It is freakishly over-the-top ornate, but just 66' x 24'!!!
59 A view of Asamkirche's ceiling frescoes and altar.
60 We stopped at Munich's Viktualienmarkt, a famous outdoor market.
61 The lovely market, with a Maypole in the center!
62 Even in the rain and cold, this place is packed. Lucky for us it was a gorgeous sunny day.
64 A stall selling the many German-made schnapps and liqueurs.
65 Viktualienmarkt photo bomb!
66 The Market.
67 We stopped for a very late lunch at a cozy haus, Bratwursterzl.
68 Their specialty is house-made sausages, cooked over an open flame in the center of the restaurant.
69 ...and served on a heart-shaped plate!! Matt is happy :)
70 We walked a few miles to the modern central business district to visit the Egencia's Munich offices.
71 The classic architecture started to give way to more modern skyscrapers.
72 Egencia's offices, right next to the commuter train station.
74 Matt and I had drinks with Barbara, an Egencia account manager I've worked with for several months, and now finally got to meet!
75 On our way back from the beer haus, we stopped by the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. Oktoberfest had just ended two weeks earlier, but dismantling the tents will take several more weeks.
76 The next morning, we were up early to catch a train to Fussen, to see Mad Ludwig's Castle!
77 The Bavarian countryside....
78 ...as we zoom by on the train....
79 After a 2-hour train ride, we arrived in Fussen, and followed the signposts to the Castle.
80 Fussen itself is kind of cute, in a manufactured-Disney sort of way.
81 Our first view of Neuschwanstein!
82 The Castle can be seen from the town.
83 Fussen, with requisite Maypole.
84 Walking through town en route to the Castle!
85 On the hike up to the Castle, there is a lovely lake.
86 The lake below the Castle hill.
87 Matt conquers the lake!
88 The Bavarian countryside from the hill climb to the Castle.
89 The first Castle we visited: Hohenschwangau, where Mad King Ludwig grew up.
90 Hohenschwangau's entrance...
91 A view of the Hohenschwangau Castle from the entrance!!
92 From Hohenschwangau's ramparts, you can see over the entire town.
93 Fussen, from Hohenschwangau.
94 ...and you can see Neuschwanstein peeking from up the mountain!
96 Viewing the mountainside from the Castle ramparts.
97 King Ludwig was known as "The Swan King," and this is one of the many swan-related statues around the Castle.
98 Saying good-bye to Hohenschwangau, and hiking up to Neuschwanstein!
99 ...and when we say "hike," we mean HIKE. About 2 miles, straight uphill.
100 But, the views up the hill were amazing- this is Hohenschwangau and the surrounding countryside.
101 More Bavarian awesomeness :)
102 We finally made it to the top, to Neuschwanstein, aka Mad King Ludwig's Castle.
103 Mad King Ludwig wasn't really mad. He was a closeted gay man and a spendthrift...and building this Castle nearly bankrupted the Kingdom.
104 ....so to curtail his spending and social activities, his advisors conspired to have King Ludwig declared insane.
105 Matt and the Castle!
106 Me and the Castle :)
107 After King Ludwig was declared insane, he was exiled here with his doctor.
108 ...and then, several days later, the King and his doctor were found mysteriously drowned in the shallow lake by the Castle.
109 Amazing Castle, big mystery behind it :)
110 The Joneses at Neuschwanstein, one of the 100 Hillman Wonders of the World!
111 The view of Neuschwanstein is best seen from this bridge. Unfortunately, it's also crammed with tourists all the time...
112 We hiked down from the bridge to the Neuschwanstein Castle entrance.
113 Storming the Castle!
114 The view from Neuschwanstein's ramparts. King Ludwig died before he was even able to live here.
115 The Castle! You can't see the red entrance from any of the scenic photos, but here it is :)
116 After our Castle excursions, we required an infusion of mulled wine and pretzels in town.
117 Just drinkin' my mulled wine with Neuschwanstein Castle in the background :)
118 Saying good-bye to Neuschwanstein Castle....
119 We had a few hours before our train back to Munich, so we explored Fussen.
120 The Bavarian-Disneyland cuteness of Fussen.
121 Mmmmm meat and beer- King Ludwig Dunkel beer, to be exact.
122 The next day, we packed up, left Munich, and caught the 5am train to Salzburg, Austria.
We had 7 hours to explore this city, starting with Mirabelle Gardens, where the "Do Re Mi" segment was filmed for "The Sound of Music."
123 We are actually standing on the steps where the Von Trapp kids sang "Do Re Mi."
124 Matt on the steps :)
125 The Pegasus statue in the Mirabelle Gardens, also featured in "Do Re Mi."
126 The gardens with the Pegasus statue!
127 It couldn't have been a more gorgeous day to explore Salzburg.
128 Salzburg is most famous for two things: "The Sound of Music" and Mozart. This is the house in which he was born.
129 We crossed the bridge over the Salzach River, into the Old Town of Salzburg.
130 The lovely view over the Salzach River.
131 In earlier times, the Salzach River was the main commerce artery in Austria.
132 The Joneses in Salzburg!
133 This Salzburgian cow amused me.
134 Our first stop in Salzburg was the picturesque Getreidegasse, a lovely shopping street.
135 Each shop featured a hanging brass sign.
136 The Getreidegasse!!
137 Exploring the street, which included high-end shops like Louis Vuitton, and small local artisans.
138 One of my favorite hanging brass signs.
139 Even the McDonald's had some class, though true class would be to NOT exist on the Getreidegasse at all....
140 As the sun came up, the street became illuminated with sunlight.
141 Wearing traditional Alpine clothing in Salzburg isn't just for tourists. The locals really wear the Alpine hats and the green and brown wool coats.
142 Steampunk-y signs!
143 And of course, the Getreidegasse features pastry shops!!
144 Matt, in Salzburg Hog Heaven.
145 Salzburg is famous for chocolate, and this is the original shop that makes the famous "Mozartkugels," or chocolate truffles.
146 On the center of the Getreidegasse is Mozart's childhood home, now a museum.
147 Mozart's home, called Geburtshaus.
148 The centerpiece of Salzburg is the stunning Dom.
149 It glows in the sunlight.
150 A closeup of the cool statue in the courtyard.
151 I noticed the weird hat on one of the figures on the statue....
152 Holy shit! I found Waldo!
153 The main square of Salzburg, in front of the Residenz.
154 The day we visited, there was a marathon going on, with the finish line right in the main square.
155 Horses! And carriages!! In Mozart Square!!
156 The main square, with Town Hall in the background.
157 The interior courtyard of the Residenz.
158 Off the main square was St Peterskirch, a lovely churchyard.
159 The churchyard had a gorgeous graveyard, and the entire structure was built right into the mountain.
160 The graveyard of St. Peter's.
161 Some of the more ornate graves...
162 Walking the winding pathways of the churchyard.
163 Up near the top of the churchyard were more graves.
164 Like the Dom, St. Peter's white stone gleams in the sunlight.
165 Lunchtime...we decided to visit the Stieglkeller, a famous rooftop brewhaus.
166 Beer! On the rooftop! In Salzburg!
167 Enjoying a Dunkel in the sunshine.
168 The Joneses in Salzburg!!!
169 From the Steiglkeller rooftop, there was a stunning view of Salzburg's domes.
170 The Salzburg skyline.
171 The rooftop of the Dom.
172 Salzburg has its own castle, the Hohensalzburg. It is on a mountaintop, overlooking the city. And it's a LONG walk up.
173 The Mozart Bridge!!
174 When in Salzburg, one should eat cake. Tomaselli's is the best.
175 This cafe serves amazing cakes, and the tables spill out onto the pedestrian square.
176 It is a lovely place to spend a few hours.
177 We snagged a prime table on the patio!
178 Pastry waiters in 19th century uniforms bring cake selections to your table.
179 So many choices...
180 I went for the strawberry cream cake on the right :)
181 Matt ordered Irish Coffee with his cake, and it came on this cute little tray.
182 mmmmm mulled wine for me....
184 Cake, prepare to please me.
185 Cake, prepare to be plundered.
186 This photo is much funnier if you were there. This is a sculpture in the town square, and we noticed no one could fit under it...except for me.
187 I'm a very short human.
188 We visited Kollengienkirche (College Church), a gorgeous all-white church in the Old Town.
189 The white interior matches the all-white exterior.
190 Our seven hours were up, so we headed back over the river to the train station.
191 ...but we made one last stop: Stift Nonnberg, the actual abbey where Maria Von Trapp was a novice.
192 And of course we got some freshly made chocolates to go.
193 To get back to the train station, we retraced our steps, which led back UP the "Do-Re-Mi" steps!
194 We caught the 4pm train to Vienna, and met up with our good friends David and Eva- who traveled from their home in Budapest to have dinner with us in Vienna!
195 Old Seattle friends on the Vienna Inner Ring :)
196 After our dinner with friends, we returned to the Vienna train station, and caught the 11pm night train to Krakow. This is our tiny little private bunk for the night!
197 Wheee!!! Say good-bye to Austria :)
198 Morning in Krakow: The view from the top bunk :)
199 Our train arrived in Krakow, Poland, at 7am, and we walked to our home for the next few days- Kadetus Hostel.
200 We were magically upgraded to a suite, with a sitting room, fully stocked kitchen, and extra loft bedroom.
201 Making ourselves at home.
202 Our bedroom, with the extra sleeping loft above
203 Our little kitchen, and adjoining bathroom.
204 After we settled in at the hostel, we headed to Wawel Hill to see Krakow's Wawel Castle.
205 The entrance walkway up to Wawel Hill.
206 And, it was COLD. A 10-hour train ride north definitely made for colder climes.
207 We entered through the gated archway....
208 ...and this is the main entrance to Wawel Hill.
209 Atop Wawel Hill is Wawel Cathedral, a beautiful mishmash of three different churches all built at different times.
210 The Cathedral is most famous for its bishop, Karol Wojtyla, also known as Pope John Paul II. He's buried here.
211 Joneses at the Cathedral!
212 A close-up of some of the mixed architecture.
213 The Cathedral is only one of many buildings atop Wawel Hill- there are several museums, and a lovely green space.
214 And here is where we discover something awesome about Krakow: EVERY SINGLE BUILDING HAS ITS OWN MINI-MODEL!!!
215 Wawel Cathedral in miniature :)
216 Matt, in the first of a series of Krakow photos :)
217 Mini-model photobomb!
218 This model is so detailed and intricate that we actually used it as a map to find our way back to town.
219 Inside the courtyard of one of Wawel Hill's museums.
220 This is, and I am not joking, a Pope John Paul II vending machine. It doesn't dispense the Pope himself, but little souvenir coins.
221 The view of Krakow from atop Wawel Hill.
222 A very foggy day indeed...
223 So there is a legend that a dragon (Smocza Jama) lives inside a cave in the bottom of Wawel Hill. For just 25 cents, you can exit Wavel Hill by descending a spiral staircase into the cave.
224 So of course we ponied up the 25 cents. I mean, it's a DRAGON!!
225 Sneaking into a dragon's lair...
226 The cool underground caverns below Wawel Hill.
227 ...and then you head back up a staircase to ground level.
228 And there's the dragon, at the exit of the cavern!
229 The Wawel Hill Dragon. He spits fire every few minutes, but my f**king camera couldn't capture it.
230 The Joneses conquer a dragon!
231 One must celebrate a dragon conquer with pretzels, of course.
232 I'm starting to notice the general incomprehensibility of the Polish language.
233 After Wawel Hill, we headed off to Kazimierz, the old Jewish section of Krakow.
234 The oldest Jewish Synagogue in Krakow, also functioning as a Jewish museum.
235 Krakow's Jewish ghetto is infamous for its role in WWII- all of the Jews in the ghetto were transported from this very spot to German concentration camps.
236 There is a moving memorial where the train departure platform used to be- all the iron chairs represent Jews who were sent away and murdered.
237 A view of the old platform memorial.
238 To me, it was very quiet, yet very powerful.
239 The Pharmacy Under the Eagle (Apteka Pod Orlem) was an underground resistance inside the ghetto. The pharmacist sheltered several Jews, and ensured others had proper medicine and protection. Like Schindler, the pharmacist, Tadeusz Pankiewicz, was recognized as a Righteous Gentile.
240 Inside, the Pharmacy is a museum kept as it was in the 1930s.
241 The Pharmacy museum was very hands-on- visitors were encouraged to open drawers, sniff the bottle contents, and explore. The curator even put a white coat on me and took my photo :)
242 Next we headed to the Schindler Factory, made famous in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List." But if genocidal sites are too much for you, please note that this fine winebar is CONVENIENTLY located next to the museum (or so their many signs informed us).
243 The Oskar Schindler Factory and Museum. Here, Schindler sheltered and saved thousands of Polish Jews from dying in Hitler's camps.
244 However, despite the fact that we arrived at 1pm on an October Tuesday, we and everyone else in this photo were told that tickets to the museum were "sold out." None of us were entirely sure how that was possible- it's a WWII factory museum, not "Kinky Boots"- but regardless, we were all turned away.
245 So screw the Schindler Factory! Instead, we hit a thrift shop in the Jewish Quarter, where I found these awesome brown leather embroidered boots for just $3 USD.
246 The next day, we explored Krakow's Old Town. It was almost entirely untouched by WWII. This is the Church of St Peter and Paul.
247 The entrance to Krakow's Old Town is through this very medieval fortress structure, called the Barbican.
248 Matt conquers the Barbican!
249 And, of course, the Barbican has its own model.
251 The fortress entrance to Old Town.
252 Some of the architecture of Old Town. The building in the center is now a museum.
253 An arch leading to another alleyway
254 Once inside Old Town, you can see the medieval walls encircling the town.
255 Medieval sculptures still exist in the walls.
256 Matt and I are off to explore Old Town!
257 The main street of Old Town leads to Krakow's major landmark, St Mary's.
258 This is the main square of Krakow, named Rynek Glowny. It's the largest town square in all of Europe. It's ginormous.
259 St Mary's dominates one corner....
260 ...and Austro-Hungarian buildings line the square.
261 Outdoor cafes and vendors fill the space, along with horse-drawn carriages...
262 One of the many horse-drawn carriages waiting for a gullible tourist (not us!). :)
263 One must take time in one's schedule for pastry.
Pastry, prepare to please me.
264 The next day, the sun came out!!! St Mary's in the brilliant sunshine!
265 Did I mention that St Mary's has its own mini model? :)
266 Each hour, a trumpeter plays ten notes from the belfry, pauses, then plays them again. The legend is that a trumpeter was alerting the town of invaders, but was shot in the throat before he could finish.
267 But the truth is that the legend was invented in the 1920s by an American children's book writer. Oh well. At least they offer a Krakow Trumpeter Ringtone download...
268 The bustling town square.
269 The Joneses conquer Krakow Old Town!
270 St Mary's had possibly the coolest door I've ever seen: It was inlaid with these little heads.
271 A close-up of one of the heads.
272 In the center of the square was the Cloth Hall, a Moorish-style shopping bazaar. Guess what- it had its own model! :)
273 The Cloth Hall.
274 The Cloth Hall looks enormous, but it's just a tourist junk hall inside. Poop.
275 A view of Cloth Hall, with the old Clock Tower behind it.
276 Cloth Hall in the sunshine!!
277 Matt managed to corral this pastry.
278 Mmmmm Polish pastry.
279 Pastry, prepare to be dominated.
280 Krakow's Old Clock Tower.
281 On the other side of Cloth Hall, this shows just how huge the town square is.
282 Oooh! The Clock Tower has a MODEL!
283 Matt conquers the Clock Tower!
284 I found some cool sculptures in the town square.
285 This is officially my favorite photo of the trip.
286 Big lion. Small husband.
287 Behind Town Square is Krakow University, founded in the 14th century.
288 After a long day of exploring, we retired to the nearest pub for mulled wine.
289 Matt indulged in one last mulled wine and apple pie...
290 The next day, we took a bus 90 minutes outside Krakow to the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz. This is the infamous entry sign "Arbeit Macht Frei," meaning "Work will set you free."
291 There isn't a lot of historical interpretation at the camp site, but this is the entry narrative.
292 Auschwitz is huge. It was actually a work camp, and one of 20 the Nazis built in the area.
293 Surprisingly, Auschwitz looks very ordinary- just rows and rows of brick barracks. You'd never know something horrible happened here.
294 More narrative by the railroad tracks.
295 Deceptively peaceful brick buildings line the streets.
296 The notorious courtyard where Nazis would kill and display prisoner corpses.
297 A memorial now stands where the hanging racks used to be, known as "The Death Wall."
298 Another eerily quiet street.
299 One of the many guardhouses lining the perimeter.
300 We stopped in a temporary exhibition, called "Shoah," which had the only human figures in the entire site. These figures represent the real-life prisoner photos on the walls.
301 For me, this was the most powerful exhibition in all of Auschwitz: The Book of Names.
302 This is a written record of every person who was murdered in the Holocaust. This huge document lists just their names and hometowns- the names are printed on both sides of the paper, on either side of the book. There are *4.2 million* names.
303 A closeup of the records. It's mind-boggling and horrifying.
304 We took a 5-minute shuttle to the second camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau. While Auschwitz was a workcamp, Birkenau was a death camp. This is Birkenau's entry depot.
305 When the Nazis retreated, they burned Birkenau to the ground to cover up their crimes. So unlike Auschwitz, there's nothing left here but metal fencing and the train tracks.
306 One of the few buildings that survived the fires.
307 A map of Birkenau- unlike Auschwitz, it was easily toured in an hour.
308 Prisoners arriving via the train tracks were almost immediately put to death. Today, there is a small sculpture at the tracks' end to memorialize the dead.
309 What remains of Birkenau.
310 This is the only surviving railroad car in Birkenau.
311 Some of the prisoner barracks were reconstructed for the museum.
312 The interior recreates the primitive conditions the prisoners were forced to endure.
313 At the far end of the Birkenau site is a huge, multi-country memorial to the dead. This is the US's plaque- each country has their own plaque in their own language.
314 Behind this fencing were Birkenau's ovens. Today, visitors have woven roses into the gates.
315 The remains of the Nazi ovens.
316 The remains of the destroyed ovens.
317 These are the remains of the steps that led the prisoners underground to the ovens.
318 We tried to lighten the somber mood a bit in a coffee shop after we toured Auschwitz, but Matt's expression pretty much summed up our day.
319 That night, we returned to Krakow for a lovely dinner at Guliwar, a tiny Polish cafe in Old Town.
320 This was a shockingly delicious roast duck and pear salad. Color me happy.
321 Due to a bit of AirBerlin f**kery with our itinerary, we found ourselves with a 1pm departure instead of 6am.
So obviously, we decided to spend the morning tasting vodkas. Rot gut vodka? Yes please!
322 The infused vodkas were all stacked up in cupboards, with tubes for easy sampling.
323 Each sample was barely $2, so of course we tried lots of 'em.
324 Chocolate raspberry vodka, prepare to please me.
325 Mmmm vodka.
326 Bottoms up, Jones. Several bottoms, it looks like...
327 With our flight delay, Matt decided to opt for one last cake.
328 The pastry shop had some awesome artwork. ("Czekolada"= "chocolate")
329 Last Polish zloty purchase: A slice of Krakow Pischinger Cake from the Krakow Airport cafe.
330 We flew Krakow to Munich, and of course THAT flight was late too. So! Last Munich euro purchase: Mentos and Haribo gummy bears!
Munich and Krakow mischief managed.