Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 6 - Oberau to Munich

We checked out of our hotel and spend the late morning and afternoon hanging around Berchtesgaden.  We checked out some local toy stores and then had a wonderful lunch at a brightly-lit cafe with a view of the mountains.

After lunch we headed for the hills to find the perfect sledding spot.

The drive to Munich through the mountains was beautiful.
We got to our hotel in time to order room service (all the close restaurants were fully booked!) and then enjoy the spectacular fireworks display out our window.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 5 - Oberau/Berchtesgaden/Königssee

We slept in a little, grabbed breakfast at the hotel, then headed for Königssee to ride the boat.  Traffic was really heavy so it took a while:

The weather was beautiful (again!), though it was quite cold so we had to really bundle the kids.  We stopped along the way to take a few pictures:

When we finally got to Schönau (at the head of the lake) we were pretty hungry so we got some bratwurst and warm kinder punch.

The ride on the lake was spectacular.  It's a secluded lake, aparently the cleanest in all of Germany.  The kids had a great time looking at the mountains.

It was dark when we got back to Schönau and most of the shops were closed.  One, however, was still open and it was selling sleds.  We bought a few and then tested them on a little hill.

For dinner we decided to head back to Berchtesgarden.  We found a really nice restaurant and had a wonderful meal.

Back at our hotel we had a fun movie night.  I also had a chance to take some long exposure shots of the breath-taking stars.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 4 - Garmisch-Partenkirken to Oberau

We made it to breakfast at 10 and then packed the car. We headed for the Zugspitzebahn to ride a train and cable car to the top of Germany's tallest mountain but at the last minute we decided the elevation would be a bit much for a pregnant lady. The visibility was a little hazy too so we decided to head to Neuschwanstein Castle.

It took about an hour to get there and by that time we were pretty hungry so we grabbed a quick lunch of bratwurst and chips. We didn't make it in time to get tickets to see the inside (guess we'll have to go back!) but we did manage to catch the last bus up to the castle.

The view from the bridge was amazing; both kids really liked seeing the 'Disney castle'. The walk back to the car, however, was long and cold. By the time we reached the car we had two little popsicles.

The drive to Oberau was uneventful (apart from our windshield wiper fluid freezing) and we arrived safely at our hotel around 10pm. We still hadn't had dinner so we drove back down the twisty road to Berchtesgaden and found a little Italian place that was still open. The food was fantastic and we returned to our hotel with full bellies. The view from our balcony was breathtaking. I don't think I've ever seen stars quite as bright.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 3 - Garmisch-Partenkirken

We woke up this morning just in time for breakfast at 10am. After we ate we hopped in the car and headed for the ski jumps. It was such a great surprise to find out that we could actually walk right up on the jumps. It was particularly special for me because my grandfather had stood on the same spot when he was stationed here in WWII.

After sledding on our bums down the ski jump we drove about 10 miles to Oberammergau, which is known for it's wood carving. We visited quite a few shops before heading back to Garmisch-Partenkirken.

We had an amazing German dinner (including 1L of Hefeweizen!) and then returned to our hotel for a quick swim before bed. What a great birthday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 2 - Ghent, Belgium to Garmisch-Partenkirken

We woke up around 9:30 and had left-over cinnamon rolls for breakfast (yum!). After we were all dressed we carried our luggage to the car (parked in the basement level -2) and headed outside to explore Ghent. The city center is spectacular -- exactly what you'd expect from a northern European city. It was really cold though so both kids had runny noses. We finally checked out of the Marriott around 1 and then had lunch in a cafe (Picardie) just across the river. After lunch we collected our car and headed out of town.

We spent the next 11 or so hours driving through the rest of Belgium, the southern tip of the Netherlands and then 500 miles of German Autobahn.

We finally arrived at our hotel around 1am but it took about an hour to make up beds for the kids, unload the car, and find a place to park.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 1 - London to Ghent, Belgium

We left the house around 2pm BST and headed straight to Dover. We arrived at the ferry terminal 1.5 hours early (I know, us, early, amazing!). We had some snacks in the car before boarding at 18:00.

The ferry ride was really exciting but we didn't anticipate how seasick we would get (especially the pregnant one of us).

We arrived at our hotel around 11:00pm CET and the front desk dude ordered a large cheese pizza for us. I ran outside to take some pictures.