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What would you do?

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shadowluv0
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What would you do?

I've never been to Europe, but I was intrigued today...I looked in a family history book and found that my grandfather was born and lived in Oberammergau for his first 18 years.

Anyway, I was curious so I looked up some information on the area online and saw some BEAUTIFUL photographs.

To get to the point, I am now interested in travelling to southern Germany and that region at some point in the next year or so, probably with my sister and probably for 7-10 days. We are way more into the outdoors and seeing beautiful places, going on day hikes, and camping than in exploring cities, although small towns are welcome. Lakes and mountains rank high.

How would you go about this trip? Any highly recommended places to see/go/stay, etc? Should we rent a car? If we did, could we go into Austria/Switzerland/Italy also? I read that Oberammergau doesn't have a lot to it, so could check it out in half day or so, but it would be nice to see.

Fishing for ideas, thanks for any/all!

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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1. Re: What would you do?

Hi shadowluv0,

I so agree with you! I just moved to Garmisch-Partenkirchen last fall and only made it to Oberammergau a few weeks ago. It is stunning and gorgeous.

Of course there is a lot to do there, especially if you like day-hikes! I have only just begun my exploration of the nearby trails, but there are plenty! The walk from Linderhof castle to Oberammergau takes about 2h30, and the walk from Ettal to Linderhof takes about the same time. And the town itself is worth longer than half a day --!

Now, I enjoy living and travelling without a car, so I'll of course suggest that you use the trains. You can get all around southern Germany very well using its system of bus and train networks. It's dead-easy and fun! I love interacting with local residents on the trains and busses.

Yes, you can very easily get to Austria by train -- the route to Innsbruck runs down from the München airport.

Actually, my little town of Garmisch might be a good spot for your base. You can get to Oberammergau by direct bus, or to Linderhof with one change (in Oberammergau). We also sit on that direct train line to Innsbruck, and you could also stop in the village of Mittenwald. And of course there are many walks you can take right from town. We also have two pedestrian zones that are really enchanting. You can find more information at the tourist site:

www.gapa.de

I would warn you that Oberammergua will be pretty crowded next year because of the Passion Play, of course. So if you can you may want to come before then, maybe during the Christmas season.

Anyway, good luck as you research and plan.

s

Las Vegas, Nevada
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2. Re: What would you do?

A good place to begin is with the local tourist agencies which should be accessable from a web address of the form www.PLACENAME.de, just substitute the actual place name. If English at first does not comes up as an option, then go to Tourismus where it may be an option. Germany itself has a tourist office, and all the German states do also (for Baden-Wuerttemberg in SW Germany www.baden-wuerttemberg.de ; www.tourismus-bw.de ; www.schloesser-und-gaerten.de for the excellent castles, palaces, monasteries and gardens operated by this state), regions (my favorite area of Germany www.schwaebischealb.de ), cities, towns, and villages. Most will be happy to send you free information useful in planning your trip.

Another excellent source of places to visit is www.schenckguide.com , which has many excellent sights listed by the German state they're in, and also lists such things as hotels in castles and palaces. All though nowhere near complete (Germany has over 30,000 castles and palaces alone), there are many excellent places to visit with information about them.

I'm sure that if you enjoy the pictures in these websites, that you'll enjoy them in person.

Salt Lake City
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3. Re: What would you do?

First, Oberammergau is in a beautiful area of Germany. Germany and its tourist bureaus are very supportive hiking and outdoor activities. It sounds like a perfect match.

Oberammergau is the state of Bavaria (Bayern). Their website has an English page for tourism.

http://www.bayern.by/en/index.html

You can search on hiking, camping, Oberammergau, etc. Oberammergau is quite small though beautifully located. As Swandav said, it might be nice to stay near some larger nearby town like Garmisch for restaurants, etc. and visit Oberammergau.

Regards, Gary

shadowluv0
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4. Re: What would you do?

Wow, THANK YOU all so much for your help so far!!!

It sounds like its definitely a good idea to go forward with trip planning, as from what I'm hearing, its a beautiful area that would match with what I love best!

We are not interested in the Passion Play, but are limited as to when we can visit, since my sister is in grad school. Is mid-August a good time of year to be there?

We are looking into the train options. Would we be able to get to the mountains and lakes easily by rail? (The last few trips we've taken were in the USA and obviously there are very few rail options so we've been renting cars to get where we want to go...its a different world to have actual rail options!)

As far as language goes...how difficult do you think it will be to get around and communicate, since we are only fluent in English?

Thanks again! :)

Salt Lake City
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5. Re: What would you do?

The area is well supported by public transport but a car would also be handy some days. You could do combination. If you decided to base in Garmisch for example, you could rent a car for a day or two and other wise take trains. For train travel:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

For example:

From: Munich Airport

To: Oberammergau

or

To: Garmisch

Change the "Means of transport" to "only local transport". You will see that there is a discount ticket for two people @ 28 euros. That is the Bayern-Ticket good for 2-5 people anywhere in the state of Bayern for a full day. Train travel can be a bargain over a rental car for most days.

Regards, Gary

Dayton, Ohio
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6. Re: What would you do?

Since the play is only every 10 years, I can't attest to how crowded Oberammergau will be. But I can bet. And I bet it's going to be packed. The play runs May-Oct. Not to mention the fact that August is when a lot of Germans take their vacations, and like you and me, everybody loves Bavaria. I don't know how the crowds would impact public transportation, but renting a car would allow easier escapes from the mobs.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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7. Re: What would you do?

Hi again,

Like the others above, I think August is going to be a particularly bad time to come; it will be the most crowded, and hotels will be charging the most. Also, I do not think that having a car will let you escape the crowds, as (I think) there is only a single small road leading in and out of town -- you could be stuck for hours waiting for everyone to clear out.

I taught college for about ten years after I retired from the Army so was also stuck with those school schedules. I quickly got in the habit of rushing out as soon as school was out in June or escaping in Dec/Jan. I think you ought to look into that, too. You may especially think about coming in December for Christmas markets and that spectacular winter-wonderland feeling. Some hiking trails are kept clear in winter, and of course all the transport continues to run.

Yes, you can very easily get to the mountains and lakes by rail. As I said, I don't have a car and generally go hiking or biking once a week. To get to the mountains, lol, just walk out the door! Seriously, though, you can get to any trail head by rail or bus; that's what I do.

Yes, using a good train system is a very rare experience for us Americans!! I always urge folks to experience it, just for the fun and adventure (and also because it's that rare chance to travel green!!).

You won't have any trouble with language. This is a huge tourist area, and most people in shops and hotels speak English better than your neighbors do (and better than my students in the USA). It's always a good idea to learn a few phrases just for friendliness' sake -- "hello" "thank you" "I'd like to have" "where is . ." etc.

Have fun!

s

shadowluv0
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8. Re: What would you do?

Hmm, that's a bummer that August is not recommended, but I can understand why. The only other time that might work for her is she has a week off between spring session and the first summer session at the end of May. I don't know if I would be able to get off of work then, but would that be a better choice?

While winter sounds nice as well, we will be home for family stuff over Christmas.

Still more thanks to all of you!

Brisbane, Australia
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9. Re: What would you do?

Hi shadowluv0- don't be worried about not speaking any German. I have spent time in Austria and Germany- and always found someone who could point me in the right direction. most people involved in the tourist industry have a basic grasp of English and so do the younger people.

Good advice to learn a few basic words- they go a long way. Write place names down and have a map handy if you are looking for directions for locals- sign language works quite well with a map in these circumstances.

The area around Garmish and Mittenwald are wonderful- I would have loved to have more time to spend exploring more. Being on a direct train line between Munich and Innsbruck makes them very convenient.

Amsterdam, The...
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10. Re: What would you do?

It is true that august is a busy time, but I wouldn't let that put you off. As long as you make your hotel reservations on time it will be a great time to travel, as you will enjoy nice warm weather.