“Single Friends” 2012 Germany Trip

The “Single Friends” meetup.com group annually goes to Europe and in 2012 we went to Vienna, Munich, and Cologne.

Helpful Hints

  • Get used to the local spellings of names, rather than the familiar English version, since the local names will be on signs. The common abbreviation for main train station is Hbf.
  • Power is 220v 50 Hz. Most small electronics will work on this power with an adapter from US to EU plugs. If there is a switch associated with the outlet, make sure it is turned on. In some hotels in Europe, to conserve electricity, the lights and power to room outlets are switched off when you leave the room; I don’t know about these specific hotels. I always travel with a spare hotel-key card to leave in the the switch just in case. But then I also always turn off the lights and TV to save power when out of the room.
  •  Make sure you notify your credit card company (not necessary for AMEX) and debit-card issuer (bank) you will be in Germany & Austria.  US credit cards will generally NOT work in automated machines; but will work where there is a human handling the transaction (e.g., train station windows & restaurants). So I make sure I have bills for the ticket machines. 
  • While a money belt is less necessary in Germany than in the other countries Patty has gone, it is still a convenient way to carry your items, and pick-pockets may frequent the busier city train station areas. 
  • I find getting Euros at the ATM at the airport easier and cheaper than buying travelers checks or Euros in the US.  
  • After you buy your subway ticket, ALWAYS use the (separate) time-stamp machine to validate it! (Just like we had to do in Athens if you used the subway.)  These should be Blue Machines in the middle of the hallway.  Traveling without a time-stamped ticket can result in a HUGE fine. Ignorance or not knowing the language is no excuse to the plain-clothed transit police (this happened to someone who worked for me). 

Flights

  • Mon 9/17/2012 3:40pm – LH431 ORD->FRA connecting to LH 1234 FRA->VIE
  • Fri 9/28/2012 1:00pm – LH436 DUS->ORD

Overview

Vienna – Weather Forecast

We are staying at Hotel Ekazent Schönbrunn and the closest Metro stop is U4-Hietzing.

  • Tues 9/18 – land at 10:05 am and arrive at hotel early afternoon. Schoenbrunn Palace sightseeing?
  • Wed 9/19 – sightseeing and wondering around in Vienna
  • Thurs 9/20 – 9am wine tasting bike tour; not sure this describes our exact trip but is representative. (hope for good weather!) (stop for lunch but back for a late dinner)
  • Fri 9/21 – pack and leave for Aystetten by bus (~6 hrs with a stop)

Munich (Aystetten) – Weather forecast

We are staying a ways outside of Munich in Aystetten at Hotel Söhnel – Hauptstraße 89, Aystetten, since closer hotels are booked up due to Oktoberfest. The closest big city is Augsburg which is a stop on the major train line and we connect there for trains to München (Munich) or to Füssen. 

  • Fri 9/21 – arrive at hotel by ~4pm;  Augsburg for dinner (Bavarian Haus am Dom?) and walking around old town (if good weather). Take the 4:57pm or 5:37pm bus (Line 501); return (Line 500 or 501) hourly at 9:15pm until midnight
  • Sat 9/22 – Zugspitze (if weather is nice)
  • Sun 9/23 – 9:15am bus to Fussen and tour the castles–Hohenschwangau Castle first at 1:05pm, followed by the Neuschwanstein Castle at 3:25pm.
  • Mon 9/24 – bus to Oktoberfest! and then wandering around Munich.
  • Tues 9/25 – pack and leave for Leverkusen by bus (~5 hrs with a stop)

Köln (Leverkusen) – Weather forecast

We are staying at the Hotel Ibis in Leverkusen,  North Rhine-Westphalia. The hotel is a 6-block walk (along Dönhoffstraße) from the S6 line station at Leverkusen-Mitte.

  • Tues 9/25 – arrive at hotel by ~3pm; Köln for dinner.
  • Wed 9/26 – Rhine cruise (depending on weather forecast) or Cologne sightseeing.
  • Thurs 9/27 – Rhine cruise (depending on weather forecast) or Cologne sightseeing.
  • Fri 9/28 – pack and fly home