%$&*#!!!!!!!

February23

So, on a trip that includes 10 countries, 9 languages (8 of which I don’t speak), and over 25,000 kms, there’s bound to be a bad day. The last 24 hours certainly fit that bill.
In the wee hours of the morning, as we finished packing our bags, it all looked idyllic.
Pals
We awoke to a snowstorm in Munich, only the second that winter. It slowed the driving down considerably and we were late getting to the train station. As Simon physically touched our train as it was about to pull away we were not on it. So much for the 500 km/hr non-stop trip to Paris. As we had a connecting flight to get later that day, we opted for the only other available option; a train with 3 connections. Seeing as we have 5 pieces of luggage, 2 small children and I cannot run or climb stairs quickly, this is a major undertaking. We were totally keen on being first out the door on the first stop; so keen that we got off one station TOO EARLY! We actually thought the train was 4 minutes ahead of schedule. Bad move…So there we were, stuck in somewhere Germany. Simon ran around the city centre and checked in 10 cafes, and no internet in sight. The DeutscheBahn ticket office could not guarantee seats on a French train so we were seemingly screwed. Simon did check in with a travel agent in his cafe search and found that we were near Frankfurt and maybe we could catch the 2pm plane to Paris.
Speed!
TGV
A new city added to our list:
Frankfurt Hbf
Enthusiastically we booked the 2 necessary trains to get to Frankfurt Flughafen (airport). All was going well until the second train; it was delayed 25 minutes. By the time we arrived at the airport and took the shuttle bus to Terminal 2 it was too late to catch that plane. Foiled again! So we checked at the dodgy-looking ‘last minute flights’ desk, which looked to be funded by the Russian mafia, and they offered us a ‘deal’ worth $1500 CAD to fly to Paris for all of us. Well, we settled for losing a lesser amount of money and missing our Paris to Nice flight and got a train to Nice instead. I was pretty happy about taking the TGV to Paris then transferring by Metro to another train station then taking a night train in a sleeper cabin. It was a great ride to Paris, the Metro went off without a hitch and we tiredly boarded our night train to Nice. We slept soundly and it was a great sleep.
The next morning the train made it’s first stop at Toulon at about 6:30am. This stop woke me up so I quietly slipped out, gently closed the door and padded down the hallway as nature called. When I returned the door was open, as often happens on a moving train so I thought nothing of it. As I slipped into bed I noticed my purse had moved. I figured it fell off the end of my bed and I would get in upon daybreak. What ACTUALLY happened is that some opportunist seized the chance AND my bag and it was gone. Wallet, passports, i-pad, i-pod, all GONE. It was a sad realization. The rest of our day consisted of making the necessary phone calls, filing a report at the station and again after a 3 hour wait at the police station, which pretty much took up our day. We did have a few moments to take in the beauty of Nice and a nice creperie for lunch.
But all’s well that ends well. The girls were thrilled that we took a double-decker train to Cannes. We met our Romanian friend Gheorghe who has an apartment at the truly swanky Grand Hotel.
Grand Hotel
We took a lovely sunset walk on the promenade and dined on truffle foie gras, a special Alsatian dish of confit de canard aux pommes de terre and fine French wine. Magnifique!!

Playing Bavaria

February22

Our friends in Munich have some lovely traditional Bavarian clothing. We took the opportunity to dress up just for fun! Prost!
bavarians

Munich

February21

Our ten days in Munich was really great. We had a great visit with our friends who had a lovely dog, Maya.
Maya and girls
What most of the world thinks of as German is, in fact, Bavarian. Leiderhosen, dirndls, beer halls, castles and painted alpine cottages, they are all to be found in Bavaria.
We visited the Neuschanstein castle, built by King Ludwig II, until his mysterious and untimely drowning in a nearby lake in 1886. Construction of the castle was halted upon his death, and it became a museum only 6 weeks later.
Neuschwanstein
Today, still only 1/3 of the interior of the castle is finished and there was to be another taller tower in the castle as well. This castle is the one that Walt Disney got his inspiration for the Disneyland Sleeping Beauty castle.
Neuschwanstein towers
As many know, Munich is the centre of the Oktoberfest celebrations. This is a statue of the Queen of Bavaria, who overlooks the giant field when, for 3 weeks in October, 8,500,000 people gather to celebrate and drink beer. The field holds over 100,000 people at one time. There are many beer tents, and one has the capacity of 8,000 people, about the population of Revelstoke!
bavaria
We did some touring around the central and oldest part of Munich as well. Here is the beautiful city hall.
Rathaus
Later in the day we visited the Hofbrauhaus, the official brewhouse of the King of Bavaria over 400 years ago. Many of the locals come dressed in the traditional Leiderhosen and hats adorned with tufts of the beard of a local goat.
Hofbrauhaus
Here is Simon with his one litre mug of beer!
Beer!
I opted for the Weiss-beer, or white beer, which comes in a more managable size.
Yay for beer!
There was a guy’s stag going on at the table beside us and the girls charmed the table and got some of their party favours from them.
Clowns
We took a night walk around the city centre after the brewhouse, watching the local nightlife and beautiful historic buildings lit up.
Hofbrauhaus outside
It was a big day for little girls.
Sleeping girl
It was my birthday this week, and My friend, Dana, made my favourite cake, a Black Forest cake. It was really yummy!
Black forest cake
Thanks to Norman and Dana for hosting us in their lovely house! We look forward to them visiting us in Canada!
Munich friends

Canada wins GOLD!!

February12

We have arrived in Munich, Germany, to visit our friends Dana, Norman and their dog, Maya. Since we arrived on a weekend we took the opportunity to visit the mountain village of Garmisch. It’s less than an hours drive from Munich, especially when you take the German Autobahn!! Heading up to 240…
autobahn
There just happened to be the Men’s Downhill World Championships happening there that day as well. The real bonus was that a Canadian, Erik Guay, WON!! Unfortunately we did not have Canadian flags but we were all yelling GO CANADA with great pride!
Erik wins!
Here he is arriving at the post-race medal ceremonies:
GOLD
We also went up a cog railway and gondola to reach the highest point in Germany, the Zugspitze!
top of germany
Click on this photo for a larger image:

At the top you can take a short walk and end up in Austria.
Austrian gang
I fittingly enjoyed an apple strudel and a Gluwein:
austria
And one of my favourite photo subjects with the Austrian alps behind:
alps
It was a spectacular day for Canadians, including us!

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