Thursday, August 30, 2007

Three weeks in Germany

Gay hiker dads in the AlpsWe arrived back from our European vacation over a week ago and have been busy ever since. Three days after coming back and just barely unpacking our suitcases we left for a weekend get-away with friends to the Russian River in Guerneville, CA. More on that another time.
Fairy tale castle, NeuschwansteinOur guided hike through the Bavarian Alps was fantastic. We met our group in Munich. It consisted of three other experienced hikers…a father and 20yr old son and a woman veterinarian from the Midwest plus our 28 year old German guide. The first day we traveled to Füssen, one of Germany's best known medieval towns, and visited Neuschwanstein, a fairytale castle built by Bavarian “Fairy Tale” King Ludwig II. This castle is the one Walt Disney used to model his Sleeping Beauty Castle on at Disneyland. The king’s biography and mysterious death is also an interesting story. He was a gay monarch.

Austrian valleyThe hike itself was spectacular! -- Beautiful weather (just one morning of light showers), green alpine meadows and forests, rugged peaks, and glacier vistas – We traveled from Germany's picturesque Bavaria through the glaciated mountains of Austrian Tyrol and ending in the medieval city of Meran (Merano) in northern Italy. Each day’s hike was 7 to 9 hours long (max. elev. 9,824'). Accommodations included comfortable evenings at guesthouses or hotels tucked away in verdant valleys.

Our hiking group putting on sunscreenThe final day we traveled to Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy to see the mummified remains of Ötzi, the prehistoric "Iceman." Although Ötzi died over 5,300 years ago, he is still making news today!

After the hike we traveled around Germany by train. We had a great time in Munich, Köln, Hamburg, and Berlin. Each city has its unique and fun aspects; but needless to day, Berlin is particularly a happening place these days. We learned a lot about German history and were very impressed by the open, honest, and compassionate way modern Germany (particularly as reflected all throughout Berlin) is dealing with the Nazis and the Holocaust. We did several city walking tours, a couple half day bicycle tours (in Munich and Berlin) and visited over a dozen art and history museums. And with 171 museums in Berlin alone, we barely made a dent in all we wanted to see.

Gay life in Germany really rocked everywhere we went. We stayed in either gay hotels or guesthouses in each city. We highly recommend two beautiful hotels we stayed in Munich: the Deutsche Eiche Hotel; and Berlin: Art Hotel Connection. In Köln we stayed at a gay friendly guesthouse called Gästehaus Köln. In Hamburg we were welcomed at a lovely, private gay guest room.
Deutsche Eiche Hotel, Munich Art Hotel Connection, Berlin

1 comment:

Coos Gaastra said...

Germany is a very beuatiful and versatile. You never get bored...

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