Celtic Cross in Gospel Garden

I thought that I would tell you about our second overseas trip. Having learnt so much from insufficient research and planning, one would have thought that this would have been plain-sailing.

No such luck although it was better. In 2008 I was fortunate to spend 17 days on a Celtic Spirituality Tour in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. I truly enjoyed this and, as it was a group tour, everything was organised. It was also my first experience of a coach tour and I found it to be a really good way to travel in unknown areas. Of course, there are disadvantages such as not being able to decide on how long one wants to stay at a particular place or not visit another but the advantages are wonderful. All bookings are made, someone else has to bother with tickets and hotel receptions and your luggage is carried in and out of the coach for you.

Celtic Cross in Gospel GardenA Celtic Cross sculpture at Lindisfarne

We experienced our first coach tour as a couple in 2010 when we went to the Oberammergau Passion Play in Bavaria, Southern Germany. We flew to Munich from Johannesburg arriving in Munich at about 07:00. Once we had collected our luggage and boarded the coach we started with a 2 hour tour of the city. The tour guide for this trip was the most boring I have ever met. She knew her history and geography very well but, with a group which wanted an overview of Munich in just 2 hours, she made it feel nearer 5!

An Hotel in OberammegauTypical building in Oberammergau, Bavaria

We arrived at our hotel late morning and after finding our luggage we settled into our rooms. There was a rather funny but also irritating incident at this point. I found my suitcase fairly easily but we searched everywhere for Trevor’s without any luck. We even had the bus driver check the luggage section of the coach and we were all absolutely sure there was no luggage left on the sidewalk when we left the airport.

While we rushed around trying to find his case we had to keep stepping around a fellow traveller who was battling to unlock her case. They were about to break the lock when we realised that it was Trevor’s case she was trying to unlock using the key for her case! Another reason to mark your luggage with some means of easy identification as I wrote in my DOs & DON’Ts article. It may look funny but it does make finding your luggage in any situation much easier.

 After we had unpacked and refreshed ourselves we were free to explore Munich. Fortunately the rain had ceased and it was quite pleasant walking around. We revisited some of the places about which we had been told that morning on the bus tour and we also visited a lovely fruit, vegetable and meat market. Some of the stalls were so beautiful that we took photos of one another in front to them. A couple of the ‘Fraus’ did not like that at all. We had not asked for permission! This is something else to remember when travelling; always request a person’s permission to take their photo and be aware that many want to be paid for this.

Arch of Old City WallAn arch and a tower of the old city wall of Munich

Trish at the Vege MarketA friend at a vegetable stand

Munich is a typical Bavarian City with beautiful architecture, lots of painted murals, boxes of flowers and very good places to eat. A favourite spot for most of us was the Brauhaus where we met for lunch. It was extremely busy and noisy but the food really good. At the market we had seen some very interesting meats and sausages and decided to try some for lunch. Trevor’s was the most interesting. He selected white German sausages which came to the table in a white earthernware bowl of, what looked like, hot water but it had some flavour. He did say that the sausages tasted OK, though. Always fun to try local food but be careful if you have any allergies or other food restrictions.

Selection of sausagesSausaages in a butcher’s window. Note the white ones

One of the places in town that we revisited was the Marienplatz (central town square) where the Rathaus-Glockenspiel is found. It dates from 1908 and every day, at 11 am, 12 noon and 5pm in Summer, it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century.We were all fascinated by this as we watched the various characters dance and move around the centre clock. The Marienplatz is always crowded with tourists in Summer.

Glochenspiel in MarienplatzGlockenspiel in Marienplatz

We returned to our hotel in time to have a bath and change for dinner which we had at a local restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. Our waitress was a large German lady who did not like to make changes to any choice you had first made. It was early to bed for most of us after the long flight and busy day.

We left for Oberammegau after an early breakfast the next morning.