At this point I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been to Europe. Now I have even more reason to go with two of my best friends living there. One of whom moved to Stuttgart, Germany…. a year and a half ago…. I have been long overdue for a visit to say the least.
I had a huge discovery on how to fly via frequent flier miles to Europe. In looking for options to get in and then over to Stuttgart it seemed from every airport I could fly into for 60K points and then pay $750 in taxes. WHAT!? Why even bother using miles when a regular price ticket you can get for $1K from Dallas. And then the discovery. Dallas to Charles de Gaulle is only 60K points + $90 in taxes and a direct flight on American Airlines. Done.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
From CDG it is SUPER easy to get into Paris on the metro. Only had one small “katie-esque” little issue… Blue line to Gare du Nord, I BELIEVE I can walk to Gare de l’est (EST train station) where I’m catching a train to Stuttgart. But then I must admit I got all sorts of confused, and may have ended up on on the magenta line… on the way back out of town. Whooooops! Leave it to me to jump on a train that seems right, isn’t right and the first exit is 10 mins outside of town into a bit of a sketchy area. U-Turn backwards and turns out yes, yes you can walk from Gare du Nord to EST (in my defense, it’s confusing!) From EST it’s only a 3.5 hour train ride to Stuttgart.
The benefit of going to visit friends that live in Europe is they have a car to get you from place to place. I should say that’s the benefit to you, for them it’s not as great with strict strict laws that prevent anyone except the resident from driving said vehicle.
Stuttgart to Munich
After a late night catching up, Cathy, Brian, Vanessa and myself got a bit of a late start the next morning on the 2 hour drive to Munich. Not an issue for us – we packed in the rest of the day, night, following morning before hitting the road again to Prague.
A few of the highlights and moments in Munich that made the trip significant.
- Dachau Concentration Camp, there was no better way to experience Dachau than on a cold, damp, rainy day. Seeing the crematorium, the gas chambers, the pictures is so incredibly disturbing. There’s really nothing else to say.
- Olympic Village, home of the 1972 Olympic Games. The tragic Olympic games where the Munich Massacre took place taking the lives of Israeli athletes and coaches. A bit too much to take after Dachau and so we just walked around the grounds, ate crepes and made our way to BMW World to lighten our spirits.
- BMW Welt, you wouldn’t BELIEVE how many events this museum / entertainment center has going on. All at once there was a band filled with trombones and drums parading through the corridor, a modern music group from France performing in the lobby, and more. The day we went a printed program outlined about 15 performances taking place throughout the day. Exactly what we needed, we were happy to surround ourselves with luxury vehicles, sip our champagne (yes, yes they do have) and unwind.
- Haufbrauhaus Munchen, this traditional beer garden opened in 1589. To this day they still have regular guests who visit weekly, grab their waiting beer stein, and relax in a booth where their family code of arms is still engraved.
- Spaetzle to eat! Mmmm, mmmmm.
- Christmas Markets: We were so fortunate to be in Munich city center to watch the Christmas tree go up! The Christmas markets were also beginning to open. While we were there in mid-November, I can only imagine what’s it’s like in December.
- Der Munich Dom: This Cathedral of the Archbishop of Munich was built in 1494. It’s also home of the largest crucifix I have ever seen.
A quick trip to Munich within less than 24-hours, and before we know it need to hit the road and head to Prague for Part 2 of our Euro Adventures……