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Thursday, January 01, 2009


Ah, Deutchesland, the place of my birth, my home for the first two and a half years of my life, my home again for my 8th grade year, and finally, blissfully, magically the site of the Wilson Family Christmas 2008.

The Legal Diva and I flew out of Newark on the clearly superior Lufthansa Airlines on December 18th, landing at Franz Joseph Strauss Airport, Munich late morning on the 19th. We picked up Veronica, our rented VW mini-van, and made our way to downtown Munich to the Sheridan Le Meridian, our base camp for the first half of the trip.

After a brief nap we made our way to the Munich Christkindermarkt, a lovely holiday evening stroll, where we took in the sights, and had some wurst and gluhwein.

The next day we were off for an over-nighter in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a magically preserved medieval walled town in central Germany. Veronica handled the road well amid less than desirable driving conditions.

Rothenburg is unbelievable, situated on the Romantic Road, it certainly lived up to it's billing. We strolled, shopped, dined superbly, made some new friends, consumed many fine brews, and generally had a splendid time. Savage Distortion recommends Rottenberg highly despite the tourist-centric vibe.

Day three brought us back down the Autobahn to Munich where we met up with the General and Mrs., who had just completed a serene cruise up the Danube. We had a lovely dinner with them, followed by a leisurely stroll through the Christkindermarkt back to the Sheraton.

The following day we were joined by Rod, Karen, Julia, and Jackson's Godson, Tyler. After they settled in at the hotel, we all went for a walk through the - that's right, you guessed it - Christkindermarkt. We stopped to watch the Glockenspiel do it's spiel, then had lunch at the Rathskeller.

Exhausted travelers were brought back to the hotel, napping ensued, followed by yet another pass through the Christkindermarkt, the ever growing in population center for the Munich gift buying crowd, on our way to the Hofbrau Haus for what turned out to be one of the top three meals of the trip. The Hofbrau Haus does not disappoint, complete with oompah band in lederhosen, huge beers, and fabulous food.

Day five brought us Fred, The Gotham Gal, Jess, Emily, and the J-Man......and another jaunt through the Christkindermarkt. The Legal Diva and I, having Markt'd ourselves out, decided to split off in search of vinyl. After some investigation, and some ancillary shopping during which the ill-fated smoked meats were purchased - more on that later - we located Optimal. Oh Joy! Me made quite the haul, purchased selections will be the subject of a separate forthcoming post.

That night the entire Wilson clan descended upon Alpenraum for a lovely multi-course family holiday dinner.

Afterward, Rod, Karen, Julia, the Legal Diva, and I hit a local sports bar, thus founding Team Nightlife, whose semi-nightly meetings would provide much jocularity over the ensuing days.

December 24, Christmas Eve, and it was off to Garmisch for the General and Mrs., Rod's gang, and the Legal Diva and myself, while the Fred crew hoped a flight to Berlin.

The two car caravan, the mini minivan convoy, cruised the Autobahn through Bavaria into the Alps. Driving into the alps is a magical moment. The word splendor was invented for such moments, and as the clouds cleared, and the Alps jutted out, well...., let's just say Jackson figured on the high probability of a higher power, of divine creation.

We checked into the Atlas Post Hotel, and had lunch, a great lunch, another of the top three meals, before leisurely exploring the beautiful town of Garmisch, nestled in the Alps, truly one of the most gorgeous locations on the planet.

Our Christmas Dinner, another multi-course affair, was provided by the Atlas Post Hotel. I'd like to say that you can't buy memories like these, but obviously you can, as we did, but those moments are rare, and I'm blown away with gratitude and thankfulness for all of my blessings.

Christmas morning we exchanged gifts, not the least of which was the joy of each other's company in the most magical (that word again) of settings.

More strolling through Garmisch-Partenkirchen, soothingly quiet on Christmas Day, brought us up to dinner-time at Gasthaus Frauendorfer in Partenkirchen which pulled out all the stops, including an accordion player and two lederhosen clad slap-dancing German youths, as well as another delightful meal.

It started to snow as we ate.


After dinner, Team Nightlife descended upon Peaches for drinks.

Every family vacation has it's ups and downs. Chevy Chase based his career on that dichotomy, and the Wilson Family Bavarian Christmas was no exception.

Day eight dawned glorious and bright, the Alps gleaming in the sun as we embarked on a day trip to nearby Neuschwanstein, the last and most fabulous and famous of Mad Ludwig's Bavarian Castles.

The drive brought us briefly through the Austrian Tirol, postcard perfect scenery at every glance, to Neuschwanstein, which was, as it turns out, a mad house of tourism due to it's being the only game in town operating on the day after Christmas.

An endless queue for a horse drawn carriage up the mountain to the Castle in freezing weather caused a little drama, and a lot of frozen toes, but it was well worth it. The place is just plain breathtaking.

Upon returning to Garmisch, the Legal Diva and I opted for a dinner on our own at the Australian Lounge. Somebody needed a burger, somebody else was craving wings. Our server turned us on to VB (Victorian Bitter), a great Australian beer. Apparently nobody down under actually drinks Fosters, and VB is really Australian for beer, mate.

After dinner, Team Nightlife returned to Peaches for a second round.

A wise decision to spend day nine just meandering around Garmisch-Partenkirchen was made. We shopped, strolled, and ended up lunching at GlasHaus on schnitzel and soup - the third of the top three meals.

A nap was followed by another fine dining opportunity with the family, and Team Nightlife sans Julia capped the evening back at the Australian Lounge.

All good things must come to an end, and on day nine we said goodbye to Garmisch and made our way back to Munich via a wee drive through lovely Oberammergau.

Our last night with the family was spent at the Sheraton Airport Hotel, which provided us with many fine beverages and another lovely meal.

At breakfast, a fantastic breakfast, we said goodbye to our departing family before spending our last day in Deutchesland in bed after a brief side trip buying an extra suitcase for all the crap we bought.

The front end of our flight was the single greatest airport experience we've ever had. The Lufthansa folks were great, very accommodating, which put into stark contrast our arrival at JFK where we were abused verbally by the US Customs Asswipes, had our smoked meats jacked, and were basically greeted back into the US with a hearty Fuck You.

Yeah, Merry Fucking Christmas to you too, Jackson.........

Sounds like a great trip.
Makes me hungry for some sausage and a big beer.
great post, you do these travel posts so well. i think you missed your calling. travel writing becomes you.

anyway, when i saw the collection of smoked meats on your bed in D's photo collection, i thought to myself "oh my that's going to make a nice meal for some customs agent in NYC"

sadly, that's true. what a crappy way to end such an amazing trip.

we are glad we could join you all for part of it.

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