Exploring the Alpine Countries with Oberammergau

I decided I needed a new word. Every day we would see some amazing sights and I would say “Wow!” The next day something even more amazing would show up. Again, “WOW!” If there is a word to sum up my adventure that would be it. WOW. :)

I had never been overseas before, so when my Mum wanted to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany I began to research how I could make that happen. Collette Tours offered a fantastic chance for a newbie like me to get a taste of Europe within the security of a well-known travel company. 3 countries over 12 days. (With an additional week added at the end to visit my family in the south of France.) We would see the best of the best. Tasting new foods, learn the history and culture of the area. We would have local guides in many of the cities who would show us around and answer all our questions. We would have some meals included and time to explore places to eat on our own. (Who would have thought we would be eating Indian food in Austria!) It was a fantastic combination of structure and free time.

We started our tour in Vienna, Austria. What a lovely city filled with fantastic architecture and sculptures! Beginning with our city tour we visited Saint Stephens cathedral. (Don’t my Auntie and I look wonderful in Vienna?) Amazing cathedrals and churches would be a recurring theme for us. It seemed as if each city we visited had many churches and cathedrals which were simply stunning! St. Stephens is currently undergoing repairs from a fire and you can still see the blackened walls outside. For dinner one night we ate in the oldest running restaurant in Vienna. Over 300 years old! I am happy to say the food was amazing.

On another day we had a private tour guide for Shoenburnn Palace and gardens. Learning about the history of this palace that was only used for a few weeks in the summer was so interesting. There were so many intricate gold pieces I would have thought thousands of pounds of gold were used in creating it all. I would be wrong though. Only 4 pounds of gold leaf was used within that whole structure!

We were able to attend two classical music events which were not, in fact, boring as I was afraid they might have been! The pieces were short, varied, and often funny. A good way to sample some music.

We also took a short river cruise ride from Durnstein to Melk. It gave us just a sample of what it might be like to be on a river cruise, and left me wanting more! The views from the river of castles, vineyards, and countryside were very relaxing.

We visited abbeys, churches, cathedrals, palaces, and castles. Had dinner at the oldest continuously running restaurant in Europe (over 800 years), drank beer at Fortress Hoensalzburg, and visited the park where The Sound of Music was filmed. I fell in love with the food and the history of Austria.
My first impression of taking a guided tour is resoundingly positive. I appreciated the small touches like personal listening devices so you could always hear what the guide said. Our tour guide, Pedro, was an excellent teacher and kept us on time as well as informed.

I feel a guided tour is a great way to get a taste of the country and perhaps make notes of where you would like to visit again and spend more time. (I am looking at you Danube River!)I can’t wait to share more with you about our next country…Germany. Home of the biggest pretzel I have ever seen, the Oberammergau Passion Play, and some of my favorite houses of all time.

Until next time,

~ Carol Born