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RJKARR & JRLVR1


Michelstadt

Hotel-Restaurant Drei Hasen
Braunstrasse 5
64720
Michelstadt
Email -
dreihasen@t-online.de
46 /night single room

This is a delightful little family run hotel located right in the middle of Michelstadt. The beautiful old Rathaus is just across the street from the hotel. If I remember correctly, the price of a double room was approximate 85/night.



Michelstadt, recommended to me by Nate, has a wonderful Christmas Market. I think I only heard one couple who was speaking English. There were tons of tour buses pulling in for people to visit the Market, but they were European tourists and not Americans. So if you want a good market without a jillion American tourists, this is the place.

I would have liked to spend a little more time in Michelstadt, but had to get to Meckesheim in time to meet Jane and Erin's train. We had chosen this little village because it was right on the way from Michelstadt to Schwäbisch Hall and was a good place to meet. We knew nothing about the town, but since it was so small, I felt it would be easy to find the train station and spot Jane and Erin as they got off the train.

The only problem with this plan was I needed at least a rudimentary map to find the station. The only thing I could find on the internet for the town was sites on how to find "ladies of the evening" and other "adult entertainment". This made me wonder what kind of place I had suggested for Jane and Erin to meet me. In the meantime, they had asked people about the train to Meckesheim and how far it was. No one had ever even heard of the place. Poor Erin was convinced they were on the wrong train. I was concerned about having to wait in that town all by myself if their flight had been late and they missed the first train.

All went as planned though. Dear Edith had come through with a web site (like she wouldn't be able to find one) which gave me a rough map of the town. When I got into town, I still wasn't too sure I could find the station because the map from the internet left a lot to be desired, so I asked for directions. The first person had no idea where the station was, but someone else walked by and gave instruction with the first person translating. With that, I drove right to the station and arrived about 3 minutes before Jane and Erin.

Bamberg

After leaving Schwäbisch Hall on Monday, we drove to Bamberg, with a successful stop in Rothenburg on the way. We managed to stay too long in Rothenburg so it was dark by the time we arrived in Bamberg. They are supposed to have a "great" system to find your hotel. The only problem was, it was dark and we couldn't see the "great" signs nor find our hotel.



Barock Hotel am Dom
Vorderer Bach 4
96049
Bamberg
Tel - 0951/54031 ~ 0951/54021
83 Double room - 60 Single room

We drove around and around for about an hour until our great resident hotel finder (in other words, Erin) finally saw a sign which lead us to the hotel. Needless to say we left the car parked the whole time we were in that city. The Barock Hotel am Dom is a very nice hotel and very conveniently located (once you find it). It's literally at the foot of the Dom. Much to Jane and Erin's distress, the Dom has church bells which they love to ring. They were beginning to lose patience with all the ring-a-dings that kept them awake. I think that next time they'll take ear plugs with them.

We had thought about taking the train to Nürnberg for one day to visit their Market, but opted against it as the Bamberg Market was very nice. We did some shopping there, but managed to get away without spending too much money.

Berchtesgaden

From Bamberg, it was a long drive down to Berchtesgaden. We actually stayed in Schönau am Königssee in a great little place. The Selhofer familie rents out 3 rooms in their home and are the most delightful hosts. Neither Frau nor Herr Selhofer speak English, but their daughter and her husband, who live on the first floor, speak excellent English. The Selhofers live on the second floor and two of the three rooms rented out are located on the third floor. The other room is also located on the second floor.



Frühstückspension Selhofer
Walter u. Veronika Selhofer
Bergschattenweg 6
83471
Schönau am Königssee
Tel - 08652/61871 ~ Fax 08652/979229
24 per person/per night

It was obvious that they had recently remodeled the guest part of their home. It was very tastefully done and was quite comfortable.

The Berchtesgaden Market was what I would term a "middle-of-the-road" market. It wasn't bad, but neither was it great. The one great thing was the fact that we were there on December 5 and 6. For those who are not familiar with the German tradition, St. Nicholas visits the children on December 6. In the Berchtesgaden area ONLY, St. Nicholas has
Buttnmandl men accompany him on his rounds. These are men who are dressed in scary costumes, or dressed as straw men (whose costumes take up to 6 hours to get on). Their purpose is to find out if you have a "bad spirit" in you and if so, they will use a birch switch to swat you to make the bad spirit leave.

Since the Selhofer daughter has two young children, St. Nicholas and gang came to visit them. We laughed so hard, you would have thought we were the children they came to visit, and to swat out the "bad spirits". Being able to be part of that tradition was probably the highlight of the trip.



This is one place I would really enjoy visiting again at Christmas time as long as I was there on December 5 and 6 to be part of the Buttnmandl tradition and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering a visit to the Christmas Markets in Bavaria.



Up to this point, we had not seen, nor did we ever see, a single flake of snow, only rain. The weather was unseasonably warm. I had warned Jane that it would be extremely cold and to buy really warm clothes to take. She and Erin live in California so they don't normally need warm clothing. Poor things never did really need any of the warm clothing they took along.

We had thought that being in the Alps would provide great views of snow capped mountains. The weather was so bad, raining and low clouds, that we never even saw the mountains.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

When we left Berchtesgaden, we headed to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and thought surely we would see some snow there. Once again we were wrong.

We had rented a two-bedroom apartment, which had two baths, kitchen, living room, dining area, and full balcony in the Partenkirchen area. It was only about a 2 block walk to the old downtown part of Partenkirchen, which is beautiful.



FeWo Fiakerhof
Badgasse 19
82467
Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Tel - 08821/57558 ~ Fax - 08821/81603
Email -
erhardt@fiakerhof.de
85 /night + 5 per person for breakfast

- - -

Once again, this was a beautiful place to stay and extremely convenient.

The Partenkirchen Market was the very best of all the markets we visited. It is only held on one day and I had managed to find out that day so we could be there. Garmisch doesn't start their market in the middle of December so we missed it. I think theirs is held daily for about two weeks.

Füssen area

After only one night in Partenkirchen, we headed over to Füssen, once again in hopes of seeing the Alps, but once again not being able to see anything because of the low hanging rain clouds. On this particular day, though, the weather took a change - it became extremely cold and we almost froze.

For some reason, I had great difficulty finding a hotel in Füssen unless we were willing to pay approximately US$135 per night for each room. We decided we didn't want to pay that much so we stayed outside of Füssen.



Gästehaus Fischer am See
Familie Johann Fischer
Uferstrasse 24/25
87629
Hopfen am See
Tel & Fax - 08362/2437
Email -
info@fischer-allgaeu.de
23 - single ~ 52 - double

This place is located right on the lake and probably has a wonderful view of the mountains just across the way. However, we could barely see the lake, much less the mountains, once again because of the clouds. Jane and Erin had a nice large room which faced the lake and had its own private little patio. I had a tiny, tiny little single room, but it was comfortable and wasn't bad for the one night we would be there.



I don't know if I was given the wrong information or what, but Füssen's market was not happening. There were only about six booths set up and had nothing special. So that turned out to be a waste of time when we could have selected another town which had its market in full swing.

This was our last stop before heading back to Frankfurt for our flight home. We stayed at the



Steigenberger Esprix Hotel Frankfurt Airport
Cargo City Süd/Airport Park
60549
Frankfurt
Tel -069/697099 ~ 069/69709444
Email -
Frankfurt@esprix-hotels.de

which seems to be a favorite of many people for their last night before an early flight the following morning.

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