It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Wurst of Times

November 9, 2022

NOTE: We’re home! The following two posts tell the story of our recent European adventure...

Germany and Austria are incredible countries to visit, just a two hour train ride apart between Munich and Salzburg. Both cities have Old Towns and more modern areas. In both, as is our pattern, we got really turned around walking from place to place, even with GPS. 

There are some differences. Munich is near Dachau (where we visited the concentration camp, so sad and powerful). Salzburg isn’t near much except more Alps. In Munich it is necessary to take trams to get from one side of the city to the other; Salzburg is eminently walkable. Munich has a famous glockenspiel in Marienplatz, with figurines that move around on the tower face every few hours. Salzburg has The Sound of Music, which everyone seems to adore, but about which we are lukewarm. We prefer the city’s Mozart everything—his birthplace, his residence, the cathedral where many of his works were performed. Mozart square and statue too. But yes, if you want, you can see the spot where “Do-Re-Mi” was filmed. Whatever floats your boat.

Many similarities as well. Such as, beer. Beer is available everywhere, all the time, and it’s both delicious and really cheap. At our first Munich lunch at an outdoor café, we asked for regular size beers and were served large steins; we later noticed that there was another, much larger size, favored by the young people eating and drinking near us. Language: German, though everyone speaks decent-to-great English. Food: lots of schnitzel (veal and pork) and wursts--sausage of all kinds, from Munich’s weisswurst to Salzburg’s bosna (curry sausage)—to the point where I do wonder how vegetarians navigate in these Lands of Meat. 

Other very local specialties include Germany’s döner kebap, actually a Turkish dish with lots and lots of grilled meat (surprise!), wrapped in a special bread. Then there’s Salzburger nockerl, a dessert found only here. I ordered it for dessert in a restaurant one night, and learned to make it the next day at the Edelweiss Cooking School. Nockerl’s a kind of souffle shaped like the three mountains of the city, and even eating one “mountain” is overwhelming. 

I’m writing this in Salzburg on Tuesday. We just toured Mirabell Palace and gardens, and we’re back at our Airbnb taking a break. Our days have been full, but we’ve learned about the value of a little pacing, and afternoon naps (or maybe we’re just getting old.) Later we’ll attempt a hike up Mönchsberg (Monk’s Mountain), before dinner and a Mozart (natch) concert up at the Fortress Hohensalzburg overlooking the city. 

Tomorrow we leave for Vienna, the next stop in our magical mystery tour. We anticipate more museums, palaces, concerts and beer. And meat. Lots more meat. Good thing we’re averaging many miles of walking per day (my Fitbit thinks it’s attached to the arm of an entirely different person).

Do I miss home and fam? Of course. But would I have missed this phenomenal experience with Steve? Not on your life.

Auf Wiedersehen!


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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