Germany and Austria - January 2007


Awash in buildings erected over ten centuries ago, kicking around cobblestone streets and sloshing around the snow of a mild, January winter; my father and I explore Germany with the same crinkled-eyes my grandfather left here with as a child. Walking on sites that were ruined and rebuilt, staring up at an aged church with domes shaped like onion tops that were narrowly saved by World War II bombs, we can't help but breathe in the history all around us.

Crunching up the gravel path of Dachau, only ten miles outside Munich, it dawns on us that we are only two of millions who have walked here, thousands of whom took their last steps here. 

Sloshing beer in our liter-sized glasses and marveling at the thousand-plus capacity of the hall, we bounce along to the oompah band and bond over the suds in our glasses with the strangers at our communal table. Winding back through the narrow roads of Old Town stepping to the beat of the band still stuck in our heads, we leave, hoping to fill up on hops, sausage, and pretzels again soon. 

Chugging along the small villages on the train route, we gaze at the lush, snow-covered hills of Austria not yet knowing that we would find ourselves in a crystal palace, a movie setting, a salt mine, an Olympic Village, and Mozart's birthplace. 

After a morning of reliving a spinning, singing nun and her troop of rhyming step-children in immortalized set pieces above the city; we found ourselves sliding a few hundred feet down into a salt mine smelling of sulfur. After the tours were done, we spend our last evening in the pink-hued setting of a stag-themed hotel where we shared a chocolate soufflé, a bottle of wine, and conversation and when we clinked to many more father-daughter moments, we knew they wouldn't be as unique as this one.

Places Visited:


  • Ratskeller
  • Rathaus-Glockenspiel, Marienplatz
  • Cathedral Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche, "Onion Towers")
  • Dachau
  • Hofbräuhaus
  • Neuschwanstein Castle (Schwangau, Germany)


  • Swarovski Crystal Worlds (Innsbruck, Austria)
  • Olympia World  (Innsbruck, Austria)
  • Goldener Hirsch Hotel (Salzburg, Austria)
  • The Sound of Music Tour (Multiple sites in Salzburg, Austria)
  • The Salt Mine Berchtesgaden (Bavarian Alps on Austrian/German border)
  • Spirituousen Sporer (Salzburg, Austria)