Greetings to the Ziner travelers:

We went as a group to Germany and Austria, returning on the 19th of October. We had just a few cancelations, but over 30 of us went anyway. We had the most wonderful weather in both countries. We had planned for it to be considerably cooler, but hardly ever needed more than a light jacket. We mostly stayed in smaller, family operated hotels, and the food was just great. Here are some notes that might be of interest.

BERLIN - By all means, go to the museum at Checkpoint Charlie. In reading the TravelZine messages that came in while I was gone, I see that someone else recommended it, and I do agree. We spent quite a while in there, and it was hard to leave. Seeing how desperately people fought for their freedom makes us appreciate ours all the more.

POTSDAM - Beautiful suburb of Berlin. Saw where the Potsdam Treaty was worked out.

NUREMBERG - Beautiful Old Town, walled, colorful, nice town to walk around in.

SALZBURG - Do take the cog train up to the fortress.

INNSBRUCK - You need time here. Shopping is good and we thought the prices were reasonable. SEEFELD, AUSTRIA - We spent several days here, in a lovely hotel, taking day trips. Beautiful little village, shops, etc. We never needed to locate a restaurant because BR and DN were included every day. The meals were more than fabulous.

OBERAMMERGAU - I've been there before, and was disappointed. Too many shops with all the same stuff, prices very high - but all hand carved wooden things. My opinion only. NEUSCHWANSTEIN - This is not for the faint of heart. You can take the castle bus (or horse carriages) part way up, then you WALK up hills until you're worn out. The castle wasn't too bad, but if you've got bad knees or something, one flight of stairs had 123 steps.

LINDERHOF PALACE - Close to the big one, but so beautiful ! Gold, gold, gold, everywhere. Our guide told us the castle Ludwig built at Chimsee (sp?) was more beautiful than both of these. It's on an island as you drive south from Munich to Austria, so you reach it by boat. Sorry we missed it.

A very special place was the Church in The Meadow at WIESKIRCHE, considered to be the finest rococo style church in Europe. It is the most beautiful church I've ever seen. Takes your breath away. But the story behind it was what made it very special. There is a little shop right outside where they are making fresh Kucherl (a fried pastry) which we all had to try.

STORE HOURS - Stores usually close at 6:00, but on Saturday they close about 2:00 p.m. and don't open on Sunday. We had to revise our schedule because somebody forgot that. No one wants to arrive in Salzburg when it's all closed up.

AIRPORT SECURITY - It was tighter than usual, we saw more police than usual, more of our bags were searched. Flights were NOT empty as we thought they might be. I would estimate they were 70-80% full.