Adventure in Bavaria and Austria
|Climb ev'ry mountain|
Although both countries will soon be using the Euro, you currently find Deutschmarks in Germany (about DM 2 to $1) and Schillings in Austria (about ATS 15 to $1). It may be a little confusing to calculate the American equivalent when bouncing between the two countries, but it's good for your brain.
What do the locals speak? The simple answer is German. But the Austrian and Bavarian versions of the language can be hard to translate if you're expecting High German (or if you don't speak German at all). If you begin with the proper civilities (Gru_Gott works for most of Austria and Bavaria), the locals tend to be more receptive to English (it's spoken in a lot of places) or shoddy German.
Ah, the Alpine environment. As far as elevation goes, remember that 70 degrees in the valley may mean 30 on the summit. The mountain ranges also create their own weather, so expect a lot of changeÂ—from pouring rain one day to blue sky the next. The best of summer offers little humidity and temperatures that range from the 70s to the 90s. Winter piles on the snow from about November to March, and the mercury really plummets in January and February.
You can get your kicks piloting a German-made driving machine on the Autobahn (suggested speed: 80 miles per hour, minimum), but mass transit is the traveler's transportation staple, being affordable, wide-ranging, and efficient. Most of these towns and villages are navigable via bus, tram, or subwayÂ—even by foot or bike. Unless you're really at a loss, there's no need to cough up for a taxi. Traveling between destinations, regular trains and busses will connect you with little trouble.
With so many hotels, hostels, and pensions to choose from, here are a few recommendations:
Innsbruck: Hotel Europa Tyrol
While the location is niceÂ—right across from the train station, and within walking distance of the old townÂ—it's the elegant decor and impeccable service that makes this a five-star hotel. Sample traditional Tyrolean fare at its best in the Europastberl restaurant.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Hotel Garmischer Hof
Within walking distance of the train station and most shops and restaurants, the Garmischer Hof offers friendly service and pleasant rooms with balcony views of the Bavarian Alps.
(011-49-88-21-911-0; email@example.com; www.garmischer-hof.de)
Munich: Euro Youth Hotel
If you're in the mood for offbeat, low-budget lodging, set up camp here amongst college grads on the backpacker circuit. Besides the excellent locationÂ—across from the main train station and a high-speed Internet cafe, and within walking distance of the main squareÂ—this hostel also offers free showers, lockers on deposit, and a bar in the lobby serving $2 pints of the local Augustiner brew.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication