For our last full day in Germany before returning to the USA, we decided to go on an excursion to see Schloss Neuschwanstein (translated literally: “Castle New Swan Stone”), the fairy tale castle of “Mad King Ludwig” (King Ludwig II) of Bavaria. To get to Neuschwanstein we used the last of our 10-day Eurail Pass, … Continue reading

Reich Tour

Before this trip, when someone mentioned Munich, I thought of Oktoberfest, Biergärten and Lederhosen. But I suppose that Americans and Europeans of my parents’ (and their parents’) generation associate the city with something much more sinister than Lager and pretzels: Munich is the birthplace of the Nazi Party and the political career of Adolph Hitler. … Continue reading

Dear Abbey

The town of Melk, where we spent the night, is the site of the Stift Melk, a Benedictine abbey that sits 200 feet above the Danube. Originally founded in 1089, a monastic school and scriptorium were added during the next century and the abbey became known for its manuscripts and library long before the invention … Continue reading

Let’s Talk Turkey

Friday was Art Day for us as we set out to see the exhibits of reknowned Austrian painters Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and Egon Schiele (1890-1918) who, I subsequently learned, were of the Vienna Secessionist movement which turned its back on the realistic historical style of mainstream Austrian artists and worked in a contemporary, impressionistic mode. … Continue reading

Mardi Graz

On Tuesday (“Mardi” in French), we went on the scenic train ride known as the Südbahn, the Austrian Southern Railway, over the Semmering Pass to Austria’s second largest city, Graz (pop. 265,000), the capital of the Austrian state of Styria. Leaving Vienna, the country’s largest city with 1,725,000 residents, we traveled through relatively flat countryside … Continue reading

Civics Class

I remember taking Civics class in Junior High School and learning how government works. Government has always fascinated me and later, in law school, I took both local government law and international comparative law, studying the interplay within the United States’ governmental hierarchy, as well as the different systems and forms of government around the … Continue reading

Check Me Out

The Hofburg Palace complex contains several museums, in addition to one of the two royal residences, the treasury and the Spanish riding school. It also is home to the Austrian National Library, the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Around the back side of the National Library, and somewhat hard to find, is the Prunksaal (the State Hall) that … Continue reading


After spending a couple days just walking around the city center getting our bearings and looking at magnificent structures from the street, we finally settled on our first excursion, the Hundertwasserhaus. According to Wikipedia, the artist, Friedrich Stowasser, was born in Vienna in 1928. After World War 2, he studied art briefly at the Academy … Continue reading


Everybody has heard of Munich’s Oktoberfest, but did you know that it has a rival in the Spring? Well it does: the Stuttgarter Frülingsfest, also known as the Cannstatter Wasen, held every year in Stuttgart between the middle of April and the end of May. Its the largest Spring festival in Europe! And we were … Continue reading