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Steve and I departed LA on April 19th on a non-stop flight to Munich. Our principal motivation for the trip was to attend Frühlingsfest, the spring version of Oktoberfest. It is held at the same location and has the same general format as Oktoberfest but is somewhat smaller. We particularly wanted to be there for the opening ceremony which was held in the afternoon on April 21. Valerie and I were in Munich for Frühlingsfest in 2019 and attended the opening ceremony during which the weather was rainy and chilly. This time, we were very fortunate to have beautiful blue skies and mild temperatures. And we were able to get into line to receive a free souvenir 1 liter stein.
After we got our stein filled with beer, we followed the beer wagons and the band on a short parade onto the festival grounds. This was the official start for Frühlingsfest 2023. Over the next four days we enjoyed more visits to Frühlingsfest as well as other delightful aspects of the city of Munich. In Munich, we stayed at the Bold Hotel München which was very convenient with a 10 minute walk to Frühlingsfest.
On April 25th, we took a train from Munich to Vienna. Vienna is the capital city of Austria with its 2 million inhabitants representing about 1/3 of the total population of the country and making it the 6th largest city by population in the European Union. The historical center of the city, known as Innere Stadt, contains many grand buildings, including the Hofburg. The Hofburg, built in the 13th century is the principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty. Since 1946, it is the official residence and workplace for the president of Austria. We also visited Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburg rulers.
We had 4 and 1/2 days in which to enjoy Vienna. While here we stayed at the Graben Hotel which is located just steps away from Stephansplatz in the heart of Vienna.
From Vienna, we reversed direction, taking the train back west to Salzburg. “Salz” is the German word for salt which tells you how Salzburg got its start. It is also home to the Fortress of Hohensalzburg, one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe which dates from the 11th century.
Initially, we visited the Stiegl Brewery and Hangar-7 at Salzburg Airport which houses the Flying Bulls aircraft fleet and a collection of Formula One race cars. We also had an excellent walking tour of the city and made the trek up to the fortress. Salzburg is a well preserved city with beautiful Baroque architecture framed by the Alps. In Salzburg we stayed at Hotel Cocoon Salzburg which was a few steps from the central train station.
This was important since on the day of our departure, we needed to take a train from Salzburg to the Munich airport for a 12:20pm departure to LAX. We took a 6:40am train that got us to the airport with ample time to spare.