Here's some of the pictures from our trip, in chronological order:
We flew into Vienna via Delta in Atlanta. We got delayed there, although it was bearable as we were in Business Elite instead of coach. If you've not experienced it, save some miles to do so at least once in your life.The Rathaus, ViennaHofburg, Vienna. The tour was distinctive, I'll give it that. I loved the voice of the audio guide, but he was way too long-winded.
Schonbrunn Palace, outside Vienna. Same audio guide, much more succinct, much better. The grounds are incredible here.
St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. This was cool, but alas, the main spire was undergoing restorative work.
Melk Abbey, Austria. We drove through here on the way to Salzburg and didn't know about it at first. Are we glad we stopped! This was, without question, one of the best cathedrals I've ever been in. It was absolutely incredible and ruined the insides of every other church we went to.
Salzburg, Austria. This was quite possibly our favorite place we went to. The city was incredibly compact, we were able to see everything in about a day and walk everywhere, but it had an amazing feel. The Mozart houses were certainly interesting, although one of them just went on forever. The audio tour felt like "we don't have enough interesting information, so here's 20 minutes of Mozart's music while you're standing around." I have an iPod, thank you. Give me the info and be done, not a concert on my little hand held device. The castle was amazing though, very cool stuff.
Salzburg, Germany. Salzburg's claim to fame is The Sound of Music, for some reason or another. I'm not a fan of it, and I'm less so after seeing a little YouTube clip of the "Do, a deer..." song. My wife's mom had them reenact that song when she was young and they were there, and we did it again, far less seriously. Here I am as Julie Andrews.
Obersalzburg, Germany. This here is Eagles' Nest, the famed gift for Hitler that got turned into a restaurant.
Obersalzburg, Germany again. This is part of the miles of bunkers that run underneath the Alps here. They built them to withstand heavy bombing as well as an all-out frontal assault. They were definitely a highlight of the trip.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. This castle put every other one to shame. Part of that is because it's newer and part is because they have done a great job with it. The whole thing, from the views of the valley and mountains to the interior is absolutely awe-inspiring. Let me just say that, despite the Wagnerian themes that are used throughout, it's a castle that anybody could be happy with. I don't know much Wagner other than "O Fortuna" so I'm not a good one to ask about all the themery.
Wieskirche, Germany. This was the only other really remarkable interior of a church that I saw. It was amazing, but in a very different way than Melk. Add up the donuts that were being sold right across the way from it and you have a good looking, delicious combination.
Garmisch, Germany. This is the Zugspitze, the tallest mountain(s?) in Germany. The way the clouds got trapped in the middle was very, very cool.
Munich, Germany. Apparently our Lord and Savior is in the Rolex business now, as He has a chain of stores throughout Germany.
Munich, Germany. Go to the Hofbrauhaus, whether you drink or not. It's a true German experience that you have to see (and hear!) to believe. The rest of the city was impressive as well, but not as much so as other parts of the trip.
Dachau, Germany. If there's one thing that everyone on this planet should do, it's visit a concentration camp. There's nothing else that can help you to truly see what Hitler did to the Jews and other opponents nor the true depth of evil that was the Nazi philosophy. This took the better part of a day to visit, and I wouldn't have wanted to do anything else. Absolutely astounding, and this one isn't even that "evil" in the classic, "killed millions of people" way that Auschwitz and Treblinka were.
Nuremberg, Germany. This was a very cool, typical German city. Things were much less expensive here, which I appreciated. They got pretty hammered during World War II, so I was impressed with the restorative work here that kept the feel of an old-timey German town.
Heidelberg, Germany. If anything, this got World War II worse than Nuremberg. As a result, it felt more like Japan to me than any other place we went. From the train station that was the central hub of the city to the somewhat faithful reproductions of everything in site, it reminded me of so much I've seen before
Frankfurt, Germany. (New York + Tokyo + Germany + London)/4. This is the same as any other big city in the world. It was an amazing contrast from the rest of the country that we'd seen. There was very little attempt to old-timey it and they just went straight for Financial Capital of Germany.