Tuesday, Sept 24:
The flight over was uneventful. I noticed that our breakfast on the plane is tending more like what the US airlines offer, not as satisfying as breakfasts on Lufthansa in the past.
For the first time in over 10 years, I found my arrival in Frankfurt somewhat challenging. Since my last arrival in Frankfurt (2008), they have added a new concourse, also called 'A', parallel to the access road. It's very long and only part of it has moving sidewalks, so it's a long, slow walk to the beginning of the concourse - to immigration and the train stations.
German Rail has been slipping as far as on-time arrivals. Just before our ICE arrived at Frankfurt airport, another ICE arrived on the same platform, 40 minutes late. Our ICE to Mannheim was about 15 minutes late, but the ICE from Mannheim to Karlsruhe, which was supposed to leave 13 minutes after we arrived, waited a few minutes to allow us to catch it.
Our hotel in Bad Wildbad was only the second 3* hotel in which I have ever stayed. It was spotlessly clean, but so have been all German hotels I have stayed in.
Wednesday, Sept 25:
Today was a more or less relaxing day. We soaked in the hot water of the Spa and walked around town. We had dinner in a hotel restaurant across the street from the Enz river.
Thursday, Sept 26:
I had originally planned on stopping in the town of Calw, but with the connections I could find, our arrival in
Sigmaringen would have been after 6 PM, which I didn't want, so we skipped Calw and arrived earlier. We did take the train down the scenic Schwarzwaldbahn rail line from Offenburg past Triberg to Donaueschingen, the headwaters of the Danube.
We are staying for the next two nights in a hotel in a building originally built in 1722 - fortunately since renovated - below the thousand year old Hohenzollern castle.
Friday, Sept 27:
Today we toured the castle in Sigmaringen. The castle was began in the 11th century, but most of the original castle has been built over; most of the existing castle was finish around the 16th century. The living quarters were rebuilt in the late 1900s following a fire started by electricians installing electricity in the castle.
Saturday, Sept 28:
We traveled from Sigmaringen to Fischen im Allgäu, stopping at Friedrichshafen to see the Zeppelin Museum and in Lindau.
I had asked the manager of the apartment building where we will stay in Fischen to pick us up at the train station, as offered on their website. He had not responded to the request, and when we arrived at the station at the specified time, no one was there to meet us. Fortunately there was a taxi at the station.
We took the taxi to the apartment building, but no one was there to admit us. Fortunately, again, some young people staying the building had the code for the key box by the door and opened it for us. Inside was an envelope with my name and a key to the apartment. Apparently he was in Munich Saturday night enjoying Oktoberfest and had sent information about the key box and the code by email after
we left for Germany.
We went this evening to the grocery store and bought meat and cheese, butter, jam, yogurt, and coffee for breakfast. I filled out a form for breakfast roll service and left it in the box by the office.
Sunday, Sept 29
I awoke this morning at around 8 o'clock. Outside the apartment door was a paper sack with the ordered rolls, freshly baked earlier in the morning. Well, at least something is going right.
Well, just barely. Just after noon, we walked down to the Kurhaus to get our Bus and Bahn pass, which would give us unlimited use of all the buses and trains in the valley, so we can go up to Oberstdorf. On Sundays, the Kurhaus is only open from 10 to noon. Oh, well, we could still walk around town and look at all of the closed businesses.
The weather is very overcast. As well look out the window, across the valley, the clouds are so low we can't see the mountain tops.
Monday, Sept 30
Things are improving. We've finally figured out the TV menus and have CNN, so we can follow the news, including the government shutdown. I've been trying for a day to get on the internet. Today another network suddenly appeared and I could log onto it. ?! So now I have Internet access - very slow access, but access.
We walked around town. Shops and all the restaurants are open. So is the Kurhaus. I got our Bus and Bahn pass.
My report continues here
with Week two.