by Kathy Kuddes on March 6th, 2016

An Easy Start

​Thankfully, we didn't have any structured activity this morning, so we could sleep off some of the jet lag. The hotel breakfast runs late on Sunday, so we were able to have a big plate of cheese, sausages, delicious pastries, and fresh fruit. My favorite part of breakfast in Europe is the fabulous coffee! I don't know whether it is the spring water or the roast on the beans or a combination of both, but they brew a fantastic cup of joe here!

After breakfast we went down the block to Marienplatz to get cash from the ATM machine and reorient ourselves in old town Munich. We are so thankful that this city government chose to reconstruct the old town after World War 2 because is it really beautiful. Julie Scott and I took a table in the cafe across from the Glockenspiel in the town hall and enjoyed another beautiful coffee and an Apple Strudel while we watched the mechanical show in the clock tower.

City Sites

​We gathered in the hotel lobby just after lunch where we met Tanya, our local guide. We boarded a small tour coach to see the major sites of this charming city. Tanya was a wonderful guide. She shared a ton of local history as we drove through various areas of town. This was the center of power for the Wittlesbach dynasty which ruled Bavaria for nearly 500 years, so the Residenz palace in town and the Nymphenburg "summer" palace on the edge of town (maybe 15 miles from the other palace) were the homes of Maxamillian I & II, Ludwig, Luidpold and other members of the Wittlesbach clan.

​We hopped on and off our little bus several times to get a closer look at various beautiful locations. The first stop was at Max Joseph Platz. This square includes one side of the Residenz, the Opera House and a huge statue of Emperor Max Joseph. Munich has a cluster of incredible Art Museums all within a three block area. We also made a quick stop for photos at the Nympenburg Palace (photo to the left). This expansive palace was built over the reigns of several Emperors of Bavaria. The entrance is accessed via a long lane on either side of a canal that you can imagine the royal sleighs dashing down the lane. The pond in the front is home to a flock of white swans.
We traveled further out of the downtown area to the Olympic Park, built for the tragic 1972 games, when Palestinian terrorists took Israeli athletes hostage and eventual killed them. The stop out here is at the BMW World. The home of "Bavarian Motor Works" (BMW) now has a huge display room for their various lines of automobiles & motorcycles - BMW, Rolls Royce, Cooper Mini and others (group photo above). We saw some fancy cars and had another great coffee. One of the most interesting stops was a bridge over a small branch of a river where the water that been forced over a pipe. Men were surfing on the river (see photo below). The air temperature was about 35 degrees. I can only imagine how could that water must have been!

We concluded the tour back at Marienplatz just in time for the Glockenspiel performance at 5:00 pm. Follow this link to see a video of the Glockenspiel (https://youtu.be/hsfxTyhCzr8) It was a fun afternoon and a great way to get acquainted with the city. There were no group activities planned so I had dinner with my friend and colleague, Kenny Allen, who had hopped over from his current home in Prague to spend the weekend with us. We had a terrific time drinking Bavarian beer and eating Spaetzel. A great first day!

by Kathy Kuddes on March 5th, 2016

Arrival in München

Well, we made it!  Nearly eleven hours of flying and almost six hours of traversing airport later we stepped out of baggage claim in the Bavarian capital, Munich (​München in local Germany).  The first impression you get from the drive to town from the airport is how low to the ground everything is.  There are no 40 story office buildings, rather you see two story farm houses, small local business and fields just beginning to turn a healthy green with the hints of Spring.

Our quintet of travelers arrived at our hotel at about 4:30 in the afternoon.  Hotel Torbräu ​has been in business for 525 years as a hotel and run by the Kirchlechner family for over a century.  IIt sits right in the old town center, just two blocks from the Marienplatz.  The staff is extremely friendly and helpful.  While not a "fancy" hotel by American standards, the rooms a comfortable size, clean and well appointed.  The original building was destroyed by bombing raids on the city in 1944, but it was rebuilt and reopened in 1948 again for guests. 

The best part of a long travel day is having a soothing hot shower upon arrival.  I enjoyed this very much and changed clothes for our group dinner.  Bavarian food & drink - here we come!

Prost to Bavaria!

A little rain had begun since our arrival, so we buttoned up our coats, put on our gloves and raised our hoods or umbrellas and took off down the street to Marienplatz.  Dinner was at the Ratskeller Restaurant in the basemen of the New Town Hall.  We had a long table in the back of the sprawling underground restaurant.  The prearranged menu included a delicious soup or salad, entree selections of fillet of salmon, pork knuckle or a pork loin all with traditional dumplings and other accompaniments and finally a Black Forest Cake or Apple Struddle.  A number of local beers were sampled and we toasted our new home city with the traditional "Prost!"

Now to allow the jet lag and food to take us off into dreamland so we can explore this beautiful city with greater gusto tomorrow.

by Kathy Kuddes on February 27th, 2016


Well, to be honest, I started this website five years ago, and did one introductory blog post and never came back.  Life got full, and I honestly didn't feel as if I had anything to share.  I'm inspired by others who have the ability and dedicate the time to posting regularly.  I know my work life schedule and myself well enough to know that I'm not that person, so I let the whole idea of a blog fall by the wayside.

I am preparing for another of my journeys abroad and always think it is fun to take my friends and colleagues with me via social media.  With that in mind - I am relaunching my blog, primarily as a Travel Log.  Those who are interested in the details of my trip can follow along and I can record my thoughts and impressions while they are fresh in my mind.

Why I Love to Travel

I have always enjoyed the adventure of travel, although I will admit to not being a very adventurous traveler.  I don't travel to undeveloped, third-world countries and sleep in huts or tents without electricity or running water.  If the truth be told, I consider "roughing it" to be flying trans-Atlantic in coach these days.  But I do love the exploration that comes from travel to new locations.

I am blessed with a good ear for languages and a keen interest in them.  While I don't really speak anything besides English in any functional form, I try to learn a few polite phrases in whatever language in order to show respect and appreciation to those who assist me as a foreign traveler in their homeland.  It has never failed to provide me with a smile and hospitable assistance, wherever I've been.

Traveling to any new region can be fascinating, if one is willing to set aside those things that are comfortable and everyday to you, in order to experience the new place in full.  Even traveling in the US can feel foreign if the dialect, customs or tastes are significantly different from your own.  While I love traveling to new areas of my own country, I especially love traveling to other countries.  Particularly in Europe, one gets a sense of just how young the United State of American is as a country when you visit locations that have existed for nearly 1,000 years.

Food, Glorious Food!

Those who know me personally, know I adore food (and drink).  For me, it is the cuisine that truly reveals a place.  Whether it is the most delicious bananas I ever eat in Hawaii, fresh sushi at the Port in Tokyo, Chicken Paprika in Budapest or Hagas in a Pup in Scotland - I'm willing to try almost anything once and often go back for more.  Food tells you about the soil the people have leaved on for generations.  What grows, and what doesn't, at a particular time of the year and the various staples of life in a place.  You won't find me in a McDonalds or KFC overseas, but I'll happily sample the street food in any city.

As for beverages, again, I am open to trying to local specialty.  At home I'm pretty much a Red Wine sort of gal, with the occasional cocktail at special events.  Away from home, I'll try the local wine and beer, and whatever else the people ferment for drinking.  Again, this tells you a lot about what was historically available in a place.  I'm not a heavy drinker, but one sample is a must for me.

Bavaria, Here I Come!

So, on Friday, I will join a group of nine other music educators for a trip to Bavaria, the home of composer Carl Orff and his colleague Guinuld Keetman.  We will fly to historic Munch to begin our pilgrimage where we will visit the Orff Zentrum where the Orff Archives reside, then travel into the Alps to visit a couple of schools, Orff's farm and his grave at a local monastery, then continue on to beautiful Salzburg for lessons at the Orff Institute.

The hills are alive with the sound of music here, and we shall be contributing our own songs to the atmosphere.  I'll be posting here, as I have reliable internet, with commentary on our daily adventures and pictures along the way.  I hope you'll follow along.

no categories