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Proposed Itinerary (by C):
Monday, May 7 @ 1:20pm depart San Diego and fly in the lap of luxury to Munich through London (note that we’ll have a 3-hour layover in London Tuesday so we’ll probably want to take showers at the BA lounge and will want to pack accordingly)
Tuesday, May 8 @ 6:00pm: arrive Munich airport. Hotel Maximilian in the center of the Altstadt (translates to old town). We have 8:30 dinner reservations at Spatenhof an der Oper (on the more rustic first floor, not in the formal dining room on the second floor), a traditional Bavarian restaurant across the street from the opera house that is supposed to have some of the best Bavarian food in Munich. Then perhaps a nightcap (or liter) at the Hofbrauhaus before passing out at our hotel?
Then we’re in Munich through the morning of May 10, which means we have all day on May 9 to sightsee. Activities to consider: another visit to the Hofbrauhaus or another bierkeller; walking through the old town; visiting the glockenspiel and other sights that look interesting in the Altstadt; getting Mike lots of pretzel bread which is AWESOME in Germany and getting Crystal some kaffee and kuchen (cake) or jam-filled krapfeln (jelly doughnuts) in the afternoon (or for breakfast if we sleep through breakfast at our hotel!). I figure we can figure out dinner for May 9 as the day unfolds.
Thursday, May 10: We have a 9:30am train (first class) to Bolzano (Italy); arrive in Bolzano at 1:29pm and we’ll take a cab down to Kaltern an der See/Calaro del Lago (town has names in both Germany and Italy). We’re staying at the Schlosshotel Aehrental in the center of town.
Possible activities for Thursday afternoon and Friday: beautiful walks through vineyards and fruit orchards and to the lake; visit wineries in the town or outside of town (including a walk to Klosterhof?); do the “wine walk” through and around the town; take the cable car up to the top of the mountain (after Crystal has had some wine); sit on sunny terraces and drink Alto Aldige wine and eat speck (cured ham—kind of like a thicker cut of prosciutto).
Friday, May 11: We have a 3:30 train (first class) to Venice, arriving at Venice’s train station at 6:10pm. We are staying at Bauer’s Il Palazzo in the center of Venice. We don’t have dinner reservations yet for that night, but it may make sense to have the hotel make us a reservation for that night, and then we can either scout out a place for Saturday night or have the hotel make us another reservation.
We’re in Venice through Sunday morning, which means we have all day on Saturday, May 10 to sightsee. Activities? Gondola ride, walking along the Grand Canal and seeing what we find? Are there any museums, churches, palaces, other places that you’d like to see? Perhaps a short music concert (no more than an hour) of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons after a visit to Harry’s Bar and before dinner Saturday night?
Sunday, May 13: We have a 12:20 flight from Venice to Marseille, arriving at 1:45pm. We will pick up our rental car from Avis and drive north. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is about 60 miles north, and Orange (where our hotel is) is about 7 miles north of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Our hotel is called “L’Apropos.” However, I recently came across a very cute looking town that looks like it may be nicer called Vaison La Romaine, which is northeast of Chateauneuf du Pape. Let me know what you think about where we should stay that night. I imagine we may want to stay someplace where we can have dinner?
Perhaps we can do a little exploring in the town and/or Gigondas or other surrounding area that afternoon? Perhaps find a winebar on a castle terrace or a cute medieval town to explore while we drink wine? Let me know if you find anything that looks interesting, and note that a lot of restaurants in France are closed on Sundays and Mondays, so this may determine where we end up going.
Monday, May 14: continue to explore as we make our way north to Lyon. This was the day I suggested we might visit Guigal in Ampuis (which is most of the way to Lyon), but I haven’t heard back from them yet. Let me know if you find anything interesting to do/eat/drink/tour between Orange and Lyon. This is the part of the trip I’ve spend the least amount of time on, and where information seems the hardest to come by because the guidebooks don’t talk much about the region. It would be really cool to do something interesting in Cote Rotie or Hermitage (probably the highest price point of the Rhone wines).
That night we’ll return the car at the Lyon airport, and we’ll check into the hotel which is connected to the Lyon airport. Then we can either cab or take the express train into Lyon, and have dinner in the city that many consider to have the best food in France. I haven’t looked at restaurant possiblities yet, but was thinking something with outdoor seating and/or rustic ambiance?
Then at 8:15am on Tuesday, May 15, we fly home.