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Standard Tour

Church

The paperwork is done, you finally get to drive your new Mercedes-Benz and break it in on the Autobahn. When leaving the Mercedes-Benz Delivery Center, it's only a few blocks before you hit the Autobahn to Singen, heading south toward the "Bodensee" (Lake Constance) and on to Konstanz (Constance), my hometown. The city is one of the two oldest cities in Germany, built over 2,000 years ago by the Romans, and you can still see the houses, city walls and towers around the old part of the city. The gothic cathedral (right) is almost 1,100 years old, it's the church where I was an altar boy in my younger years. The spire is 78 meters high and in May of 2009 I made it a personal challenge to once again go up the 272 stairs to the top, and yes, I made it. You'll have a splendid view of the lake and neighboring Switzerland. On a clear day you might even be able to see Austria at the other end of the lake.


Here you could stay at a hotel that used to be a former monastery hotellocated on a small island right on the lake and within a few feet of the old town. The Steigenberger Insel Hotel (right) is a 5-star property and one of the best hotels in Konstanz. You can spend a whole day exploring this romantic old city, and top it off with a visit to one of the excellent local cafes for "Kaffee und Kuchen" (coffee and cake), and in the evening have dinner at one of the restaurants, enjoying some fine food, good beer and excellent wines from this region.


House

Next day your itinerary takes you across the border to Switzerland. You could take a quick side-trip to Zurich, only 35 miles away. If not, drive along Lake Constance towards Romanshorn, almost at the other end of the lake just before you reach Austria. Then drive around the end of the lake and reenter Germany to get to Lindau, a quaint little city with its harbor and old medieval houses. Here you could stay at the Hotel Villino, a Mercedes-Benz contract hotel. Enjoy the annual summer music festivals on the neighboring island of Bregenz, which belongs to Austria. If you are a hiker or mountain climber, there are plenty of day trips into the mountains of Vorarlberg, one of the states of the Republic of Austria.


Schwangau

From Lindau it's only a good hour to the famous Castle of Neuschwanstein, designed and built by mad King Ludwig II. of Bavaria. While here you can also visit Hohenschwangau Castle which he had built to accommodate his mother-in-law just down the street. And if you want to make it a complete castle day, you might as well visit Schloss Linderhof (see photo below)Linderhof Castle, an absolutely stunning Baroque Palace, the smallest one of the three castles. It is filled with much gold and glitz, and no less than ten different kinds of Marble were used on the inside. The King even engineered the fountain in front of the castle, which spouts much higher than the height of the palace. Ludwig's glorious creations are a glimpse into a by-gone era, but visiting them can bring back a bit of romance and mystery!


CityThe final leg of your journey could be returning the car to Sindelfingen and to fly out of Stuttgart. Or you could drive to the nearby Bavarian capital of Munich, one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Germany. If you have three or four extra days, by all means, spend them in Munich. There is so much to see and to do in this great and lively city. We lived there for eight years and still have seen only a fraction of the sights and sounds of this wonderful city. Visit nearby Berchtesgaden, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze (2,962 meters high), or some typical quaint villages like Mittenwald. Only an hour away, across the Austrian border, you can visit Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. And then, when you think you've seen it all, turn in your car at the shipping agency. Now you're ready to leave - unless - you changed your mind and decided to stay in the Old Country?