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There are many advantages to visiting Europe in the early spring


Even though spring is sometimes a no-show in April in Europe, it's still a great month to be there. At least for us. I'd rather not hear English spoken in the breakfast room; I like staying in an almost empty resort hotel; the crowds are thin even at the three-star sights, and a bowl of soup and a beer taste all the better after a two-hour walk on a chilly, rainy morning.

In Munich, we met a neighbor who's been living in Paris for a year but who had never been to Bavaria. We showed him the Wieskirche, that wonderful Rococo church in a meadow near Oberammergau, Munich's Nymphenburg Palace (especially the glorious carriages of the Wittelsbach family) and Linderhof, for my money the wackiest but most endearing of the three castles commissioned by the maligned Bavarian king, Ludwig II. (Ludwig wasn't "mad," by the way, simply different. Alive today, he'd probably be running a terrific little hotel - on second thought a terrific big hotel - in San Francisco.)

Over the past 17 years we have made at least half a dozen visits to each of these sights and never have we seen them with fewer visitors.

Our only al fresco meal was at the Wieskirche, where we had a lunch of Leberkndel soup, Würstsalat and beer at a table in the sunshine. Afterwards, however, our attempt to reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen via some very back (gravel), backroads failed because they were still under four feet of snow.

Sightseeing, local transportation, tours, day excursions from Salzburg