Wagner Festspiele

One of Dave's "lifelist" items was to see Der Ring des Niebelungs in Wagner's own theater in Bayreuth. The Wagner family still presents Wagner's epic operas in the theater Wagner designed himself in Bayreuth, northern Bavaria. The Ring is a set of four operas depicting the arcane struggle for supremacy in the world of gods, giants, nibelungs, and man.

Dave has always loved the Ring and in about 2002 decided to apply for tickets. Every September, he would send in the green form with the request for tickets. Finally in 2010 the letter came with the confirmation that we had finally floated up the list and we're headed to Europe that Summer.

As with almost all our vacations, we centered the trip around the signature event with fixed dates. The Ring cycle is not performed every year but is skipped now and then for some unfathomable reason (to me at least). I believe 2011 is one of those years BTW.

Our trips to Europe have typically been about three weeks. We really believe that two weeks is not really enough to become fully acclimated and enjoy the experience. As we get older it seems to take longer and longer to deal with the jet lag (although Dave has a pretty good method - at least for the eastbound leg which is the tough one). So we looked for some other things to do. The result was side trips to:

The first order of business was procuring a place to stay in Bayreuth. Dave's German used to be quite good but a lack of use has resulted in a very limited vocabulary. But the internet has certainly made things much easier and we found a nice hotel at a fairly reasonable rate. We chose the Hotel Goldener Lwe (Lion). It's a short walk to the center of Bayreuth and a long walk to the Festspielhaus. Highly recommended.

We should have checked out the bus system since there was a stop right across the street and the weekly pass is not expensive. We usually walk everywhere but this Summer was to be very cool (nice) and rainy (not so nice) in Europe while it was sweltering in the US.

Outline for the rest:

flight prep

flight

rental car - gps problem

rhine/Mosel

Bastonge/Belgian Friteur

Eifel

Bayreuth/ring

Vienna

Overnight through Czech Republic

Krakow/Auschwitz/Salt Mine

Warsaw

Berlin

epilog