Our readers recommend hotels in Trier and on the Rhine.

Whither the General Walker?

I am wondering if you or any Gemütlichkeit staff or readers has any information on the former General Walker Hotel (on the Obersalzburg outside Berchtesgaden).

The US Military returned the property to the Germans back in 1996 or 1997. When I visited in October of 1997 the hotel was closed and starting to get somewhat overgrown.

As a property that is steeped in history, it could be a spectacular alpine hotel with the right renovation and hotel operator. I was wondering if anyone has taken over the hotel, renovated and is operating it or if it still sits idle. Any idea?

Tad Kegelmeyer

Via email

(Ed. Note: The people who might know publish the R&R Space-A Report, a travel publication for retired military. Phone them at 703-237-0203 or visit their website at www.militaryliving.com)

Poor Rail Design

I have been employed in the railroad industry since 1978 and therefore have a special affinity for train travel. I agree with your analysis of the relative advantages of train vs. car in Europe.

I, too, do not understand why first the Americans (Metroliners), and now the Europeans, have chosen to emulate the airlines in the interior design of their most modern trains, including those infernal "rifle slot" windows you mentioned last month in the "Dear Subscriber" column. Don't they understand that at least some of us ride the train in order to SEE the scenery?

We have experienced the ICE in Germany, the Pendolino in Italy, and the Italian/Swiss Cisalpino, all with little bitty windows. We now take first-class seats on the regular express trains in preference. It's less hectic, cheaper, and you can see more. I think the railway staff keep the big windows cleaner, too.

Larry DeYoung

Flemington, NJ

Hospitality in Trier

We just returned from another wonderful trip to Germany, and would once again like to define the word "gemütlichkeit."

Our trip began at the Frankfurt airport with our pickup of our rental vehicle through your agency. We were upgraded to a "classic Mercedes," with no request from ourselves and sent happily on our way to Trier.

Our visit to this lovely Mosel city always includes the Hotel Petrisberg (Sickingenstrasse 11-13, D-54296 Trier, tel. +49/0651/4640, fax 46450) and the family Pantenberg. As usual, we were not disappointed. Herr Pantenberg had arranged a visit from the first violinist and a retired pianist from the Trier Philharmonic Orchestra. These two gentlemen enthusiastically played, sang and humorously entertained us and a group of Herr Pantenberg's friends and family for over three hours. The wine flowed - all supplied by our hosts - as well as snacks, etc.

When I tried to offer compensation for this wonderful evening, it was refused, with the comment "Oh no Herr McGowan, but you are our guests." What better start to our tour could we have found? As usual this wonderful hotel and family, showed us why the term "gemütlichkeit" has such full meaning.

A word in closing, the Hotel Europa in Mainz, a city hotel, leaves much to be desired, another reason to stay outside the city environs on departure night. However, the little town of Oberwesel on the Rhine, is a little jewel, and a stay at the Castle auf Schönburg (D-55430, tel. +49/06744/93930, fax 1613) is something not to be missed if at all possible.

Again, thanks for leading us to the Hotel Petrisberg, five stays later it only improves.

Colin McGowan

Via email

* (U.S. Dollar prices quoted in this issue may be inaccurate for these reasons:

* Prices in local currency have not been updated since the date of publication of this newsletter, and...

* The dollar prices shown were obtained by using exchange rates in effect at the time of publication.)

June 2000