Friday, October 11, 2013

Karlovy Vary

Karlovy Vary is about 2 hours away from Graf in the Czech republic and makes a feasible daytrip option or an easy 2-day weekend trip. We've done both versions. When we stayed overnight we used to reserve the fantastically reasonable Residence Certovka, complete with children's playground, secure parking lot and fully furnished apartment.

When we're in Karlovy Vary we like to stroll the promenade, sip the strange waters out of the unique straw-handled cups, and take the funicular railway. The latter is not the most overwhelming experience, but we're big train fans so we do it.

We've been to two of the swimming pools: the rooftop pool on top of Hotel Thermal, and the indoor pool at the Elizabeth Spa. They were both fairly simple pools, with the Elizabeth having a bit of a kids' area and some jet-stream areas. I think the main attraction is the fact that the pool water has some thermal spring water in it, and they may both be a little overpriced, but swimming is a nice family activity that entertains the kids after a long car ride.

Lots of restaurants along the main street offer good food, and shoppers will find crystal, furs, and untold other treasures in the area. ATMs and money changers abound.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Galaxy Waterslide Paradise near Munich

On our way back from Salzburg, we stopped overnight in Munich and had to hit the self-proclaimed "biggest waterslide paradise" of Europe. With 20 slides, there was something for everyone in the family, from the three baby slides to the one reserved for 16-year olds and up. Galaxy Waterslide Paradies is connected to a large outdoor/ indoor pool complex that contains therapeutic thermal spring waters.

We arrived early on a weekday and had no crowds to contend with plus an early-bird discount-- definitely the way to go.  However, beware-- the slides are only open early on days that Bavarian schools are on vacation.  Check the website or give them a call for more specific information.

The indoor baby pool area was entertaining but in need of some updates, and there were relaxation extras (massages, etc.) available at an additional price. They're building a wave pool and continue to work on new slide action.

All in all we lucked out with the cheap family entry (early bird), low crowds, and convenient location right off the travel route back. I hope others can fare the same! Note-- at the time that we went, they were not familiar with the VAT form, but with the cheaper entry price it became less important.