Switzerland, Germany, Austria

Old Jun 9th, 2022, 06:14 PM
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Switzerland, Germany, Austria

My wife & I (both 77) are considering a trip in early September to Switzerland, Germany, & Austria. We would be flying out of Houston (IAH). My wife's great-grandmother was from Schaffhausen, Switzerland, so she would like to do some genealogical research into her maternal family there. After Schaffhausen, nothing else is considered at this point. I know Munich is a short trip from Schaffhausen. Innsbruck and Salzburg are not far away. The total number of days would be approximately 14 - 18 days. It is already June so time is of the essence if we are going to get a trip planned, reservations made, etc. I thought about including Zermatt but have the feeling that it is a tourist city and other than gorgeous scenery, it may not have much more other than looking at the Matterhorn and riding the cog train up to Gornergrat.

We enjoy history, museums, art, and music (I play cornet in a British-style brass band). I always have a camera with me.
My wife is not able to lug heavy luggage all over creation so keeping transportation simple is a goal. Based on what I have above, what are your thoughts?
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Old Jun 10th, 2022, 03:46 PM
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Oktoberfest in Munich starts September 17. So if you want to visit Munich, you need to get hotel reservations now. You could avoid the maximum crowds by visiting the city before Sept. 17. How much time do you figure on spending in Schaffhausen? You could fly in an out of Zurich, and do a round trip: Schaffhausen, Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck and leave from Zurich. Trains would be the most convenient form of ground transportation.

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Old Jun 10th, 2022, 07:41 PM
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Why not stick to Switzerland? Pick another couple places there. I'm partial to Lac Leman region, outside Geneva, cities/towns like Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux. Use the train (excellent system) to get around. Include Bern. Maybe fly into Zurich then out of Geneva?
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Old Jun 12th, 2022, 02:58 AM
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If you like outstanding museums, Munich is a good place. Basel (1 hr down the Rhine river from Schaffhausen, trains every hr) could keep you busy a few days too. For open air museums, check the Lake dweiings museum at Untruhldingen (not far from Schaffhausen too), the Swiss village museum at Brienz, the Ecomusee d'Alsace close to Mulhouse or the prehistoric rock dwellings at Capo di Ponte (South of Bernina).
Mountains are best for hiking on scenic trails in an unspoilt landscape. There are furthermore many thermal baths with mineral water coming just out of the mountain and tons of castles and pold churches, as anywhere in Switzerland.
Charming medieval cities around Shaffhausen: Stein am Rhein, Engen, Rottweil, Laufenburg (tiny), Bern, Murten, Lucerne, Bellinzona.....
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Old Aug 7th, 2022, 06:26 PM
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OK, time has passed and September is out for a trip to Schaffhausen, etc. Now, we think we can get away in October. I think we can devote up to 3 weeks for this trip. We want to do some family genealogy work in Schaffhausen. I've tried reaching out to two chamber of commerce-type organizations in Schaffhausen but have received no replies. I am still looking for a genealogical organization there to contact prior to a visit so we don't waste a lot of time. I assume we should be able to do this research and some local sightseeing in 3 or 4 days.
The rest of the trip should give us at least 12 to 14 days to see other places. At this point, I believe the easiest place for us to fly to is Zurich. From there, trains appear to be the best mode of travel for two 77-year-olds. We could rent a car and drive but I'm not excited about dealing with traffic, parking, weather, etc.
Because of the time of year, weather, and event schedules, are there things going on that we should make an effort to see or do? As you can tell, this is primarily a family history search for my wife. The rest of the time is a blank dry-erase board.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 04:59 AM
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In October, days will get shorter and foggier (especially in the midlands), Rhine river boats and Lake Constance boats as well as many mountain railways will no longer run in the second half of October.
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 12:33 PM
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Some things are not simple. Now, this trip started out as a genealogical expedition to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, to research my wife's ancestors. We were going to try and build in a couple of weeks of vacation time in our schedule in addition to Schaffhausen. Now, we might throw in a week in Romania/Transylvania to search out information about my maternal grandparents. I'm trying to find information about the two villages they were born in. Google Earth does not know the names so I assume they may no longer exist as functioning towns. I've emailed the Romanian Tourism folks to see if they can tell me where the villages were.

Regardless, I think we now ought to devote up to a week in Romania and start in Bucharest. After a few days in the Schaffhausen area and maybe a few days in Zurich, I would like to also spend a few days in the Munich vicinity. We could fly from Texas to Zurich and use trains to travel to Schaffhausen, Munich, etc. Getting from Zurich/Munich, etc., the train might be the best mode of transportation to Bucharest. We might have to rent a car there to visit remote towns/villages in Transylvania. After all of that, we could either take the train or fly back to Zurich for the flight back to the US.
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Old Aug 17th, 2022, 01:06 PM
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Use Rome2rio to help you with your transport questions. I've never known anyone who went to Bucharest by train from Zürich. It's too far away.
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Old Aug 18th, 2022, 05:29 PM
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The Romanian names for the two villages are:
Viile Tecii
Posmus

Since I think the most economic flight for us to take is a round-trip from the US to Zurich. Sometime in the trip, we can fly from Zurich to Bucharest and back to Zurich.
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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 03:06 PM
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Indeed things are not simple.

There are no particularly ominous travel advisories for Romania issued by any of the Western governments, but several - including the US government site travel.gov - note that the medical facilities in Romania are limited and not up to Western standards. This is significant given your age, the increased pressure on medical facilities due to refugees (see below) and also, as of Aug 1, 2022 the CDC has declared Romania to have a high level of Covid-19.

As well, I'm going to guess that hotel space could be at a premium given that the war in Ukraine is causing huge refugee fluxes into Romania and neighbouring Moldova. And as you know the attacks on Odesa, about an 8 hour drive from Bucharest, have increased in intensity this week. So likely more refugees are on the way, poor souls.

Were I thinking of going to Romania, I would be thinking and planning very carefully in lieu of these logistical challenges - and possibly ditching the idea.


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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 06:03 PM
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Oh dear see I already commented a few months ago. And wait (!!) plans have changed apparently. Thing is kind of hard to go wrong.
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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 06:06 PM
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Unless you can read German, I wouldn't make a trip for genealogy research without hiring a professional genealogist and starting the research well before leaving home, esp. if you want to search before 1876.

You should arrive with plan of specific sources you want to visit/contact. Personally, I think you may need/want more than 3-4 days in Schaffhausen. Depending on what you learn, you may even need to visit locations outside of the city.

https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/u...genealogy.html

https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/u...itzerland.html

We've encountered snow flurries in Switzerland in late October... Luzern, Bern, Lake Thun... and beautiful blue-sky days, too.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 07:33 AM
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Sue_xx_yy, your reply has really caused me to rethink attempting Romania at this time. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it!
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 01:44 PM
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Update to Austria, Germany, & Switzerland

This trip will cover 3 full weeks in October. We already have reservations for 5 nights in Vienna and 3 nights in Salzburg. I am planning 4 nights in Munich. After those 3 places, We'll have 8 days/nights to visit Switzerland. The 9th night needs to be in Zurich as we have a morning flight the following day.

Switzerland offers so much but we do not want to be changing hotels more than once or twice. I even thought of going to Zermatt for a couple of nights but that seems to be "out of the way." My wife has never been to Switzerland so I would appreciate any suggestions that would not beat us up physically.
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Old Sep 10th, 2022, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
Unless you can read German, I wouldn't make a trip for genealogy research without hiring a professional genealogist and starting the research well before leaving home, esp. if you want to search before 1876.
i
I will add my voice to this one. I have experience of working in archives in Germany for research and the old handwriting (in this period Germany used what they call Sütterlin script) is incredibly difficult to read, even if you know German, as I do. I regularly have had to read scripts from the 17th century and later, and even I don't feel all that confident. I don't know what script they used in Schaffhausen but if it is anything like Sütterlin, you will need to go in with a table setting out the script and even then it will be notoriously slow going - best to obtain copies of the documents, if they will do this, and take it home and pore over it with a magnifying glass. You also cannot depend on getting assistance in the archive (I guess without paying for a professional researcher), some archivists will be kind, but most will just bring you the books or microfilm and leave you to work with the text yourselves. If you have microfilm or microfiche, some microfilm readers allow you to project onto a page and you can use a yellow manilla folder under the image to make the text stand out better. Not all readers will allow this.

I also don't know what the book typeface is like but if it is the same as Germany, 19th century typeface (Fraktur) also takes some getting used to, although your progress with that will be faster. I don't know if you will have the same issue in Switzerland because of the influence of the non-German speaking neighbours - the typeface might be different.

One way you might do some research while keeping costs down is by getting paid assistance to identify certain documents and then taking them home and working through the handwriting yourselves. There are lots of guides to reading for example entries in birth registers (as the information contained there is regularly the same), although I don't know anything about what form these take in Schaffhausen. You might also check what the Mormons have on microfilm for Schaffhausen, if anything, because there are often microfilms that can be lent or sent to you, to be read in a library or family history research centre. There is still a point to visiting Schaffhausen even if you don't visit a genealogical society - you can visit addresses, and get to see the lie of the land and hear people speaking, and know that your ancestors will have spoken like that. Also if there are any local history societies or museums I would get to know what sort of local publications they have. There are often many on very local issues that can be interesting for the family researcher, and you might even find your relatives represented there somehow. Read print in foreign languages using a Google Translate app on your phone - hover over print and it will automatically translate for you. It won't work with handwriting .

Above all, good luck!

Lavandula

Last edited by lavandula; Sep 10th, 2022 at 02:54 PM.
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Old Sep 10th, 2022, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bu67 View Post
This trip will cover 3 full weeks in October. We already have reservations for 5 nights in Vienna and 3 nights in Salzburg. I am planning 4 nights in Munich. After those 3 places, We'll have 8 days/nights to visit Switzerland. The 9th night needs to be in Zurich as we have a morning flight the following day.

Switzerland offers so much but we do not want to be changing hotels more than once or twice. I even thought of going to Zermatt for a couple of nights but that seems to be "out of the way." My wife has never been to Switzerland so I would appreciate any suggestions that would not beat us up physically.
Check out MySwitzerland for events in October. There are some fantastic alp parades going on where the cows are coming down from the alps.
Veranstaltungen - Alpabzüge & Älplerfeste | Schweiz Tourismus (myswitzerland.com)
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Old Sep 20th, 2022, 05:42 PM
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I appreciate all of the wonderful suggestions! I need to tie down a hotel reservation in Munich - for 4 nights in mid-October. Do any of you have any strong recommendations?
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