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After you have completed your tour, please send me an email with your personal commentary of our time together.
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"We have recently returned from a family trip to Europe, where one of the highlights was without doubt a visit to the medieval town of Berchtesgaden in Bavaria.
As we were staying in Munich (see our review of the Novotel), we enlisted the help of someone we had used once before. John Wetstone runs a tour company out of Munich (Johns Bavarian Tours), and was able to arrange a spectacular day encompassing a chauffered drive to Berchtesgaden where he also arranged a tour of the palece and monastery.
The palace as it stands today is a beautiful reminder of times past as well as a functioning royal residence. The monastery into which it is incorporated is a beautifully maintained compendium of buildings that demonstrate the simplicity of early monastic life and then develop into a collection of treasures and rooms reflecting periods of history. The township is a friendly and yet quiet place, where it is easy to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Bavarian countryside over good coffee and Bavarian pastries. As it was early March, the snow was still evident in the alps, and this added to the beauty of this trip as we had not seen snow before, let alone mountains covered in it. It was picture postcard stuff.
We then travelled to Salzburg, where John skillfully negotiated the traffic and parked inside the huge mountain carpark before again keeping us enthralled as we meandered through the streets. His knowledge of the areas that we visited, and of the history that accompanied each site was incredible. We had lunch in what must be the oldest restaurant in Europe, the Stiftskeller (about 805AD). Pricey, but excellent dining in luxurious surrounds. The day was not complete until we had stopped at the Mozart cafe for cakes and coffee, and bought our favorite schapps from Sporers (the best schnapps in Europe).
I would add that the last time we were in Bavaria, we visited the Eagles Nest and my wife forgot to buy a toothpick holder for her collection. As it was still early in the season and the road closed, we could not get up there this time.
John, to his credit, has sought out the toothpick holder and mailed it to us in Australia. I believe that this is more than should be expected of a tour guide, rather the act of a friend. I would strongly recommend the own of Berchtesgaden to anyone travelling in Germany, have an ongoing love affair with Salzburg, and would not hesitate to recommend John if you need a friend to show you around."
Gavin & Andrea
My husband and I booked a private tour for our 14 hour layover in Munich in May. John worked with us to develop a tour of our interests for the limited time slot.
As arranged, John was standing outside the airport exit with a sign for our recognition. We were immediately comfortable with his personality, professionalism and organization.
Our tour was to begin with a visit to Dachau Memorial Grounds. After the nine hour flight, we were hungry, so John stopped along the way to accommodate our need for food. It was great to have a tour guide who could add much background to what we were seeing and experiencing.
Dachau was worth the visit, very moving experience and provided new understanding of the history there. We requested to tour some Bavarian villages to give a glimpse of everyday life. John suggested lunch at Starnberg Lake by Munich. The food was delicious and the scenery very beautiful.
After, we toured Bavarian villages and visited the Empress Elisabeth Museum in the Possenhofen railway station. John showed us some sites in Munich on our way back to the airport, arriving in time for dinner and our flight.
Would recommend Johns Bavarian Tours, as well as book once again – next time to see the castles in Southern Bavaria!
Dave and Cathy
Thank you for a wonderful tour of some of the hi-lites of Bavaria. We appreciate your modification of the tours to reduce steps. We thoroughly enjoyed our two days with you.
Bob and Clarice
Harwich Port, MA
thank you for your kind note. We reached India safely and after some rest, we're preparing ourselves for our busy lives at work from monday.
Thanks for the 2 wonderful tours that will remain etched fresh in our memories. Best wishes for the rest of the season. If there is anyone from my circle of friends visiting Munich, i will definitely tell them to contact you.
Avinash, Vidyaranyapura, Bangalore
I wanted to thank you for your knowledgeable and comfortable tour you provided for us of the castles this May.
Your van was quiet and comfortable and perfect for viewing the beautiful rolling hills and mountains.
In addition, your deep knowledge of the “lore” of the area’s we visited helped paint a more complete picture of the times and places we were visiting.
just wanted you to know how much we and Ernie & Barbara enjoyed our tour of the Eagle's Nest and Herrenchiemsee on June 27.
Bob and Lorraine
Corpus Christi, Texas
The days we spent having you being our guide, were much more than just lecturing us in history, they made our extra days in Germany, well, just the highlight of our trip. To be able to capture the essence of the time that all these wonderful castles and museums were built, was just magical, and to be told stories that are not often told in books, about "what really happened", was so unique. To leave wanting more, is the secret of a good time and trip, so we say "John, we hope to return someday". And thank you for all your kindnesses.
Dolly and Tamara
It was a pleasure using your services for 2 and a half days during my brief stay in the Munich area. The entire time spent was well worth it and truly enjoyable.
At first, I thought it would be a typical touristy affair, but it turned out to be a very personalized matter and we travelled through some picturesque areas which is normally not in the usual track. That was fun too.
Your knowledge on the historical background is commendable. I do have plans to return to that area before long and I do hope you will work out something equally interesting for the forthcoming trip.
With warm regards from Ammu and me.
If you could say it in one sentence, what would you say? Excellent
John's Bavarian Tours was recommended to me by my hotel (Hotel Opéra) when I requested the name of an English speaking tour guide; I was directed to this excellent website. I communicated by email with John Westone, proprietor, and exchanged my husband's and my requests and questions.
We decided on two days of touring and John explained clearly his policy of cash only, including wire transfer of the deposit, and while my husband and I would have preferred to use a credit card, we were not overly troubled by John's careful procedure.
The first full day we spent with John, we visited Dachau and asked John to spend a considerable amount of time sharing his knowledge of the concentration camp (although sanitized by the government, the enormity of the horror and history remain vivid), drove to BMW Welt to look at Germany's 21st century vision of the manufacture of beautiful, high functioning cars, then to the vast grounds and buildings of Schloss Nymphenburg and later spent several hours walking around Munich, being guided by John to the Neues Rathaus chiming clock around Marienplatz and the stunning Asamkirche, among many other points of interest (such as the Residenz) that my husband and I would visit on our own in the ensuing days.
Our second day with John was spent in a comfortable drive to Obersalzburg to see the Kehlsteinhaus/Eagle's Nest which the Nazi party had presented to the world's most reviled man for his 50th birthday. The twisting road to reach the Nest and the surrounding vistas and panoramas were magnificent and memorable; every way we looked caused sharp intakes of breath at the colors and beauty of the Alps and countryside. We drove to Salzburg, left the car and walked to visit Skiftskirche St. Peter in the old square, followed by lunch at the historic (and delightful) Stiftskkeller St. Peter (at which both the food and service were outstanding); we noticed here, as we had at numerous other places we visited, that John was a well-known and cordially greeted tour guide that employees at those destinations were happy to see. That welcome seemed to extend to us as his companion/guests. We wandered amongst the narrow streets of old shops and evidence of the genteel apartment living that was Salzburg in its past and finished the day with coffee and Viennese pastries at the Mozart Cafe, tucked away on a side street.
My husband and I would have been delighted to engage John for additional tours of delights in Munich and environs had his - and our - schedule(s) permitted them. He is articulate and when expressing his opinion, makes clear that he is doing so. He is also direct in declining to answer questions to which he is not certain of answers. We also had multiple 'side' conversations that related to the history of Munich and its current situation (including political relations with other German states).
We were constantly engaged and would highly recommend John.
Harriet and Neils
When planning our family trip to Europe, we came across the website for Johns Bavarian Tours. The descriptions of the tours were detailed and appeared much more personal than other tour companies. After several email exchanges with John Wetstone, we agreed to use his services during our stay in Munich. Given that we were traveling with our children, ages 9 and 11, John offered suggestions and thoughts for our trip. Even though our flight landed early, John had monitored the flight schedule and was at the airport to greet us. We had scheduled five tours during our stay and based on the weather and traffic forecasts, John suggested that we rearrange our schedule, which turned out to be most appropriate.
For those traveling with children, John tried to provide a mix of activities and sites which would maintain everyone’s interest. Several examples of where he made the tours more memorable included times where he choose restaurants that were a better match for the children and making a side trip to Hotel am Badersee to view a mermaid. At the top of Zugspitze, John joined our family as we went sledding (in August). During our tour of Mittenwald and after discovering that our daughter’s violin teacher plays a violin from that area, John made it a personal task to find out more about the company (no longer in existence) that made that violin.
John also tried hard to show us the splendors of the less traveled back streets, hidden churches, and small villages. He went out of his way to help find specific items we wanted to bring back with us. John’s extensive knowledge of the area and history, places to eat, park, and shop, as well as the best times to be at various sites allowed us to see and do more than we could have expected.
Thank you for allowing our family to become part of yours. This was a trip of a lifetime and our children still speak very fondly of you and proudly about the trip.
I recommend your services to anyone looking for a more personalized tour of Bavaria.
Scott, Adrienne, Adam, and Caileigh
My husband and I were in Munich from Oct 27- Oct 31, 2010.
For the first 2 days, we booked John as our private tour guide. Even though the private tours were pricey but so are most things in Europe. I must say the euros were well spent. With John, we were able to see and know so much about the places we visit.
We had a long flight (over 13 hours) from Hong Kong to Munich and on the first day of our tour, we overslept! John was very gracious about it although he had to wait for us around the street in his car for about 40 minutes! We did the Ludwig Tour with John that day and it was excellent! John is very knowledgeable on the history and story on the subject, castles etc. He is also a very good and safe driver. He made sure he knew where he was going and we were very happy about that!
Aside from taking us to the castles, John brought us a wonderful surprise. He took us to see the most amazing lake on the way! We took so many great pictures!! And the lunch he took us to was really good with exceptional dessert and coffee (John’s special)!
I read somewhere that people were concerned that they had to buy John’s lunch. My husband and I were very glad to do it. As our private guide and driver for the day, it was really not a big deal to treat your guide some lunch. I think if people are concerned about that, they can easily sort that out with John before the tour as I think he is a very reasonable guy.
For our second day, we took the Swarovski and Innsbruck tour with John. It was another great day and we enjoyed it immensely. At Innsbruck, he took us to eat at a very nice restaurant with a lot of history for lunch. My husband and I love to take pictures and John was always patient in waiting around for us and even sometimes took the pictures for us.
If we do go back to visit Munich again, we definitely will look up John again!
Maisie and Chris
North Point, Hong Kong