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Saturday, November 11, 2017

bavaria + munich

After a cozy train ride with fellow Americans (which had Ohio ties), I arrived in Munich.

First off, I noticed that people were dressed in the Oktoberfest attire. I did not think this was actually a thing. But it definitely was. Also, Sarah informed me that there was a little show of sorts in the city center at Glockenspiel that only happened twice a day. Knowing I wouldn't see it the coming days, I dropped my stuff at the hotel and booked it. and by Booking it I mean just grabbed the next train and sat on it for 30 minutes as it headed down to the city.

I just caught the end of the show!

From there I was hungry and stressed about the Oktoberfest attire. then I stumbled upon Eataly and that became my priority.

They served this awfully fast..like too fast.

From there, I headed out to shop for my Oktoberfest lederhosen. Which was a very stressful experience as the store I picked had only 3 tiny dressing rooms and several females trying to mix and match the most revealing outfit. I went conservative.

The commute back to the hotel was ridiculous. I saw someone puke. Then the train never came. So I found a bus and took the bus back. (can you tell my patience was getting thin near the end of this trip? just wait..)

The hotel I picked (expensive thanks to Oktoberfest), had a wonderful view of the city actually. The sunrise on Saturday was fantastic!

Then I headed to the airport to retrieve my friend so we could get our Bavaria on.

We rented a BMW 530? I think that's what it was? The GPS was all in German and we could not figure out how to change it. Also the speedometer and speed limits for the road actually showed up on the windshield as like a reflection for him.. Pretty cool.

The drive was gorgeous! It first started off looking like Ohio..and then we headed towards the Bavarian Alps! The fall colors were just starting.

We got to the Neuschwanstein/Hohenschwangau Castle parking area then started the little trek up to it.

It was quite the hike. We got a little sweaty. Naturally, it is Europe, so part of the castle was under construction.

Could not find Sleeping Beauty.

View of the Hohenschwangau castle.

I'm glad my friend was with me because I was kind of done after getting up to the castle but then he reminded me that there is a famous view of the castle... so we hiked up a little more to this bridge..

On your right..

On your left!

I look gross but it was like noon, and so the sunlight didn't really help. Also do I look hungry? Because castle happiness quickly turned into:

Hanger. Miss "Cintia" the waitress at this place was only capable of serving one table at a time though having responsibility for the entire balcony. Needless to say, impatience settled in quickly and we headed down to get a different lunch.

I needed a beer after Miss Cintia. And plus come on, the beer has the castle on it!

So...the plan was to go to Dachau Concentration Camp, however.. we were cutting it close on time since we had a bit of late start from the airport (rental car lines will be the death of me) and you know, Miss Cintia didn't help. So we decided to move that to the next day and head to Urban Chestnut's little brewery in the middle of nowhere. Which.. we couldn't really get into but luckily the adjoining restaurant served their beer. It was very good naturally.

Then we went back to the hotel, recovered, and then headed out for dinner at Konigsquelle. You could tell it was a local place and the service was actually the best I had all trip. This is a weinerschnitzel (breaded veal). It reminded me of pork chops. I was so stuffed after this. But we had room for affogato of course.

Then...the next morning..

So.. I thought Oktoberfest opened at 11a but it turns out it opened at 9a. Every single person tells you to go first thing if you don't have reservations (we did not) because it fills up quickly. 

9:30a. That was an accurate statement.

I have never had beer this early so I thought it would be kind of gross. No. It was wonderful. The pretzel was a bonus.

This song was stuck in our heads for days after. Between every song (live music started in each of the tents around 10:30a-11a, they would play/sing this song).

No, I'm sorry, I did not get a pickle. 

However, we got one of these powdered sugar pretzels of happiness and it was incredible.

After a beer and a half, we went to the Hofbrau tent. It was crazy. I can only imagine how insane it is at night. 

And then we went to another tent. (We were splitting the beers after our first tent). 

Then another. (We went to other tents in between just to see them all)

I... don't know what this is. I only had a bite because well... look at it.

Look at the merry go round!!

We had every intention to stay at Oktoberfest for an hour then go to Dachau and maybe the BMW Museum. However 5 hours later...

We settled for the urban surfers in the Tiergarten, lol.

My friend had to head out late that evening so I finally caved into fast food and had a footlong Subway sub and a massive amount of Pringles to finish off the trip. It was glorious.

The last sunrise...and then headed home back to the US!

Saturday, October 28, 2017


After missing my connecting train, almost leaving my credit card at a random Czech train station booth, and then taking a fancy cheap business class train in to Prague... I had arrived!

Apparently Czech beer is the best beer in Europe. I stumbled upon an outdoor market within 15 minutes of leaving my AirBNB and tested that statement and grabbed a tomato mozzarella panini. It was very good beer! And the prices were great. 

So I knew nothing about Prague honestly besides that there was some kind of famous clock. I soon discovered that the architecture of the city is quite famous for being charming (truth, it's so pretty!), it has a pretty famous bridge (St. Charles), and there is A LOT of cobblestone (ouch).

There were a lot of tourists here but it was still a fun city to explore by all means. I did find a super hipster craft beer bar and enjoyed a beer with some kind of cheese and bread platter for dinner number 2.

I stumbled upon the famous clock. It was under construction. I should probably look up why it's famous. Also, I took a really great selfie with it the next morning but I'm saving that for a Europe 2017 outtakes post. 

For the record I averaged 6-6.5 hours of sleep each night this trip, except for the first three days (jet lag recovery + pre-marathon sleep). I was very excited to get out and photograph during golden hour and see sunrise. This does not bode well for my trip idea next year.

I asked foreign strangers to take my picture which was a rather amusing experience. In hindsight, I should have moved a little farther away from the cigarette butts. But hey, look, Prague Castle behind me!

St. Charles Bridge - go in the morning...or else. I went later this day in the afternoon and it was INSANE. So many touristy vendors, tourists - it was very difficult to move. The night wasn't as bad surprisingly.

The walk up to Prague Castle is uphill by the way. On cobblestone. I was so excited the night prior, I actually did go up there that evening. Then I went again this day because I actually wanted to go into the complex when it was open. There was a Starbucks up here that probably has the best view of all Starbucks (pretty much the view above). 

It wouldn't be a Europe trip without visiting a cathedral or 3. This is St. Vitus Cathedral.

Oh hey that's me.

I got there 5 minutes before everything opened because I am that person. It was a very pretty morning.


Violence with a hint of charm! Not pictured: Mulled/Hot wine with spices. I don't know why that's not popular in the US but it needs to happen.

The Lennon Wall. Smaller than anticipated and a little more graffiti than one would prefer. 

If you don't take a picture in front of the Lennon Wall, it didn't happen.

Then I walked over to Wenceslas Square. Generally another touristy shopping area by the City Hall. 

And with some creepy art installations.

I had lunch at 2:30p because what are meals? The AirBNB host recommended Kolkovna Celnice - a Prague chain with Czech food so naturally I got the Czech sampler platter. Yes, that is meat. It tasted so good for the first 3 bites then I was over it. I enjoyed my beer and the cheese at the top there the most.

It was actually a national holiday - St. Wenesclasus Day so I could only go into the Cathedral during a specific time in the afternoon. So yes, I made the trek back up the cobblestone hill to the Castle complex to check out the inside of the cathedral. It was worth it and beautiful naturally. 

I am also glad I went back up because I totally missed that you could climb the South Tower of the Cathedral for a wonderful panoramic view of Prague. It was 297 steps. The girl in front of me really struggled in her platform flip flips and it probably took 100 steps of me following her very closely before she gave up and let me pass. 

These views!

Hi Spire!

From there my daily grumpiness started to settle in post-this epic sunset and I couldn't even tell you what I had for dinner but I can tell you it was NOT pizza. This place seated me..then let me sit for 10 minutes and then I went up and asked for a menu and they said they were closing in like 45 minutes and didn't know if they could serve me. I was peeved. Anyway.. now that I think about it, I had a veggie wrap that was pretty solid however not enough food for how much I walked that day. 32k steps and it felt like it!