A Travellerspoint blog

Munich (and Oktoberfest), Sept 20-23 2007

Prost!

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We arrived in Munich in the evening of September 20. Immediately, an energy was felt upon arrival. After checking into our hotel, which we learned was on the corner of where Oktoberfest grounds were (sweet!), we decided to head over to the Hofbrahaus for our first German beers.

We ate dinner, with authentic German meals, at a cute restaurant across from the Hofbrauhus. Each of us tried some meat and dumplings, and of course the pretzels. All of which were very good! Then we headed over to the Hofbrauhaus....WOW!! What an experience....best way to describe it: family style benches, lots of drunk men singing and cheering, people standing on tables, the sound of clanking of the liter sizes (and glass) steins all amongst the sound of the local polka band playing on a small wooden stage to the side. So cool!! We met some cool travelers there...one of which was finishing up hie trip around the world. And successfully, we downed one stein before the doors were closing for the night.

The next day we decided we would first go to Dacchu and see the Jewish Concentration Camp. This was right outside the city, and one of the first concentration camps established. The whole experience there was very somber. Much of the original facilities were not there and had been reconstructed for museum purpose. It was very hard and moving to read about the everything that went on there. All I can say is sick and disturbing to know that people could be that inhumane and cruel to others. We left there somewhat depressed...it was an awful thing that happened.

Later that day we walked some of the areas, just trying to get a feel for the city, and hoping to run into Mikes Bike Tour to do our city tour. The plaza and churches and architecture we saw were just amazing. Very baroque and castle like. I really enjoyed the architecture of the city. As we were shopping in on of the squares, strangely enough, we ran into a tour guide with Mike's Bike Tour. We decided to follow him to the shop and the next thing we knew, we were joining a personal tour the left in the next 15 minutes! Ha! The bike tour was awesome!! I would totally recommend anyone who visits Munich to do it. Our tour was an evening tour, so it lasted well until the sun was down, which made it even more entertaining. On the tour, we rode all throughout the city on there bike cruisers. It was quite the funny scene for all of us. Our tour guide was awesome...this guy from Ireland who was so funny. He had us roaring as we rode our bikes through the city at any sight of a lion (city symbol). About 3/4 through the tour, we stop at this beer garden, where Sarah and i tried our first Bavarian sausage and we all proceeded to drink a stein (or two). By the time we got back on our bikes (mind you the sun has set now, and we have no lights on our bikes), we were all feeling a bit tipsy from the beer and giggling at the fact we had to ride in the dark. All I can say for the rest of the tour....ha ha...laughing all the way. What a fun time!!

The next day was the opening ceremonies of Oktoberfest. Sarah and I decided to get up early and go see the opening parade. So cool!! They paraded all 6 of the breweries kegs for the festivities to be tapped by the governor of the city. There were so many people dressed up in those cute German outfits, horses all done up, and music and more.

That afternoon, we started off the Oktoberfest festivities by going to the Augusteiner Beer Garden (not in the festival), then headed over to the festival in the early evening. Our whole night was spent in the Hofbrauhaus...out on the porch and then in the tent. CRAZY!!! To sum it up: 7000 people, drunk, naked, steins and beer everywhere, singing, standing on benches, anything goes here!! More crazy then derby. It was so much fun. We met some cool people from New Zealand and Australia there...it was really a fun experience!

The next day was our last day there, and we were going to spend the day traveling by train back to Prague (it was a 7 hour trip). I learned that morning by email that my grandfather had passed away. It was extremely difficult to read the news...it just made me so sad to not have been there. I called my mom and learned that the service would be on the Tuesday (I arrived back in the states on Monday), so I was grateful to be able to make it home for that.

Our train ride back to Prague was long....very long. When we arrived, we decided to have one last meal putting an end to our trip....we decided on Mexican! ha ha! Then we departed the next morning back for the states.

I had a wonderful trip and loved all the countries I visited. I would love to go back and visit these areas again!IMG_0476.jpgIMG_0509.jpgIMG_0434.jpgIMG_0356.jpgIMG_0376.jpg

Posted by jmtrier 17:24 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Vienna and Salzburg, Sept 18-20 2007

Ahhh....Austria.

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Our next stop on the trip was to Vienna Austria. We took a train from Prague to Vienna, departing on Sept. 18 in the AM. My first impressions of Vienna were WOW! This city is huge! Coming from Prague (smaller and quaint), Vienna was like stepping off a train into Manhattan, but even worse in that everyone spoke German!

After finding out boarding house (which was right in the middle of the city, off a main road beginning with an "M," we decided to do some city sight seeing. We walked to the Opera House and did a tour of that (huge and gorgeous!) It was cool to see a place where Mozart and Beethoven were prominent figures at. That night we went to dinner at a nice (expensive) little restaurant right next to the opera house.

The next day we decided we needed to have our tour of the city (with 4 girls not speaking German and not being able to navigate, a tour was essential). We hoped on a bus and road around the city. We walked to some main sites, stopping to take a ton of pictures. Places we visited:

The Stephansdome
The Hofburg complex
The Opera House
The Natchmarket
Shopping District

On our last night there, we went to this awesome Wine Bar, called Owls Nest, where we tasted all kinds of Austrian red wines.

Sept, 20: We got up and decided we wanted to stop in Salzburg on our way to Munich. The train to Salzburg was about 2 hours, with us arriving there at about 1pm. We had until 6 pm to see the city and make it back for our departing train to Munich. Salzburg was amazing!! This little town was more quaint than Prague, with lots of locals at town festivals and little vendors and music and LOTS of food. I dont think I have ever seen pretzels as large, or will ever see as large, as what I saw in Salzburg. It was amazing...and best of all, chocolate covered! We walked the city really fast, exploring the castle, the gardens, the bridge and the abby (where we think they filmed the Sound of Music). Our time was extremely short, all of us wanting to spend another day there, but very pleasing. It was such a beautiful town.

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Posted by jmtrier 17:06 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Prague, Sept 15-18 2007

Our first stop!

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Our long awaited European trip had finally come! Myself, and 3 other friends departed Chicago O'Hare airport on Friday Sept 14 for a long flight to Prague. I had a little scare as I was checking in at ORD...i could not find my debit card anywhere! After calling my company office manager, who was scrambling around everywhere in my office looking for my card, I ended finding the little sucker tucked deep in my wallet. Thank goodness!

Our flight first went to Frankfurt Germany, then to Prague...totally about 10 hours in flying. The change in time (from Chicago to Prague) was pretty extreme (about 7 hours ahead of Chicago time). So....when we arrived around 3pm, all of us had pretty extreme jet lag. That day we checked into our hotel, which ended up being awesome...called Hotel Amore (or something like that, in the Lessor Quarter) it was a 6 person apartment, with a loft, kitchen and even laundry in the unit. We ended up going to dinner on the river there right next to the Charles Bridge, and then I turned in early with a terrible migraine (the lack of sleep)!

Day 2: We did an all day walking tour today (sept 16). This was great as it let us see the entire city and learn about the history. We followed are strange (very strange) tour guide all day long, staying close to his antenna with the yellow flap. You wouldnt believe how many tourists are in this city!!

Prague is a gorgeous city. I felt like i was constantly on a movie set. The architecture was stunning....much art nouveau style and baroque. The days are beautiful...bright clear blue sky. Our tour was about 6 hours of walking, hitting every spot in the city:

Charles Bridge
The Castle
Perin Hill (we climbed the Eiffle Tower there)
Lessor Quarter
Jewish Quarter
The main shopping street (forgot the name)

That night we went to a nice dinner on the river...we decided to treat ourselves to some good vino and food.

Day 3: Today started off with us thinking we were leaving the city later today, to then find out we were off a day and didnt leave until the next day. Realizing so, we decided to go to the shopping district and kill some afternoon time there. We also decided that we would leave for Vienna early and hopefully try to hit Salzburg (with one of our Vienna days).

Food: We tried authentic Czech food (some dumplings and goulash) and some good Czech beer (Pilsner).

Overall: i thought Prague was beautiful. From the cobblestone streets everywhere, to the old churches and castles, and bridges...to the amazing architecture...it was really a picturesque town. Lots of tourist though. People spoke English, but the locals were not too friendly.IMG_0013.jpg78004IMG_0023.jpg

Posted by jmtrier 16:48 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

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