Our first night in Berlin and we headed to an Italian Restaurant close to our Hotel. I think this was one of the best (and most fattening) pastas I have ever had. I had the Spaghetti with Parmesan Cheese, Cognac and Truffles... The pasta is partially cooked then placed in a parmesan wheel - with a lot of freshly shaved parmesan than cognac is added (which is lit) and then truffles are added. Then placed in a huge bowl with slices of more truffles - it was very very delicious...
12/09/2015 - Berlin
Today we set off to do our city walking tour. It is amazing how they are confronting their past. There are some amazing sights and stories.
After our walking tour the guide suggested a good place to go for a steak (Dave has been craving a good steak) he hasn't been able to get too many over here. We sat down at the restaurant and Dave says that the lady sitting next to us looks like Pam Beauchamp (Emma Beauchamp's Mum - Emma is a great friend of Louise's and also The Elford's lived across the road from them at one stage) and after looking and listening Dave decided it was them and we said hello. Unbelievable, we have both travelled half way around the world and we find ourselves sitting next to each other at a restaurant in Berlin. So after a chat and a few wines / beers it's time to go home.
Of course Dave and I are now on the other side of the city and to get home we have worked out (with the help of a homeless person who lives in the station) that we need to catch three trains - we were lucky that we didn't fall asleep and that we made it home - neither of us can remember the whole trip home, but we both woke up in the same bed in our hotel....
13/09/2015 - Berlin
We did the Hop On Hop Off bus tour today, whilst it is great to be able to give you a perspective of the city, we have decided that when it is an audio tour you really don't get as much out of them as when there is a tour guide on the bus. We can understand the need for the audio tours with so many visitors speaking different languages, but this trip we have found the walking tours to be a lot more informative and interesting. However, that being said we did enjoy the Paris Hop on Hop off as the sights are more spread out.
14/09/2015 - Berlin
Today is the walking tour of the Third Reich. It is interesting to listen to the stories and see the actual location of the events from history.
This was the Russian war memorial set up in West Germany after WWII. (The Russians lost about 7 million soldiers in the war and Russian soldiers were the ones that liberated Germany.)
17/09/2015 - Munich
So our first day in Munich is spent on the walking tour of the city. And wow this city has a completely different vibe than that of Berlin - you feel comfortable straight away here and the old town is very pretty, with many a beer hall - think we are going to enjoy Munich. Our tour guide did give us some interesting facts regarding Oktoberfest. The nationality of the most number of visitors (other then German) is Australian. Australian's lose more passports than any other nationality, so a temporary Australian Embassy has been set-up in the British Embassy to deal with the Australians. Munich has a population of approx 1.5m people but when Oktoberfest is on it swells to over 7m people. No wonder our accommodation was so expensive....
On the tour we visited one of the churches where you were not allowed to take photos, eat, etc oh and you are not allowed to have your hands in your pockets - because the devil lives there....
Well after the walking tour we met up with 3 young men. One from the US, one from Canada, and one from Australia, they were travelling by themselves. (Sounds like a joke... An Americian, Canadian and Australian walk into a bar....) So we all decided to head on over to the Hofbrau House for A BEER - well lets just say that ONE BEER turned into many beers and we had a long night of drinking beer, the men were drinking 1 litre steins whilst I was only to handle 1/2 litre beers. Not sure how many we had, but we left there about 6 hours later and we were all very very happy when we left. Dave and I still need to catch public transport back to the hotel but at least this time it is only two trains - and the system seems a lot easier to understand in Munich, no need to ask for help from the homeless. Oh and did I mention that the alcohol content is 6 - 7 %.
18/09/2015 - Munich
Lets just say that the 18th was a rest day. I couldn't even eat the free breakfast and didn't venture out of bed until dinner time. Whilst Dave did manage to eat breakfast and to watch the Rugby League - oh yes our travelling is determined by when the footy is on.
19/09/2015 - Munich
After a good nights sleep we are both feeling a lot better, of course we can't venture out until after the football has finished - congratulations Cowboys.
This was not one of Dave's best days - I had decided that it was about time we visited a Castle / Palace and go inside.... So after a two hour drive 6 Euro for parking, 45 minutes to wait for the bus, 20 minutes to wait until our Audio Tour - we finally made it into the Neuschwanstein Castle and received our Audio Tour, well 20 minutes later that was the end of the audio tour - I think we got to visit 4 rooms - oh and we still have a two hour drive home - oh boy did I hear about it ALL the way home. But the rooms we did visit were spectacular - but I can't show you any because no photos of inside were allowed. Neuschwanstein Castle was built for King Ludwig II between 1869 and 1886. The only consolation was that the drive out there and back was spectacular, some of the greenest scenery we have ever seen. Oh and did I mention that it rained the whole way home.
20/09/2015 - Munich
Today is the day to hand the car back - we have driven 15,896kms. They will probably have to take another look at their business model. Not sure whether they expect people to travel that far. After we handed the car back in, we caught the train to the Oktoberfest.
Octoberfest is a celebration of a wedding feast from days gone. It is very similar to the Calgary Stampede except instead of jeans, cowboy hats and belt buckles the size of dinner plates the majority of people wear traditional Trachten dress of Lederhosen for the men and Drindi dress for the women. The majority of people dress up for the occasion. So if your coming get the costume before you arrive. Otherwise you pay tourist prices.
In total the beer tents cater for over 100,000 people. (Some individual tents hold up to 10,000 drinkers.) Last year there was 6.9million litres of beer drunk. And as tempting as it was to partake in a few steins we knew from our recent past experiences in German drinking halls it is impossible for us to stop until you can't drink any more. We also knew we had a flight the next morning so for once common sense took over - we didn't want to tempt ourselves so we stayed outside the tents and just enjoyed the festivities.
Fish on a stick... Beautiful.
Take a look at the security detail in front of the Beer Tent.
This beer tent is the Augustiner Brewhouse which is regarded as one of the two best brew houses in Munich. We were told it was Pope Benedict XVI favourite. Pope Benedict XVI was the Archbishop of Munich before he became Pope.
We both agreed that you could have a really really good time here - and it would help if you were with a group of friends. Might need to pack a lot of Panadol though....
21/09/2015 - Munich to Finland
Basically today is the today we start our journey home. We have 4 days in Finland and then 3 days in Hong Kong. We are both getting excited to coming home, catching up with friends and family, and getting back into our own bed....
If you would like to see more photos clink on this link.