A Travellerspoint blog

Munich - Oktoberfest

Germany

Our trip to Munich was pretty hectic. Once again we were glad to have a reservation on the train because it was so full that the passageway down each carriage was chockers with people and their luggage. The whole train stunk coz clearly a lot of people hadn't had a lot of sleep after a big night out - and they were all drinking as well, being that they were on their way to Oktoberfest!

When we got into Munich we spent 20min trying to find some wifi, just to realise that our hostel was only about 200m away. We checked in with 'the Fanatics' tour group which was about the extent of their helpfulness for the weekend. We got our pre purchased outfits from them and they were totally shizenhousen. We had an hour or so before going out for the night with everyone so we spent the time getting some authentic outfits. Much better!

That night we went to a local beer garden with the Fanatics and met a few cool people. We had a bit more beer than we anticipated considering we had to leave at 7am the next morning so we could try and secure a seat in one of the beer halls on opening day.

Fairly dusty in the morning, we didn't think about the fact that it was raining outside and took off with the group to line up for an hour in front of the Hofbräu tent. We were saturated, hungry, tired and a little hungover. Great way to start the day! We met a group of girls in the line who we went into the tent with. Once we grabbed a seat, it was another 3 hours till they started serving beer! Such a looonnnggg morning. We only had a small sandwich each all morning. Finally the beer came and it was sooo hectic! To put things in perspective, every year Munich swells from its usual population of around 1.3million to over 7 million during the festival and more than 7 million liters of beer are consumed. Hofbräu is one of the craziest tents because it is more full of tourists, mainly Aussies. We had a fun day, we got kicked out forceably at 3pm with a few hundred others because we were in a reserved section, went on some rides, made our way back in after joking around with a security guard who eventually gave us a sneaky stamp so we could get back in via the smokers door and continued on into the night.

The next morning I (Brad) felt ratshit. Worst hangover in a while. We ended up going on the walking tour instead of going back to the tents, which was still great to actually see the city instead of just the bottom of a heap of steins. We found out that Munich looks really old but is all less than a century old as 90% was reduced to rubble in WWII. Before the bombings, people went around the city and took hundreds of photos of all the cities major buildings in great detail and after the war these photos were used to very accurately rebuild the city as it had looked before!

So now we have the outfits, looks like we'll be heading to Oktoberfest in Brissy every year from now on! Maybe even back to Munich again... But maybe not opening weekend.... And maybe not bother with the Fanatics who we paid heaps of money to and they didn't really do anything :o/ I suppose the it easier to have a group of people to hang with but once you're in the tent and stein in hand, everyone's ya mate!

Oktoberfest Pics

Munich Pics

Posted by KPad 10:08 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Prague

Czech Republic

We had booked 5 nights in Prague, pretty long for our standards. The main reason for this was because everyone we talk to rates it as one of their favorite places, and it didn't disappoint! We were instantly captivated by our surroundings. So many massive old structures in the old town area and all the flash new buildings in the new town. Prague was another lucky city to not be destroyed in WW II, as it was one of Hitlers favorite cities and he planned to retire here.

The Czech Republic is famous for its alcohol. They have many beers including the father of most modern beers, the first Pilsner - Pilsner Uquell They also are into their absinthe, from the Bohemian region. At the moment though, their spirits are rather infamous. In the 3 weeks leading up to our arrival, 19 people have died and many more in hospital from dodgy bootleg spirits sold as the real deal. The bootleg is made with methanol (not ethanol) which is quite toxic. Our first night we were asking for vodkas and we couldn't understand why no one would sell it, only to eventually find out that any alcohol with a higher than 20% was banned from sale from the day before we got there! We were kinda spewin' but glad at the same time.

We did the walking tour like usual and checked out the huge castle on our first full day there, and spent the rest of the days just cruising round and checking out the place. We went to a pub where it has beer taps at every table which just measure the cumulative volume you pour for yourself, pretty cool!

We also went out one night to a 5 level club. It was pretty tacky, but plenty of fun. We also treated ourselves to a lay around relaxing day, though for Kate it was more-so sleeping off a hangover. She's not used to having to drink beer all night with the spirit ban!

Sitting on a train to Munich now for Oktoberfest, along with stacks of other people. The train is overloaded, so we are glad we paid the little more to reserve a seat! It's also our 11 year anniversary today* :-) !

  • 21st September

See the photos of Prague

Posted by KPad 10:05 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Kraków

Poland

Krakow is a great little city. Just about the only place in Poland to not be destroyed in WW II, it still has the old town and Jewish Quarter intact. We stayed in the old Jewish district which was full of cool old bars and restaurants which weren't as touristy as the Old Town area. It was raining and quite cold here (16°) which was a sign that we had hit the last leg of our odyssey.

Across the few days we had here, we did a free walking tour in the rain, took a day trip out to the huge salt mine that has been mined for 800 yrs, and most significantly a trip out to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

The area, split into 3 main bits, was huge. The tour focused on the original camp 1, where they honed their evil practice of separation, labour and extermination. We also visited the massive camp 2 which was purpose built with what they had learnt at the first camp, and was responsible for the death of millions of people. It was a very full on experience. They have tons of human hair, shoes, suitcases, etc, on display which was quite disturbing....

It was good to be in a country again where things are a little more advanced and things run a bit more smoothly. We did some laundry at possibly the coolest laundromat ever! It is a laundromat out back, bar up front! As we sat down, another Aussie couple came to do their washing so they sat with us and we had a good chat as they had done a heap of the same things as us.

After this we choo choo'd our way to one of our most anticipated stops of Prague.

Photos of the city and salt mine.

Photos of Auschwitz concentration camp.

Posted by KPad 10:55 Archived in Poland Comments (0)

Varna

Bulgaria

After a night stopover back in Istanbul, we caught an over-night bus to Bulgaria. We chose Varna as our destination there because our Lonely Planet book rated it and it was on the coast of the Black Sea which meant we didn't quite have to give up the beach and warmth just yet. Other than being really, really uncomfortable, the bus ride was fairly uneventful. The border crossing was at about 1am though, and in the middle of nowhere. If the bus people didn't tell us to get out there, you would've thought this place was abandoned too!

The bus got into Varna at about 530am. A reasonably inconvenient time, but lucky our hotel had a 24hr reception. It was a Saturday morning and at this time there were drunks walking round and also what we found out later to be a pimp and his bitches. So we were keen to stay inside and even pay a half rate to have the room early and get a sleep. The reception lady informed us that our room was not ready till after 12 and didn't really understand that we would pay for another room. She eventually organised us another room once we were still hanging round reception for another 15min contemplating what to do.

After a sleep, we headed out for some food and to check out the beach. The beach was kinda weird with rundown buildings along the sand and some with bars/restaurants. After coming from predominantly Islamic countries, Bulgarians were quite the opposite when it came to their modesty! People of all ages, shapes, sizes and genders were cruising around with not a lot on. We went out for a few drinks after dinner along the beach-side bars but were pretty wrecked after not a lot of sleep on the bus.

Next morning we jumped on the free walking tour as we so often do. It was a small group of us which was good. We found out that Varna was not the capital but had played a pivotal role in the countries history due to its location. Bulgaria is another country emerging from communism and there is a lot of rundown areas but also a lot of nice new areas.

The last day there, we spent a heap of time trying to organised our next moves. They make it hard to leave the bloody country! Buses to Romania were too hard as direct ones were only once per week, so after a lot back and forth we opted with not going to Romania and instead catching a train to Sofia (the Capital) which is a long way inland so we could catch a flight to Poland instead of going to Romania.

Once again we were on a fairly shitty old Eastern European train which was hot and didn't have any food or drink options for the 8hr trip. Lucky we bought a few snacks! Sofia was not too bad too but we were literally only there for a few hours as we got the at night and left early the next morning. It was pretty cold though too - noooo! Only a few weeks of cold though then back to Oz for another summer :-)

Here's the PHOTOS

Posted by KPad 10:47 Archived in Bulgaria Comments (0)

Ephesus

Turkey

After our week of sailing, we went on an overnight trip to Selçuk, home of the ancient ruins of St John's Basilica which dates to around the time of Christ and was the region that the Virgin Mary hung out after her sons death. Selçuk is also just up the road from the best preserved ancient city, Ephesus.

The Basilica of St. John was constructed in the 6th century. It is said that John was asked by Jesus as he was dying, to look after his mother Mary. He did so for many years in this area and Mary is also believed to be buried on a neighbouring mountain.

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city which is now an entire city of ruins. Awesome! In the Roman period, Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which also made it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world. The town was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 614 AD. You can still see the layout of the city, including the roads still with the grooves in the marble from the chariot wheels, stadiums, Roman baths, some of the terraced houses including their mosaic floors and frescos, engraved tablets stored underneath a temple, lots of intricately designed columns and heaps and heaps and heaps of other really old awesome ruins.

Out of all the ancient ruins we have seen (MANY!), it was certainly amazing to see this whole majestic city layed out in front of us and in pretty good nick considering parts had been there for over 4000 years! There were a few cruise liners in town on the day we were there and as you can see in the photos, there are already thousands of people and it's only 9am!

Between the Romans, Egyptians and Ottomans, I think we really have gone backwards in build quality over the last millennia or so! They just don't make 'em like they used to.

Check the amazing photos

Posted by KPad 10:45 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

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