Tag Archives: Germany

Travel Diary 26/6/16

Not quite so much to report this time around, except that I can’t really afford to be in Switzerland right now…

Day 81
Copenhagen is a lovely, quiet little city. I spent the morning walking around, checking out the various sights of the city, including the famously underwhelming Little Mermaid Statue (I did have to come back in the afternoon, as the lighting kind of ruined every photo I took of her). I looked at the various castles and palaces, and it made sense that Princess Mary decided to marry Freddie and leave Tasmania. Although, I can’t blame her for leaving Tasmania.

I find that if you go in with low expectations, The Little Mermaid statue isn't really that bad.

In the afternoon, I decided to take advantage of Copenhagen’s position and cross another country off my list, crossing over the Øresund Bridge into Malmö, Sweden. Malmö is a thoroughly unremarkable town, to be perfectly honest, but I got to cross Sweden off for the time being. I would love to get a chance to check out Stockholm and Gothenburg some time in the future.

So I returned to Copenhagen, and took another walk around parts of the city, before heading back to my hostel.

Day 82
Another travel day, I ventured back into Germany, but this time to Hamburg.

Day 83
I really wish I had discovered Free Walking Tours sooner. I mean, I knew what they were, but when you get to a city and you’re not sure what to do, they’re really the best starting point.

Which is why I took a free walking tour here. Alas, my favourite Hostel Culture haven’t expanded to Hamburg yet. However, the ever-present Sandemans are. And the tour was pretty great. My group’s tour guide had the cutest little service dog along with her, which just made things a hundred times better.

The thing about Hamburg is: a lot of the historic centre has been destroyed in one way or another. A series of fires in the city’s history, including one in the 19th century have destroyed great sections of the city, and of course, whatever was left didn’t survive World War 2. Hamburg being a major north-western port (second busiest in Europe), it was of course a major Allied target. Around 85% of the city was destroyed during the war.

There are a few older buildings, at least pre-1940s that did survive, including the City Hall and St Peter’s Church, the latter of which was partially built using bricks from the previous St Peter’s Church, which was destroyed in the last Great Fire.

If you couldn't see the Neuschwanstein Castle/Sleeping Beauty's Castle connection from my photos in Bavaria, try the model version, during the simulated night time. You can hear the Disney intro too, can't you?

The highest-rated attraction in Hamburg on Trip Advisor is Miniatur Wunderland. The world’s largest miniature railway. It sounds kind of lame, I know, but it is pretty amazing. Miles and miles of model railway tracks weave through brilliantly constructed models, through variously themed sections. I spent over three hours there, and honestly, if I ever find myself back in Hamburg, I’ll go again, because they’re constantly building more sections and expanding their railway.

Day 84
I didn’t get up to much today. It was State of Origin back home, so I loaded up the stream and spent my afternoon watching that. After which, I spent the day on Youtube, catching up on the various things I’ve missed.

Day 85
Travel day. This time I travelled to Frankfurt, arriving in the afternoon.

Day 86
I probably should have researched Frankfurt before booking this section of my trip. There’s not really a lot for tourists here. It’s a commercial hub, and a large city, there’s just not that much to see. I spent the day at the hostel, because I really need to save money at this stage in the trip.

Day 87
Travel day. This time I caught the bus from Frankfurt to Zurich. Heavy traffic meant that I didn’t get into Zurich until it was almost dark.

Day 88
Which brings us to today. I found another free walking tour, and it wasn’t really that good. I had the choice between the standard tour and the historical tour, and decided on the historical tour, so I could have some context. Big mistake.

Nice view though.

I did get to see some nice buildings, but nothing I wouldn’t have headed to on my own initiative. Zurich is a nice enough city, except it is obscenely expensive. I saw places on the street selling kebabs for 15 Swiss francs. Check the exchange rate on a Swiss franc. Go on, I’ll wait… … See what I mean?

So tomorrow I pick up my hire car, and drive to Interlaken. There is a very good chance I’m going to take a pretty large detour to cross over into Liechtenstein, just to cross off another country. I’m a little nervous about driving on the wrong side of the road, so this could get interesting. I also haven’t driven anywhere for about three months.

Travel Diary 3/6/16

I’m writing this on a bus, as it leaves Vienna (although, there is probably a chance I’ll be out of Austria by the time I finish). I’ll post it as soon as I get settled in Budapest.

Day 59
Like I said in the last entry, I spent most of today on a bus. Fourteen hours or so by the end of it. On the brightside, I reached Munich. At like, 1 AM.

Day 60
Munich is a pretty nice place, all things told. I took a walk through the middle of the city. Within minutes of leaving my hostel, I discovered a parade of old fire trucks going through Karlsplatz. At least a hundred of them, from all eras. It was really cool, and totally unexpected.

I couldn’t go to Munich and not see the Frauenkirche, which is, as so many things have been, currently being restored. Inside it is kind of underwhelming, but the outside, with the two large towers, is quite impressive.

The Neue Rathaus is an interesting building, although I’m a little disappointed that I just missed the glockenspiel show. By mere minutes when I came back that evening.

Missed the last show by five minutes.

I climbed to the top of St Peter’s for the full panoramic view of Munich, which was nice. Well worth 300 steps (I actually remembered to count this time).

I took a walk through the Hofgarten, I went to Odeonsplatz, which is where the infamous Beerhall Putsch took place. I then spent a few hours in the museum at the Munich Residence of the Bavarian monarchs.

That night at the hostel bar, I joined up with a group of English guys on a Stag Weekend, and we went to the Lowenbrauhaus for dinner, and on to a couple of other bars. Because what’s the point of being an Aussie in Munich without a spot of binge drinking?

Day 61
This was a grim day in more ways than one. First up, my hangover kept me in bed past midday. By the time I managed to drag myself onto a train, I didn’t reach my destination until 3 pm.

The destination? Dachau Concentration Camp. The two hours I spent there didn’t do it justice. The atrocities that were committed there still echo through the halls. It’s really moving, and not always in a good way. Well worth the visit.

A word of advice though: Don’t bring your bloody kids. I saw so many families there. There are things a child shouldn’t see, and the photos on display can be fairly graphic.

Day 62
And now for something completely different. A four hour round trip from Munich is the town of Fussen. 3 km out of Fussen is Neuschwannstein Castle. Built in the ninteenth century by mad King Ludwig as his perfect ideal of a medieval castle. It’s like something out of a fairytale. So much so that Walt Disney himself based Sleeping Beauty’s Castle on it.

When you wish upon a star...

It’s absolutely gorgeous, and an absolute must-see if you’re in Bavaria.

Day 63
Another travel day. Something like ten hours on a bus, with an hour delay. But I got to Vienna at around 10.30 PM. Managed to score a six-bed dorm to myself at the hostel too, so I guess it was a pretty good day.

Day 64
I wish I had given myself more time in Vienna. The city is absolutely beautiful. The best word I can use to describe it is ‘Grand’. The buildings are just gorgeous. I know exactly nothing about architecture, so I can’t really describe what I mean, except that it looks like my idea of a nineteenth century metropolis, and the center of the last great European Empire.

I found my way into two museums. Yet again I found a city trying to pass off one museum, with three distinct sections, as three museums. The Hofburg is divided into the Silver Collection, which is a snoozefest after a while, the Sisi Museum, dedicated to the beloved Empress Elisabeth, and the Imperial Apartments. Apart from the Silver Collection, which does have a few cool pieces, it’s really interesting.

See? Grand.

As I’ve been discovering while travelling in this region, Empress Elisabeth is something of a legend in these parts. Her apartments at the Doge’s Palace in Venice are on display. She was born in Bavaria, so she is on postcards in Munich. She warrants her own museum in Vienna. And since she was instrumental in having Hungary’s independence recognised, changing the Austrian Empire into the Austro-Hungarian Empire, I expect to find her honored in Budapest too.

I finished my day at the Technical Museum, which is really cool. Obviously geared towards kids in a lot of ways, there is plenty to interest adults. Hands-on displays keep the kids entertained while educating them, while machinery from times gone by is absolutely fascinating.

Day 65
And here we are. On a bus, from Vienna to Budapest. I should get into Budapest in the afternoon, which means I can clean up this diary, including adding photos and fact-checking, and have it posted before dinner.