Hi Steemers... Let me share the story of that one time I ate and drank my way around Europe with one of my besties!
The year was 2015, and the trip idea came about while we were sunbaking by my pool in early March....
My friend Michelle's family was planning a trip to Europe over Christmas and we toyed with the idea of going over too... My life was at a bit of crossroads at the time and I wasn't sure of what the future had in store for me, so the idea of European getaway was an appealing road to take if things didn't work out.
As it turned out my life took the most unexpected turn and a trip to Europe was defintely a road I was now going on and Michelle and I had our return tickets to Munich booked not even a week later!!
So with our tickets secured, now the real fun begun... where were we going to go for our 31 days away?? The original plan was that we would spend Christmas with Michelle's family in the coastal town of Wilhelmshaven, Germany but due to logistics and flying on Christmas day (cos it was cheaper) we decided to scrap that idea, we would catch up with them at a later stage and just do our own thing. All we knew was that our starting and end point would be in Munich.
Over the coming months, we would get together over a couple of vinos, every couple of weeks to research and plan another leg of our trip...
It wasn't long before we had our awesome trip planned out!
Brisbane 🛫 Munich 🚄 Prague 🚄 Berlin 🚄 Amsterdam 🛫 Dublin 🛫 London 🚄 Paris 🚄 Frankfurt 🚄 Rothenburg 🚄 Munich 🛫 Dubai 🛫 Brisbane!
With an itinerary now in place, the next few months were spent booking accomodation, train and plane tickets as well as saving every spare dollar we had.... and then the time finally came!...
It was late on Christmas Eve, earlier that day we had officially finished work for the year and we were now at the airport checking in for our 2.30am flight. Our flight was packed and had a transit stop in Singapore then continued on to Dubai where we had a 3hr layover before our final leg to Munich. Luckily we switched planes on the final leg and not only was our plane way bigger it also had way less people on it.... EVERYONE got their OWN row with plenty still spare. This gave us an opportunity to get some half decent sleep before arriving in Munich on Christmas night.
Once clearing customs we catch a train to Marienplatz. By the time we find our hotel and get into our room it is already after 10pm and despite the fact that we had just done over 30hrs of travel and transit we go out and meet a friend of a friend at a club called Heart.
We are finally here and we are ready to party!.. well kind of
It seems that most people wrapped up their family festivities early as despite it being Christmas night the place is packed and it is pumping! Stay for a few hours before heading home around 3am to finally sleep in a real bed for the first time in 2 days!
Manage to get a few good hours sleep but with our body clock all over the place we wake up early and set out to discover Munich. It's a beautiful sunny day and we head out with no real plan, we figure we will just see where we end up. . we see closed Christmas markets, shops, parks, impressive looking churches and lots of beer halls/haus.... which becomes a bit of a haus crawl!
Lunch.... and yes it was delicious!
One of the many parks we came across
As the sun starts to go down so does the temperature, luckily we have somehow managed to find our way back to our hotel without a map, gps or directions from strangers! So we put on more layers and head back out to have dinner and go ice skating at a rink that we found whilst out and about earlier.
We survived our skate with no stacks and celebrate with a mulled wine which was a bad choice as it wasn't very nice haha! We are headed to Prague in the morning so don't have a late one.
When in Germany...
Prost! No stacks!
Marienplatz by night
We catch the 9.01am train from Munich (Munchen) hbf and it takes about 5 and half hrs to arrive in Prague (Praha)... lucky for us there is a steward with a fully stocked barcart on board and we were probably his best customers 🥂
We ask a local for directions to our hotel and he walks us pretty much all the way to it, check in and then head out to explore this beautiful city that I have already decided I'm in love with! The gothic architecture makes you feel like you are in a fairytale and the open Christmas markets just add to the ambience of Old Town.
Have dinner and a couple of bottles of wine in Old Town Square while watching the square come even more alive as night falls.
Astronomical clock, Old Town Square and Church of Our Lady before Týn
After dinner we feel like a traditional absinthe shot is in order for our first night in Prague....
The shot is pretty strong even with the sugar that was heated into it and we defintely feel the green fairy from it!.... on the way home we stop off at Chapeau Rouge bar and have a couple of absinthe cocktails which are alot easier to drink!
The next morning we set off over the Charles Bridge and walk all the way up to Prague castle. It's a lovely walk and we sample some food from food carts along the way. The view from the top is amazing and you can see all of Prague. Spend the whole day discovering what we saw from above. Head back to the hotel only to put on another layer, then we cocktail bar hop our way to dinner as well as on our way back!
Have an early start the next day when we do a day trip out to Kutna Hora to see the Sedlec Ossuary (Bone church), Cathedral of Saint Barbara and the mint that made all of Prague's coins. It's another sunny day but alot colder today and we especially feel it out in the countryside.
Sedlec Ossuary is decorated with 40,000 human skeletons
Cathedral of Saint Barbara
After we see all the sights we have lunch at a local pizzeria before the hour and half drive back into Prague. Once we get back to the city we chill for an hour or so before our dinner cruise on the Vltava river. We get picked up from our hotel and have a mini city tour on the way. Dinner is buffet style and we are super hungry so we take advantage of that. The boat has huge windows but it is nicer to see the pretty night scenery from the deck above.... although it is so cold up there so we have to make frequent visits back to the heated restaurant so we can warm up again and refill our glasses of Sekt!
Once our cruise is over we are dropped off back to our hotel but we venture back out to place called Cafe 80s that we saw whilst driving to the cruise. Stay quite late, drinking way too many Bellinis!... lucky our train to Berlin tomorrow leaves late morning.
Get woken by our alarm that we smartly and luckily set before we went out. Make the trek to the train station with our suitcases in tow, we haven't even been here a week and they are already so much heavier from all the shopping we have been doing!
This train doesn't have a barcart doing the rounds but it does have a bar car.... which is of course where we spent the whole journey in. Along with seeing the beautiful countryside, forest and rolling fields.... we see a guy in one of those fields, in the middle of nowhere, dressed only in a trench coat, boots and mask.... windmilling his dick as the train passes by!!! Michelle and I completely lose it and we just wished we were able to get our cameras out quick enough... as it's safe to say that's not something you see everyday 😂
We arrive into Berlin around 3pm and catch a cab to our Airbnb in Alexanderplatz. Head out to check out the area and surprise surprise end up doing more shopping. After we have done enough retail therapy for the night, we try find a cool bar called Fairytale which is apparently close by, we set out in search of that but stumble across another cool bar in the process. We stay until it closes drinking way too much wine and cocktails.
Wake up on New Years Eve super seedy which was to be expected after last nights shenanigans! Have a bratwurst and fried potatoes for breakfast, it definitely hits the spot and eases the seediness.
Most places shut at 1pm today and don't reopen until the 2nd of January so we get party supplies before meeting up with Michelle's brother and his friend who are also in Berlin for New Years. The plan is we will go to the Brandenburg Gate for the countdown but in the meantime we just drink at our place and wait for it to get dark so we can let off the fireworks the guys brought. Apparently in most of Europe there is a few days over the holiday period that it is legal to let off your own fireworks. We don't need to wait too long as it gets dark around 4.30/5pm. We try and find a spot that doesn't have many people but that's easier said than done as there are people everywhere setting off fireworks. We find a park and find a spot we are happy with... it is really dark now and we totally look like we are up to no good.
A couple of the fireworks are duds but the big box goes off for a few minutes and gives us a pretty good show. After it's done we go back to our place for more drinks. Around 10pm we start walking towards the Brandenburg Gate, people are still everywhere, letting off fireworks, drinking and dancing on the street. It is the best atmoshpere, it takes longer to walk to the Gate than expected as we all keep getting distracted by things going on around us. We get as close as we can but the whole area near the Gate is packed. It's hard to know when exactly it is midnight as fireworks are going off the whole time, but all of sudden alot more fireworks are going off so it is probaly safe to assume it is now officially 2016! Shame we didn't get a proper countdown but the whole experience was still amazing. We stay for a bit just taking it all in...
It's eerily beautiful walking back to our place, the cold air has a haze to it from all the firwork smoke and random fireworks are still going off.
Try to get into a couple of clubs but everywhere is crazy busy with huge lines so just go back to our place for a more drinks.
Despite having a late night, wake up earliesh and decide to walk my hangover off while Michelle sleeps hers off. The streets are super quiet and you can see the remnants of the giant street party that was all of Berlin last night.
Last nights fireworks litter the streets
Walk to Checkpoint Charlie where there are the most people I have seen all morning. Walk back to our place and cook lunch before Michelle and I head to the boys place across town. Spend the night drinking and playing card games.
It is freezing today and is defintely the coldest day we have had so far but we don't let that stop us exploring this massive city. A second beanie and a few hot chocolates and peppermint teas were purchased along the way but we finally make it to the Brandenburg Gate, shop at some markets, find a Nivea Visage store and visit some museum and visitor centres.
Terry, hanging with his new friend, hot beverage not far away
Have a late lunch at a cute restaurant that we find on our travels. The temperature just keeps plummenting so have to go back to our place to put on an extra layer of clothes, then we catch a cab to the East Side Gallery. We get there just as it is getting dark and walk about half the wall as it is just too cold to walk the full length. See lots of cool grafitti and it is hard to believe that not that long ago this wall actually seperated the East of the country from the West.
Once we can't take the cold anymore we flag down a cab to take us home. We want to try and find Fairytale so we put yet another layer of clothes on and go on our way. We make it to the end of the street and decide that we just couldn't be bothered to go on this random goose chase again so we stop off at the shop downstairs and buy a bottle of wine and some cheese instead. We happily spend our last night in Berlin, chilling in our PJs, drinking wine and eating cheese... although we did venture downstairs two more times to get two more bottles of wine 😉
Wake up to it lightly snowing so it is a shame to be leaving!.. explains why it was so cold yesterday though and why it is so cold again today. Catch a cab to the station, grab a hot chocolate and dance while waiting on the platform to try and keep warm
Train leaves at 10.34am... Next stop is Amsterdam!!!
Hope you liked this post, stay tuned for the next edition... Amsterdam, Dublin and London