Thursday, 21st August – Triberg to Zurich

Today our destination is Zurich, Switzerland but before leaving beautiful Triberg we went for a walk to check out their famous waterfall. It was incredible to be there so early with hardly anyone else around, so peaceful and so beautiful.

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Triberg is such a beautiful part of the world and a fitting end to our adventures in Germany, this was the last time we would touch this awesome country. However, we still had a great day ahead and left to drive through the Black Forest again.

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Keith was pretty disappointed yesterday that he hadn’t found anywhere to experience Black Forest cake in the Black Forest. Thankfully we came across a restaurant that boasted the best original Black Forest cake in the region, “I’ll be the judge of that” Keith said after ordering haha.

Judging by the silence, bulging eyes and full mouth gestures of happiness, I’d say he was impressed.

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Bucket item ticked we continued onto Zurich, we reached our hotel, checked in and grabbed a bus back into the city.

With no particular schedule or list of things to see we enjoyed just meandering about for once with no destination, we loved the surprise of just ‘finding’ everything. We were even lucky enough to find a group of musicians busking that were incredible.

Zurich is a really lovely city, beautiful buildings on the banks of the Limmat River.IMG_6659IMG_6665IMG_6686IMG_6687

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Unfortunately we were too late to visit inside the Great Church or Grossmunster but we enjoyed walking near the river and seeing it from the outside.IMG_6777 IMG_6769IMG_6696IMG_6718

The Opera House in Zurich is really impressive, it was destroyed by fire in 1890 and was rebuilt in incredible haste reopening in 1891.

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We may have indulged in some local Mövenpick ice cream before heading back to the hotel.

2014 European Adventure Germany Switzerland

Wednesday, 20th August – Neuschwanstein Castle to Triberg

The next stop on our trip was to an island called Lindau. Since we’re right in the middle of Europe nowhere near the coastline, it seems odd that there would be such a large island. It’s actually on a massive freshwater lake (Lake Constance) that is the border for Germany, Austria and Switzerland in that area.

We stopped to have some lunch in the medieval town centre (first written mention in the late 800’s) and to see the port which has a statue of a lion and Bavaria’s only lighthouse! It is exceptionally pretty and hard to believe it’s on a lake. There was a bit of a festival and gathering of some sort when we were there, so it had all it’s tourist airs and graces on.

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After our lunch (schnitzel of course), we headed off to the famous Black Forest. We were staying the night in a town called Triberg, home to the world’s largest cuckoo clock!

Driving through the Black Forest was amazing and the little town of Triberg (with only 5,000 locals) is very cute. The hotel we stayed at was fantastic and we enjoyed dinner at a very German restaurant.

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The only disappointment for Keith – he had yet to sample REAL Black Forest Cake.

2014 European Adventure Germany

Wednesday, 20th August – Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle

We left Munich this morning with our final destination being Triberg in the Black Forest. First though, Neuschwanstein Castle! The Castle is in Bavaria, Germany and is touted as the most photographed castle in the world. It sits above the village of Hohenschwangou and whilst it could easily be said that it’s a huge tourist magnet, we were soon to agree it’s absolutely not to be missed.

There are only three ways to get to the castle after parking your car below in the village (for a modest fee, of course) – walking, horse drawn carriage or a shuttle bus. Walking would have taken up too much time as it’s about an hour all uphill. We opted for the shuttle bus which was also cost a modest fee. The shuttle bus drops you off near the castle and you walk the rest via a bridge which has awesome views of the side of the castle.

The walk from the bus stop is through a forest, setting the fairy tale tone.

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The bridge itself, Marienbrucke, is made of metal and wooden planks. It was pretty packed with tourists when we went across it and Bec freaked out every time the boards moved. Of course, you can see why in the following pictures that show the drop from the bridge and how crowded it can get.

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We went to the castle around mid morning and the fog was still hanging around, obscuring the castle for the most part, but it makes for a more eerie picture.

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However, the same as almost all our days in Europe, the fog gave way to a beautiful day and the shots of the castle were awesome. We opted not to do the tour inside, which is offered for a modest fee, but enjoyed taking photos on the outside of the castle that was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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In the shadow of Neuschwanstein is Hohenschwangou Castle. It’s much smaller and lower down the mountain, but also impressive. We didn’t visit it, but got some great shots!

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Once we had finished taking a million photos, we snapped the obligatory selfie and rode down the mountain in a horse drawn cart. Once we were off in the car, we stopped briefly to snap a couple of photos looking back at the awesome Castle.

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Next – Triberg and the Black Forest via Lindau.

2014 European Adventure Germany

Tuesday, 19th August – Salzburg to Munich

After a great day in Salzburg we left Austria and headed back into Germany to Munich. It was a short trip in comparison to most days only an hour and a half, so after getting to the hotel early we quickly worked out our itinerary. The German underground Metro is so awesome and by now we felt really comfortable using it to get to a number of destinations to see the most we could in one day.

First stop was the Bavaria Statue, a 19th century female statue, a massive structure 8.52 metres high weighing about 88 tons, it rests on a stone base which is 8.92 metres high. On the way we saw a couple of really cool things, a massive snail and the construction of the Octoberfest site for Munich.IMG_5909 IMG_5914IMG_5902

We got back on the Underground and headed to our next stop, the Angel of Peace statue which is very similar to the Victory Statue in Berlin. We had to walk through a very pretty park that was more like a forest to get there, then headed off to the Old Town.

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One of the first buildings we saw was the National Theatre or Opera House. It was pretty spectacular and a little out of place as it is now nestled in Munich’s version of ‘Rodeo Drive’.

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There are two town halls in Munich, the old (the white building), and the new, built in 1908. The New Town Hall has a very cool Glockenspiel which has 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures and every day it re-enacts two stories from the 16th century.

In the same platz (or square) there is a statue called ‘Mary’s Column’. It was erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation – Keith was mostly interested in the four cherubs that were posed overcoming mythological beasts such as a dragon!

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St Peters Church in Munich, whilst not as impressive as some of the other churches we have seen, has a very interesting history. It has foundations that can be traced back as far as 1158 before the formation of Munich as a city.

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Whilst heading to the old town gates, we stumbled across what has to be the weirdest Church either of us has even seen, the Asam Church. The architecture and statues were very very odd.

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We visited the historical town Gates, Karlstor and Sendlinger Tor. It’s always pretty special to see the town gates preserved and imagine that this was how visitors entered the city.

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As with all of the European cities we have visited so far, we always see the most amazing buildings and statues that we couldn’t have planned. Often we come away feeling a bit ignorant of what we’ve seen and hope to one day do some research to understand more about them.

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After another big day we headed back to the hotel for a cold beer and some sleep .

2014 European Adventure Germany

Thursday, 7th August – Greifswald to Warsaw

There are some days that we have the most beautiful drives through the most spectacular countryside… today was not one of them. With a 7 hour drive ahead of us to Warsaw (not including stopping for breaks), we opted for the highway.

There were a couple of times that we detoured from the route just for something different. On one of those occasions, we found a little local church that was photo worthy. Nearby was a stork’s nest on top of a power pole by the road.

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Eventually we reached Warsaw and checked into our AirBnb apartment for the next two nights. We were pretty happy with the location, right in the heart of the city on the 12th floor we had the most amazing views!

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2014 European Adventure Germany Poland

Wednesday, 6th August – Lubeck to Greifswald

We awoke to a beautiful sunny day in Lubeck, Germany. We stayed at a hotel that was only a 20 minute walk from the centre of the old town, so we wandered down to grab some breakfast and have a look around. Lubeck is amazing and definitely on the favourites list. These places that we have randomly picked as halfway points in our trip are turning out to be just as amazing as the planned stops in bigger more well known cities.

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There was a church in the middle of the old town that had an amazing story behind it. We couldn’t resist taking some photos. The Devil himself even posed with us for a selfie! Read the story of the building of the church – we loved it!IMG_2915IMG_2921IMG_2920IMG_2917

On the drive to Greifswald (our next stop on the journey) we needed to stop for lunch and so Bec said the magic words – “You’d think you could get a schnitzel in Germany!” Sure enough, around the next corner was the town of Neubukow and a Schnitzel and Steakhouse at the local hotel. We stopped and had amazing meals, took a few photos and then headed on to Griefswald.

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We’ve been staying in AirBnb places for a lot of the trip and for the most part have had no real problems. However, this time there was a big communication gap, language barrier and lack of information which lead us on a bit of a treasure hunt to find the place we were staying in. We eventually did find it and dropped our gear off then went to explore Greifswald a little.IMG_3003IMG_3009IMG_3004IMG_3015

As it started to move toward dark we decided it would be a good idea to grab a drink and some food. The local waterfront was not far from our accommodation so we wandered down to the most amazing place to spend a balmy evening. The guy that served us our drinks (from his boat) was really nice and came over and chatted to us as he was cleaning up.IMG_3046IMG_3057IMG_3051

The whole vibe was great and a fantastic end to the day. Tomorrow we have a huge drive on to Poland.

2014 European Adventure Germany

Tuesday, 5th August – Lund to Lubeck

Firstly, apologies for the quality of the photos for this post. The camera has been mucking up again, but I have managed to salvage some of the photos for the blog. With the problem identified, I hope it won’t happen again in future because it’s heart breaking to upload the photos only to find that they are over exposed.

A huge day of travel today – three countries! We left Lund in Sweden and headed towards the Danish town of Roskilde. When we got there we had a coffee stop and looked around the town – it was really pretty!

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The reason we went to Roskilde was for the Viking Museum. It’s world renown and has a number of original viking long ships that were excavated on the site of the museum. They have also built a replica of a viking long ship exactly as the vikings would have, then they sailed it from Denmark to Ireland! At the museum you can actually join a group of other people and learn how to row and sail a viking boat.

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There are a couple of MASSIVE bridges in Denmark since there are some big islands that need to be linked. They do cost a lot of money in tolls, but are much better than waiting for ferries! Bec grabbed a couple of pics on her iPhone as we drove over one.

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Following the “ancestral trail”, we went to a little village in Germany called Kronshagen. This village was where my mother had one of her first jobs ever – looking after some children for a family. She remembered the house specifically and the address, so we went searching for it. We found some cute little houses and a forest that Mum may have walked through back then. The little house was still there! It had a loft area in the room with a little window and was very cute. Behind the house was a business that had the name of the family that she worked for back then! It would have been great to speak to them, but because we can’t speak enough German it would be hard to explain if they didn’t speak English!

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We finished the trip in a town called Lubeck. It’s been a long drive, but a great day.

2014 European Adventure Denmark Germany Sweden