My last European Blog... Until I hit ASIA!!!
Trip Start Aug 02, 2010
15Trip End Dec 06, 2010
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Some of the best things of this trip have been experiencing it with great friends from back home, like Philly in Paris, Andrew and Caitlin in Hungary and Croatia, and now we're about to introduce Donny to the lovely world of backpacking and sleeping in hostel rooms with 10 other people, mass amounts of beer on a nightly basis, and Parkes light sleeping ways and his habits of waking you up the second you snore! I can't wait! haha
So Parkes and I head to Vienna a day early from Prague so we can surprise Donny at the airport the following day. The poor buggar, we told him our train didn't leave till the following morning and couldn't meet him, he'd have to make his way by his lonesome, so his face was pretty lit up when we were standing there waiting for him!
After a quick beer at the airport, we set off on the final leg, with a new recruit ready to learn the tricks of the trade.
Vienna is a lot more beautiful and exciting than I thought. Our hostel was on the outskirts of the downtown area due to high prices, but we made it there one night for a great meal of Schnitzel and potato salad (local cuisine, and it was amazing), and of course some beers. We had a few beers, and me being the responsible one, ensured that the two boys got in early as we had Oktoberfest to attend the following day!... What? It's true I was!!!
Alright, alright, after a late night out, we woke up the following morning and headed for the train station to catch our train to the Holy Grail of Beer. Oktoberfest!
Ana, the german girl that we met in Portugal, held up her drunken promise of letting three boys sleep at her studio apartment while we got drunk and ate chicken, and met us at the train station when we arrived. What a sweetheart! After a quick chat, we were on the subway and headed to the festival, passing thousands of local germans in their traditional outfits all making their way down, men wearing whats called "Lederhosen" and women wearing "Lindl", which looks spectacular by the way... :)
To be honest I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got there, pretty well just one big tent with people drinking beer and eating sausages... wow was I wrong. It was an adult playground, and I got shivers it looked to friggin cool! Take Canada's Wonderland, drop in 6 massive beer tents in the middle jam packed from wall to wall with drunk Germans singing and dancing on tables, and you have Oktoberfest! I kid you not! They know how to throw a party.
So after some Stein drinking, and stealing, midnight roller coaster rides, bumper cars, and target shooting, we were defeated men, but with memories that will last a lifetime. And also with no hangover! From what the locals have told us, the companies that run the beer tents can only make their beer with three different ingredients and no preservatives if they wish to be apart of Oktoberfest and according to German law, thus preventing a hangover the following day. God I love this country!
After two solid nights, we packed up, said goodbye to Anna, and headed for a concentration camp just outside the city in Dachau, which was the first one opened in Germany. It was an eye opener going through the camp, and it definitely leaves you with a sick feeling in your stomach when your done, much like the torture museum in Budapest. Seeing where the prisoners were gassed to death and then burnt made it that much harder to understand how people could fall into what Hitler was preaching, and made me even more proud of our troops who fought in the war.
After the tour was over, we headed on to Berlin, which is a fantastic city. The walking tour we did was the best of the trip so far, he showed us where the Berlin wall once stood throughout the city, checkpoint Charlie, where Hitler was buried, the story behind it, the holocaust memorial and all sorts of events leading up to the war, through the war, after the war, and much of the history thereafter. It was an amazing day.
We spent 5 days there, partying, catching up on history, meeting new people, all around a great time.
From there, we looked at a map, decided we'd check out Hamburg, jumped on a train and made our way there. The city was beautiful, a lot nicer than I could of ever imagined, but unfortunately our time was winding down, so we had only one night to visit. After a quick run through, as best as we could, we jumped on another train and headed back to Amsterdam... Only because Donnie had never been, that's the only reason... I swear...
Being the seasoned veterans of Amsterdam that we were, we showed him around, rented bikes, went through Vondelpark, and relaxed before the end of our trip. Our bodies battered by the traveling and partying, it was a fairly low key visit to one of my favourite cities in the world. Our third night we decided to head to the airport to sleep and catch our flights. We said our goodbyes, wished everyone luck, and knew we'll all meet up in a few months to recollect the amazing time we just had.
It's time for Asia!!!