Flight ticket? Yup. Backpack? Uh-huh. New phone? Hell yeah. GoPro? Needs charging and cleaning up. City guides? All on phone. Done packing? Nope. Guess I've got my weekend planned out!!
Rail routes mapped out! Next question is... How long do I actually want to stay in each city??
Checked up and good to go! Backpack essentials here!
At the airport:
Got my money exchanged, got some allergy stuff for my nose, and got a little pissed over some Chinese tourists who take ages fussing over payment (for unreasonable reasons) at the cashier.
First time flying with KLM. The cabin crew ladies are at least 180cm tall!! #travelsizechinesegirl Am I warm enough? I certainly hope so!! 😂 #dressedforflight
Hong Kong International Airport
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
NL Sunset at Schiphol. #sunset #airport #airportlife I've never seen this many cheese products at an airport ever... #dutchcheese
At Schiphol airport:
My non-stop runny nose and sneezing is killing me. Begging for the meds combo to work. 👃🏻🤧 #canichopmynosepls
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Charles de Gaulle Airport
Upon boarding the Air France flight:
Apparently European flights use oven style heating on board. Cathay Pacific and other Asian airlines on the other hand normally turn on the AC to ice cream temperatures. And it's past my HK bedtime. 😴❄️🌡️
Window seat view of Amsterdam. #nightview
Mid-flight from Schiphol to CDG:
Sadly no booze on board. And the one time I want a Sprite, only Coke is available. #fail
Touched down at CDG! No needed immigration or customs area to pass through (already did it through Schiphol). What a breeze! My good friend Sylvain came to pick me up at the airport and drove us back to his parents' home where I'd be staying for a few days recuperate. Some gold gin tonic to celebrate!
Most important photos of the day.
Woke up at 11am. Sorted my Paris-Strasbourg train ticket through Sylvain and different long distance transport options for airport and Gare de l'est (Thanks ! 😘) Greeted the parents and met the dog and cat of the house before late breakfast. 🐶🐱🍳
Good morning France ! Some breakfast to get our day started. Cheese selections. And fed the dog some cheese rinds. #cheese #fromage
Went to Auchun to see if there is an Orange store to get a new European sim card.... Turns out the Orange store there was under renovation! Turned back, took a brief break at home (French lunch hours) and walked back out to try our luck at the tabac (corner shop)... Guess what.... Closed too! 😅😅😅
Resident dog and cat portraits. 🐕🐈
Our friends Cyril, Tina and Reinhard came to visit! Headed out to the Carrefour supermarket to buy snacks like cold cuts and cheese and tonic for our gin at our mutual friends' home for dinner tonight. 🏡🍽️🍷
Some interesting sights at Carrefour: portable barcode scanners for your purchases, plantains (South American bananas), and funny looking saucissons.
Finally got my Orange SIM card!!
Snapshots from dinner last night! Delicious dumplings and great company! 🥟🥂🍽️🍷
Made it home at midnight after trying to stop from nodding off since 9pm. Shower and sleepy time! 🚿😴
Hello from France! Woke up at 8am to post photos and make further bookings for Vienna. Hotels are so expensive there and so easily sold out!!
Scored a bed for less than €25 a night at the CBD after further digging...GOOOOAL!!!
En route to a French house kids birthday party. 🥂🎂🏡🎉 What a lovely day to be at a friend's place for a kid's birthday party! And it was so nice to see some familiar faces for some much needed catching up and merry making. 🍷🥂🍽️🎂🍷🎉🏡🍋
Got back at 10pm and hung out with Sylvain until 2am. Nice time to just bullshit a little bit and relax with reggae before my next destination.
Good morning from Saint Michel sur Orge one more time ! Finally got my Air BnB in Prague settled for the weekend! I'm sure the privacy and my ability to sprawl my things everywhere is going to be a luxury by the time I'm done sleeping in hostels for most of this week.
Scenery from a quick jog in the neighborhood. Thank you again Sylvain for letting me stay at your home with your parents! I'll miss mamá Négrier and her beautiful energy. 😘 Heading to Paris to catch my train to Strasbourg. Tiny ticket.
On RER from Saint Michel sur Orge to Paris:
Putain. Announcement in Putonghua. 🤦🏻♀️
On line 5 metro in Paris:
Random people suddenly jamming on guitar and singing in the subway train. "I'm your Venus! I'm your fire!" 🎸🎵🔥🔥🔥
So much peace and quiet. The trains are so clean and the people on the train are so nice and quiet while minding their own business by staying silent. I wish I can implement this on the Chinese and Hong Kong counterparts!
I've arrived in Strasbourg! Now to walk my way to the hostel!
Hostel is fantastic! Clean, and only 3 beds. Will test it out later tonight. But will have to sleep earlier tonight, check out time is 9am.
Strasbourg first impressions: what a beautiful city! Here are some photos from walking around at sunset. First meal in Strasbourg: try ALL the specialities! I had a Tarte Flambée (creamy cheese with onion and local bacon on flat bread - a local pizza), 4 choucroute (pickled cabbage and sausages and pork), lemon sorbet with raisins soaked in Marc de Gewurztraminer brandy. I had a riesling to go with my dinner too.
Decided against going for a night out and headed straight back to the hostel instead for an earlier night in.
Roommate was in the house. Initially I was excited to meet her, but soon after we did some initial introductions, she started going on a monologue of her life story. I would have been interested, except it was TMI.
I'm not kidding. Waaaaaay TMI.
It wasn't the "I went to Paris and it was fucking awesome!" kind of life story. It was "I was abused...people were following me...blah blah...I had my car tires slashed...you know those satanic rites...yadda yadda...people were performing voodoo on me...more blah blah...my brother died of heroin abuse last year...more yadda yadda...I'm 48 years old and I'm old...I'm applying for political asylum, do you think France is good for that?" (How the fuck should I know??)
For. 45. Fucking. Minutes.
Please...make it stooooop... 😭😰😱🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️
This was definitely the one time when I was absolutely terrified. After asking 15 minutes into her monologue I started texting Sylvain to inform him of my situation (in case shit happens) and gathered all my important belongings, changed my pants and just lay in my bed. I didn't even want to go brush my teeth.
I set the alarm for 7:30am so I could leave sooner (check out time 9am).
Soon, I slept.
Woke up time and time again to hear the roommate snore or talk in her sleep.
My stuff is still on me? Good.
Next morning we awoke at around the same time. She went back to her monologue as I started packing my backpack. She needed a coffee and went out the room.
As soon as she left, I immediately grabbed my toothbrush to just do a quick brushing, took a piss, checked my money, and bolted out to check out.
I sincerely wish all the best to her, but seriously, I hope I won't need to encounter more roommates of this quality. 🤦🏻♀️
Bonjour Strasbourg! Beautiful morning. But 7C!! 🌄🌞 Breakfast: a mini kougelhopf and an espresso at Dreher bakery. Wrote a couple of postcards while I was at it. Inside the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg: What a magnificent church! Beautiful Gothic architecture and stained glass design. Paid 1€ to do a candle offering. Random snapshots while exploring the town. Stopped at Cafe Broglie to do some people watching and write a few more postcards.
Parlement européen Strasbourg
FR The plan was to go to the European Parliament (EU headquarters) for the free tour and to witness the Plenary session at the hémicycle. Sadly this weekday tour is now decreased to Fridays only for individuals. After some advice from the security there, went for an outdoor walk to check out the surrounding buildings instead, namely the European Court of Human Rights and the European Council. Went to the Parc de l'Orangerie nearby for a relaxing sit down break in nature before heading back. Beautiful scenery in wonderful fall weather...I'll certainly miss this feeling. Dear Hong Kong Government and the Hong Kong City Planners, this is what a park should look like! Here is a photo for your reference in case you are actually going to execute this plan! You're welcome! One for the road: a baguette with chorizo and a local Kronenbourg.
End of Strasbourg. A quick bite and a beer for the road. 🥨🍺
See you in Munich! 😉🇩🇪🍖🍻
FR Guten tag München! The beer drinking starts... At the Marienplatz to join the free walking tour today! I do highly recommend SANDEMANs New Europe tours - you can see so much in one walk! The walking tour was fantastic! Going to have to write something fantastic for tour guide Jake on several platforms. 🤓 Some of the tidbits included are learning about Bavarian dress, Munich's history ("buildings were rebuilt to look old!"👴🏻), recommendations for lunch (market please!)🍽️🍻, local beer history and its present day form 🍺...I'm totally signing up for future tours on this operator! Lunch at the Market! The menu includes: a giant pretzel (as big as my face), a white sausage with local mustard sauce (so good!), a mug of beer (so much cheaper than bottled water), and a sour lung soup (made from veal offal). Bavarian fashion and some grumpy stickmen. Respect! I watched this guy set up his work in the morning before my tour...I came back in the afternoon to this. What determination! Some random snap shots around town. Postcards, Bavarian yoga, and outside the toy museum. On a mission to finish that 1L beer! Got a random selfie with some handsome Swiss guys sitting at the next table because of it!
And I made it in 2 hours!! 🍺💪🏻😋🇩🇪
Looked up some night life to go to in Munich. Went to the hostel to shower and come back out again. But the hassle and my fatigue got the better of me and I ended up falling asleep early. 😴
Servus München! Off to the train station after an early start.
Got a random search (for drugs) by German immigration and customs officials. I had nothing to hide, but a team of 4-5 intimidating Germans coming down on you to prepare to arrest you at any moment on a travel size Asian girl doesn't exactly make me feel comfortable either.
A little terrifying, but they were done after 5-10 minutes of giving the inspector guy a grand tour of my belongings.
Hello Salzburg! Got my map and city pass from the tourism office. Most important question of the day: where on earth do I start??
After getting my Salzburg city pass:
Lost in translation. After a little figuring out, finally learned to take a bus that's headed downtown.
And I've only got about 6 hours worth of exploring to do!
At a Mozart residence called Mozart Wohnhaus that's now a museum. Photos and video recording weren't allowed (so only a few sneaktographer shots managed). The city pass allowed free entry and an audio device.
Oh, and federal criminal investigators actually did a research on Mozart's facial reconstruction to see what he would actually look like if he really existed. The result? They said he wasn't a "good looking" guy. (check that mugshot!!) 😂😅
The hills are alive with the sound of music... Locks on Makartsteg. How long will it take until this bridge potentially breaks from the weight? 🤔 And here is the most obvious tourist location: Mozart's actual birth place. Even the birth room was indicated! Some of Mozart's locks of hair were on display too. The one museum that caught my attention which wasn't Mozart related was the Christmas museum. It was all about Christmas celebrations, displays of old style Christmas figurines throughout the ages, St Nicolas references, advent calendars, molds for sweets, a lot of vintage cards, even a Christmas room. I will totally come back to Salzburg just to check out the Christmas festivities on my next trip here. 🎄🎅🏻🤶🏻🍾🎉 Taking advantage of that day pass! Stopped over at Salzburg Museum to check out their exhibit.
I learned 2 things there:
1. George Michael's hit song Last Christmas was actually supposed to be called Last Easter. But his record producers wanted a Christmas song so it was changed to Last Christmas instead. It's now the most played Christmas song around the world.
2. Silent Night Carol is 200 years old this year and it was written in Salzburg. There's an entire special exhibit dedicated for this!
There were even old musical instruments on display too! Check out that fierce looking contrabassoon! (it's the instrument with the head of an animal with its mouth wide open) 🐺 I was already out-museumed. Time for food break... Do you have any idea how difficult it was to find this place?? And I had to stand outside too! But that apfelstrudel (apple strudel) and hot chocolate were totally worth it! 😍🇦🇹 Beer o'clock with a Pilsner and some Mozart cards to scribble on. 🍺🇦🇹🎼🎹🎶🎻🤓 Unfortunately, my lack of time couldn't take me to a recommended beer location suggested by a friend. (Sorry Gerhard! 😅😅) But there was Zipfer nearby that was suggested by trip advisor!
What was on my menu for the night? A Zipfer beer and some Austrian bacon dumpling served on sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). I actually loved this cabbage!
Ans I don't normally say this, but the local Zipfer beer recommended by the staff was absolutely beautiful. The liquid was clear, totally not cloudy, and the bubbles were fizzing, almost like a champagne but in deeper yellow colour. The froth was elegant and looked more like cream than... Well, beer froth. 🍺🍖🍽️😍😋
Some more random snapshots taken around town. There is a shop selling Christmas ornaments made from painted egg shells for 8,50€ each. Aren't they going to break?? 🙈 One last photo for the road at Salzach river during sunset. I cannot even describe its beauty. #huawei #Leica For once, the photos I take are actually doing justice. #Huawei #Leica
On the train:
I know German language based cultures are very on time. But not to the point where the open door for your train only lasts 10 seconds! 🚉👀
Lesson learned: pay further attention!
PS: The lady on train looks like Madam Hooch in the Harry Potter movies. 🎥🤓
At hostel in Vienna:
The locker design sucks! So you need those big massive locks so that the opening doesn't move. The hook on my luggage padlock is way too skinny to hold the opening in place.🙄
I did consider getting a new padlock downstairs but the damn thing costs 5 bloody Euros.
Going to wait until the morning to consider a few options. 🤔
Checking out itinerary for next week:
I currently have everything booked until Berlin. Everything else is not confirmed yet.
So, time to look up details and start arranging for next week's leg!
I found sad news about Cologne...just a few days before on Oct 15 there has been a hostage situation. To give everybody a peace of mind, I'm tweaking my itinerary.
Hamburg maybe...? 🤔
I'll need to go to fish markets then! 🤓😁🐟🐡🦈🐙🦀🦐🦑
Arranging the itinerary for segment between Berlin and Paris (Oct 23 - 31). Hamburg looks good, but definitely need to consider flying out to Amsterdam instead of taking the land route (come on...6 hours and 4 changes?? I may as well do the same by flying but less hassle during that slot!).
Currently backwards engineering my trip from Paris. I've got those free tours I want to join!!
Joined a walking tour. The tour guide really knows her history inside out! Most of the tour consisted of talking about Maria Theresa and the palace that was built (bigger than Versailles!), the Austrian monarchy during the reign of the Roman Empire (Hapsburg family), the story of the fight of the original recipe for sachertorte with the Demel confectionery, and of course...Sisi of Bavaria. 🇦🇹👑
Some photos from the walking tour (Part 1) There's Sisi right there in the portrait.
End of tour and near the house of Mozart! Tour there first!
5 minutes after going inside :
Nope! Waaaaaaaay too many people... 🙄
Guess lunch time for me then! 😋
I'm properly fed. Exploration time! 👟🏃🏻♀️ Hello Demel's! Historically this company has served and provided cakes and, of course, the sachertorte (the local chocolate cake with apricot jam) to the royal family. There was even an open kitchen for visitors to check out the chefs at work. Btw those window displays are actually edible. As per recommended by the guide, there was a little sandwich topping spot nearby where locals eat that was very affordable and vegan friendly. It was very cute, and had all sorts of options (which I couldn't read), so you get a few with egg, egg salad, hummus, fish...and they serve beer too! Oh. My. Word. This is a beautiful library! Sure, I paid 7€ for it, but wow...
But food coma has set in a little bit and ended up dozing for maybe 10 minutes. I can now claim I've napped in the National Library of Austria. 😂😅🤓🇦🇹📙
Some of the Austrian artefacts from the Impérial Treasury. A lot of them are from during the times of the Holy Roman Empire in Germany.
It's only 3pm, but I am so getting my dinner so I don't need to fight for space.
Headed to another recommended café called the Frauenhuber for 3 important things: the schnitzel, a Vienese coffee, and of course, the sachertorte. ☕🥧🇦🇹
The schnitzel was so damn good...made from veal meat with some light chilli, cheese, and ham.
And the main star of the meal, the sachertorte, did not fail to meet expectations.
Oh my word, that cake is one of the best chocolate cakes ever! 😍🍰🤤
A little bit dry overall, the Eïnspanner coffee balanced the taste and texture of the pairing. And even more appropriate to write on a couple of sachertorte themed postcards too.
Great tim to chill out and scribble on a couple of postcards too.
Interesting fact: Mozart and Beethoven played in this very café back in the day.
Meal times are great for 2 things: resting, and organizing legs of your trip.
A couple of issues still needed to settle for my route from Hamburg to Amsterdam. 1. There are no frikking direct trains. 2. A lot of routes took 3-4 hops stops. No fucking way I'm doing that. 3. The cheapest most reasonable time and cost was by air. 1 hour flight. But aside from the 50€ offer for that 6:40am flight, everything else cost 300-500€. For a 1 hour flight? Really?? And 6:40 is way too much hassle when you back track to ways to save transport costs.
It just meant a little more research: check all destination cities that were available for Amsterdam and push for a 1 stop layover instead.
So...Hannover is on the cards for a good layover! Checked all times, gave about an hour for any delays, and found more reasonable prices. It's still a long trip to Amsterdam, but with way less hassle.
And I'm staying 3 nights there to recover and make up for lost time.
All this done while sitting at the Frauenhuber Café. 🍰☕
The streets of Vienna are so frequently filled with love music...I love it!
House of Music: Home to learning about the history of the Viennese Philharmonic (and play a "conduct the Viennese Philharmonic" game!) some of the big composers we know today whose careers grew in Vienna (eg the likes of Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, and Beethoven). And I was having so much fun, to the point I actually said, "Ah stuff it!" to visiting the Mozart Haus altogether.
With the allowance of being able to do some interactive activities, it's hard to leave! 😜
There's always another trip to make up for it!
Electrónica remixed Mozart and Beethoven by Stefan Obermaier filled this room. I had to dance to it. 😊 Any Viennese trip must include 1 thing: a classical concert! The music hall is beautiful, the orchestra was dressed as Mozart, and classics such as Figaro, Symphony No. 40 in G minor and Sonata in A major were a must. And there was Brahms with Hungarian Dance No. 5. And all that from the balcony seat.
A pre-concert beer was a must too.
Some more random snapshots from around town. And some stamps and postcards too.
Back to the hostel after the concert. Took the wrong exit. Entire area still feels super dodgy. Marched with strong purpose with my eyeballs glaring around surroundings. Definitely going to stay somewhere else next time.
And when I got to the room, there definitely has been a 100% change in the roommates. Organized and packed the majority of my shit so I could spend less time getting ready after waking up to catch the 6:40 train, meaning my alarm had to be set for the 5am morning call. Dorm shower and toilets still felt way too gross to shower in.
Remind me to give a terrible review.
Turned the lights off and set my alarm. I also made it a point to set a reminder in the alarm, saying "catch train to Prague at 6:30am".
05:05am: Where the fuck am I?? 😳
Good morning! I actually asked that question when the alarm went off: "Where the fuck am I??" ⏰😂📴😅
That reminder I set just a few hours ago? Yup, that actually got me springing out of bed immediately.
Packed the rest of my belongings as quietly as possible (sorry about the noise roomies!), checked out, and was on the road again.
Still dodgy. No effing way I was walking.
But I did take the subway to the station. Good thing that 24 hour visitor card was still usable (I'm very curious, does anybody actually check your tickets on German style public transport??) and there were people waiting for the ride at 5:30am. 1 stop only but saves me the time and energy from glaring at every other person at the dodgy neighborhood.
Breakfast at the train station: beer and chocolate covered marzipan with a sandwich on the side. I do love Austria. 🍺🍫😋♥️🇦🇹
First time in a train compartment! And all to myself too! There was free water provided on board. Unrolled my neck pillow and fell asleep immediately.
The VOLO logs are going to have to wait a little, I need sleep. 😴
Bunch of girls come rolling into my compartment at the Brno stop. I go back to sleep again after giving them a droopy glance. 😴😴😴🚫
It's frikking foggy outside!! Nooooo o-o....... 🌁
Conversations with Sagi keeping me up a little bit. Asked him for lunch suggestions to keep me entertained before my check in at my Air BnB at 14:00.
Prague and Sagi Sir! I'm here!! 🇨🇿🎉
Exchanged 50€ for some Czech Koruna at the train station. I doubt this is a favorable rate but it'll get me going for now.
Lunch at Bredovsky Dvur: typical Czech food and ordered a local dark beer, a Zelňačka (cabbage) soup and a Svíčková (beef sirloin strips with cranberry sauce, Czech style gravy, and double cream and "dumplings" on the side).
The soup...very hearty and very warming. Fantastic!
Then my sloshy Svíčková shows up.
My first thought when I saw my gloopy looking dish...?
Of course, I was in a new country, I still had to try it.
Best. Tasting. Thing. Ever!
The steak strips were very properly cooked (no toughness, very juicy, and well seasoned), the sauce was absolutely divine, and the bread dumplings taste (and smells and feels) like Chinese 饅頭 ("mantou" which is a plain bau/bun that's typical of Northern China). Soak these babies into the sauce...tastes like meaty heaven...😍😋🍽️🍖🍺🇨🇿
Brief stroll in the square. Got myself some postcards while waiting for check in.
Around Wenceslas Square. Weed flavored booze? Hmm... 🤔🚬 This charging station speaks my language! 😂⚡
At 2pm, as agreed, was the check in time. I was amazed at how cute this apartment is. My host Jana was very nice and gave a few pointers on what things I could do around the apartment.
OMG. I HAVE A WASHING MACHINE. 😍
Priorities: chuck everything I don't need to wear for the rest of the day into the washing machine and take a long shower! I feel human again!
That washing machine part though...feels like a luxury after staying in hostels for a week.
Meeting up with Sagi in about 45 minutes.
Fact: I've known Sagi for around 6 years from playing Guild Wars. This is our first RL reunion.
We walked around town, discovering local sweet shops, playing drunk like the guy at the Beer Museum, and just talking about life in the Czech Republic and things.
Dinner was some more conversations about food, a walk around the toy shop (seeing Golem scare a small girl) and the municipal town hall.
Tonight, my dinner was Kulajda (cream of mushroom soup) and Czech pork ribs. Supremely delicious but the portions can't fit entirely into my travel size stomach!
Packed the ribs up for snacking later.
Said bye to Sagi for the night before continuing with my night walk around town. Prague really is very beautiful at night. The Absinthe Bar and Museum! I totally love this bar! The decor, the different bottles on display, the vibe and energy of the crowd... Playing 1920s swing style music I was ready to be served! But it was packed to the point where I doubt I was going to get any service any time soon. And it's Saturday night. 🙄
There's still tomorrow night!
Quick change of plans: hop to the Jazz Club just a couple metres away. And it's a great plan; the band is fantastic! Decided on a local beer and leave after the 1st set. Got dirty and finished my remaining ribs with my fingers. ✌🏻 Good morning Prague! With so much privacy (and the ability to spread my things everywhere without worrying somebody is going to come steal your things), I slept so soundly that it was almost 10:30am by the time I was ready to head out for the day.
But first : some tea and a slice of bread with berry jam.
Ah PUTAAAAIN. Left my postcards at home! 👻 Small détour on the way to the Municipal Hall. Barbies in haute couture! Outside the Municipal House, there's Bubble Man! Thanks Sagi for taking photos of me being an oversized kid. 🤗 Inside the Municipal House was the exhibition for Mucha's painted works on the Slav epic with Sagi. Learned some history on the events that made the Czech Republic what it is today. Here's a sneaky photo. Outside the Astronomical Clock Tower is a very lively square with plenty of street artists busking. Inside the clock tower is the workings of the clock tower (featuring the 12 Apostles) and the old town hall in the building. The view of Prague from the top of the Astronomical Clock Tower is just amazing,especially on a clear day like this. Initially I wanted to get a quick lunch from this stall, but they were charging over 1000 Koruna (!!!) for some potato cabbage charged by the weight. 🙄🍠
You fucking kidding me? That much just for some vegetables that are basic staples??
Sadly, they will not stop ripping off the tourists. Not now and not any time soon.
A walking tour was in order. Highlights included the Astronomical Clock Tower (along with the bloody history of how its inventor committed suicide), the concert hall which Mozart played (and which the people of the Czech Republic loved when he showcased Figaro), the statue of Antonin Dvorak (New World Symphony was played when the first man landed on the moon!) and the sight of Prague castle. Fun fact: The Rolling Stones were the ones who sponsored the castle lights!
While on my tour break, I gave the Klementinum a call after searching for their opening hours online. Last tour is at 6pm, but hell no I am not leaving it that late!
Called them twice. I'm anal when I want a couple of answers.
There is still time while waiting for Sagi. I am NOT leaving without seeing the voted "Most Majestic Library in the World". I did it! Got my tour to see the majestic library! It really is pretty damn amazing. Pity I wasn't allowed photos.
Ran home to grab my postcards and stop by the post office on the way. Post-office opening hours at the city centre: 2:00am through to midnight daily.
THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME. ✉️📮
The view from the top of the Klementinum is amazing. Met up with Sagi again for a brief walk around the new town central area before dinner. Oh, and that's the National Museum that's still under refurbishment. Dinner: a borscht and a roast duck (Czech style). I'm happy to be not eating meat from a 4-legged animal for the sake of variety! The Dancing House of Prague. Certainly is a very beautiful piece of modern architecture in the city. This is actually called the Fred and Ginger House (being named after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but honestly, Dancing House is way easier to remember). The Prague Castle at night. Seriously Mick Jagger, you and the Rolling Stones must really love Prague and the President of the Czech Republic back then.
Said goodbye to Sagi. I'll miss his company and his intellectual spunk. 🤗
Not too many people at the Absintherie. Totally going to sit myself down there!
Had a brief conversation with a customer who was sitting next to me. He ordered a berry absinthe cocktail. Teasing him is a must. 😂🍹😏
And I got my booze of the night.
Absinthe with the sugar cube technique? Check listed!
Watching the bar staff set the sugar cube on fire is like watching somebody make a flaming Lamborghini for you. Except this is flaming Absinthe on sugar cube. Strong booze. Way stronger than whiskey. Average alcohol percentage = 70%. Absinthe wins.
Slow sipping is strongly advised.
And finally, I'm home! I still have a small bottle of absinthe that I got for myself so I had this after lighting a lavender candle. I slept very well that night. No green fairy sighted. 🕯️😴
Clothes were dry, cooked a boiled egg and ate that with toast. Feeling a little sad to be leaving my Air BnB (and my ability to do laundry). I still have to post my mail at the post office.
Train. Is. Late.
That's my face for late trains.
I had some extra Czech Koruna to spend. So I played a game: grab some Czech snacks and try to guess what they are! Surprisingly I only disliked 1 product out of 4 (which was the powdery sesame cracker). Managed to at least taste these before exiting the Czech border.
Angry German uncle sat next to me on the train. Probably trying to blame someone got stealing his sausage.
The German rail has its own app complete with QR code mobile tickets for easy scanning. Why are the locals still printing their online purchase tickets on paper? 🤔 Hello Berlin! Riding the German subway after spending around 45 minutes trying to figure out how the public transport system works. Let's just say it takes extra time to really understand how it works. Random German auntie rolled a train of German at me while I stood at the exits figuring out where to go. Was she trying to help? Probably.
But was it helpful??
Finally arrived at my hotel. Took a long break before heading back out for dinner and a Milonga.
The hotel receptionist directed me to Kurfürstenhaus area for dinner. He also advised on taking a camera. I could see why; the shops there are so cute! Europe isn't big on Halloween but Christmas for sure is massive here. So I took a selfie with Santa as soon as we met. 🎅🏻🎄🤳🏼 Got a couple of choices for dinner. Went through Trip Advisor on the names available in the area and picked the Nutter Hoppe. It really does not disappoint! Full of people, but the wait staff pointed me to a very nice table where I sat like a queen, complete with a fresh apricot rose and a long candlestick. I was nicely dressed too. 😊🌹 Being on the road means requiring more effort to take care of yourself. In this case, it's finding fresh edible plants to complement my high meat and carb travel diet. So I got myself a mixed salad.
Best. Fresh. Salad. Ever.
The vegetables are full of crunch, and you can even smell a little bit of garden in the flavoring. I nearly shed a tear from all the overflowing happiness. 😂😭♥️🥒🍅
Then came the boiled pork knuckle.
The German guys from the next table yelled a "Bon Appétit!" at me as soon as it arrived.
That knuckle is massive! 😂
Very delicious though. Enough saltiness, properly cooked (and the meat coming off the bone easily), very well seasoned saurkraut (unlike the excessively sour one I had in Strasbourg with the vinegar). Obviously I couldn't finish it, so I asked for a doggie bag. 🐷
My only beef was with the peas...they smell a little burnt.
Dinner over! It's Milonga time! 💃🏻 Made my way to Fusion Factory. Berlin is a large city that offers a few locations for Milonga. Ideally somewhere close enough for me to either walk back or not too far by public transport. Fusion Factory is only a 10 minute walk. 🏃🏻♀️🤦♂️🎈🎖️⚾
Dropped off my coat (and doggie bag) in the DIY cloakroom.
Most organizers will simply greet you and say a few polite words after handling the money from behind the table. Wendy, the organizer, on the other hand, came up to me and gave me a big warm hug with open arms before saying hello. 🤗 I don't remember the last time I felt this welcomed at a dance event. 😘
My impression? It's a beautiful bar with many nice dancers.
What do I like about the experience? Non-stop tandas. A lot of good German leaders who are assertive yet gentle. And it's flattering when a German uncle purposely came up to me during a break insisted on doing the next Milonga tanda together. 😁
Got back to the hotel and asked the reception to help me microwave my pork knuckle for me to take to my room as a post-Milonga snack. It's a giggle. 😂
May need to buy umbrella. It's raining here!
And way too cold to take a 15 minute walk to Alexanderplatz. ❄️😭
5 minutes after seeing a tram and trying to figure out if it will take me to the gate:
Just bloody hop on! You can decide the closest S line stop en-route!
What a great idea that was. Keeping an eyeball on several apps: Maps.me and the Berlin transport line.
Yup, I bloody did it! Got off at the Nordbanhauff and there's a direct S line route to the gate! 💪🏻
Miserable weather and a reluctant purchase of an umbrella while I wait for the next tour to begin.
DE How do you know you're in the Netherlands? Take one deep breath as soon as you exit the train station...if you smell a lot of weed, you know you're at the right place! 🚬 No rain (yet)! Yaaaaaaassssss! Direct train to CDG! YAAAAAAASSSSSS! 💪🏻