A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: samandvic

Departure

21st August

sunny 19 °C

Pre-departure. Strangely enough, we weren’t up until 5am frantically packing the night before departure. A scene rarely seen in the Sam and Vicki show.

Slight change of plan. Possibly an understatement. The Eurail/Eurostar terms clearly state that Poland and Slovakia are not covered by the Global Rail Pass. For some strange reason we thought they were. I won’t openly blame Vicki but she knows it was her fault. In real terms it just means we have another week to fill. A shame we had to skip Poland but it made sense to add it to our China/Russia odyssey in a couple of years.

Freedom. Frankfurt is our European start and end point. The rest we’ll make up as we go. A couple of non-negotiable destinations however more on that later. This type of freedom and spontaneity is a rare treat and one that is so sorely missed in our every day. Refreshing.

Farewell. Jay and Gabi kindly dropped us at the airport, picked up our cats on the return leg and put simply, removed all the pain from departure as they so often do. They will resent us both in a couple of weeks when our cats drive them around the bend. Winston is very high maintenance at present. Unfortunately, you’ll find this out the hard way. Thanks again.

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Good decision. We decided to fly Qantas simply based on lounge access and extra luggage allowance. A bite to eat, half a dozen scotches and a couple of beers later, and justification began to hazily appear on the horizon.

Comfort. Vic pre-selected our seats on the net but for some reason, they weren’t honoured. She made mention of this to every passing Qantas employee, I think she even had a quiet word with the window cleaner whom I am sure could have taken the matter straight to the top. No payoff for the leg to Singapore. A380 was full but when we handed our boarding passes to the attendant at the gate for the Frankfurt leg, we were upgraded. Either persistence pays off or the window cleaner was very well connected.

Boonie. Our fair Boonie. In drinking terms, Boonie owned the air. Well he did until now. Rumour has it that he drank more than 30 beers on a domestic flight. It would be remiss of me not to mention that it took two international flights plus lounge time over a course of some 25 hours to challenge the man. Beat jetlag by starting with a hangover I say...

Posted by samandvic 15:19 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Frankfurt

Day 1 - 22nd August

sunny 34 °C

Arrival. Seamless exit through immigration however the bag carousel must have been imported. Certainly didn’t cry of German efficiency. On the outer it was 7am, 30 something degrees and sunny. We’re in for a hot day.

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Hotel. A walk from the station, clean and well presented. Perfect for overnight recovery before recommencing our journey.

Bankfurt. A nickname that the Frankfurters are trying so desperately to overcome. The city has more to offer than it’s German cousins give it credit for. It’s certainly not Munich but nice enough for a brief visit.

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No Doze. With such an early arrival, we had to quickly occupy ourselves to deny the sleep demons. Otherwise, it could take days before our body clocks adjust. Is it wrong to crave schnitzel and beer at 8am? Quick shower and out we went to find out...

Only in Germany. After a bum steer from a local and walking endlessly for an hour, we finally found the area we were looking for, Fressgrasse. Lovely place made up mainly of eateries and delicatessens. Asking for beer and schnitzel at any time of day appeared not unusual. The culinary display suggests Germany does not have that heart foundation tick of approval.

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Shopping. I bought two pairs of sneakers in about 3 minutes. Almost as good as Vicki’s effort of 4 in 15 minutes back in Paris 2009. That extra luggage allowance will not go to waste. Vic hasn’t even warmed up.

Dude, Where’s my car? The AUDI back at home is pretty special to me. Over here Mercs are taxis and every car on the road is what we would call a ‘prestigious or luxury import’. A struggle to admit that my car just blends in with traffic...

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Casting. When we got back to the hotel there was a group of 10 or so models in the bar. Apparently, auditioning for the cover girl of a Frankfurt festival of sorts. I wasn't allowed a beer...

Posted by samandvic 15:24 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Frankfurt

Day 2 - 23rd August

sunny 32 °C

On the road to recovery… A solid sleep in and a hearty breakfast helped regain some vitality. A few early afternoon beers then completed the job. Not sure how the liver is going right now but I’ll ask it in October.

ICE ICE Baby. The Fast trains on the German network are called ICE. Very comfortable and modern. The global pass is First Class which makes them even better again. Next stop, Leipzig.

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We met a lady called Tina who was travelling with her mother and Son, Timo. We shared company over a few drinks which really made the train ride run quickly. Tina lives on the German-Swiss border and after learning that we were somewhat doing things on the fly, invited us to stay in her guest house. We’ll be in touch, Tina and if time permits we would love to come and visit. Thanks for the offer.

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Posted by samandvic 03:05 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Leipzig

Day 1 - 23rd August

32 °C

Hotel. The reception area was presented as a bar. Pretty kitsch looking place but it was uber modern, great facilities, clean and extremely well priced. Not to mention a stone throw from the city centre.

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The heart of Leipzig. Not a big town. Easily walked one end to the other without a expelling a single bead of perspiration. Take nothing away from it’s beauty. Kind of a cross between Avignon and Munich. Great layout, good atmosphere, some high end shopping, plenty of eateries and immaculately presented. Glad we stopped by on the way to Berlin. A little gem that we only decided to visit last minute.

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Letting off some steam. It was good to get back into the gym. After a solid workout, I decided to swim a few laps and attempt to sweat off my winter layer in the sauna.

As I was laying there peacefully, a very tall and muscly guy walked in. Of course he was nude but that is how they roll in Germany. Whatever dude. Now here is where it got interesting. Please stop reading now if you are squeamish.

Let me set the scene. I was laying facing the wall so I couldn’t see the guy. I heard a few noises that sounded a little ‘suspect’. No, I thought to myself. Not possible. He was just in the gym so maybe he was rubbing the sweat of his arms and legs. Please be rubbing sweat of your arms and legs, dude. The noise continued… then stopped… continued again… by this stage I was starting to get a little concerned. A few seconds later, I heard a slap against some part of his body. What the F are you doing, mate? This is meant to be peaceful experience. I stood up ready to leave, picked up my towel and caught a glimpse of who I will refer to as the yellow pages mascot. He was letting his fingers do the walking alright… and the talking… and a whole heap of other stuff that you shouldn’t f'n be doing in a sauna when there is someone else sharing the space.

‘No running’, the sign read on the way out. Yeah, how about you go in there…

Posted by samandvic 03:11 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Leipzig

Day 2 - 24th August

27 °C

There’s a storm a brewin’. We woke to a loud crack of thunder and the sound of rain pelting against the window. A violent storm had hit Leipzig but as quickly as the storm arrived, it moved on. Now that’s the German efficiency we’ve grown to love. Blue sky and sunshine. No evidence of inclement weather.

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OCD. A quick bite for lunch followed by a crazed rush to locate a Leipzig fridge magnet before boarding the train. Can’t for the life of me find a souvenir stand. Every station in Europe has dozens of these stands to the point where they sell very little else. Leipzig was different. 5 mins in hand, sweat covered and panting for breath I met Vicki back at the platform. I proudly showed Vicki by victory trophy like a dog holding up his most favoured bone. A patronising look, a quick OCD diagnosis and we boarded the train to Berlin.

Posted by samandvic 01:12 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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