Travel Journal Entry #19: The Shadows of Nürnberg

As the World War II slowed down after the Germany’s surrender in 1945, the infamous war crimes were uncovered from the shadows and the troubling news were read from all over the world. Justice had to be served. Court of justice was established in the German city of Nürnberg and sentences were given in what the world would later call the Nürnberg trials.

Nürnberg railway station under repair.

Before the World War II  the city of Nürnberg had been the epicenter of the Nazi party and the largest and most important Nazi rallies had been held there. As a conclusion it was a fitting end to sentence the Nazi war criminals in the same city where it all had started.

Entrance to the old town/city centre.

I was particularly curious how Nürnberg and its citizens had progressed from the heavy shadows of it’s past. Maybe it was the fact that I knowingly tried to compare Nürnberg to my earlier visits in Germany, the ambiance was different. A bit colder, a bit rougher, a bit darker. Nevertheless strangers felt friendly as always. 

As we only spent day and a half in Nürnberg, we had to make choices what to see. So we picked the city center and the Nurenberg castle near it for a day trip. Truthfully the city is not a tourist sensation, at least in the end of September. But that didn’t bother us at all as the local population kept the city busy. 

The past is water under the bridge?

The city centre was not a large one and you were able to walk from end to end in fifteen minutes. The river Pegnitz split the city center in two sides which enabled us to take a couple of bridge shots. The color of water has been fascinating to watch through Europe as it changes a lot. In Switzerland the water was light blue as in Nürnberg the water was deep green. 

Castle entrance out there somewhere!

The Nurenberg castle was located at the edge of the city center and the road leading to the castle was a steep one! Well, not horrible for a normal sized person but for me it was literally a small uphill battle. However every climb so far on my journey through Europe has been rewarded with great views of the city. This one was pretty neat if you don’t count how many cranes there are in the horizon!

View from the castle wall.

Anyhow the city of Nürnberg gave us a fresh experience of a smaller town in Germany. Perhaps there is more going on during the high season? Please do leave comments if you have first hand knowledge. Next journal will be from the city of Prague, Chezch Republic.

– George

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Travel Journal Entry #16: Drinking Wine in Wien

Wien is one of those cities which one must visit once during their lifetime. In Finland we have this one popular finnish pop song (often sang in karaoke bars) that starts it’s chorus as below:

“I’ve drinked wine in Wien, plenty of pints in Lübeck..”

So of course we had to drink wine in Wien and cross that one off our to-do list. Nevertheless Wien is much more than just a place to drink as there is much to explore and see first-hand. If you’re a foodie then you better take a seat – traditional dishes are very popular in Wien and literally melt in your mouth *Warm memories of Sachertorte enter*. Ever had Apfelstrudel, traditional applepie with whipped cream?

Apfelstrudeln, Apple Pie Wien style.

After stocking your belly full of delights you better burn those calories by walking the city streets. Architecture of Wien will not let you down and there are many fascinating buildings with rich history. Let’s take Schönbrunn castle for example. The 1441-room Baroque palace was once imperial summer residence for the noble monarch family of Habsburg. Even Napoleon spent nights in Schönbrunn after he won wars.

Schönbrunn Castle from the main entrance.

For fashionistas the city centre is filled with luxurious fashion shops and other high valued status merchandise where the knee-deep rich can spend portion of their their bank accounts. The views from the shopping streets are beautiful as the old architecture blends very well to the new buildings. One thing you cannot miss in Wien are the horse carriages which take the tourists for a stroll in the city. 

Horse carriages next to St. Peters Church.

Now we have just arrived to the city of Salzburg and let me tell you folks, this place will be a glorious adventure. Austrian city which is next to the snowy Alps..did we hop into the cable car already? All aboard! Enjoy your thursday!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #14: Quick Split to Zagreb


Who would have known that it will take some time for your body to adjust to a colder climate. Lesson learned as now I have suffered two days the symptoms of a cold. Runny nose and sore throat is a bitch when you’re trying to explore new places. Hence I will squeeze the city of Split and Zagreb into one journal entry. 

Near the Split Old Town gates. I dubbed the statue Nostradamus.

We took a bus connection from Dubronivk to Split and it was kind of awesome change to our traveling habits. As you rail for over two months you start to get sick of the procedure of jumping trains all the time. The bus was super comfy to spend 4 hours in and the views from the windows were amazing as most of the roads were mountain/coastal roads. 

Split pier at night.

At first Split felt less tourist-y than Dubronivk and we were thrilled. However during our stay we were actually amazed how many Finns had booked their holiday in Croatia. It got a bit bothersome as we were used to being the only Finns around and speak freely about anything. In a way listening to others speak finnish made me realize that normal 8-4 life is just couple of months away. I hated the familiar feeling in my gut.

Clouds forming while traveling in train.

That’s when the symptoms of cold kicked in. In Italy we got used to 35′ Celsius weather every single day of the week and Split was the first city we started to feel almost ten degrees less on our skin. The A/C machine in our hotel was cranked too low and my bed was just under the flow of air. Rest is history. I wiped my runny nose and we headed to Zagreb. Weather turned rainy and colder than ever before.
22 degrees and raining. Oh dear, this is what autumn looks like. Pumpkin spice latte and ugg-boots here we come. It was time to pull the jacket out of my luggage and change shorts for something warmer. Nevertheless Zagreb is cozy town with a entertaining venues and restaurants. We wanted to try local traditional food so our hostel keeper adviced to try strukli. What is strukli you ask? 

Strukli looks something like this.

Basically strukli consists of dough, cottage cheese, eggs, sourcream. Additional fillings are put in by personal choice. It’s hard to describe to someone who has not tasted it but it was kinda like lasagna with other ingredients. Took away our hunger and would love to eat it again. 

St. Mark’s Church. Beautiful roof, huh?

We did not find any superior must-see sights in Zagreb so we went for our personal ones. There is a museoum of torture and we found it fascinating. You got a free multimedia device with the tour which gave further explanation on the torture devices. Only one conclusion was made after the tour, we humans are painfully creative at inventing ways to hurt each other. 

Tools of torture at Zagreb Museum of torture.

As we only spent two nights at Zagreb, I feel like there would be way more to see here. But perhaps that is a tale for another time. Tomorrow we will continue the journey to Hungary’s well known capital, Budapest. See you there and goodnight!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #13: Dubrovnik, Kings Landing

I’m quite sure the city of Dubronivk and specially the Old Town here will go down as one of the few grand stops on our entire journey through Europe. There has not been anything as remarkable in comparison that we have encountered on our adventure so far than this Croatian gem. Dubrovnivk, also known as Kings Landing for the Game Of Thrones fans, took us by suprise and made us fall in love with its’ charms.

Look at that view. Dubrovnik Old Town and the sea.

We travelled from Bari to Dubrovnik by a ferry cruise ship that was a keen memento to the 90’s. Old sea biscuit that had seen plenty of years on the open sea. I had ranted earlier about the social culture of Italy and the waiting game to enter the ferry ship was a bittersweet example about it. It took us 5 hours to get through the port terminal to the ferry ship and the departure was delayed by over two hours. The clock was roughly past midnight when we managed to crawl into our cabin for some good ol’ fashioned sleep. 

Arrival port at Dubrovnik.

The ferry arrived to Dubronivk at 8 o’clock in the morning so we had plenty of time to seek our wat to our hotel. Unfortunately the port was far away from the Dubrovnik old town so we hopped on a bus and started paying attention to our surroundings. Soon our eyes caught first glimpses of the old town and the massive walls surrounding the city. Ten minutes later we had found our hotel and left our luggage there.

The main street Stradun in Dubrovnik Old Town.

The old town is not on the larger side even though the city has plenty of side-alleys tp choose where you can find restaurants and various shops. You can easily get a bit lost when wandering around the city but you can always route back to the the main street that goes through the middle of the town. However the city itself and the oceanic views everywhere make you plainly forget that time even exists.

As our hotel room was not ready in the morning we decided to take the cable car up the mountain side and see the spectacular views from up there. Departure station was only 10 minute walk away. The ticket price was 140 Kuna (roughly 18,50€) but well worth it. From up there you could see the whole peninsula clearly and your lungs thank you for the fresh air. Truly a mesmerizing place.

Cable car wohooo!

I could tell you a lot of more about our visit to Dubrovnik but I  don’t want to spoil everything for you. All I can say is that visiting this place is highly recommended. Spending the last two days in Dubrovnik has given me personally a lot of energy to keep on going on this adventure and I can’t wait to see more. Next stop will be the Croatian city of Split! 

Have a great night!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #12: Every-Bari Dance Now

My advice to anyone to traveling in Italy: if you have already seen the big cities here and their main attractions, relocate asap to the smaller cities. The true italian lifestyle doesn’t really shine in a busy colossal city like Rome but you learn to appreciate it in a city that has a slower pulse rate.

Castles in the sand.

That is why I like Bari far better than the others. You find a lot of good restaurants and they have empty tables to swoop in without reservation. The streets are not too crowded to let pickpockets snatch easy targets. The city is easy to walk as you don’t have to bet your life on the line every time you cross the street (red light means “go but be very careful” to italians rather than “stop”).

Beach of Bari. Guess the season has ended.

What’s better for a northener like me, the coastal city has slighly lower temperatures due to the ocean breeze. Even 31′ degrees celsius (87.8 fahrenheit) feels a lot colder than in the main land. There are some sights to see (couple of churches, castle and other monuments) so you can spend a day or two exploring them. The beach almost fully covers the coastline and you can sit freely on a bench breathing fresh air.

Chuuuurch. Walked in and there was service in action.

I am rather conflicted do I like Italy or not, as during our stay here we ran into minor trouble, theft, traffic violations, unworkable public transportation, scammers and a lot of unlogical reasons how things work around here in Italy. The quality of restaurants, friendly people, street musicians and general ambience in smaller cities like Bari balance the scales.

Perhaps I have to ponder about my final verdict when I get back home. Tonight we’ll say goodbye to Italy and set sail to Croatia. First stop will be Dubronivk, also known as Kings Landing from hit-series Game of Thrones.

Enjoy your saturday, you know I will!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #7: Co$y in $witzerland

Here is a quote you can pass on to the future generations.

No man has lived to the fullest before paying 15,00€ for a happy meal that makes the poor generation sad.

– George Carcain

 If you were wise enough to read between the lines, Switzerland is ugh.. well.. not cheap for common traveler. Hence we decided to spend two nights in Bern.

However if I was a retired CEO I’d might pack my bags and move here. The views are spectacular all around the city of Bern and the Swiss people more than friendly. Various restaurants sprout from the plazas and the architecture reminds of medieval times. There are also bears.

Bern bear saying what’s up.

Yeah, this place has everything. A vibrant city centre that has all necessary services for the citizens and if you’re growing tired of the masses, take a quick metro-train from Bern railway station and you can watch a cornfield grow in peace.

Corn growing next to the Deisswil station.

Just when you thought there might not be anything else to see, perhaps I can mention the turquise-blue river that runs through the city? Oh yes. Heights, camera, action.

Aare river captured from a bridge.

Truthfully it takes about 2-3 hours to scout the city but if you happen to find a captivating spot you can easily forget where you were going in the first place. That is why you need to go to see the Berns famous Zytglogge-clock tower at the town centre.

The clock is ticking..

Before you know it.. it’s time to catch the next train. Tomorrow we happily start the Italy-leg of our Europe tour! Milan, Firenze, Roma, Bologna and other great cities await us! Have a amazing night and stay tuned for Italy!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #6: Merci et Au Revoir, Paris

I will state it as it is my dear readers, Paris is kept in a high regard in Europe for a reason. Visit the city for at least three days and you will adjust to the rhythm it speaks out loud. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternite – these are the virtues the people of France hold dear.

The architecture everywhere in the city is stunning and the people living here complement the very ambiance of Paris. The way of life here is not the way of life we Finns tend to live in the north but there surely is a certain kind of charm to it. 

I am now obliged to tell you I’m writing this piece while holding a red wine bottle in my other hand and a belly full of croissants mixed with appetizer cold cuts. I call it the French Night Delight. So my current opinion on Paris might be biased at the moment.

Yesterday we woke up early to get breakfest and set afoot to see the Eiffel tower in all of its glory. It’s never a challenging task to find a suitable breakfast place in Paris as the streets are full of restaurants, créperies and coffee shops. However if you’re on a tight budget you’ll soon find out that the global fastfood restaurants here have the best value for money menus. You’ll be amazed what you can get with 5,00 EUR.

After finishing our breakfast we hopped on a bus near the Paris latin quarter and watched the street signs change for a good 15 minutes. Soon enough our eyes gazed on the majestic Eiffel tower from the ground up. To see the whole building as one we had to walk roughly 200 meters away from the monument. The lush park around Eiffel tower smelled wonderful and the amount of tourists wandering around the monument was not too bad considering the popularity of Eiffel tower.

Le Pointy Thing, Eiffel Tower.

The only thing that was a nuisance was the street merchants that were a bit of aggressive in selling Eiffel tower merchandise around the park. We soon found out that best way to avoid scammers, pickpockets and desperate merchants was to inform them we do not speak english.

After we had made our peace with the Eiffel tower we headed out to see the Arc De Triumph. Man the monument was larger in real life than I was expecting it to be. My biggest worry was the car traffic around it and the careless tourists that wandered fearlessly in it to get the perfect vacation picture. 

Joanne D’ Arc De Triumph. Oh, wait, no.

The monument is located on the Champs-Elysee road which is filled with restaurants, fashion shops and bars. We even found an event celebrating the transfer of famous football player Neymar Jr. to the team PSG. If I understood correctly the star player was giving out signed team shirts to fans. We settled for an icecream in nearby shop.

Football hype that I wish I’d understand.

Finishing the Paris experience with some slightly guessed statistics:

  • The amount of croissants eaten: 12
  • The amount of wine bottles enjoyed: 5
  • The amount of Bonjours: ~ 74
  • The amount of Merci’s: ~ 63
  • The amount of trying to act like you understood what the cashier told you: ~ infinite

Paris, you are alright. Next time I will come to visit you will be with the love of my life. Tomorrow we have to pack our bags and the planned destination will be Bern in Switzerland! Have a great night everybody! 

– George