Travel Journal Entry #18: Viel spaß in Munich

The first thing that comes to my mind when Munich is mentioned – Oktoberfest. We met friendly folks dressed in traditional Bauern clothing the very second we stepped into metro. Beer was shared, women were dressed to perfection and everyone was having fun. Except us as we were struggling to move our luggage to our hotel. Fun had to wait a bit longer. 

Oktoberfest maddness.                                                             

I have to rant a bit about showers in german hotels – do they plan them for goblins or humans? Once again the struggle was real as I did not fit to squeeze into the shower and even my friend lost his mind trying to turn in the damn thing. Small showers seem to be a thing in Germany.  Please do correct me if I’m wrong. 

Everybody having fun. Lederhosen shorts are cool.

Change of clothes and we were off to Oktoberfest. Security was tough as anyone would expect these days. Bags were not allowed and everyone had to open their jackets before entering. Then we were met with amusement park rides and small shops offering all kinds of snacks, drinks, grill food and of course beer. The biggest breweries had their own houses where you could reserve tables. As we came late the most places where packed full.

Luckily we found a empty table from outside and sat down. Drink maidens came to take orders and we were set. At first we were surprised that the beer cost 10,90 per pint but then we realized it was a 1 litre (0.26 gallons) pint. I can safely say you don’t have to order many times to get drunk. For us two per person was enough!

This is what 1 litre of beer looks like.

To counter the fun we had, we went to the Dachau concentration camp memorial next day to respect the dead and those who had to endure horrific acts under Nazi rule. We spent a lenghty three hours there and afterwards I felt really sad. So many souls lost for one bitter mans idealogy.

Many entered through this gate and never returned.

The Dachau concentration camp held estimately 206 000 “persons of interest” that were sent to concentration camp as “precaution”. One thing that separates Dachau from other concentration camps was the fact that the gas room was built but not used for total extermination. Victims lost their lifes due to fatigue from work, hunger and diseases. 

Map showing prisoner numbers by country.

After Hitlers power started to fade by the invading allied countries, the US army arrived to Dachau and liberated the camp from the german eliye SS soldiers. Thus ending the torture of thousands of innocent lifes. After the surrender of Germany in 1945 many high profile SS-commanders and soldiers were put on trial in Nürnberg for their war crimes. 

Original gate door. Work makes you free. Not. At. All.
Hence the next destination for us will be the city of Nürnberg. The main location for the Nazi party and the Nazi Nurenberg rally parties held annually before the dawn of World War II. I wonder how the city is nowadays, living with the shadows of the dark past? Report coming soon! Good night!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #2: Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin

Six days in Berlin came to end today and it was time to pack our bags, leaving me to reminisce the last week. 

On Thursday night one of our finest friends came to Berlin to accompany our adventure for the weekend. It felt absolutely great to see familiar face in unfamiliar place! First stop on Friday was the Europes largest waterpark, Tropical Islands. In earlier post I mentioned that german people are a bit open than Finns in equal nudity in public spaces.

Large ceiling poster at the waterpark.

It didn’t take more than couple of steps to the locker rooms and I was greeted with a beatiful lady with no top on. Not sure if she had bottom on either as I politely did 180° and waited for my turn to use the lockers.
The waterpark did not work directly with normal currency, instead everyone wore electronic watches that kept a log of everything you spent in the waterpark and you had to clear the debt before departing. 

Entrance fee was 42,00 EUR and if you wanted to enter the Sauna & Spa complex, total was 49,00 EUR. In order to get most of the high entrance fee, we decided to spent almost the whole day there swimming and relaxing. 

It was super refreshing experience and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone in Berlin. Please do note that the waterpark is located 60km from Berlin centre so you need to buy train tickets to Brand Tropical Islands-station from Berlin Hbf. Then the free shuttle bus ride will delivers you to front gate.

On Saturday we started to get really thirsty and it was time to experience the 21st Berlin Beer Festival. The festival started near Alexanders Platz in the centre of Berlin and the beer tents kept on going from street to street. All roads near the event were securily barred to avoid any incidents, which reminded us travellers that terrorist attacks have claimed victims even in Berlin.

The event itself was glorious and had breweries from 74 different countries. Luckily we were able to buy 0.2dl tastemug so the alcohol did not totally ruin our day. However we did find one special beer which we had to try out! 

Berlin Bear next to Cannabis Strong 8%.

Although it did not contain any actual THC, it did the trick like any other alcohol. Sunday was all about recuperating, relaxing and spending the last day at the town laughing with my friends. 

Now the train has brought us to Amsterdam, Sin City of Europe. Guess we better soak up the experience and report back to you later! Have a good night!

– George

Europe Travel Journal, Entry#1: Ich Bin Ein Berliner

The human mind is not the known for processing changes in a heartbeat. I complained to my friend at the start of the week that everything felt way too normal, even though I was packing my bags for almost three month trip through Europe. The change did not hit me in the airport lobby, the airplane nor the destination airport. Changing your mentality to vacation mode takes days, or even weeks. Now sitting in Berlin restaurant drinking local wheat beer and eating german wurst sausage and boom, it hits you. You are away from your homeland. 

I am not sure if I’m missing my old habits at the moment, my comfy bed, apartment and the drilling noices coming outside my window at 9 AM. But change is usually inevitable, scary and if you have blessed with introvert genes, it makes you a bit worried. Germany is not a huge change in atmosphere, people are friendly, streets are safe and everything is convenient. The trains work like a clockwork, metro and busses share a lot of similarities with the public transportation in Finland.

But one thing you notice quickly when walking around the city, the alcohol laws are less strict in here yet there is no bad behavior or ridicously drunken people. You can walk to the next possible market and buy 0,80 EUR pint or if you want to sit and birdwatch other people, pay couple euros more and there you have it. 0.5 litre beer from a tall glass and good view of the city.

Only thing that was utmost ridiculous was the shower at our hostel. I’m not going to lie to you, I am a big man and one of the missions for this trip was to lose weight by walking. The german engineering missed it’s mark in our hostel as the I was not able to squeeze myself through the shower glasses to stand under the drain. Even my traveling partner had a bit of a hard time. Perhaps the next hostel will better suited to a large men. I would also recommend anyone traveling in the summer in europe that your hostel has air conditioning in rooms. Makes the sleep better when you’re now swimming in your own sweat. 

The old buildings here, Berlin wall and the culture speaks of it’s history. Today we wisited the East Side Gallery which has a long road and the Berlin wall next to it has been canvas for various talented artists. It was kind of absurb and shameful that we met some kids on our way that were doing the Hitler salute for their parents. The locals looked in disgust the children and we all know the reason. The Holocaust victims and the German people themselves suffered greatly under the rule of Third Reich. The modern Germany is nothing like it’s old shadow. 

Berlin’s own beer festival opens its doors tomorrow in Alexanders Platz and we have planned to visit various breweries during our stay here in Berlin. I cannot highlight the quality of breweries in germany compared to the ones we have in Finland. Most of the beers in Finland are either exported from other countries or they taste like low quality piss. Although the public even in Finland has started to appreciate small breweries and everything is going to right direction that way.

One of our finest friends arrives today to Berlin as well and we have also decided to visit the local Tropical Islands waterpark to relax ourselves from the heat. Hopefully the german folk will hold their wienerschnitzel in their pants as we have heard some rumours that the park has a lot of nudist areas. Not sure if I am ready for that blitzkrieg-shock just yet. 

Pretty sure I will sum up the Berlin experience at the end of this week when we will pack our bags again and start to travel to Amsterdam. Have a great one and thanks for reading!

– George