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 #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 #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 #15: A Moment in Budapest

The journey to Budapest started with a logistical mess. When we first arrived to Budapest the customer service assured us that we don’t have to reserve seats from Zagreb to Budapest. However when we got to train station the train planning had changed. 
Luckily we were top on out game and went to check. Turned out that due to construction we had to reserve seats and use train-bus-train connection to Budapest. The traveling was bothersome as we had to jump from transport to other while carrying our luggage. Only relief was the fact that the last train was almost empty so we got an entire cabin of six seats for ourselves.

The Buda Castle.

Budapest seems to share similarities with Finland and with a quick look from window it would be hard to differentiate which country is in question. Only difference is in the landscape – you will probably see mountains/high terrain in the distance.

Budabest life on street level.

Spending two days in Budapest gives you good understanding why people in Finland book quick and cheap flights for a weekend here. Eating is quite cheap and the price level in supermarkets are about 40% lower than in Finland. The weather in September is still relativily warm (during our stay about 26′ Celsius) compared to northern countries.

Most of the attractions are among the Tonava-river and the various restaurants are close by to enjoy the view. During our stay we didn’t focus so tightly on sightseeing than experiencing the daily life in Budapest. Perhaps the fatigue of travelling is starting show in us as we have been on the road for over a solid month now. Metro was definately the wisest choice to travel in the city and the busses were also the same quality as in Finland. 

Coffee time at The Donut Library. YUUM.

I will probably return here for a weekend trip to enjoy the hungarian ambience and enjoy lower price rates. Definitely recommend visiting Budapest with a group of friends!

Now we have arrived to Wien and the climate is turning colder by the destination. Nevertheless I am glad to speak german again for a week or so (next destinations Salzburg, München, Nürnberg). Ach Jawohl! Oktoberfest is around the corner as well..can’t wait. Enjoy your monday night!

– 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 #11: The Tasty Tables of Naples


If you’re desperately hungry for a culinary orgasm, Naples will accordingly set you a meal you cannot forget. Apologies for the choice of words, kids. I can only assure you that I won’t order a sloppy pizza in Finland after this adventure. Because just like any breathtaking and luscious relationship that ended too swiftly, you will be comparing the next one against the latter. You shall be disappointed surely.

Mmmmm-mouth watering.

The Naples is notoriously famous for the pizza which is heated to perfection in special made napolian oven. The topping ingredients and the menú choices are carefully designed to bake a flavourful combination which makes you doubt the culinary standards in your home country.

As a city Naples has a rough center. The collection of thrashes and current behavior regarding waste is to let it lay in the gutter. It makes a traveller sad to see thrashed streets in a city like Naples. The flood of immigrants from Africa (my guess, I could be wrong) have a visible effect on the city as well. A lot of police patrols everywhere and the street merchants have stands on almost every corner. 

EU thrash. Not going to finals.

My first advice is to leave the city center next to the railway station and go a bit further to see mesmerizing views of the city. You can do this by traveling with metro to Castello Sant’Elmo. A enourmous castle on top of a hill with a breathaking view. If you don’t want to pay the entrance fee you can still gaze the city from the platform next to it.

Whew, what a view!

If your soul wants to wander to the ocean, another spectacular view can be obtained from the coast of Napoli. Free entrance to the Castell dell’Ovo is a big plus and you can easily spend hours there to scout the wonderful coast and the boats in action.

Panorama view from Castello dell’Ovo.

Since you’re in Naples you might want to visit the famous Pompeii city that was buried with it’s inhabitants in volcanic ashes in 79 AD due to the eruption of Vesuvius volcano. It’s a cruel reminder that we humans are sometimes powerless in the hands of nature. As the citizens of Pompeii were buried in the volcanic ashes, reserchers were able to fill the gaps in the ash with plaster. As a result we have now detailed molds of the very body positions of Pompeii citizens when they died in the disaster.

Requescat in Pace, young one.

Tomorrow morning we will say our goodbyes to Naples and do a quick one day tour in the northern coast of Italy, Bari. Then we will set sail and arrive to the Kings Landing to play a little Game Of Thrones! Croatia ahoy! 

Have a awesome day!

– George

Travel Journal Entry #10: All Roads Led To Rome

You are going to hate me for this travel entry the same way I will hate myself for writing this. This will be a bit of an angry rant my beloved readers. Blame it on the heat.

My two day experience of Rome is a bit of an homage to the negative history of the once grandiose city. Unfortunately it seems that Rome has not been able to amend the defective mentality and social constructs of the society that enabled its fall to ruins in the first place.

The Pantheon. Visit inside free of charge.

Before I continue any further I want to make myself clear that my homeland is not perfect in any way imaginable. We have many current flaws in our current society and we have no shame in admitting that. But we do our damn best to fix the issues at hand.
As per my experience as a traveller I feel like the people in Rome just let things be broken. Then everybody clears their conscious by pretending it’s “the way of things just work around here”. 

Fontana de Trevi. Water fountain loaded with tourists.

My visit to Rome started with a way too crowded bus to our hotel and a sloppy but oppressive pickpocket attempt. An old man right behind me started to feel me up and search my empty pockets. I immediately slapped away his hands and watched him crawl further away in the bus. We exited the bus on the next stop and took the metro instead. Jeez.

The incident got me paranoid of other strangers pretty quickly. I had to abandon my cosy shorts because the front pockets were too easy to pickpocket and to change into heavier capri shorts which had more secure pockets. Have you ever wore jean-fabric in 35′ Celsius heat? Not pleasant at all.

Vittorio Emanuele monument. Yehaw.

First off the public transportation in Rome is laughable at best. I had heard the tales that one cannot trust the timetables in Italy but in Rome the timetables are literally non-existent. The busses arrive to your stop when they feel like it. You might wait 45 minutes and still see zero busses coming your way. It’s depressing when you see even the locals give up and just walk away from the bus stop. 

The old history, architecture and monuments of Rome and the Vatican city are fascinating but the general loss of logic in supermarkets, elevators, buildings and the people itself eat away the experience. 

Quick example: How many doors one elevator should need to be efficient and easy to use? The correct answer apparently in Italy is three. A door that opens the elevator shaft and two more doors that slide open inside the elevator. If even one of the doors is not 100% in place, the elevator will not work.

The Square of Vatican City.

If something has hit the sweet spot in Rome it’s definitely the food. The restaurants serve amazing delicasies and even a simple pasta carbonara will make you miss the chefs that prepared that heaven for you. Cafeterias will serve you fresh cappucino and tasty pastries for couple of bucks. If you are thinking about food-traveling, please do keep Rome in mind.

Yo Xzibit, Pimp my Pope Chariot.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Rome and we will spend it by exploring the historical amphiteather Colosseum and Forum Romanum. Oh and shopping for a new mens shoulder bag as my “old” one broke down today. Never buy anything from Zalando kids. 

On Tuesday we will continue our journey and travel to Naples! Summon positive vibes and stay cool y’all! Good night!

– George