Wow, what a spectacle! We showed up early the night before Oktoberfest started and had a chance to run around the different tents before they opened for Oktoberfest – a very nice treat! The day of the event was crazy. We heard that the tents fill up well before the event starts so we woke up early, made our way down to the tents and found one that was open. It just so happened were able to view the parade that passed too! It was so much fun to be at the event as it started and, then, of course, enjoy the beer!!
Enjoy the pictures!
We visited Innsbruck, Austria, since it was on the way to Italy. We went up a tram to the top of a mountain near Innsbruck and had a wonderful view of the valley and the Alps. The weather was perfect and it was a lot of fun to have the experience. It’s been some time since I was last in the mountains, I really soaked it up! The town of Innsbruck is rather small but still has some cool stuff like good restaurants and a neat Catholic church. Innsbruck held the Olympics a few times so they have really good transit for such a small town.
I took a timelapse of the clouds rolling through the mountains. It was really cool and can be downloaded here: DSC_7449.
Enjoy the pictures!
What a sad experience. It was surreal to see Dachau and learn about all the atrocities that occurred there. I was able to walk around the camp shortly after it opened when no one was around and also took a guided tour a few hours later. I’m glad I went on the tour but it was very sad.
I decided to break up our Germany trip into two posts because St. Goar on the Rhine River and Rothenburg ob der Tauber are pretty different than the rest of our travel through Bavaria.
We really liked St. Goar. It’s a tiny little town on the Rhine River. We rented bicycles and biked up and down the river finding all sorts of plants (hops, pear trees, apple trees, raspberries, and so on). The Rhine region is known as a Riesling region so we took advantage of the delicious wines with typical German meats and cheese! We rode a riverboat up the Rhine and saw all sorts of castles along the way. We hopped off at Bakarack and hiked up to the castle above the town. Whether by boat, car, bike or train, the Rhine River region between St. Goar and Bakarack is astoundingly beautiful.
We then went to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and was blown away by this medieval city. The original city walls from long ago are still intact and most of the inner city is as well. It was quite an experience and everything was done up in the traditional medieval way. It was very touristy but still fun to visit: we had a chance to walk the city walls, see a neat night tour, enjoy meat & cheese & bread and just had a very fun time!
On the way to Dachau were saw more of the Bavarian countryside and saw a lot of hops growing :). Germany isn’t a whole lot different than the Netherlands. There’s a lot more room, the trains are super easy to navigate, and the trains are very comfortable. The only downer is probably due to the internet. A lot of places that have advertised internet with their lodging have super crappy internet or have internet that only works in the common area. Otherwise, the food here in Bavaria is delicious and the people are great too!
Enjoy the pictures!
We had an absolute blast in Amsterdam! We spent four nights in the same location, pretty different from our trip so far! We didn’t actually do that much in Amsterdam, we spent the time recouping and then spent the rest of the time aimlessly walking around. Jacquelyn had her 30th birthday in Amsterdam and we did it up in style with a very nice dinner, drinks, and a romantic stroll :). We loved the city, it was great weather and very friendly people. Four days was not enough, we look forward to visiting again some day!!!
Amsterdam was different compared to anywhere else we’ve visited. Here’s what we learned:
- So many people. The pedestrians really lose out. Traveling by bike is the best way to go about visiting Amsterdam!
- So compact. Everything is made to be small. Stairs, houses, roads, and so on.
- The alcohol was so cheap! It sure beat the expensive alcohol in Iceland, Scotland, and Ireland.
- The sweets, oh, man, the sweets were so good. So many things are sugar-ery delicious there!
- The people were so friendly to us!
- The vices. Almost everything is legal in Amsterdam. Pretty crazy! I think that is what leads to the laid back and very open attitude of the locals.
- Food was cheap, way cheaper than what we have been accustomed to paying.
It’s hard to describe how great the visit was, we really want to go back as soon as possible!
Enjoy the photos!
We spent about a week in Ireland; we made a clockwise circle from Dublin -> Cork -> Killarney National Park -> Dingle -> Limerick -> Galway -> Dublin. The sun was out almost the entire time and we were even were sunburned from hiking for a few hours around the Cliffs of Moher! The scenery was fantastic, so green and lush. The people were very warm and welcoming, a very chatty bunch. Ireland was a lot of fun!
My most enjoyable experience in Ireland probably had to be the Cliffs of Moher. The pictures don’t really do it justice and it’s hard to explain. It was a gorgeous day and there weren’t many other people. We walked a few miles on the path along the cliffs. It was quiet, serene, and beautiful. It wasn’t an experience that happens often and I’m very happy that we were there to enjoy the cliffs :). The second best experience was in Galway. It was a beautiful evening and we enjoyed it to the max with the locals while drinking “cans” in the park.
Here’s what we learned:
- Things were generally cheaper in Ireland with the Euro compared to the pound in Scotland. Gas is about $7/gal versus almost $10/gal in Scotland. Food is cheaper and lodging is cheaper, in some cases, by a large margin (25 – 50%).
- The population density is higher in Ireland so there’s a lot more people clogging up the roads. It’s common to go about 1/2 the speed limit on single lane roads because of tractors, tourists and other cars.
- People walk / run on the roads. These are very narrow roads that have no shoulders! When I asked one of our host about it, he merely said, “don’t walk in the middle of the road if you don’t want to get hit”. Great advice.
- There are multiple Irish stouts, not just Guinness! Well, duh, most would think. However, they are just as good as Guinness! We spent time in Cork, where Beamish is made, and enjoyed a few pints. Our Cork host said that people in Cork don’t drink that Dubliner drink (Guiness) but drink a good beer, Beamish.
- Ireland is super small. After driving across the width of the country we ended up forgetting something and we had to drive back only to turn around and go back to our original destination. It’s not often I can say I drove across a country four times in one day.
- A full Irish breakfast comes with breakfast sausage and that sausage tastes terrible. It’s just like Scottish sausage. So gross. Breakfast beans are delicious.
- The car rental was crazy cheap compared to Iceland and Scotland, about 30% of the rental costs we had in Iceland and Scotland.
- It took less than two tanks of gas to make our entire drive around Ireland.
- The Renault Clio is the biggest piece of crap car I’ve ever driven.
- People still chat about the financial crisis like it was yesterday. From what I’ve gathered, Ireland’s still hurting. Some of the IMF “reforms” require Ireland residents to pay for their trash pickup and water usage (!?!?!?). It amazes me that an industrialized nation has citizen who do not pay for those items.
- Raspberries grow wild all over the place in Ireland.
Enjoy the photos!
We had a great, albeit, quick visit to Scotland. We flew into Glasgow from Iceland, drove up to the Isle of Skye, ran over to Aviemore, and our last city was Edinburgh. Surprisingly, we had quite a few sunny days! We really enjoyed the scenery, the people, and, especially, the cask ales. Jacquelyn was able to find a cask cider that was out-of-this-world delicious in Aviemore.
We were able to see the highland games outside of Glasgow in a very small city of Dunoon. Very, very, cool experience. We showed up to the Isle of Skye on a sunny day and had beautiful scenery. The single lane roads were tough to navigate at first but I was finally able to handle the narrow roads and driving on the wrong side :).
Here’s some things we learned:
- Driving on the wrong side of the road is super tough, at first. Pulling out of Glasgow airport to drive to our first destination near downtown was an absolutely terrifying experience. The shifter is in the middle of the car and I have no coordination with my left hand!
- Scotland is a few weeks from a vote on independence. It’s pretty cool to see the various political banners throughout the cities and countryside. It appears as though farmers are not big fans of independence. Maybe a subsidy related thing? I’m not sure.
- Scotland has a hog-pogg of measuring systems. Speeds and distances are in imperial (miles, mph) and volumes are in metric. Weird.
- Scottish sausage (think breakfast sausage) is terrible. I worked in a meat processing facility while in college and it tastes like like how the meat processing area smelled. Terrible. Just terrible.
- We had mind-blowingly awesome fish and chips. Just out of this world delicious.
- Driving on the wrong side of the road is already bad enough. Driving on the Isle of Skye where the two lanes (my lane & opposing traffic) drop to a single lane for both directions is insane. Buses, trucks, cars and sheep all share the narrow road.
- Cask ales are the best. It makes me re-thing what I’m doing with my life and makes me want to drink only cask ales. It’s too bad cask ales are not common in the US.
- The faucets are ridiculous. I guess the technology of combined hot / cold faucets hasn’t arrived to Scotland yet. Everyday we looked forward to either scolding hot or freezing cold water. No in-between.
- We had very good weather in Scotland. I guess that’s not common.
- Much like Iceland, gas is expensive at about $10/gal
Enjoy the photos!