Berlin Night Train

First things first: we were uber excited for our first night train ever. Three days before when we reserved for the tickets, they only had one seat ticket so I got the sleeper and I was especially excited about this. Maybe I was expecting too much…

So we collected our luggage from the lockers of the Nuremberg train station and enjoyed our camembert pretzel on our way to Augsburg, where we waited for the night train.

Paid a euro for it so it had to be good. 

But an issue that I wasn’t thinking about surfaced. We weren’t the first travelers that were picked up. 

My sleeper compartment was an extremely small and completely dark room with 2 triple-bunk beds and squeaky doors. I had the top and four people were already sleeping in the room. 

My first travail came to the task of getting up there. I first shoved my papers in some lady’s face, not seeing her and thinking her bed was my bed. When I did find my bed, I had to get my bags next to it and try to fit myself in there. There wasn’t so much space between me and my ceiling and trying to get up there in the complete dark was not an easy task. 

My second travail came when I was finally squished myself onto my bed. I wanted to wash my teeth… and I decided against it, not wanting to wake anyone up. 

The next morning, I woke up (apparently, I was the last; I was the only one left in the compartment) and went to the elder YR’s seat. According to her, the night was chiller than expected but luckily, she had a fleece jacket with her. The guy next to her (who also already left) was not as lucky, and she told me she felt him trembling throughout the night. 

Now, I don’t remember exactly which station the train stopped at because it stopped at a different station then scheduled which we were not too happy about. >:( But we kinda had no choice and took another train to the Hauptbahnhof or central station.

U got NUREMBERG’D!!!

Yup. I know what YR told you.

But she lied.

Before we got to night line to Berlin, we had a day trip at Nuremberg, where we were going to hitch that same night train at.

So here it is my candid report bout good ol’Nuremberg.

The only thing I’ve heard about this place was in the context of ‘Nuremberg Trials’ from way back when, so I personally expected this place to be glum and have anti-Nazi campaigns everywhere.

But no. This place was one of the most visually adorable places I’ve ever visited in Europe, but I’m getting way ahead of myself.

So the first thing on our itinerary was to go to Nazi Party Rally Grounds, since that was far from the center of the city, whilst everything else was bunched up together.

With not difficulty, we got there via tram which conveniently stops right in front of the thing.

And NPRG has a museum attached to it…

Here, instead of making a written translation of everything English, they decided to make audio guides, which are thankfully, free.

The museum, in short, was a lot better than I ever would have thought, in content, visual element, and organization. I’d personally rate this the most interesting museum I’ve visited in this trip.

However, after 2 hours or so, we decided we need to get the hostess outta there to catch everything else that follows, so we ended up rushing through the audio guides (mind you though, if we DID listen to everthingeverything, it would’ve taken us like a whole day), and finally came up to the museum balcony, which extends out to the middle of the actual NPRG, wowed, took some pictures, and got out.

After we got out of NPRG, we went back to the center of the city, and got lunch at Hot Tacos, which allegedly sells genuine Cali-style stuffs. YR got chorizo burrito, and I got one with chickens. 

Verdict? YR thought it was good and i thought it was good after a whopping lot of hot sauce.

So officially back to the adorability of the city. 

Nuremberg’s full of cutesy little stuffs, which YR’ll kindly help me out with buncha pictures

:D <OR NOT>

Long story short, we ended up cutting up the initial itinerary into million little pieces and just chill like two little cupcakes.

One of two places we managed to hit was Albrecht Durer (the acclaimed artiste)’s house, which was YR’s choice selection.

When I researched about the place, I heard about the tour guide with Mrs. Durer, so naturally I was expecting someone in their hoky Bavarian suit with beer in her hand to guide us with hearty laughter.

(Above: like so!)

Instead we got calm little female narrator in a headphone and an button-thingy. boohoo.

Say hello to Mrs. Durer! D:

The exhibition was quite cute, and it was cool to know that it was the actual residence of the famous artist. The only drawback was that the exhibition wasn’t complete, and the tour could have lasted longer.

Another place we took a gander to was the Royal Palace, which was on the top of the hill, after climbing uphill from where the market was held. Not a challenging hiking, but the gradual uphill did give me a vertigo.

RP is a good place to be if u want to look at a city in one cue. 

After chilling a while at one of the garden-looking places behind the wall, we took a walk around the palace… where we encountered the…….bee mob.

(what it looks like from far away, but actually…)

(sry. we were largely panicking when we saw this, so no pic, but this is the idea:)

YR was terrified as we were trying to literally walk all over them.

The place was overall a good place to chill while looking at all the cute little garden things they’ve managed to install.

And NOW we’re getting back to night train to Berlin. BAM>:O

Bloopers AKA. Going off tangent AKA. What we didn’t mention in past blog posts

I’m still emotionally scarred from yesterday’s shtick but let me recover with another try.

So let’s get on with it.

Here’s a list of things we forgot to mention or things that I learned or think is noteworthy. 

1. No matter what kind or how tasty, airplane food still repulses me. 

Case in point. But oh wait…

The elder YR said that it tasted like chilled tomato soup. I said that’s what V8 tastes like, but the elder disagrees. Nonetheless, EW.

Here’s something that cheered me up though:

Haselnuss = Hazelnuts. LOVE. It was Lufthansa’s treat for us on our flight to Brussels. It was yummy :).

2. Simpsons in any language is hilarious even if you don’t know what the hell they’re saying.  But since I don’t know how to upload videos on Tumblr, you can youtube it yourself. 

3. Street art in Europe is legit. It ranges from crazy beautiful to thought-provoking to both. 

4. Before you travel, make sure you know the locations of supermarkets nearest to your hotels/hostels. 

Humans obviously need to eat and drink something once in a while, and restaurants tend to not be so generous. I mean, 2 euros for a can of coke… WTF???

We were lucky in Brussels in that our hotel was quite close to downtown and while we walked to Grand-Place, we easily spotted a Delhaize supermarket. However, not so lucky in other places and we had to use Google Map in order to not be so cranky. Here’s a list of supermarkets that we visited: 

Delhaize (as mentioned, Belgium)

Edeka (Germany)

Kaiser’s Tengelmann (Germany)

Albert Heijn (Netherlands)

So be happy!

Also note that 24-hour drugstores/grocery does not exist and hours don’t tend to be so long. So don’t expect anywhere to be open in the middle of the night. 

5. Impressive architecture wore my eyes out after a while. 

I think I’m going to cry now.

6. I’m gonna miss drinking good beer. American beer tastes like piss after Europe.

7. We took way too many pictures of Eiffel Tower that it almost feels like a porn collection now. Like this:

Now imagine us at the top of this thing with all of its panoramic views. 

8. People are like ants after a while. There are too many of them.

I swear, Europe in summer is a giant Disneyland… kinda like this:

9. LIONS.

10. 2 words: BACKUP BATTERIES. 

In Paris, we paid 7 euros for just 4 AAs. In Berlin, we paid 2 euros for 4 AAs too, except they did not work at all. 

Can you say “ripped off”? 

**********

What a depressing ending. However, don’t despair yet because coming soon, our night train to Berlin!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

I officially hate the internet.

Internet killed my super-long blog post. Internet is the death of me. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

COMING SOON: Bloopers AKA. Going off tangent AKA. What we didn’t mention in past blog posts

Swans and the Mad King

BEFORE I (Yea-Ree-meister) START: Yes, the title is a bit cheesy but the reality is that we’ve been back for a while now (it’s almost been a week!) and I gotta get this over with before everything becomes a blur. This is for the moms and dads everywhere who spent a fortune on their kids to wreak havoc elsewhere. 

If the elder YR didn’t mention that 8/17 was supposed to be the super anticipated “Cinderella Castle Day” and not the day after (which is this one), I tell you now. This is because of the initially confusing and bizarre process of making reservations for King’s tickets which are supposed to be tickets to visit not one, but two castles of Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany. On the night of 8/16, I checked my email for my reservations but found it had not arrived and I had to reserve again. It wasn’t all that stressful until we realized how early the trains from Fussen to Munich stop which was a problem because I had booked for times that at that time, seemed too late. Our brains pretty much exploded with worry. 

So we got on the train to a little town called Fussen where there was a bus that took us to another little town called Schwangau. There is a mystical area in Schwangau with a lake and castles where only the disgruntled but soon-to-be-mystified tourists go; this place pretty much comprises of tourist shops, tourist offices, tourist buses, tourist sights, and no actual Schwangau-sites in sight. 

Here’s one very important lesson that we learned this day due to a not-so-uncommon sight in the tourist world: reservations are awesome. Why? Two words: LONG-A$$ LINES. 

We were also fortunate enough to negotiate an earlier touring time with the cashier there since we arrived at least four hours before our booked time and we left the counter as satisfied customers who only had to wait two minutes whereas the poor unfortunate (and dumb) souls who didn’t think ahead had to wait two hours. 

So we “hiked” (if that means walking uphill for 10 min. max) up to our first castle of the day Hohenschwangau. Hohenschwangau might not look like a total gem outside but the inside was beautiful… no photos, though. 

Mad King Ludwig (who later built and died in Neuschwanstein) and his brother Otto were raised here and this had a wonderful view to the other castle. The family was also devoted to swans for some reason, hence the name Schwangau and Hohenschwangau. 

Then, we took the carriage down to the back to the tourist place…

No wonder there were horsepies everywhere…

Anyways, we took the bus (for which there was also quite a substantial wait; no reservations here for obvious reasons) to the highlight of the day: Neuschwanstein (pronounced like noy-shvan-shtein). 

Again no photos here, but let me tell you a little bit about the interior: Ludwig pretty much wanted a place for his fantasies and these fantasies were Wagnerian, meaning he was obssessed with Wagner operas and every room decor was based on some Wagner concept (i.e. his bedroom had a Tristan and Isolde concept for his lonely nights, if you know what I mean). Inside, we also saw a bread that was centuries old. HAHAHA, random I know, but it was that fascinating. 

After that, the day went pretty smoothly as you can see.

changjorim power, unite!

MumumuMUNICH!

Day 1 in Munich: 

We didn’t get the night train we wanted from Paris, so we ended up arriving at Munich way later than we originally thought. So we decided to just wander off into this fabulous city and get lost in its beauty.

We read an article about Zum Koreaner, a Korean restaurant, from spottedbylocals.com, a website we put our entire faith on during research period. So we were super-psyched and figured we would go there for dinner, since we were craving for Korean goodness anyways. But I’ll say one thing for the sake of this establishment: they should start putting more effort in earning dough bc world is not a lenient place for slackers. And that’s that. 

(oh, really?)

Despite a rather disappointing dinner arrangement, the rest of our walkaround went satiatingly. There weren’t that many tourist (or people in general) to cloud our weary soul, and it was still had good many share of pretty looking structures and landmarks, including Brandhorst Museum, which we bade goodbye for just now.

Day 2 in Munich:

We were hoping to grab a shirt of the famous sandeman guide tour, and ended going to both Starbucks at Hauptbahnhof and Marienplatz at wrong time. boohoo.

But it turned out not such a big deal. Because by the time we got to Marienplatz, we were having such awesome time looking at bunch of great looking buildings they’ve managed to compile in that area, listen to toy-like bell tower figures which we just happened to be in front of at noon, and have great time in general looking at shops and fruit carriers.

One memorable food experience we had here was Bratwurstherzl, which was a definite appetite booster, especially after yesterday’s calamity. I had white sausage, which did wonder on sour potato salad that I ordered alongside. YR had beef tongue!! Yes, I kid you not, YR had that wriggling thing inside bovine mouth structure for lunch! Surprisingly, it was super tender and delicious. So saying something about not having enough sausages, I diligently stole pieces of her dish content. The only down here was that it took us a while to get served and get bills later, but that was pardoned by waiter’s sweaty face and busily circulating crowds outside.

And we went to Brandhorst museum, which we kept our Asian eyes upon since the day before. The first opportunity we got to use our student ID cards, we were rejected the opportunity to get reduced rate bc apparently ours didn’t show that we were currently enrolled. (travellers, beware!) But the collection inside the museum was diverse in range, and imPressive. The only thing that kept us uncomfortable was the ever-gazing eyes of museum staffs, which kept me from taking pictures of collections, although we were never prohibited. A possibility of running around the museum and touching lightly upon their stuffs loomed deliciously above my head, but maybe next time>:D

PARIS JE T’AIME

With good fortune of having been hosted by a French family (Kyunghee ajoomma and Bernardinis), we’ve had an amazing time at Paris. 

We got off to sort of a rocky start when we almost got lost trying to get to our contact who was waiting for us at the Sheraton Hotel (which was actually in the airport, weirdly enough), but the rest of our stay was quite smooth and fulfilling. 

DAY 1: Tour d’Eiffel, super fancy&sexy <dejeuner en bateau> (lunch on a boat), Notre Dame, and lot of other sights for photo ops. To summarize it in one word, FATIGUEE. 

DAY 2: Versailles and Montmartre. Beautiful, no matter how rich or poor. Lots of stairs and the whole time Kyunghee ajoomma was saying, “Your feet must be on FIRE.”

DAY 3: Louvre, Champs-Elysees and Arc du Triomphe, as well as the rich fashion street goggling at Miu Mius. This was also (you might know) the Catholic day of Ascension, so many people were not working and some stores/attractions were closed. However, this was no problem for us. 

And now we’re sad to leave them because they’ve been so gracious to us… They did so much for us and to them we say, “A bientot!” 

Day 3: painstaking adventure in Ghent

We got M. KH’s house internet on our side, and using that opportunity to finally catch up on our blogging.

But Yea-Ree’s pooped and I will at least be predominantly writing this.

The beginning of this piece was quite goed.

We were super-psched about going to Ghent and got to use our Eurail passes for the first time, which pretty much went smooth all in all. Sweet!

We got on our ride, which had surprisingly comfy-looking seats, and we got to look at some awesome countryside in a relaxing setting.

And then we got to personally-not-as-exciting Sint-Pieters station and started off our adventure by visiting StadMuseum, which had to do with Ghent history.

Trust me. I’m not the history specialist of the family, but the way the museum was set up, especially in the way they’ve incorporated the old church as part of their structure and exhibition was definitely what I’ve come to ask for.

Not only did they have a super-sized map room that required you to have shoe cover to enter, they had monastery(?) that had some psychedelic ambience music to get us going and other unexpected surprises.

But it was after this destination that had us fatigued rapidly.

Somehow we decided to venture to city library and print out some stuff we’ve neglected to when we had the chance back in the States……but w/o map.

And although we were generally travelling the right direction, thnx to YR’s supernatural direction sensor, due to the fact that we weren’t 100% positive about where we were heading was the right direction, we were soon pretty worn both mentally and physically.

A little plus here though: we found the the Gruut Cafe on our way, which was originally one of our later destinations, and got to buy awesome Gruut beers pretty early up in the schedules, so we got that knocked off the list.

(Little downer: we technically didn’t need to buy those beers except for the fact I was super excited about them for what-the-KFC-was-I-thinking-about)

Not only did we fail to actually print out anything from the library since we weren’t members of their society and had not that jolly a time getting back to our path,but eventually we eventually allowed ourselves to go haywire over finding De Papegaai, a Belgian Fries place we had planned our lunch for.

And we got super full b/c we underestimated the power of Belgian food portion.

So naturally by the time we got to the cheese of our grilled cheese sandwich, which are Belfry, St. Nicholas Church, Gravensteen, and all the exciting stuff around Graslei, we were ready to sleep.

By a sheer will power, we managed to get to Belfry and St. Nicholas Church, and checked out the exterior of couple of other structures, like Gravensteen and St. Bavo’s.

After our mindblowing and somewhat rushed trip in that area, we compromised with ourselves that we would hitch a tram instead walking 30 minutes into oblivion back to Sint-Pieters station.

One word to wrap up day 3: under/overestimation

Day 1 & 2: en route and Brussels!!

Yoo-Ree: Complications, complications, complications.

Day 1 was all about frustrations of one sort or another.

From the first button on, it was in the wrong hole.

Our first flight was delayed by 2 hours due to German strike.

But they implied that our second flight, originally less than 2 hours away from previous flight, would be pushed back, too, so we were cool wid it.

Butthenwhenwegottofrankfurttheconnectingflightwasonly30minutesawaywhichisexactlyhowlongittookustogothrungetrejectedatthegatebcweweresolateblurbedyblarghblarblurblrdalskdjfla;kj2#$!@##%$%^

In short, that original 2 hour delay got us round 5 hours late plus had us running all over the airport in Frankfurt.

No biggie here.

Yea-Ree: Anyways, I just realized that we’ve only checked in our hotel 24 hours ago but we’ve seen much in Brussels already.

FUN.

Back to me: Anyhoos, when we arrived in Brussels, we had to face another enemy: public transportation.

We somehow managed to ride a shuttle to tram station, and when we got there it took us like literally around an hour to figure out that the ticket machine doesn’t like our cards.

When we did get tickets, yr had trouble getting through the gate with her newly gained ticket, to a degree we required a demonstration from a local to get through those ominous plastic barriers.

When we did get thru, I was so excited I ran down the wrong side of the platform, which earned me smiles from locals and jeers from yr.

Next, yr nearly ran into the wrong train.

I, in turn, noticeably flinched at the sound of departing tram (it makes a frking panic sound!) and seriously started wondering what the purpose of those blue buttons near the door.

Not to forget that it took us extra time and serious land navigation skill to find our hotel.

OK, through all those brief tourist initiation ceremonies, we arrived at the hotel, with a happily greeting hotel staff getting our awesome-looking key and a paper map.

Our hotel room is actually damn impressive, in  a way that it is neat-looking, has a pretty big bathroom, but still relatively inexpensive.

The rest of the day went pretty unenthusiastically, due to the fact that we were dog-tired, although we did seek out the Grand Place.

Yea-Ree: And today, we decided to take an “adventure” where I got to test (and confirm) my amazing direction senses (“Keep going north!”). Our walk took us from Manneken Pis (good-humored but largely underwhelming in respect to a crowd around it), to Royal Palace, to lollygaggling around the Ixelles part where my stomach decided to do cartwheels, to Grand Place and back to our place.

We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at a crowded “café” called Arcadi: I got salmon crepe (7,50?) with Waterloo beer (3,50 for 33 cl) and Yoo-Ree got tarte champignon (7,50) with Juplier (3,90 for 50 cl). And ultimately we couldn’t help but satisfy our sweet tooth with a lovely slice of strawberry tart (4,50) with the bill added up to 30 euros including tip. Rolling Stones may not have been able to get satisfaction but that is exactly what we got.

Words can only hurt you if you try to read them. Don’t play their game!
Derek Zoolander