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Monday, April 2, 2018

SOLO EURO: DAY 8 & 9 [BAMBERG & PRAGUE]

i left in the morning to catch the train to bamberg. fortunately, the schedule was often (twice every hour). this was more of  a 'i don't have much planned and let's just see what i run into' kind of day. i'm glad i went, but did enjoy the day before at rodt much more. there also is not as much to do if you don't drink beer. most people visit to drink their smoked beer that tastes like bacon.

instead of taking the bus, i walked to the old town. compared to the other old towns i visited, the buildings are more of a mix of old and new. i walked through old town pretty quickly. bamberg does not have many attractions or museums.







the cathedral that was closed to visitors due to mass.



king triton from the little mermaid?



alte hofhaltung, the old palace.


the one thing i did have planned was altenburg castle. i knew there was not going to be much to see (most of it is now a restuarant). i could see it up the hill, but i could not figure out how to get there. i gave up on my directions and just followed the street signs. once you make it past the city, you have to go up a long foothill. it was a little creepy. i was the only one using it. 



once you take the foothill through the fields, you have to enter a plant tunnel (like something out of alice in wonderland).



altenburg castle


the castle was a bit lackluster for having all that trouble to get there, but it was my main attraction of the day. the only building you can enter is the tower.









in the ye old days, a real bear was kept on the property. now they have a stuffed bear that looks like the title character from 'big bear in the big blue house.'



altes ratheaus, the most popular landmark in the city


on a side note one of the scariest things happened to me on the way back. while i was walking on the curb, a bus drove behind me and the side mirror almost hit me in the back of the head. my head fit in between the mirror and the bus. if it had hit me, i for sure would have gotten a concussion. after that, i learned to walk closer to the buildings and away from the street 

by now i was done and decided to return to nuremberg. i took the train back to nuremberg, returned to my hostel, and had an espresso shot while trying to figure out what i wanted to do for the rest of my day. i settled with the db railway museum, a quick stroll from my hostel. 




surprisingly, it opened as a railway museum in 1899! i'm glad i went. i'm also glad i asked if there was an english audioguide. the reception lady never offered it to me and all the captions were in german (most big german museums do have english captions). the museum is chronological and unfortunately the section on east and west germany was closed (the section i was the most interested in). there is also an outdoor museum that showcases the different trains used throughout history.





the opera house across the street.



i forgot to show this on the last post, but this is the view from my hostel room. pictured is the old town wall.


i did not realize, but in bavaria most places are either closed on sunday or have short hours so finding dinner was a nightmare. dinner ended up being bread with cheese and tomato from a street vendor and a mars bar.

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the next morning i caught a db bus to prague. sure there are cheaper ways, but i read such nightmares about budget buses. it was a nice ride. the bus was a double decker and i sat on the top floor in the very front (i forgot i reserved that seat, but was happy to be reminded), so was able to look out the window. our bus was late due to traffic, but it was not too bad.



central station is really pretty, even though an old grumpy couple ruined my picture.


when i arrived i made a big boo boo. i took out wayyy too much money from the atm ($800 in us dollars. i ended up only using about 1/3 of it the next 4 days). i also met the rudest person i encountered during the entirety of my trip and he worked in customer service! i walked away from him before i was on the verge to cuss him out.



a creepy art installation at wesceslas square.




the epic art nouveau europa hotel.


i then made my way to the hostel and got lost. prague was definitely the hardest town to navigate. there are so many long street names and the streets are not set up in a grid. they run in all directions and some even turn 90 degrees while keeping their name. also the blocks are so tiny and most often triangular in shape. i knew my hostel was in a strange location. it is common for one building to have a different business on every floor. in my building the first floor was a casino (with security being an older lady), the second a thai massage place, and the third the hostel. more on the hostel in a future post. after checking in, i decided to stroll around a little bit.





i tried a trdelnik. these are all over prague and poland. it is advertised as an old bohemian (really it's slovak) dessert and pretty much tastes like a stuffed churro. i had one with vanilla custard.



this guy was actually part of my itinerary, 'the cloak of conscience.'




the first museum i went to was the alfonse mucha museum. he is one of my favorite artists of all time. a lot of his work is all over prague. overall, the museum was okay. it was a little expensive and you can't take pictures inside, but i really did like the gift shop.




the next stop was the museum of communism. the name is a little misleading, but it is really just about the influence communism and socialism had on the czech people. as most museums during my trip, this one was very emotionally charged. it was really interesting to learn specifically about this region because most often you learn about england, france, or germany.

they also had a really great gift shop. for being such a serious musem, there were tons of merchandise that joked about the ideology. for example, there was a santa dressed like the grim reaper and a nesting doll with fangs. i even got a postcard that said, 'opening, late, closing soon, annoyingly long lunch break.'





even though this wall may look like it is celebrating socialism, the museum overall was very critical of the ideology. 







after, i stopped at the grocery store (got 2 liter of water, 2 cold pasta sides, and 3 bananas for less than $3!), got lost (entered one door and did not realize i exited a different one), and returned to the hostel.



for dinner i stopped at a quick little cafe and got schnitzel, potatoes, and ginger ale (it's cheaper than water). after that, i called in a night.


now for a song! i've been listening to a bit of classical lately and one one my favorites is 'gymnopedie' by erik satie. it is hard to describe, but i like songs that make me feel like i am looking into the past and reminiscing. this song makes me think of that. enjoy!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

SOLO EURO: DAY 7 [ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER]

most of the next 2 days were spent in little german towns. by far my favorite day trip was rothenburg ob der tauber (rodt), a medieval town along the romantic road. i did not know what to think. from what i remember, rick steves (the king of travel advice for europe) described it as the disneyland of old germany that is worth the visit but crawling with corniness and tourism. for me, the crowds were really not that bad and appeared later in the day. it was not any busier than berlin and less busy than prague. overall, the city was charming, walkable, and very pleasant. i felt like i was in disney's snow white. i really enjoyed myself.

i left in the wee hours of the morning, so i could arrive before the supposed crowds. it was an hour and half commute and involved 3 different trains. here is where i learned toilets on german trains often have automatic doors. i embarrassed myself and tried so hard to open a door that i thought was stuck. turned out, you just needed to press a big green button, oops. i also think an old lately assumed i was german. she looked and talked directly and me. i just smiled and nodded, she seemed pleased with that. i was a little nervous trying to navigate and was lucky that when the first train ran late, the other two waited (my guess was that rotd is the most popular destination in that area). the last train i took only carried me and another tourist who did not speak english. we communicated a little just to make sure we were on the right train. when i arrived before 9, i walked in the wrong direction, but finally found my way.




one of the town gates to enter the old town.





i was also able to walk up one of the towers and around the wall. rotd was the only town i was able to do that. i do remember tripping a few times (it's a very uneven pathway), but i did not fall off the wall. i call that a success.



the view.





i then stopped by a little church. there were some chatty cats in the courtyard.



i continued my stroll and stopped at plonlein, the most photographed landmark of the city (the yellow building in the back). it was a shame there was an ugly fence around it.



i stopped at a cafe to get some coffee. it was the cutest place and i also got myself a treat, an apricot strudel. i think this was my favorite dessert of the trip.



and my pretty view.


next, i walked towards the main square. this was really the only area that was pretty busy. every once in a while, i would see a big tourist group, but they always keep moving.



the old town hall



the ever so popular half timber buildings of germany. the store to the right has been a pharmacy since the 1800s.



a cute little secluded alley right behind the busy square.





this is the ever so popular christmas workshop. there are stores all over germany and the world, but this is the main shop. i bought a cute wooden coo-coo clock ornament :)



next i headed to the castle gardens. this is at the top of the hill and overlooks the countryside.



the gardens. i was surprised by how many flowers were still in bloom in september.



the doors to an old one room church.


next i walked down the hill via outside the old wall. there is a nice little dirt trail where you can see the architecture of the old wall and the towers connected to it. you can also see the countryside. rotd is quite isolated and is not connected to another city or town.



the courtyard of the imperial city museum. i did not end up going inside, but was floored by the rainbow colors of the wildflowers.






sexy st. james.



st. james church, the only historic site i entered  


i was overdo for a meal, so found a quickie pastry shop (one of the best things about my trip). you can find them everywhere and all have serve coffee and sandwiches with little meat and tons of cheese (sliced and a cream cheese spread). 



my meal (pretzel as sandwich bread is genius).



i got lost, but found this cute little shop.





the last stop before the train back was alt-rothenburger handwerkhaus, a craftman's house built in the 1300s! craftsmen lived here most of the time living downstairs while working upstairs. a hermit lived here until 1968 and therefore had no interest modernizing it. because of this, it still does not have electricity, nor running water (there is a 40 foot well inside).



the attic


i then took the train back to nuremberg. at the station i saw policemen with helmets and shields. turns out there was a big football game and the city was taking precaution. i met with my australian hostel friend. she was nice enough that after only knowing each other for half an hour invite me out to eat the next day. we went to a little turkish place and talked about the differences between practicing law in our respected countries and the nazi era bullet holes in the surrounding buildings.




now for a song. i'm gonna choose a snow white song for obvious reasons. "i'm wishing" is my favorite. i love a good hum. enjoy!