These wise words were spoken to me by my loyal (I mean, really, she put up with me for nearly two weeks) traveling companion, Isabel. We decided to head east from our comfortable perch in Göttingen, Germany over to Munich (for Oktoberfest), Budapest, Prague, and Berlin. What follows here is a picture diary of some of the wonderful/stupid things we did (I’ve divided them into a simple recommend/do not recommend). ANNNDDDD….in case you don’t have any imagination at all…sampling the chicken feet pictured above belongs to do not recommend…
RECOMMEND: Oktoberfest (a.k.a. just try to find a horizontal surface)
If you do make the highly recommended decision to check out Oktoberfest, your wallet will experience a life-threatening blood letting. It’s just inevitable. Every Mass (the beers only come in 1 Liter sizes) will cost you 10 Euros. It’s just the way it is. Nonetheless, the true challenge of this delicious and devious Bavarian tradition is finding a suitable horizontal surface upon which you can grab a few hours of sleep. This is not a joke.
We had an ingenious plan to rent cars and sleep in them, since every hotel room has been booked for the past three years…this would have been a genius plot (including showers in the train station) if our Spanish travel companions hadn’t pooped out on us (lesson learned: never make plans with the Spanish).
So instead we took a “night train” and curled up into little huffy-balls-of-tired pretending like we were sleeping, but mostly waiting with our eyes closed. We arrived in the train station at a keen hour of 5:30 AM. The natural thing to do at this hour is find a place to sleep, but all of the warm or secluded areas of the train station were already vomit soaked or occupied. (You had to be willing to cuddle with strangers if you wanted a piece of floor that was warm AND secluded). So we huddled in the most comfortable looking “corner,” closing our eyes and, once again, pretending to sleep.
People were camping out in sleeping bags and shit. The train station was a legitimate sleeping plan. One that, in retrospect, I would rely upon. I mean–if you’re as drunk as you should be–it won’t be a problem.
The festival itself was so much fun! There’s no way to describe the giant-ness. Plus people are seriously day drunk at 10 AM–and if you’re not drunk too, you need to reconsider! That’s the whole point. I mean, you can’t not have a good time there! We mostly met people that we’ll never see again, ate pretzels, went on giant carnival rides (I don’t know how there wasn’t more vomit involved in this part of the day), napped on a grassy knoll, spoke slurred German…what more could you want from a day?
2. RECOMMEND: Castle Hill in Budapest
If you are ever blessed with the opportunity to go to Budapest, DO IT. Seriously. This place rocks–and it’s like no where else. The city was rebuilt after Paris following a devastating flood (that really only affected the Pest side), whereas the Buda side feels much older. Nonetheless, the entire city doesn’t remind one of Paris at all–the buildings are darker and some of the main attractions are literally falling down–but Castle Hill (newly restored) is gleaming in contrast to the rest. The result is truly unique! We didn’t spend as long as we wanted here (how could you? A lifetime wouldn’t be enough). Basically the “castle” is a series of buildings and fortifications on top of a hill. It gives you the opportunity to look out over the river, drink Hungarian wine, listen to live music (so many musicians in this city!) and enjoy the unique scenery.
Here follows a feast for the eyes:
Anyway, we stayed up here for HOURS just watching the light change over the river and enjoying a coffee (ok, maybe a slice of dark chocolate cake too). They had musicians in this cafe/restaurant playing live music. It was magical
3.a. RECOMMEND: Turkish Bath
3.b. DO NOT RECOMMEND: Renting Hungarian Bathing Suits
If you know anything about Budapest, you know that sampling one of the many Turkish baths is a must. However, Isabel and I didn’t bring along our bathing suits (neither did the Aussie we picked up, Katie). We read on the placard that you can rent suits though. “Dirty…but convenient!” we thought. “They’ll probably be grey, conservative and ugly…we’ll look like grandmas!”
Katie received a canary-yellow-double-deep-U-neck-and-back-one-piece. If the color wasn’t enough to say “Hello there! I’m here! please look at me,” the overflow of cleavage certainly made it clear. The butt of the suit was, well, laughable. And seeing as all of us really received something from the lost and found it looked like we had CHOSEN to pay money for these things then wear them. eeeh.
Weeelll, my suit wasn’t much better. It was Orange with some black designs. It was also made of cotton (wtf, leotard?) and it was still wet. Sketchy to say the least. What Hungarian lady had just taken this thing off her body? Well I tried to be positive, after all, the crotch was a bit narrow for my liking, and the cut a tad high on my hips, but holding it up, surely the piece of fabric that should cover my ass would be bigger than what Katie had received, no?
I turned the suit around.
The “crotch” was the “ass.”
It was a once-piece-thong.
Needless to say we were all relieved to submerge (read: hide) ourselves in the warm bubbly water. Until we realized Katie’s canary yellow suit became ENTIRELY see through when wet (what kind of design is that?!). I mean, you could see BOTH nipple AND lady bits. Meanwhile, in the MIXED SEX BATH, everyone kept there cool. “Little white girl just wants to show us what she’s got, right???”
Now, we like to make the best of a bad situation, so of course we used continuous self timer! And the montage to follow is the fuzzy proof that we really wore these things (slash these two were the only ones appropriate for the internet)…
4.a. RECOMMEND: Walking along the Danube and up Castle Hill to see night fall and the city light up
4.b. DO NOT RECOMMEND: Taking a “night cruise” (read: retirement cruise) to watch the city light up
Beautiful, but we were the only ones who couldn’t use the “Over 65 discount.” Embarrassing much? Nah!
5. RECOMMEND: Simpla Bar
Our super-duper-hip-always-connected-and-new-found-Aussie-friend (aka Katie) took us to Simpla bar. Coolest place ever. It was half outside, so you could sit among plants with Christmas lights and the open sky glittering overhead, or you could go to the other half of the bar which was inside. None of the seats were conventional. We sat in a bathtub, a car, and a theater row. There was a dentist’s chair, an assortment of bar stools, and, although you couldn’t sit in them, there were all of these cool chandeliers made out of old bottles. Pretty much it was awesome and graffiti covered. Dogs were welcome in the bar, so they were getting plenty of love :) It was just like no other place I’ve ever seen! Not to mention they had A DELICIOUS PIZZA PARLOUR BUILT RIGHT INTO THE BAR!! No need to worry about the shop down the street closing. Win. Basically I have no pictures of this place, so go visit it yourselves she-BOMBers!
Meanwhile, I’ll be successfully avoiding BACHELORSARBEIT (as they lovingly call it over here) in the Bibliothek. Grüße au Göttingen!
P.S. Prague and Berlin info coming soon! (Hopefully we’ll have the disposable developed by then! hehehee)